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Academic Year 2016/2017

Trump’s America

5-6 May 2017

This conference will examine the political and cultural significance of Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States, and consider the first 100 days of his administration.



Provisional Programme

Friday 5th May 2017

9.00     Registration

9.30     Plenary 1

Liam Kennedy (University College Dublin), “Something Happened: Making Sense of Trump’s America”

Diane Negra (University College Dublin), “Ivanka Trump and the New Plutocratic (Post)feminism”

Robert Brigham (Vassar College), “Trump’s Foreign Policy: The First 100 Days”

11.00   Tea/Coffee

11.30   Panel 1: How Did This Happen?

Patrick McGreevy (American University Beirut), “The Empire is Dead: Long Live the Empire!”

Laura Burnham (Edge Hill University), “Creating a Monster: How Republicans Crafted the Platform, Base, and Discourse for Donald Trump’s Ascendancy”

Timothy Patrick McCarthy (Harvard University), “When, Again, Was America Great?: Prejudice, Progress, and the Paranoid Style of Trump’s Nostalgia”

Panel 2: Foreign Policy 1

David Ryan (University College Cork), “Tru-uhmp and the Tough Guys”

Tanguy Struye de Swielande (Catholic University of Louvain), “The Foreign Policy of Donald Trump: Between Jacksoniansm and Hamiltonianism”

Maria Ryan (University of Nottingham), “Why Donald Trump Will Embrace American Primacy, Eventually”

Bohdan Szklarski (University of Warsaw), “How American Allies Manage New Uncertainty in American Foreign Policy Commitments”


Panel 3: White Nationalism 1

Clara Juncker (University of Southern Denmark), “Travels in Trumpland: J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy (2016)”

Jennifer Whitney (University of the West of England), “’Tell Me I’m Your National Anthem’: Girlhood and (White) Nationalism in Trump’s America”

Caroline Tatem (New York University), “An Old Familiar Change: Protest and Political Correctness in the Philadelphia Mummers”

1.00     Lunch

2.00     Panel 4: Unpresidented? Historical Perspectives on Donald Trump 1

Daniel Geary (Trinity College Dublin), “Re-Reading Ronald Reagan in the Age of Trump”

Gary O’Brien  (Mary Immaculate College), “Extrapolating the Trump Administration’s Nuclear Strategy from the Course of US-Soviet Relations Under Reagan”

Sarah J. Thelen (University College Cork), “Dog Whistles and Fog Horns: The Political Rhetoric of Richard M. Nixon and Donald J. Trump”

Panel 5: Post-Truth 1

Nina Morgan (Kennesaw State University), “America’s Post-Truth in the Age of Technological Reproduction”

Alireza Hajihosseini (University College Dublin), “Narrative Wars: Trump and the Media’s First 100 Days”

Anna DiGiusto (Independent Scholar), “Trump the Frog: Alt-Right and 4chan”

Panel 6: Immigration and the Carceral State

Wisam Chaleila (The Arab Academic College of Education, Israel.) “Mirroring the Past: Racism and Xenophobia in Early Twentieth Century American Fiction and Early Twenty First Century America”

Kevern Verney (Edge Hill University), “’Bad Hombres’: The Trump Administration, Mexican Immigration, and the Border Wall”

Daniel Kato (University of London), “The Three States of the Carceral State”

3.30     Tea/Coffee

4.00     Panel 7: Trump’s Women

Sarah Arnold (Maynooth University), “’Internalised Misogynists: The Language of Oppression and Female Trump Supporters”

Jorie Lagerwey (University College Dublin), “Tomi Lahren’s Anti-Feminist Rage in a Time of White Fragility”

Maria Pramaggiore (Maynooth University), “From ‘Daddy’s Lap Warmer’ to Postfeminist POTUS? President Ivanka, the Incest Narrative, and the Trump Family Brand”

Panel 8: Transatlantic 1

Stephen Mennell (University College Dublin), “Trump’s America, Through Two One-Way Mirrors”

Sotiris Rizas (Academy of Athens), “The Trump Administration, the Euro Zone and Transatlantic Relations

Clive Webb (University of Sussex), “’We Can Always Be Closer’: Trump, May and the Special Relationship”

