Seminar with Mary McCay: What Do We Think of When We Think of Race?

Three-day seminar with Prof. Mary McCay of New Orleans

June 26–28, 2020

Teach Bhride, Tullow, Co. Carlow

Racial issues have surfaced all over the world. Tribal genocide, refugee deaths, entry refusals against asylum seekers, all highlight fear of the other, and the racial antagonisms have deepened as politicians play on people’s fears. Another factor in the current racial climate is white (especially white male) fear of loss of hegemony.  Ironically, it often is expressed by white men who have never really benefited from the white male power structure. 
This three-day seminar will look at the classic racial paradigm, African American slavery and its lingering political consequences, but we will also look at other  countries’ attitudes that, while not specifically related to chattel slavery, are related to colonialism and its consequences.  We will read Valerie Martin’s Property, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, and Ta NeHisi Coates’ “The Case for Reparations”.  We will view  I Am Not Your Negro, a film based on James Baldwin’s unfinished book directed by Raoul Peck. We will  also examine how racism in America is both a paradigm of international racial problems and a bell weather for racism in other countries.

The fee is 500 Euro and it includes tuition, two nights’ accommodation and meals. To book, please email

Mary McCay

Mary McCay has taught American Literature and American Studies in both the U.S. and Europe; she is especially focused on examining literature in the context of race, class, and gender. She  is also very interested in how others view Americans, and in the fall, 2019, she taught English in Vietnam. What surprised her was how forgiving the Vietnamese were of America  and Americans. 

Prof. McCay’s teachings were the first to inspire Claire Keegan to write fiction. These teachings and her lectures continue to inspire Claire to teach creative writing.

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