PG7004 Master Class Module: Contemporary Theoretical Paradigms in the Humanities and Social Sciences

PG7004 Master Class: Contemporary Theoretical Paradigms in the Humanities and Social Sciences (5 credits)

Please note postgraduate research students are welcome to attend these Masterclasses BUT in order to gain credit for this module, students must attend at least 2 Masterclasses and complete the associated assessments.

  Date Title Location Co-ordinator
1 15.11.18 (pm) and 16.11.18    CACSSS Seminar Room, G27 O'Rahilly Buildng Dr Claire Edwards, Dr Maire Leane


  CACSSS Seminar Room, G27 O'Rahilly Building  Dr Marie Kelly

26.02.18(pm) and 26.02.2019

  CACSSS Seminr Room (G27) and Mary Ryan Meeting Room (G27B), O'Rahilly Building Professor Brendan Dooley
4 28.02.19   CACSSS Seminar Room, G27 O'Rahilly Building Dr Sabine Kriebel, Dr Katharina Becker, Dr Stephen Faust
5 28.03.19 (pm) and 29.03.2019   CACSSS Seminar Room, G27 O'Rahilly Building Dr Darragh O'Connell

Module Objectives:

To enhance the doctoral education programme through a variety of classes designed to expose doctoral students across the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences to new frontiers of knowledge, by bringing prominent representatives of the 'state of the art' (supported by UCC staff) in contemporary interdisciplinary theoretical paradigms to UCC.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Describe the field of inquiry represented in the Masterclass(es), outlining its historical development, scope and methodologies.
  • Identify major theories and paradigms employed and define key concepts and ideas.
  • Apply theories and concepts and relate them to particular problems, issues and phenomena addressed in the student's own research.
  • Analyze aspects of the student's own field of inquiry and illustrate them in terms of theories and concepts presented in the Masterclass(es).
  • Explain phenomena and formulate particular research problems in terms of general theories presented in Masterclass(es).
  • Criticize topics and evaluate issues and debates in terms of paradigms & theories presented in the Masterclass(es).

Assessment: Two reflective essays (not more than 2,000 words) on the themes of two of the master classes.

Target Audience: PhD Students

Credit Weighting: 5 credits

How to enrol: Please email your full name, student number, programme and year of study (eg PhD 3 Archaeology) to Karen Coughlan at  Once you have completed the assignment for this module you will be registered for the module

PG7004 Masterclass 15/16 November 2018

  Researching Intimate Lives                         

                                        Hosted by the Institue for Scial Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Thursday, 15 November 2018 - G27, O'Rahilly Building, 5.30pm - 7.00pm

Friday, 16 November 2018 - G27 O'Rahilly Building, 10.00am - 3.30pm


Across the social sciences and humanities, there has been a steady interest over the past two decades in the study of the intimate sphere of people’s lives. From health issues and embodied experience, to relationships, violence, and identity politics, there is a concern with how political, social and cultural issues refract through people’s personal, everyday lives, and with examining the porosity and increasingly unstable boundary between what we understand as the public-private realm. This is particularly pertinent in an era of social media, where personal lives and stories are made increasingly visible as a tool for social activism and change. Given this interest, there is a need to reflect on cross-disciplinary methodological, political and ethical issues which frame diverse forms of research exploring intimate lives. This Masterclass will seek to examine and critically reflect on these issues by addressing the following questions:

  • How can we explore and represent the intimate sphere of people’s everyday lives?
  • What are some of the methodological debates and challenges associated with researching intimate and personal issues in people’s lives?
  • What political and ethical questions are raised for researchers in exploring intimate encounters and lives?

The Masterclass will be structured around an evening public lecture from ISS21’s Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Beth Sundstrom, and a full day workshop with presentations from scholars spanning a range of disciplines from art and creative practice to sociology and psychology. The Masterclass will have relevance to those students and staff across the social sciences and humanities, law and health-based disciplines interested in exploring the methodological and ethical challenges of researching intimate lives. Further information and associated readings for the Masterclass will be circulated in due course.


