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Stephen E. King Chair Lecture: “Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries, Academic Advocacy, and Restorative Justice”

March 7, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

James M. Smith

Presented by James M. Smith, an Associate Professor in the English Department and Irish Studies Program at Boston College. His book Irish Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment, was praised by Colm Tóibín as essential reading “for anyone interested in the fear and cruelty surrounding women’s sexuality in the Ireland of the recent past.” The Magdalen laundries were workhouses in which many Irish women and girls were effectively imprisoned because they were perceived to be a threat to the moral fiber of society. In 1993, a public scandal was triggered when the remains of 155 inmates, buried in unmarked graves on the property, were exhumed, cremated, and buried elsewhere in a mass grave. Smith’s work with archival materials and survivors is, in Colum McCann’s words, a “brilliant, art driven examination of a story or history, that needs to be told over and over and over again, lest it be forgotten to sleep into the ambient noise.”

Smith serves on the Advisory Committee of Justice For Magdalenes Research (JFMR), the advocacy group that brought these institutions to the attention of the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) in Geneva.

This event is free and open to the public.


March 7, 2018
7:00 pm


Minsky Recital Hall
ME United States + Google Map
(207) 581-4703
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