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Professor turns love of Ireland into a minor

The English Department has announced the introduction of a new Irish Minor. This program started with Dr. Martha Carpentier and her love for author James Joyce and Irish literature. Carpentier started out teaching British literature, but during her studies she couldn’t ignore the presence of Irish culture. [caption id="attachment_22956" align="alignnone" width="300"] Kiera Alexander/Asst. Photographer[/caption] After she completed her dissertation on James Joyce, she started developing the minor by asking her colleagues to create ideas for classes. In 2014, Carpentier taught the first Introduction to Irish Literature at SHU, and in 2015, she and Dr. Mary Balkun took students to Ireland for the first time. “The more I learn about Irish literature, the more I love it,” Carpentier said. Carpentier said if students think they might be interested they should get their feet wet so they have a chance to take all of courses they want if they decide to take the plunge and achieve the minor. Fethnat Ni Shuileabhain, a senior social and behavioral sciences major and psychology minor, took Carpentier’s Irish Literature course to dive deeper into her Irish heritage. Shuileabhain grew up immersed in the Irish culture, taking part in Irish dancing and playing the fiddle. She said she always wanted to take the course. With one semester left and credits to fill, she saw the perfect opportunity. Shuileabhain had knowledge on many of the stories the course covers, but she said she found it interesting to get a deeper understanding of them. She also studied abroad during her time at SHU and likes being able to connect the dots when Carpentier talks about places in Ireland she went to during her time there. If she wasn’t graduating in May, Shuileabhain said she would love to take the minor. “I never looked into literature so deeply, and especially coming from my own culture, it was really interesting for me to see,” Shuileabhain said. Laura Fraser, a junior English and secondary education major, took the course to fulfill her Core three and an English requirement. Fraser has taken class with Carpentier in the past, and wanted to take one of her classes again because of her teaching style. Fraser said she was also excited to take a class with Carpentier on a topic she is passionate about teaching. Fraser already has her program laid out, but would take the complete minor if she could. She said she likes how the class talks about the authors they read as if they know them. “When you’re looking at an author on a personal level more so than just a factual level, it helps you to connect with their writing,” Fraser said. This minor requires a student to take 18 credits, nine required and nine elective. One required class for the minor is Introduction to Literary Studies. Students also have to take either Early Modern Ireland or Modern Ireland. Additionally, Students have to take either Irish Literature: Celtic Revival to the Present or Irish Literature: Past and Present. The electives that are available to fill the remaining nine credits are: Jame’s Joyce’s Ulysses, Irish Women Writers, Irish and Anglo-Irish Literature of the 18th Century, Modern Irish Drama, Bards Past and Present: the Myth and Poetry of Ireland and The Irish Short Story. Carpentier noted that Modern Ireland and Early Modern Ireland will be offered during the 2018-2019 school year but after that, those courses will not be offered again until the 2020-2021 school year. Veronica Gaspa can be reached at


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