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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

James Smith

english department

photo of James Smith

Associate Professor
Director, Lowell Humanities Series

B.A., English & History, University College Dublin, Ireland
M.A., English, Clark University
M.A., Anglo-Irish Studies, University College Dublin, Ireland
Ph.D., English, Boston College

Stokes Hall S489
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02467

Phone: 617-552-1596
Fax: 617-552-4220

Irish Studies Program

Academic Profile

Specializes in Irish literature and culture, especially contemporary narrative, and cultural studies. His graduate seminars include "Contemporary Irish Fiction," "Twentieth Century Irish Fiction," and "Ireland: The Colonial Context." His undergraduate electives include "Reading Irish Childhood," "Family and Kinship: Reading the Adopted Child," "Major Irish Writers," and both 19th and 20th century surveys of Irish literature. His book, Ireland's Magdalen Laundries and the Nation's Architecture of Containment, focusing on representations of institutional care in post-independence Ireland, won the Donald Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Book awarded by the American Conference for Irish Studies in 2007.  He is currently engaged in a project examining the place of the child in Irish society and how the meaning of childhood in Ireland has changed over time.  He continues to be interested in recent scandals in the Irish Catholic Church and the manner in which these affect relations between Church, state and society.




Research Submissions

*Irish Human Rights Commission, Assessment of the Human Rights Issues Arising in relation to the ‘Magdalen Laundries’ (Dublin: IHRC, 2010). Published on November 9, 2010.

Journal Articles


  • “Introduction,” with Maria Luddy. Co-Editor with Maria Luddy. Children, Childhood and Irish Society: 1500 to the present. (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2014). 15-28.
  • “The Justice for Magdalenes Campaign.” In Plain Sight: Responding to the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne Reports by Carole Holohan. Commissioned by Amnesty International Ireland. Dublin: Amnesty International Ireland, 2011. 372-77.
  • “Re-Imagining Ireland, Britain and Europe.” Traversing the Imaginary. Eds. Peter Gratton and John P. Manoussakis. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2007.
  • “Sexual Abuse and the Irish Church: Crisis and Responses” (with Robert Savage). Occasional Papers, 2003. The Church in the 21st Century. Boston College Online Publication.
  • “Retelling Stories: Exposing Mother Ireland in Kathy Prendergast’s Body Map Series and Mary Leland’s The Killeen.” Re/Dressing Cathleen: Contemporary Works From Irish Women Artists. Ed. Jennifer Grinnell and Alston Conley. Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, 1997. 42-51.


  • “Magdalene survivors are still waiting for restorative justice.” With Maeve O’Rouke. Opinion-Editorial, The Irish Times. Wednesday, 5 February, 2014.
  • “Magdalene need inquiry with legal and political clout.” Opinion-Editorial, The Irish Times. Wednesday, 24 July 2013: 935 words.
  • “Fair compensation must follow Magdalene apology,” Opinion-Editorial, Irish Times. Tuesday, 19 February 2013: 1090 words.
  • “Abused in the past and abandoned in the present,” Opinion-Editorial, Irish Times. Tuesday, 5 February 2013: 1086 words.
  • “Magdalene survivors still held hostage to politics,” Opinion-Editorial, Irish Times. Wednesday, 26 September 2012: 957 words.
  • “Irish Society Colluded in Betrayal of Magdalen Women.” Opinion-Editorial. The Irish Times 1 Sept. 2003: 12.
  • The Magdalene Sisters in America.” Commentary. The Alliance for the Study of Adoption, Identity & Kinship Newsletter 5 (Fall, 2003): 1 & 3-4.
  • “Re-Imagining Ireland, Britain and Europe.”  Rev. of Postnationalist Ireland: Politics, Culture, Philosophy by Richard Kearney.  The Irish Literary Supplement 16, 2 (1997): 23-4.

Additional Professional Information

For further information regarding Irish Studies at Boston College, including information regarding graduate programs, faculty listings, and calendar of events, view: /centers/irish/studies/.

Children, Childhood and Irish Society
Magdalene Laundries
Eire Ireland

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