Sarah Cahalan '14 | May 31, 2018
#TáforMná. “The women of Ireland are our squad goals.” Whether you agree with the results of the vote or not, Irish women have undeniably been headline news since the May 25 referendum on the Irish constitution’s Eighth Amendment. And at the home of the Fighting Irish, one person knows this intersection of Irish culture and women’s issues particularly well.
Sarah McKibben is an associate professor in the Department of Irish Language and Literature and a concurrent faculty member in the Gender Studies Program. Her examinations of gender in Irish literature have typically concerned men — contrary to popular assumption about gender studies, she points out, “gender doesn’t just mean women” — but she’s also delved into the work of Ireland’s mná. This semester, she taught the popular course “Warrior Queens to Punk Poets: Women’s Voices in Irish Literature,” which ranged from ancient texts by men inhabiting the personae of women to up-to-the-minute commentary on the referendum.
Whether you’re engaging with contemporary feminist poetry or examining the gendered language of a 600-year-old bardic poem, though, McKibben says that gender can be a valuable tool to help students crack open a difficult text.
“When students are alerted to these kinds of lenses or these topics,” she says, “they become tremendously empowered to make sense of works that seem obscure to them.”
Read more here.