Padraig’s research focusses primarily on indigenous writing in the United States and Canada. He takes an interdisciplinary approach, and considers various reflections of tribal culture, experience, history, and presence in the work of Native American and First Nations authors. Padraig is most interested in the productive friction that might underline various forms of sovereignty and continuance, while also glossing and acknowledging the various junctures—both historical and geographic—during which indigenous communities have experienced forms of settler violence. A large part of his work studies the way writers and artists grapple with complicated questions regarding indigenous realities, occupancy, colonialism, and continuance in the contemporary moment. Deeply committed to collaborative practice, Padraig has worked closely with Choctaw writers, artists, and historians in order to tease out moments of intercultural and international connection between the Choctaw and the Irish.
- BA (Hons) English and History, University College Dublin 1997
- MA (Hons) American Literature, University College Dublin 1998
- PhD, University College Dublin 2002
Teaching and Supervision
Padraig’s most recent research has been on the relationship between the Choctaw Nation and the people of Ireland. He recently contributed two chapters to Famine Pots: The Choctaw-Irish Gift Exchange, 1847-Present, which he co-edited with LeAnne Howe. He also contributed to Heroes of the Ireland’s Great Hunger (Christine Kinealy, Jason King and Gerard Moran eds). His first book was Sovereign Stories: Aesthetics, Autonomy and Contemporary Native American Writing (2013). Prior to that, he co-edited Affecting Irishness (with James Byrne and Michael O’Sullivan). He is currently co-editing and contributing The Art of Resistance (with David Stirrup). Padraig has published essays in NOVEL, Comparative Literature, the Journal of American Studies. More recent essays include “‘Mind the Gap’: Journeys in Indigenous Sovereignty and Nationhood” (Comparative American Studies), and “An Indian’s Journey & Tribal Memoir(y): David Treuer’s Rez Life” (forthcoming in Enduring Critical Poses, SUNY).
Padraig welcomes research proposals on any aspect indigenous literatures and has also supervised several students taking the MPhil/PhD in Creative Writing. Select completed and currently supervised PhD theses include:
• A First-Class Man and Surgery on the Battlefield: Mobile Surgical Units in the Second World War and the Memoirs they Produced (Kate Venables)
• Approaching the Apocalyptic: an exploration of apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic tropes in relation to Wire Diamonds (Rachael Thomas)
• The uprooted writer, and how is creativity influenced by our perspectives on home? (Sarah Leipciger)
• Blood Sports: Hunting, Ecologies, and More-than-Human Animals in Twenty-First-
Century American Literature (Nadhia Grewal)
• Louis Riel, Justice, and Métis Self-identification: Literary Politics for Survival in the Evolution of Canadian Nationhood (Robin White).
• The Observances and Observations of Walks by the Sea (Kate Miller, winner of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize).
Howe, LeAnne and Kirwan, Padraig
Byrne, James P.; Kirwan, Padraig
Byrne, James P; O'Sullivan, Michael and Kirwan, Padraig
Further profile content
Famine Pots: The Choctaw–Irish Gift Exchange, 1847–Present
This edited collection brings Choctaw and Irish collaborators together to study the enduring legacy of the Choctaw Nation's gift to the Irish.
“Recognition, Resilience & Relief: The Meaning of Gift.” In: Padraig Kirwan and LeAnne Howe, eds. Famine Pots: The Choctaw Irish Gift Exchange 1847
Awarded the 2021 Shelley Fisher Fishkin Prize for International Scholarship in Transnational American Studies by the American Studies Association's International Committee.
Sovereign Stories: Aesthetics, Autonomy and Contemporary Native American Writing
Sovereign Stories examines contemporary Native American writers’ engagement with various forms of cultural, political, and artistic sovereignty.
Padraig has held many roles within ECW and has served on committees within the department and at College level. He currently has responsibility for handling extenuating circumstances and extensions within the department and was ECW’s Head of Admissions from 2009-2013. Padraig currently serves on the department’s Research Committee. Prior to that he was a member of both Academic Board (two consecutive terms) and Extenuating Circumstances Special Topics Group as well as ECW’s Undergraduate Teaching & Learning Committee.
As co-applicant, Padraig is hosting, along with Professor David Stirrup (primary applicant), the Decolonizing Research Methodologies workshop series. Having successfully applied for CHASE funding, Padraig and David will host workshops that introduce students to the key readings in Indigenous and Decolonizing Research Methodologies, and will work together with BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) scholars engaged with methodological development in this timely and vital arena.
CBS News Morning Show
Interview with Michelle Miller
Quoted in “Irish Donors Are Helping a Native American Tribe Face the Coronavirus Crisis”
Author of “How a small American Indian tribe came to give an incredible gift to Irish famine sufferers.”
Times Higher Education
Author of review of the National Portrait Gallery's “George Catlin, American Indian Portraits.”
Conferences and talks
“Contextualizing Famine Pots.”
Invited guest speaker at Irish Famine Summer School, Strokestown Park.
Choctaw-Irish Connections with LeAnne Howe and Padraig Kirwan
Chahta Tosholi Virtual Speaker Series, organized by Choctaw Nation Historic Preservation.
Famine Pots Roundtable.
Organized by the Consulate General of Ireland, Austin, Texas, and moderated by Naomi O’Leary, The Irish Times.
“LeAnne Howe and Padraig Kirwan in conversation.”
Invited guest speaker at The Trailblazery Hedge School.
“The Story of the Choctaw Gift: Interview with LeAnne Howe, Christine Kinealy and Padraig Kirwan."
Invited guest speaker, Institute for Famine Studies, Dublin.
“Famine Pots: The Choctaw-Irish Gift Exchange.”
Invited guest speaker, with LeAnne Howe, Milton Public Library, Massachusetts.
“Hereness, Awayness and the Work of 2Ro Media.”
Religion, Nature and Culture Conference. University College Cork.
2019: “Hereness in Jackson 2Bears & Janet Rogers’s ‘For this Land’ Series.”
Co-organizer of the 38th American Indian Workshop (London).
3-day international conference held at Goldsmiths, University of London.
“The Gift: Irish and Native American Exchanges.”
Public Engagement event at the Goldsmiths, University of London.
“Rousing Mirth: Craig Womack’s Short Fiction.”
Roundtable (organizer and co-presenter). American Indian Workshop, Odense, Denmark.
"Famine Pots: The Choctaw-Irish Relationship", University of Missouri-St-Louis Irish Studies Lectures
Invited guest speaker, along with LeAnne Howe
Grants and awards
2021 Shelley Fisher Fishkin Prize for International Scholarship in Transnational American Studies
The prize is awarded for excellent publications that present original research in Transnational American Studies (including original interdisciplinary research in Transnational American Studies).
AHRC (network member)
Project title: ‘Indigenous Literatures and Languages in the Americas: Translanguaging and Education in Global Contexts’
Public Engagement Grant Awardee, Goldsmiths, University of London
Project title: ‘Transatlantic Reciprocity: Exchanges between the Choctaw and the Irish’
Fulbright Scholar, University of California, Los Angeles
Project title: “‘The Border Crossed Us’: Spiritual, Political, and Cultural Borders in Native American Literatures of the American Southwest”
Irish Research Council for the Humanities & Social Sciences Scholar
Co-applicant on the CHASE funded Decolonizing Research Methodologies workshop series
In collaboration with Professor David Stirrup, University of Kent