Research areas within the humanities and social sciences

The College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences is comprised of 11 Schools (Applied Psychology; Applied Social Studies; Asian Studies; Education; English; History; The Human Environment:  Geography, Archaeology and Classics ; Irish Learning; Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Music and Theatre; Sociology and Philosophy). Research in the College is often multidisciplinary in nature and this is reflected in the number of centres and institutes that promote interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches in the College, including ISS21, a research institute in the social sciences.

Below you can find out more about the areas of expertise and staff research activities in each of the Schools in the College.

Applied Psychology

The School of Applied Psychology has set itself four challenges to inspire research:

  • Advances in Assessment: developing new methods of assessment and analysis including assessment of sexual offenders. Recent research includes complex analysis of reaction time data evidencing a decadal decrease of genetic intelligence.
  • Healthy Ageing: improving quality of life for older people including people living with dementia. Recent work includes (i) research on multisensory processing in the context of aging and age-related falls (ii) design to enhance sense of belonging among people with dementia and their carers.
  • People and Technology: designing for meaningful technology experiences and services together with the people who are likely to use them. This includes the participatory design to improve quality of life in ageing, energy sustainability, and to support community initiatives.
  • Resilience & Transition: understanding and developing pathways of resilience at the biological, individual and socio-cultural and ecological systems levels.  This includes work on (i) psychosocial interventions in crisis situations (ii) biology, emotions, and health (iii) childhood and ageing (iv) health and resilience and (v) living with depression.
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Applied Social Studies The School of Applied Social Studies provides a rich educational and research environment, which promotes a culture of critical intellectual and practice enquiry in the social sciences, based upon participation, inclusion and diversity.  Since its establishment in 1990, the School has developed a national and international reputation for social science research focused on the challenges and changes in contemporary Irish society in both its European and global contexts. It has strong traditions of cross-disciplinary research (with scholars in fields such as law, education, geography, nursing and music), international collaboration and community engagement in the public sphere. The School is a co-founder of the Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)Read More
Asian Studies Research conducted in the Department of Asian Studies spans East Asia in a variety of subjects, including labour history in China; human rights and trafficking; media, popular culture and the impact of digitalization; intellectual history, religious and philosophical traditions of Korea and East Asia; comedy and popular media in Japan.  Read More

The research conducted in UCC’s Study of Religions Department focuses on the academic, non-confessional study of religions in the contemporary world (19th-21st centuries). Research interests cover diverse religions (Islam, Hinduism, indigenous and minority religions, neo-paganisms, Orthodox Christianity and new religious movements) and regions (Ireland, South Asia, Eastern Europe, Brazil). Members of staff are specialists in a range of approaches such as gender and masculinities (Dr Amanullah De Sondy), anthropology and ethnography (Dr Lidia Guzy, Dr James Kapalo, Dr Jenny Butler) and area studies. Shared areas of expertise include indigenous and minority religions (Dr Guzy, Dr Kapalo, Dr Butler), religions in South Asia (Dr De Sondy, Dr Guzy) and folk/vernacular religion in Europe (Dr Butler)  Read More
Education The School of Education supervises a large number of PhD students. Its academic support for doctoral students has been noted by several international experts as pioneering and exemplary in the academy. Research generally in the School of Education informs the School’s key programmes in Initial Teacher Education, including a general preparation at post-primary level (PME), BEd (Sports Studies and PE), BSc (Science Education) as well as work in early years and pre-school education through its BA (Early Years and Childhood Studies). Research also informs our highly sought-after in-service programmes for teachers such as the MEd and our Department of Education and Skills funded PDSEN (Postgraduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs). In addition staff contribute to the MA Applied Psychology (Guidance Counselling). Read More
English Literature, Film and Place: research in this strand relates to the culture, history and theory of space and place and incorporates enquiry into regional, national and transnational identities; postcolonial theory; transoceanic and transatlantic literatures and cultures; eco-criticism; creative writing; theories of space and place. Research projects and collaborations in this area include the Transatlantic Connections Project, the Wales-Ireland Research Network and the IRC-funded projects The World-Tree: An Interactive Digital Archive for the Teaching and Study of the Vikings and Deep Maps: West Cork Coastal Cultures.

