Research Showcase Awards made to Dr. Pádraic Moran and Dr. Deirdre Ní Chonghaile

Research Showcase Awards made to Dr. Pádraic Moran and Dr. Deirdre Ní Chongahile

Congratulations to Deirdre Ní Chonghaile and Pádraic Moran who were awarded research grants in the Euro Million Project Prize competition as part of the Research Showcase on July 3rd 2014!!

Pádraic Moran - The origins of vernacular literacy in Europe and East Asia

History and literature begin with writing. However, as the spread of literacy in the pre-modern world occurred over areas linguistically often very diverse, early adaptors had to innovate ways to accommodate writing systems to their own native languages. This project will carry out the first international comparative study of this process in Europe and East Asia.
Ireland and Japan will form an initial case study. In the early first millennium these were non-literate island nations lying peripheral to vast continental empires (Rome and successive Chinese dynasties). Literacy came from these continental centres not via political conquest but with religion. Christianity and Buddhism, with their sacred texts, reached Ireland and Japan in the fifth and sixth centuries respectively. Their literatures were not in fact transmitted in their original languages (Aramaic, Greek, Pali, Sanskrit), but translated into the prestigious literary forms of the great neighbouring empires (Classical Latin and Chinese). For early readers in Ireland and Japan, therefore, reading was equivalent to translation. In time, they began to record the earliest traces of Irish and Japanese, and vernacular literary traditions gradually developed.
A careful study of surviving manuscripts allows us to trace this process in great detail, and during a research symposium held in Japan in 2013 specialists in Irish, Anglo-Saxon, Old High German, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese manuscripts were able to identify many striking similarities. The proposed research project will explore for the first time the historical and linguistic structures that underpin the emergence of vernacular literacy across Eurasia.

Deirdre Ní Chonghaile - Digitizing Dúchas: reconfiguring the cultural history of Irish speakers in North America via digital humanities research

Featuring scholars working on both sides of the Atlantic, this project investigates the cultural milieu of Irish-language speakers in fin-de-siècle North America. Running the gamut of current methodologies - from literary, historical, musicological and demographic approaches to digital humanities research - and aspiring to the latitudes of an international context, it will showcase the potential of newly-discovered archival sources including the Rev. Daniel J. Murphy Collection at NUIG, which contains Ireland's pre-Famine memory as preserved by the diaspora. The project aims to render fresh historical perspectives of the transnational existence of the Irish language in the fin-de-siècle period. It will make a particular case for the unique capabilities of digital humanities technologies, which empower us to expand our horizons of inquiry and understanding on what is an under-researched question: the contemporary transatlantic practice of the Irish language and its cultural legacy among the diaspora, migrants, and those at home in Ireland.