Colleen Taylor, "Irish Materialisms: The Nonhuman and the Making of Colonial Ireland, 1690-1830" (Oxford UP, 2024)


Coins, flax, spinning wheels, mud, pigs. Each of these objects were ubiquitous in the premodern cultural representation of the Irish. Through case studies of these five objects, Colleen Taylor’s new monograph Irish Materialisms: The Nonhuman and the Making of Colonial Ireland, 1690-1830 (Oxford University Press, 2024) recovers the sometimes-oppressive, sometimes-liberatory meanings invested in nonhuman matter. Irish Materialisms collects a rich archive of material from William Carleton’s “Phil Purcel, the Pig Driver,” to the it-narrative The Adventures of a Bad Shilling in the Kingdom of Ireland, Gulliver’s Travels to Sydney Owenson’s The Wild Irish Girl.

Colleen Taylor is Professor of English at Boston College. She has held the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame and an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Award at University College Cork. Irish Materialisms is her first monograph.

Your Host

John Yargo

John Yargo is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities at Boston College. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His specializations are early modern literature, the environmental humanities, and critical race studies. His dissertation explores early modern representations of environmental catastrophe, including William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Aphra Behn's Oroonoko, and John Milton's Paradise Lost. He has published in Early Theatre, Studies in Philology, The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and Shakespeare Studies.

View Profile