Paula Gilligan (Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology), “’The Only Moral Certainty in the World’: Rereading Liam O’Flaherty’s A Tourist’s Guide to Ireland (1930) in the Age of President Trump”

Panel 9: Militarism and Populism

Laurence Davis (University College Cork), “Progressive Populism in the Age of Trump”

David Fitzgerald (University College Cork), “’You Like Me, and I Like You’: Trump, Militarism and the Decline of American Strategy”

5.30     Plenary 2

Edward Luce (Financial Times), “The Retreat of Western Liberalism”

Brett Bruen (Global Situation Room, Inc), “America Adrift”

Donald Pease (Dartmouth College), “Trumped-Up Charges: The First 100 Days”

6.30     Reception

Saturday 6th May

9.30     Panel 10: Unpresidented? Historical Perspectives on Donald Trump 2

James Hussey (Trinity College Dublin), “Trump’s Jackson: Alternate History and the Presentation of a President”

David Woolner (The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute), “tbc”

Ilias Ben-Mna (Humboldt University), “Ronald and Donald – Again and Again”

Panel 11: Rights and Liberties

Saul Cornell (Fordham University), “American Carnage: Second Amendment Discourse in the Age of Trump”

Micki McGee (Fordham University), “Cripped: How Trump’s Abuse of the Disabled Holds the Key to His Undoing”

Pawel Laidler (Jagiellonian University Krakow), “ Donald Trump and the Supreme Court: Reagan’s Conservative Revolution Coming True?”

Panel 12: Post-Truth 2

David Gethings (Kennesaw State University), “Information Overload and Civic Apathy”

Carol King (Independent Scholar), “Liberal Identity, Vitriolic Protest and Fake News”

James Proszek (Northwestern University), “Picturing Donald Trump: Humor as Civic Discourse in the Digital Age”

11.00   Tea/Coffee

11.30   Panel 13: Foreign Policy 2

Eugenio Lilli (University College Dublin), “The Trump Presidency and the End of Wilsonianism: Implications for US Foreign Policy in the Middle East”

Ewelina Wacko-Owsiejczuk (University of Bialystok), “Is America Safer Now?: The First Changes in US Foreign and Security Policy Made by President Donald Trump”

Adnan Hayajneh (Qatar University), “Trump and the Middle East: A Search for Grand Strategy”

Geraldine Kidd (University College Cork), “Trump’s One-State Policy in Israel: A Dramatic Shift or a Subtle Continuity?”

Panel 14: White Nationalism 2

Daniel HoSang and Joseph Lowndes (University of Oregon), “White Nationalist Multiculturalism in the Age of Trump”

John Waters (New York University), “’Eddie Murphy, Not an Irishman? His Name is Eddie Murphy!’ White Supremacy, Black Irish Identity, and the Racial Contradictions of Irish America in the Age of Trump”

Ben Staunton (University of Montpellier), “Carnage and Carnival: The Violent Reciprocity of the Image”

Panel 15: Grievance/Emotions/Rhetoric

Michael Oswald (Universality Passau), “Donald J. Trump’s Campaign Strategy: Tapping into the Vein of Cultural Indignation”

Frida Stranne (University of Halmstad), “It’s the Emotions, Stupid!”

Stefan Brandt (University of Graz), “’Fancied Emergency’: Donald Trump’s Rhetoric of Emotional Exceptionalism”

Boris Vejdovsky (University of Lausanne), “Capitalism and Talking Dirty: Trump and the Language of Community”

1.00 Lunch

2.00     Plenary 3

Mary Fitzgerald (journalist), “Into The Unknown? Trump in the Middle East and North Africa”

Scott Lucas (University of Birmingham & EA Worldview), “tbc”

Brian Edwards (Northwestern University), “Trump, Twitter, Circulation: American Politics as Global Entertainment”

3.30     Tea/Coffee

4.00     Panel 16: Religion

Christopher Raymond (Queens University Belfast), “Making a Deal With the Devil in Order to Do God’s Bidding: Evangelicals, the 2016 Election, and Beyond”

Dianne Kirby (University of Ulster), “Donald Trump’s Spiritual Strategy: The Religious Dimension of his Electoral Success”

Anthony Castet (Francois Rabelais University, Tours), “Religious Morality and LGBT Equality during Trump’s First 100 Days in Office”

Panel 17: Wealth and Corporate Power

Terry Hathaway (University of York), “President Trump, Insurgent Neoliberalism and Corporate Power”

Betsy Leimbigler (Free University, Berlin), “Donald Trump and the Reproduction of Inequality”

Jan Misiuna (Warsaw School of Economics), “’I Mean, Look, I’m Gonna Be In For Over 100 Million’: Donald the Businessman and Money in the Election campaign”

Panel 18: What Now?

