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What is a Republic?

January 20, 2016


Maynooth University May 23 2016

An occasion of definitional controversy inspired by the 100th anniversary of the 1916 proclamation

1916 is not merely a nationalist commemoration but a republican one also.  The signatories of the 1916 proclamation committed themselves not merely to Irish national sovereignty but to a particular tradition of sovereignty – a republican tradition.  Any commemoration of 1916 therefore demands a commitment to a better understanding of what people have tried to communicate by words such as “republic” and “republican” and the extent to which these international and historical invocations can claim meaningful continuity and contemporary relevance.

Historians, political scientists, philosophers, literary scholars, musicians, artists, art historians, linguists, and anybody else interested in the distinctive appeal of a republican set of claims and entitlements  should find a way to contribute to this occasion, which will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the successes and failures of the ongoing centenary commemorations.
The conference intends to debate the Irish republican proclamation and heritage in a larger international and historical context, investigating the range of aspirations – political, civic, aesthetic, and other – implied by republican definitions.  The extent to which these aspirations are misapplied, traduced and betrayed as well as renewed, extended and expanded will form a critical commentary on the experience of 1916 commemoration.

Philip Petitt and Margaret O’Callaghan will offer keynote speeches, offering perspectives on the meanings and implications of republican ideals.


We invite abstracts for short papers (20 minutes maximum) addressing any and all definitional aspects of republicanism.  We welcome abstracts from any and all disciplines, including History, Literature, Philosophy, Classics, Art History, Music and the Social Sciences.

Please send abstracts (c. 250 words) to Conrad Brunstrom at by April 1, 2016.


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One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on conradbrunstrom and commented:

    Following the commemoration – argument.

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