Thursday 15th November 2018

5:30 – 7:00          Keynote Lecture:  Dr. Beth Sundstrom, Fulbright Scholar, ISS21; Associate Professor, Department of Communication, College of Charleston, South Carolina.  ‘Sometimes a private matter needs public support’: Reproductive Justice and Women’s Health in the Digital Age

Informed by feminist epistemology, reproductive justice is a praxis-oriented movement and conceptual framework, integrating theory and practice. The reproductive justice movement reveals the social/cultural, religious, political, and economic context that contributes to inequities based on gender, race/ethnicity, ability, class, and sexuality. Dr. Beth Sundstrom is a Fulbright Scholar at University College Cork in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science and the Institute for Social Sciences in the 21st Century (ISS21). She is a leading scholar on health communication, social marketing, and women’s reproductive health. Dr. Sundstrom is the author of Reproductive Justice and Women's Voices: Health Communication across the Lifespan (2015), along with more than 25 peer-reviewed articles published in top-tier journals, including Contraception, the Journal of Health Communication, and the Maternal and Child Health Journal, among others. Dr. Sundstrom will discuss how she has applied a reproductive justice framework to researching intimate lives in the digital age. Her stakeholder engaged, interdisciplinary research contributes to building community capacity by designing and evaluating culture-centered public health interventions and health communication campaigns.


Berger, M. T., & Guidroz, K. (2010). The Intersectional Approach: Transforming the Academy through Race, Class, and Gender. Univ of North Carolina Press.

Leane, M. & Kiely, E. (Eds.). (2014). Sexualities & Irish Society: A Reader. Dublin: Orpen Press.

Quilty, A., Kennedy, S., Conlon, C. (eds) (2015). The Abortion Papers Ireland: Volume 2. (2015). Cork: Cork University Press.

Roberts, D. (1997). Killing the black body: Race, reproduction, and the meaning of liberty. New York, NY.


Friday 16th November 2018

10.00-10.15 Welcome and introduction, Claire Edwards & Máire Leane

10.15-11.00 Session 1:  Sarah Robinson (Applied Psychology) When intimate lives become public: a case study of institutions and intimate lives in Ireland

This presentation will explore the impact on Irish society, of publics that emerged in relation to justice for Magdalen Laundry survivors, and for the Tuam babies. It asks, as the intimate lives of women and children in historic institutions become public, what does this mean for them, and for Irish society in general? Through exploring the experiences of five women politically mobilised on the Magdalen Laundry issue, and through examining over 130 letters from those compelled to write to newspapers, about the Tuam situation, this research seeks to explore how the historic intimate lives (and deaths) of women and children in Irish institutions continues to impact the private: public realm. This presentation will also briefly discuss the intimacy of the research process for the researcher. As these intimate traumatic lives move from the private into the public realm, through stories and cultural representation, an active process of cultural trauma formation takes place. What this means for research spaces and for researcher positionality will be discussed. 


Alexander, Jeffrey C. et al. (2004) Collective Trauma and Collective Identity, University of California Press, California. 

Smith, J. (2007) Ireland's Magdalen Laundries and the Nation's Architecture of Containment, University of Notre Dame, Indiana. 


11.00-11.45 Session 2: Carmel Halton and Gill Harold (Applied Social Studies) When the private becomes ‘public’; reflections from research observations of family law court hearings

Over the last 25 years, the legal profession and the courts have come to play an increasingly prominent role in the handling of child protection and welfare cases in Ireland. Achieving a balance between private matters, public concerns and the exercise of statutory child protection and welfare duties poses significant challenges for child protection social workers. Social workers present reports to ‘child welfare hearings’ that contain intimate details of the lives of families and individuals which relate to the capacity of parents to care for their children in the family home. Furthermore, these hearings constitute a space in which individual social workers’ practice is exposed to intense scrutiny. Kenny (1995: 53) explains the practice of child protection as ‘not only to assess what may have been done to a child, but also to do so in a way that does not offend the privacy and primacy of the family’.  

This presentation will reflect on the conduct of research within the context of a project entitled A Social and Economic Analysis of the Use of Legal Services (SEALS) in the Child and Family Agency (Tusla). It will examine ethical and professional matters associated with undertaking court observations in child welfare hearings where the ‘in camera’ rule applies. The challenges of undertaking research in a context where social workers, solicitors, judges and other professionals engage with some of the more intimate and private aspects of the lives of vulnerable children and families will be explored. 


Halton, C., Harold, G., Murphy, A.  & Walsh, E. (2018) ‘ A Social and Economic Analysis of the use of Legal Services (SEALS) in the Child and Family Agency (Tusla)’

Kenny, P. (1995). The Child Care Act 1991 and the Social Context of Child Protection in Ferguson, H. and Kenny, P. (eds). On Behalf of the Child: Child welfare, child protection and the Child Care Act 1991, Dublin: A. & A. Farmer, p. 42-59.


