Violence, as a subject of scholarly enquiry, is of central importance to the human experience.  We often think of each incident as unique, but unique to what and to whom?  Violence is universal and ubiquitous and it can be felt in domestic, religious, ethnic, gender, political, criminal and international contexts.  Thus, the purpose of this interdisciplinary symposium is to consider how violence is conceived, portrayed, remembered, and experienced both communally and globally through a range of discourses and approaches which include literature, history, sociology philosophy, religion, language, and law.  The goal is to create a forum in which themes of violence can be explored and compared from local and global perspectives through a variety of analytical methodologies.  And, by doing so, violent encounters will be examined in their peculiar and universal contexts.


Organisers: Dr Ruth Canning and Dr David Fitzgerald, School of History.

Venue: CACSSS Seminar Room, O'Rahilly Building

Opening Address - 11:00


Panel 1: Early Modern Violence and Ireland - 11:15-12:45

James O’Neill (UCC) – Like sheep to the shambles? Slaughter and surrender during Tyrone’s Rebellion, 1593-1603

Matthew Woodcock (University of East Anglia) – Thomas Churchyard and the Rehearsal of Violence in Early Modern Ireland

Clodagh Tait (MIC) – 'Whereat his wife tooke great greef & died’: dying of sorrow and killing in anger in seventeenth-century Ireland


Lunch: 1:00-2:00


Panel 2: Violence, Gender, and the Family - 2:00-3:30 

Linda Connolly (UCC) - Obstectric Violence and 'Modern' Ireland: the Practice of Symphysiotomy 1940-1989

Lindsey Earner-Byrne (UCD) – “Behind closed doors”: Society and domestic violence in Ireland, 1922-1995

Sandra McAvoy (UCC) - ‘An act to make further and better provision for the protection of young girls’: the women’s movement and the sexual crime sections of the Criminal Law(Amendment) Act, 1935


Panel 3: Torture, Violence and Memory: Ireland and Beyond - 4:00-5:30

John Borgonovo (UCC) – ‘Another Flake of the Hammer’: The Torture of Republican Prisoners, Narratives and Discourses of the Irish Revolutionary Period 

Vittorio Bufacchi (UCC) – Violence, Memory and Community

Aoife Duffy (NUIG) – Interrogation, Violence and International Law



Plenary: Aula Maxima 6:00-7:15

Fergal Keane (BBC) - The ethics and obligations of memorialising violence - from Listowel to Visegrad.

Our keynote speaker is the award-winning BBC Foreign Correspondent Fergal Keane, who will be giving a public lecture on “The Ethics and Obligations of Memorialising Violence - From Listowel to Visegrad" at 6pm.  Keane’s investigative coverage of international war zones and humanitarian crises has been instrumental in raising global awareness for the brutality inflicted upon civilian populations during times of conflict.  A witness to genocide in Rwanda, Keane has produced a book, “Season of Blood: A Rwandan Journey” (winner of the 1995 Orwell prize), as well as several candid and compassionate documentaries which detail the ferociousness and tragic consequences of ethnic violence while highlighting the need for more proactive humanitarian intervention by western powers.  Keane is also the author of a number of other acclaimed books, including ”Road of Bones: The Siege of Kohima 1944”, and was the presenter of the five-part BBC/RTE documentary series ”The Story of Ireland”.

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