Speakers tbc

5.30     Plenary 4

 Inderjeet Parmar (City University London), “The Legitimacy Crisis of the US Elite and the Rise of Trump”

Clodagh Harrington (De Montfort University), “’Grab ’em by the Legacy: Rolling Back Progress with President Trump’

Stephen Shapiro (University of Warwick), “Caesarism Revisited: Middle-class Realignments and Basement Dwellers in Trump’s Brumaire.

Registration Fee:   €120 and students €65, payable on the day (cash only).  Registration fee covers attendance and tea/coffee only.  Contact Catherine.Carey@ucd.ie


America and Ireland: Re-imagining Priorities

In Association with the Washington Ireland Program

16th November 2016

Crowell & Moring, 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20004


Report by Ted Smyth (Chair, UCD Clinton Institute Advisory Board)

The UCD Clinton Institute and the Washington Ireland Program hosted a timely forum in Washington, DC on November 16 on the changing dynamics of Irish American culture post Good Friday Agreement, and priorities for the Trump Administration regarding US-Ireland relations.  In an introduction to the conference, Professor Liam Kennedy of UCD and Bryan Patten of the Washington Ireland Program said that the intent was to spotlight key issues, including “areas of economic challenge and opportunity, the impact of Brexit, Irish networks in the US, the legacy of the 1916/100 commemorations, the changing dynamics of Irish American culture, and how diaspora linkages between Ireland and the US are evolving.”


The first of two panels focused on “The Challenges and Promise of Irish America’s Future.” In her opening remarks, the Chair of the panel, H.E. Anne Anderson, Ireland’s Ambassador to the US, said she was optimistic about the promise of Irish America, “For over three years, I’ve been to all corners of America and I am so proud when I meet the Irish American community; I am struck by their love, loyalty and sense of engagement with Ireland, their desire to give back to their homeland.”  The Ambassador listed the many Irish American organizations such as the AOH, Irish Network USA, GAA, United Irish Counties and numerous educational institutions which had hosted over 300 1916 Centenary events, including the Ireland One Hundred three week festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington.  She said that the connection between contemporary Ireland and Irish America is improving, especially with the leadership of the Minister for Diaspora.  The Ambassador said future challenges include the fact that the Irish American community is shrinking because the legal channels for immigration have narrowed, and we need immigration reform to deliver improved access and to address the large numbers of undocumented who are living in the shadows.


Picking up on this theme, Niall O’Dowd, Founder Irish America, Irish Voice and Irish Central.com, agreed that the second and third generation Irish American community is assimilating rapidly, but that the internet now enhances communications like never before.  Over 3 million Irish Americans are now viewing Irish Central online every month, with stories on heritage and roots most popular.  “Ireland as a brand is unbeatable, we have a huge emotional and mental advantage with over 30 million Americans of Irish descent,” he continued, “and if you can get people to visit Ireland, they’ll fall in love.”  As examples, Mr. O’Dowd referenced Vice President-elect Pence and Speaker Paul Ryan who are very proud of their Irish roots.


Maureen Murphy, Professor of Curriculum and Teaching at Hofstra University, agreed that a need to connect to something bigger and more meaningful is paramount and referred to the thousands of Irish Americans who said in an Irish Central poll that they had voted for Donald Trump due to a feeling of lost identity in a rapidly changing world.  Professor Murphy said that Irish Americans played a key role in the 1916 Rising and the Northern Ireland Peace Process and will hopefully bring the “same energy and imagination to the Brexit challenge.”  She noted that the profile of Irish Americans is far more diverse since 1965, with engagement in trade, investment, tourism, sports, arts and academics, and with a potential distinction emerging between “sojourners” and “settlers”.  Using the example of the creation of the Great Irish Famine curriculum by the Irish American Teachers Association, she said, “We want the celebration of Ireland to be more than a St. Patrick’s Day event.”  Professor Murphy also mentioned the importance of the Study Abroad programs and hoped they could be better coordinated for optimum benefit.


