About the Abroad

“Where do I come from?” “What forces have shaped and defined me?” “What might be defining my identity that I am unaware of?” “Who am I in relation to others?” “How can I address the conflicts and realities I see?” and finally, “What can be created and shared from exploring these questions on my own and with others?” On this abroad, you will grapple with questions of identity and conflict, and explore the capabilities of producing art from these questions through observation, introspection, empathy, and humility.

Why go to Ireland as we explore these questions? The Emerald isle has a romantic allure— a place where one can imagine that anything is possible. It is a place with a turbulent and troubled past, a sad history of dispossession and disenfranchisement, and it is a place of revival and perseverance, a place that continues to confront its struggles creatively to find itself within its past and present. This abroad will explore Ireland through the lenses of history, literature, creative writing, and theater.

On this abroad, you will learn about Ireland’s central historical conflict between Catholics and Protestants to see how that conflict has shaped and affected Ireland politically, economically, and culturally. You will learn how Irish dramatists and contemporary writers have addressed the questions of its history and post-colonial identity, and you will translate this learning through your own creative work to address the questions of your own history and identity while exploring a “new” culture and “self” within an intercultural context.

At the end of this abroad, you will come away with a portfolio of creative writing, and you will help produce a performance from your work in devised theater, taking steps in the journey to reconcile, to move beyond difference, and realize your fundamental connectedness and need for others. The goal of this abroad is for you to come away with a deeper understanding of what makes Ireland, Ireland, as well as a better sense of what makes you, you. You will gain a depth and breadth of knowledge of Ireland, develop generative and critical skills in producing and critiquing creative work, and understand more deeply how to be an effective communicator and constructive member of a community, both locally and globally.


A total of 15 semester hours credit will be earned with this program. Final grades for all courses will be determined by the program directors.

ENG 243: Theory as Practice on Location (Sara Wienecke)
Semester Hours: 3 Attribute: GEH
Taught during the abroad, this course will center on study of the way in which critical theory and conceptual thought determine the work and process of artists; addressing issues of identity in contemporary Irish culture.

ENG 345: Creative Writing on Location (Sara Wienecke)
Semester Hours: 3 Attribute: GEA
Taught during the abroad, this is an on-location creative writing course in which students can write poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Emphasis will be placed on writings focused toward exploring a “new” culture and “self” within an intercultural context.

THEA 260: Theater Topics: Devising (John O’Hagan)
Semester Hours: 3 Attribute: GEA
Taught during the abroad, this course introduces students to the process of each of the major contributing artists of theatrical work (playwrights, directors, designers and actors). The class focuses on the collaborative nature of creation through a unique theatrical process known as “devising”. Each student is given the opportunity to explore each of the major areas. The culminating project is an original theatrical work created by the class.

HIST 189: Religious Conflict & History (Gretchen Starr-LeBeau)
Semester Hours: 3 Attribute: GEH
Taught during the abroad, this course will focus particularly on Ireland as an extended case study. It will address the historical roots of “the Troubles,” stretching back to English colonization of Ireland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There will be a particular focus on the religious, political, economic, and social dimensions of this conflict in the twentieth century.

THEA 209: Irish Dramatic Literature (John O’Hagan)
Semester Hours: 3 Attribute: None

Taught during the abroad, this course is a survey of Irish dramatic literature from medieval times to present day. Representative plays will be read with emphasis on theatre as live performance. Discussions will explore social, political, and cultural context of plays. The course will have a special emphasis in exploring post-colonial themes as a significant portion of the Irish theatrical canon deals specifically with issues arising from Ireland’s colonial past and its continued effects on contemporary society.