Literature, Film and the Past: research in the School represents all the main periods of literature across its centuries of development, with growing expertise in film. This fullness of coverage animates research into the transmission and transformation of texts across time, and is very important in defining our identity in national and international terms. The School has strong theoretical interests in such issues as historiography, cultural history; materiality; reception, influence and intertextuality; mediation and adaptation. Research in creative writing includes historical fiction and memoir. Read More
Languages, Literatures and Cultures The Department of French’s research strengths encompass the following fields: Art and Music Theory; Early Modern, Modern and Contemporary Literature and Ideas; Francophone Postcolonial Studies; Francophone Africa; French Philosophy and Theory; Heroism Studies, Modern and Contemporary Theatre; Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition; Translation Studies; Women’s and Gender Studies. Read More

Core research disciplines in the Department of German span from drama pedagogy and performance studies, critical theory and literary studies (Goethezeit and modernism) to screen studies, international communication and German-Irish relationsRead More

The Department of Italian at University College Cork is a centre of excellence in Ireland for research in modern and contemporary Italian culture. Individual staff and the Department collectively have distinguished themselves in a wide range of areas within Italian Studies and Film Studies, with cutting-edge, theoretically-informed research contributions, thus placing Italian at UCC on the international map for modern and contemporary literature and film studies, and other, complementary areas. The lecturing staff hold international qualifications (Hull; Strathclyde; Università Cattolica di Milano; Toronto; Johns Hopkins) and are equally comfortable presenting and publishing in both Italian and English. Staff systematically disseminate their research in peer-reviewed publications and regularly organize conferencesRead More

The Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies (SPLAS) is a dynamic centre for events and activities in the south of Ireland and has driven collaborative initiatives with a range of partners locally, nationally and internationally. Core research interests of staff in the Department span; Medieval and Golden Age, Modern and Contemporary Spanish literature; theatre; film; visual arts; translation, including specialist interest in the diverse languages and cultures of the Iberian Peninsula (Catalan and Galician); . In Latin American Studies the Department has long-standing strengths in the study of Mexican and US Latino/a culture and society, and has been further developing expertise in the Southern Cone, especially Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. The international impact of our work in these areas is underpinned by the research ethos of the two local-global centres for research that are housed within the Department – the Centre for Mexican Studies and the Irish Centre for Galician Studies Read More
The Human Environment: Geography, Archaeology and Classics UCC has been a leading centre for teaching and research in Archaeology ever since the first professor of the discipline, Bertram Windle, was appointed in 1909. Research features prominently in the work of the Department, driving the creation of knowledge about the human past, as well as informing our teaching programmes and the training of professional archaeologists. Staff members are actively involved in numerous research projects, both within Ireland and abroad, and also collaborate widely with other universities and institutes.  Over the years we have gained a reputation for solid performance in teaching and research, with strong academic output to a high standard, as well as impressive income generation. There is a vibrant postgraduate culture, with a large number of MPhil and PhD researchers, as well as three taught masters programmes with research interests. Our strengths include architectural heritage and industrial archaeology, bioarchaeology, environmental archaeology, later prehistory, and Viking and early medieval studies. This research supports a strong teaching programme, which caters for school-leaver and life-long learners, and provides professional formation for those pursuing a career in ArchaeologyRead More

The Department of Geography is currently reconfiguring its research clusters but going forward is likely to organise its work around three broad themes designed to optimise opportunities for collaboration amongst staff:

  • Social and spatial justice
  • Geoinformatics applications
  • Heritage, environment and the Irish landscape
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History

The School of History conducts research in all aspects of Irish history, most notably Monastic Ireland, the Middle Ages, Tudor and Stuart Conquests, the Famine, the Irish Revolution, Irish Social, Economic and Media History and in the writing of Irish history itself. It also has strengths in Insular Studies, Renaissance history and in the history of Germany, Russia and the United States with a particular emphasis on international relations.

The School hosts several important research projects of international importance.  These include:

CELT (Corpus of Electronic Texts of Ireland) is the longest established and largest digital resource for Irish Studies in the World. (website: http://celt.ucc.ie)

ArCH project is concerned with the reproduction of historical Irish manuscripts and associated scholarly research. Two beautiful volumes on the Schaffhausen Adomnán and the St. Gall Gospels have been produced to date.