Celine Kennedy, Executive Director of the San Francisco Irish Immigration Pastoral Center, felt that the 1965 Immigration Act marked the closing of the door to Irish immigrants, notwithstanding outstanding efforts to address it, including the Morrison and Donnelly visa programs.  “The new generation of undocumented Irish immigrants continue in the Irish American tradition of being entrepreneurial, hard-working and successful, but they also suffer from a feeling of isolation and loss in times of crisis”.    Ms. Kennelly agreed that the future of Irish America is bright, “It’s about people, relationships and communications.”


Steve Lenox, President of Irish Network USA, said he had started the Network 15 years ago in Chicago and it now has 22 chapters designed to bolster relationships through business, arts, culture, education and sports.  “We want to help all Irish associations grow and help them to connect to each other where there is often limited interactions, even in the same city.”


Professor Liam Kennedy said that the US election and Brexit were in some part a referendum on globalization, “In the last 25 years, globalization has been key to Ireland’s success, but it has also been a major contributor to our economic collapse in 2008.”  He observed that “Ireland is a leader in the strategic engagement of diaspora populations”, but we need more data on the needs and affinities of these communities.  Professor Kennedy rejected the argument that the Irish American community is in decline, giving examples of new associations that replace those that are not growing as interests change.  He discussed the research project underway, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to examine Irish linkages in the US.


The conclusions of this panel could be summarized as follows:

1. Irish Americans are less active in American elections with the success of the Irish Peace process.

2. Immigration reform remains a key issue for Irish Americans.

3. The power of the Internet needs to be tapped to mobilize and connect Irish America.

4. We need the Irish Government to coordinate Irish agencies in the US to take a holistic approach to Irish America, to determine what are their interests, needs and how we can better engage to our mutual advantage across a range of cultural, business, sports, tourist and charitable areas.


The second panel, “Ireland and America: Priorities for a Trump Administration” was chaired by Jim Walsh, former Republican Member of Congress from New York.  Mr. Walsh said that he and his family and always had a deep pride in being Irish, including his father “Big Jim” Walsh who had been a Congressman and Mayor of Syracuse. The Irish in Syracuse even had a traffic light on Tipperary Hill where the green light was above the red!  He said that support for the Irish Peace process was always bipartisan and that was how the Friends of Ireland operate


Caitriona Perry, Washington Correspondent for RTE, said she was struck during the US election campaign by “the number of small towns that had lost their young people and sense of community”.  She added that huge crowds say Trump as a strong man on jobs and the economy.  “Who voted for Donald Trump?  All sorts of people”.


Donal Donovan, retired Deputy Director of the IMF, said that a lower corporate tax in America would affect Ireland’s competitiveness, even though the tax rate is only part of our offering.  “The world will be more challenging for Ireland if there’s a halt to globalization, a more competitive USA and disruption by Brexit.”


Jack Horgan Jones, Business Correspondent with the Sunday Business Post, said that after Brexit, Ireland will have the advantage of being the only English-speaking country in the EU.  He added that the relationship between Ireland and America is at core an economic one, impacting jobs, trade and growth.


Tom Wright, Fellow at the Brookings Institute discussed some of Donald Trump’s earlier stated positions, including newspaper ads 30 years ago critical of US alliances with South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia, and a consistent opposition to multilateral trade deals and a preference for bilateral agreements.  Mr. Wright wondered whether a Trump Administration would be supportive of the EU or not.


Mr. Bob Carey, a member of the Republican National Committee, but speaking in a personal capacity, said that “the cohesiveness of the Irish American political identity is not as strong as it was before the Good Friday Agreement.” He added that imagination would be needed to adapt to changing conditions and interests, including, for example, the continued growth in support for both the GAA and rugby amongst the Irish in America.  This latter was well illustrated by the thousands who had come to Chicago to watch the Irish rugby team beat the All Blacks.


In my concluding remarks at the conference, I speculated that if the Trump Administration and Congress made progress in 2017 on the three issues of infrastructure investment, immigration reform and tax reform, it could increase annual GDP growth to 4-5%, providing millions of new jobs in America and a much-needed engine of growth for the rest of the world, including Ireland.  In addition, the US now represents less than 20% of global trade and a prosperous future depends on increasing free and fair trade, not decreasing it.  In this connection, Ireland and America are united.