12:45–1.30 Session 3 Órla O’Donovan (Applied Social Studies) Emotions, evidence and medical professional regulation – research and regulatory challenges

Fundamental to Enlightenment imaginaries, the Cartesian split finds expression in the world of biomedicine in procedures, such as surgery, that assume ‘bodies that are objectified, subject to external control, and divested of any emotion’ (Shildrick 2015). The related split between reason and emotion results in patients being particularly vulnerable to epistemic injustice, where the very identity of being a patient increases the likelihood of being regarded as emotional and thus cognitively unreliable. Emotional evidence, therefore, becomes an oxymoron. This is evident too in debates in the legal world about the admissibility of emotional evidence in courts of law. Against this background, and drawing on a review of complaints to the Medical Council in which I was involved (O’Donovan and Madden, 2018), I will discuss the challenges emotional evidence presents to researchers and regulators.


O’Donovan, O. and Madden, D. (2018) ‘Why do medical professional regulators dismiss most complaints from members of the public? Regulatory illiteracy, epistemic injustice and symbolic power’, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry,

Shildrick, M. (2015) ‘Staying alive: affect, identity and anxiety in organ transplantation’, Body and Society, 21 (3): 20-41.


1:30–2:15 Session 4: Fiona Kearney, Director, Glucksman  Up, Close and Public: intimate engagement in contemporary art

This session will consider the ways in which contemporary artists have explored the public space of the museum as a site to present intimate aspects of their own lives. These transgressive artworks often seek to engage directly with audiences and question demarcations between the private and public sphere, raising issues of agency and personal experience as a means to influence public discourse. The presentation will consider artworks from Glucksman exhibition’s Outposts: Global borders and national boundaries as well as the work of the following artists:

 Sophie Calle:

The Guerrilla Girls:

Marina Abramovic:

Felix Gonzales-Torres:

Nan Goldin:


2:15-3.15  Session 5: Panel discussion: Mary Donnelly, School of Law/Chair, University Ethics Committee; Nuala Finnegan, Head, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

PG7004 Masterclass 27 November 2018

Performative Practices, Theatre, Disability and the Arts

Tuesday, 27 November 2018 - G27 O'Rahilly Building. 12.00pm - 4.30pm 

A collaboration between the Department of Theatre, School of Music and Theatre, and the Mental Health and Disability Research Cluster, Applied Social Studies/ISS21, University College Cork.

In 2007 Arts and Disability Ireland published a report entitled ‘Face On: Disability Arts in Ireland and Beyond’. In the report, Michael Morgan described Disabled Arts as ‘creativity rooted in Disability, with the emphasis on art as creativity in action.’ With a focus on theatre arts, this masterclass brings together artists, teachers, therapists, advocates and students to explore this definition through workshop/performance and discussion. The aim is to provide a platform for discussion on creative practice, disability and theatre.

Some of the central questions/topics include:

  • As distinct from other arts practices, what are the specific attributes of theatre practice that open an engagement with the voice of the disabled artist?
  • To what extent can creative practice emancipate the disabled artist and at the same time counter and subvert powerful cultural narratives that have regulated the lives of the disabled?
  • To what extent can theatre practice facilitate a more inclusive conversation between disability artists and their audiences?
  • How can we build a new, more inclusive, aesthetic?
  • What are the barriers to participation? What progress can be made?


12.00-12.30   Dr Noel O'Connell (Mary Immaculate College Limerick)

Passing as Normal: An Ethnodrama on Deaf People's 'Presentation of Self'

Most deaf studies researchers know that “oralism” is a deeply entrenched ideology in deaf education that outlawed the use of sign language in the classroom. Under this ideology, deaf students were “trained” in articulation drills in order to “pass” as normal. The term “passing” refers to the practice of presenting oneself as belonging to another category (e.g. race or gender). Combining qualitative research with theatre, this ethnodrama presents ways in which deaf people attempt pass to themselves off as “normal”. The performative text shows the extent to which deaf people attempt to negotiate multiple selves according to their ‘performance of the self’ which takes place “front stage” (e.g. presenting a “hearing persona”) and “back stage” (e.g. presenting their sense of self identity). This presentation finds that ethnodrama is an innovative and effective means of presenting the deaf person’s point of view and allows the audience to become immersed in their experiences.

12.30-2.00   Play Reading

read by students of the Department of Theatre (UCC) with ISL.  Introduction by Dr. Marie Kelly and Fionn Woodhouse on dramaturgy and script development.