CNLS dealing with the neglected Neo-Latin literature of Ireland holds a famous weekly seminar and has produced three original texts and a book of general essays. (website: https://www.ucc.ie/en/cnls/)

The School has researchers at Masters and PhD levels and hosts post-doctoral fellows on a regular basis funded by the Irish Research Council and the Marie Curie Foundation.

UCC History has a long tradition of transferring its research rapidly into the public domain through TV, newspapers, conferences and commemorative events and continues to do so.

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Irish Roinn an Bhéaloidis: the Department of Folklore and Ethnology conducts teaching and research bilingually on traditional, popular, indigenous cultural expression within historical and emergent theories and methods of folkloristics and ethnology. Its core strengths lie in directing and conducting original research and teaching on folklore and ethnology nationally and internationally as well as fostering ethnographic engagement at community level through its research projects and ongoing staff research. These consist of collaborations in both languages, in both rural and urban settings. The department places community, locality, identity and cultural expression(s) at the heart of its research and teaching. Through these projects its aims to development primary, original sources (archives, repositories, research monographs) in tandem with on-going elaboration, early dissemination of results. Read More

One of Ireland’s most remarkable and most under-exploited cultural treasures is its rich medieval literature. Accordingly, the primary research commitment of staff in the Department of Early and Medieval Irish is to the editing, translation, analysis and interpretation of early Irish texts. Within this framework, there are several areas on which research activity tends to concentrate: the history and culture of the church; secular legend and narrative; the interaction of indigenous and external elements in the culture as a whole; and the study of placenames. These concerns are broadly reflected in the range of projects which the Department hosts, or in which it participates:
  • Apocrypha Hiberniae contributes editions of Irish apocryphal texts to the Corpus Christianorum series
  • the Locus Project has been engaged since 1996 on the production of a historical dictionary of Gaelic placenames
  • De Finibus: Christian Representations of the Afterlife in Medieval Ireland , funded by IRCHSS in the period 2008-11; the books resulting from the project’s researches appeared in 2014
  • Celtic Digital Initiative () makes scarce resources available to students and scholars in electronic format, serving both as a portal and as an archive of digitised material;
  • Irish Sagas Online, a student-focused website supplies reliable versions of the original texts of medieval Irish sagas with parallel translations into Modern Irish and English.
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Music and Theatre Practice-based teaching-led research is to the forefront of the work of Department of Drama and Theatre Studies (DTS) at the School of Music and Theatre. The Department has continued to build on its national and international research profile and visibility through its engagement with colleagues across disciplines, external research communities and the professional arts and cultural sector. This profile has obvious links with CACSSS’s policy on the development of a Creative Campus across UCC and the wider community as well as strategic goals which reach towards international standards of excellence. Research clusters include: Psychophysical Acting and Movement; Performance and Cognition; Somatic Practices; Body in Performance and Contemporary Dance Practice; Performance Studies; Performative Teaching, Learning and Research; Intercultural Performance; Translation and Adaptation; Contemporary Irish and British Theatre; Theatre of the Image and Dance Theatre; Performance and Conflict.Performance and Conflict.  Read More

The Department of Music at University College Cork is one of Ireland’s largest, most dynamic homes for music research.  There are 45 staff, 16 of whom are permanent appointments directing 340 undergraduates and 35 postgraduates in fields from composition to ethnomusicology and musicology to performance. Read More
Sociology and Philosophy The Department of Sociology have a number of general and integrated priorities for research which have developed in recent years. The Irish Journal of Sociology and the journals International Political Anthropology and the Irish Journal of Anthropology have all been edited within the Dept. Staff in the Dept have undertaken a leadership role in interdisciplinary research institute building through the Irish Social Sciences Platform (ISSP) and the research institute ISS21 in UCC.  There are research clusters on a variety of themes including Critical Theory, Social Justice, Borders and Migration, Criminology, Social Pathologies, Civilization and Globalization, Irish Society and Family Gender and Sexuality. The Dept is extensively involved in Graduate Education and specialist training programmes have been established through three summer schools: The Theory and Philosophy Summer School, International Political Anthropology Summer School and Economy and Society Summer School. Read More
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