Videos available of all presentations

Panel 1

Panel 2


Academic Year 2015/2016

How the United States Ends Wars

23- 24 October 2015


Dr. Jack Thompson

On 23 and 24 October 2015, the UCD Clinton Institute hosted a conference with the title “How the United States Ends Wars.” Noted experts in the field gave three impressive keynotes speeches: Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs;Professor Marilyn Young, of New York University; and Professor Toby Dodge of the London School of Economics. In all, scholars from four different continents presented sixteen papers over the course of two days. Several overarching themes characterized the conference. One that recurred throughout many of the papers was that, especially in recent years in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States has found it difficult to end wars. One reason for this is a tendency for political leaders and military personnel to develop conflicting objectives. As one speaker noted, the US military is skilled in the art of killing; it has enjoyed far less success in conceptualizing military objectives that contribute to long-term political stability. One of the more frequent strategies for ending wars is that of Vietnamization, or turning the fighting over to local troops that have been trained by US (often special) forces. As in Vietnam, however, this rarely succeeds for a variety of reasons, including the unwillingness/inability of the United States to invest the long-term resources and presence necessary for such a strategy. On the home front, as several speakers noted, the Americans have a tendency to treat all US soldiers as heroes, regardless of their actions or individual experiences, and to consider them unconnected to any negative actions or consequences of the war(s) in which they fought. Indeed, there is a propensity for American society to embrace a collective amnesia about negative consequences of wars in general. In closing, a general consensus emerged that the United States in the future needs to: (1) be more careful about beginning/entering wars in the first place; (2) do a better job of connecting military and political goals once fighting has begun; and (3) do a better job of embracing accurate, including negative, narratives about wars in which it has fought.

The conference was organised jointly by UCD Clinton Institute and the School of History, University College Cork with assistance of the UCD Centre for War Studies.


Arthur Miller Centenary

10 – 11 October 2015

In association with The Gate Theatre and Dublin Literature Festival
In association with The Gate Theatre and Dublin Theatre Festival


To mark the centenary of Arther Miller’s birth, the Institute, the Gate Theatre and the Dublin Theatre Festival presented a weekend of events to pay tribute to the man and his works. The enthusiastic audience was treated to a series of readings, discussions and interviews about Miller, and his writing given by directors, actors, biographers and academics, including Christopher Bigsby who finished the weekend with a wonderful lecture about his time with Miller when writing his biography.







Global Irish Civic Forum

Irish Abroad Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade and UCD Clinton Institute 

3-4 June 2015
Dublin Castle

As set out in ‘Global Irish – Ireland’s Diaspora Policy’ the first Global Irish Civic Forum took place in Dublin Castle on 3-4 June 2015. It was an opportunity for organisations supporting the Irish diaspora abroad to come to Dublin to discuss their work with these communities.











Neoliberalism and American Literature

20 – 21 February 2015


Speakers included: Elizabeth Maddock Dillon (Northeastern University), Liam Kennedy (University College Dublin) Walter Benn Michaels (University of Illinois at Chicago),Donald Pease (Dartmouth College), Stephen Shapiro (University of Warwick)


How has American literature responded to the political, economic and cultural dominance of neoliberalism? What does neoliberalism mean for practices of writing, reading, and selling books? This conference will focus on the production, form and consumption of literature under conditions of neoliberalism.


Disapora and Development

31 Oct – 1 Nov 2014

In association with Irish Aid (Dept. of Foreign Affairs & Trade), Diaspora Matters and The Irish Times

In Ireland, we have become increasingly aware in recent years of the importance of diaspora outreach to our small island, especially in the wake of the global economic crisis, and particularly in relation to our large diaspora presence in the US. At the same time, we are conscious of the responsibilities of diaspora engagement as a two-way process that must be based on recognition, respect and reciprocity. At the UCD Clinton Institute we have sought to underline this approach through our research, including a recent study for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the “next generation” of the Irish diaspora. In this we share President Clinton’s view that “diasporas can drive positive and enduring change.”

Read the full report here

Forum report-page-001