2.00-2.30   Break

2.30-3.30   Show of Scenes / discussion and responses

Students of the Department of Theatre (UCC)

3.30-4.30   Forum / Discussion

Chair: Dr. Claire Edwards (Applied Social Studies/ISS21, UCC)

Contributors: Eoin Nash (Cope Foundation), Dr. Noel O’Connell (playwright and post-doctoral fellow, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick), Dr. Gill Harold (Applied Social Studies, UCC), Dr. Marie Kelly, Fionn Woodhouse and students of the Department of Theatre, UCC.

Suzanne Carey is from Listowel, Co. Kerry, but is based full-time in Cork City. She has been involved with the Deaf Community since 2001 when she started learning Spanish Sign Language while living in Madrid. She graduated from the Centre for Deaf Studies (Trinity College Dublin) in 2006 with a Diploma in ISL/English Interpreting. She received R1 grade in the SLIS accreditation process in 2009. Suzanne has a Masters in PR with New Media (CIT, 2018). Her primary degree is a BA in Applied Languages (French/Spanish, DCU), following which she worked as a full-time Spanish-English financial translator in Madrid, Spain.

Claire Edwards is Director of UCC’s interdisciplinary social science institute, ISS21 (Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century), and Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Studies. Her background is in urban and cultural geography and social policy. After completing her doctorate in the Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London in 2000, she spent three years working in social policy research, firstly at the Disability Rights Commission and then at the Department for Work and Pensions in the UK. Claire's work revolves around three main areas (i) disability, socio-spatial (in)justice and citizenship rights (ii) urban space and urban policy processes (iii) the politics and governance of knowledge production. She has a particular interest in the socio-geographical dynamics and inequities of law and policy as they construct and address social 'problems': her most recent co-edited collection (with Eluska Fernandez) Reframing Health and Health Policy in Ireland (Manchester University Press, 2017) seeks to explore these dynamics in the context of Irish health policy. Claire has received research funding from a range of agencies, including the National Disability Authority, Irish Research Council, and EU 7th Framework programme. She is currently Principal Investigator of a 2 year (2017-19) Irish Research Council-funded study, 'Disability and the Creation of Safe(r) Space', exploring disabled people's everyday geographies of (un)safety in the context of experience or fear of violent crime and hostility in Ireland.

Ray Greene became a qualified Irish Sign Language/English Interpreter with a Diploma from the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin, in June 2004. She has been working as a full time Interpreter ever since. She continues to enhance her career through actively pursuing Continuous Professional Development opportunities. The most recent being an advanced workshop in Hamburg on 'Interpreting in the Theatre’.  She is involved with the 'Cork Deaf Choir' who perform regularly and enjoys interpreting in the theatre as opportunities arise. She will be interpreting for a performance of the Panto ‘Cinderella' in the Everyman Theatre this year.  Bouncy wig and big frock a must!

Gill Harold is a lecturer in the School of Applied Social Studies. Her research and teaching interests lie broadly in the area of disability social policy. With a background as a social geographer, her research interests centre on social identity and difference, related to questions of active citizenship, rights to the city, urban encounter, community and civic belonging. These interests have been mobilised in Gill’s research and publications to date, exploring Deaf experiences and the everyday social construction of place. Gill completed her PhD in the Department of Geography and School of Applied Social Studies in 2012 at UCC and her thesis was entitled 'Deafness, Difference and the City: Geographies of urban difference and the right to the Deaf city'. Between 2013-2015, Gill held an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship to work on a project entitled 'Exploring the Experiences of Deaf Victims in the Spaces and Processes of the Irish Criminal Justice System ', which she completed in the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at the Faculty of Law in UCC. Within the School of Applied Social Studies, Gill has a designated responsibility for student support.

Marie Kelly lectures in Theatre at the School of Music and Theatre, University College Cork where she was Head of Department from July 2015 to July 2016. Marie began her career in theatre at the Abbey Theatre where she worked firstly as Executive Assistant to the Artistic Director and subsequently as Head of Casting. Marie has an MA in Modern Drama and Performance (2005) and a PhD in Drama Studies (2011), both from the School of English, Drama and Film at University College Dublin. She is a member of the Board of Everyman Theatre and Vice-President of the Irish Society for Theatre Research. She has published on the plays of Tom Mac Intyre, Mark O’Rowe, and on the work of acclaimed theatre director, Katie Mitchell. Contact:  Recently published: (2017) Research/Information Pack: Katie Roche by Teresa Deevy Abbey Theatre:

Eoin Nash is currently Manager of Arts and Creative Arts Therapies with Cope Foundation. Eoin completed a Bachelor of Music degree at the Cork Institute of Technology (C.I.T.), Cork School of Music and then went on to complete a Master of Arts in Music Therapy at the University of Limerick.  Following his Masters he joined the Irish Permanent Defence Forces and served as an instrumentalist, in the Band of the 1st Southern Brigade in Collins Barracks, Cork.   Eoin then went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Psychotherapy and Counselling at C.I.T. In his role in COPE Foundation Eoin manages a team of people that work locally, nationally and internationally to realise article 8, 24 and 30 of the UN CRPD (United Nations Convention of Rights for People with Disabilities).  Eoin is also the Founding Director of the Irish Performing Arts Festival (an international festival celebrating inclusive arts) and of Suisha Inclusive Arts (a community based arts initiative focused on inclusive practice). Eoin also has a keen interest in human development and has completed further training in Parent – Infant Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at the Anna Freud Centre (London), completed training in the “CARE-Index” (assessment of risk to infants) and “Attachment and Psychopathology” in the Dynamic Maturational Model (D.M.M.) with The Family Relations Institute (Miami) and trained in child development with the “International Training School for Infancy and Early Years” (Anna Freud Centre, N.H.S. Tavistock & Portman & Yale Child Study Centre).

Noel O’Connell is a deaf scholar who recently completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Mary Immaculate College under the mentorship of Professor Jim Deegan. His doctoral work is based on an (auto)ethnographic study of deaf people’s experiences of discrimination and exclusion in social, cultural and educational contexts. His current research work is multidisciplinary where it intersects Deaf Studies with Cultural Studies, ethnotheatre, autoethnographic writing and sociology. Dr O’Connell has published widely on sign language and deaf education with a specific focus on inclusion, belonging and identity politics. His recent publication include Belonging: An Autoethnography of a Life in Sign Language (2017). He is currently working on an ethnodrama script entitled Passing as Normal. The project is funded by Art and Disability Ireland.

Fionn Woodhouse is a lecturer in the Department of Theatre, University College Cork. He is an active director, producer and facilitator of drama/theatre with particular interest in youth participation and learning through practice.  Recently published: ‘A Passion for the Arts’ Texts Around Theatre, SCENARIO Journal,




PG7004 Masterclass 25/26 February 2019

Health Humanities

Monday, 25 February 2019 - G27 O'Rahilly Building,  5.00 - 7.00pm

Tuesday, 26 February 2019, G27b, O'Rahilly Building, 9.30am - 5.00pm

Further infomration will be posted here soon.

PG7004 Masterclass 28 February 2019

Material Matters

Thursday, 28 February 2019 - G27 O'Rahilly Building,  9.00am - 5.00pm

Further infomration will be posted here soon.

PG7004 Masterclass 28/29 March 2019

Fiction and Rememberance

Thursday, 28 March 2019 - G27, O'Rahilly Building, 5.0pm - 7.00pm

Friday, 29 March2019 - G27 O'Rahilly Building, 10.00am - 5.00pm

Futher infomration will be posted here soon

How to Self-Enrol on Blackboard

In order to submit the assignment you must self-enrol on Blackboard for the module.

Instructions for Students to Self-Enrol on PG Module

Click the Courses tab at the top right of the screen >

Click Browse Course Cataloguein the Course Catalog box on the right and select the exact search settings below:

Course ID > Contains > 2019-PG7004

The module code must entered exactly (without spaces), and then click GO to the right of the code.

This displays a page listing the module.  Students must hover their mouse over the module code and click the down arrow that appears, then click Enroll.

Type the necessary Access Code 1819PG7004 in the box displayed and click Submit.

Click OK on the lower right of the screen when the Successful Enrolment message displays and the module will open for you.

These steps only need to be completed once.  Following successful enrolment, the module will then display automatically in your My Courses listing

If you encounter any difficulties please email


To gain credit for this module, you must submit two assignments – chosen from two of this year’s Master Classes.

All assignments should be max. 2,000 words long.

Masterclass 1 – Researching Intimate Lives

Co-ordinator: Dr Claire Edwards

  • What ethical and methodological questions are raised for researchers in exploring intimate encounters and lives?

Masterclass 2 – 


  • Explain 

Masterclass 3 – 


  • How

Masterclass 4 – 


  • Write 

Submission Procedure

Submission in via Turnitin on Blackboard. 

The submission deadline is TBC

If you experience any difficulties uploading the assignment, please email for assistance.

If you have any questions about the content of the assignment itself, or you would like to discuss your work, please contact the coordinator of the relevant Masterclass co-ordinator

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Graduate School, College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences

Scoil Chéimithe, Coláiste na nEalaíon, an Léinn Cheiltigh agus na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta

Room G26A, Ground floor,