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Details on the key people associated with the Identities in Transformation research theme to date are provided in two sections. Section 1 provides a summary of the researchers by School.  Section 2 provides a detailed summary of each individual’s research related to the theme along with a link to their research pages.

SECTION 1 (Researchers by School)


School of Drama, Film and Music

Nicholas Johnson, Department of Drama
Brian Singleton, Department of Drama

School of Education

Carmel O’Sullivan
Aidan Seery

School of English

Paul Delaney
Jarlath Killeen
Stephen Matterson
David O'Shaughnessy
Eve Patten

School of Histories and Humanities

Anna Chahoud, Department of Classics
Anne Dolan, Department of History
Monica Gale, Department of Classics
Daniel Geary, Department of History
Patrick Geoghegan, Department of History
Poul Holm, Department of History
John Horne, Department of History
Catherine Lawless, Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies
Graeme Murdock, Department of History
Ciaran O'Neill, Department of History

School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies

Balazs Apor, Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies
Peter Arnds, Department of Germanic Studies
Juergen Barkhoff, Department of Germanic Studies
Roja Fazaeli, Near and Middle Eastern Studies
James Hanrahan, Department of French
Caitriona Leahy, Department of Germanic Studies
Moray McGowan, Department of Germanic Studies
Clemens Ruthner, Department of Germanic Studies
David Scott, Department of French
Sarah Smyth, Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies

School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences

Lorna Carson, Centre for Language and Communication Studies
Jeffrey Kallen, Centre for Language and Communication Studies
Lorraine Leeson, Centre for Language and Communication Studies
Kathleen McTiernan, Clinical Speech and Language Studies
Martine Smith, Clinical Speech and Language Studies
Irene Walsh, Clinical Speech and Language Studies

Confederal School of Religions, Peace Studies and Theology

Iain Atack, Irish School of Ecumenics
Siobhán Garrrigan, Loyola Institute
Maureen Junker-Kenny, Department of Religions and Theology
Andrew Pierce, Irish School of Ecumenics
Gillian Wylie, Irish School of Ecumenics

School of Medicine

Desmond O’Neill, Centre for Medical Gerontology

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Joan Lalor
Denise Lawler
Colm O'Boyle

School of Social Sciences and Philosophy

Luna Dolezal, Department of Philosophy
Daniel Faas, Department of Sociology
Elaine Moriarity, Department of Sociology
Peter Simons, Department of Philosophy
James Wickham, Department of Economics

Office of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Jennifer Edmond


SECTION 2 (Details on individual researchers in alphabetical order)


Balazs Apor | School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies | RSS Profile

My general research interests are related to the history of Central and Eastern Europe in the 20th century, with a focus on the history of communism. More specifically, my research activity involves analysing the symbolic dimensions of Sovietisation in Eastern Europe after the Second World War, and the way the construction of myths and rituals contributed to the transformation of social identities in the region. I’m interested in the cult of communist leaders, the merging of national traditions and communist ideology, the role of cultural products (paintings, poems, novels, etc.) in the propagandist promotion of officially professed values, and the popular reception of ritual practices in the respective societies. These themes are addressed in my publications and my forthcoming monograph which is centred on the phenomenon of the communist leader cult in Stalinist Hungary. The book is a detailed analysis of the emergence of the Soviet-type leader cult in Hungary in general, and the cult of Mátyás Rákosi, first secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party, in particular. My approach to the topic was primarily historical, and the research was predominantly based on archival material, but the theoretical framework was informed by a variety of cognate disciplines. Max Weber’s theory of charismatic domination, often invoked in the social and political sciences, and Clifford Geertz’ influential discussion of rituals and sacrality in the field of cultural anthropology were used extensively in the development of a conceptual framework for interpreting the cults of communist leaders.

Peter Arnds | School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies | RSS Profile

Much of my current work on canine metaphors such as in the context of political violence, trauma, and memory related directly to the theme of identities in transformation, both in the sense of physical and psychic transformation. My most recent monograph on lycanthrophy in German Literature would be a good example to demonstrate this connection. My publications have been substantially influenced by cultural theories in which identities in transformation are a major strand, especially theories by Bakhtin (on the body), Agamben (on the camps), Jung (on the trickster), Freud (Wolf Man) etc. whose impact on literature and culture I teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. These theories and others have shaped my publications since my second monograph on Grass's The Tin Drum (2004). Of particular significance to the theme is my work on myth and how mythical structures reappear in literature in the context of trauma and human rights, as well as my recent engagement with Digital Humanities, which allow for a different kind of reading of literature as well as for a different way of representing the findings of scholarship - from close reading to distant reading and from the written word to the digital representation. My own identity as a scholar has changed substantially in the process if this interest in DH.

Iain Atack | Confederal School of Religions, Peace Studies and Theology | RSS Profile

My current research is on nonviolence, political power and political institutions.  Nonviolent political action is one response to conflict and injustice, including human rights abuses and political and social inequalities.  Such conflict and injustice is often linked to issues of identity (ethnic, national, religious), and nonviolent processes of social and political transformation (including conflict resolution and peacebuilding) need to acknowledge the centrality of these identity issues. My other area of research interest concerns cosmopolitanism and the ethics of peace and war.  Cosmopolitanism suggests that human beings live in a single, universal moral community that transcends political and social boundaries and divisions.  This moral community challenges divisions based on identity, including forms of political organisation such as the supposedly sovereign nation-state.  Cosmopolitanism requires that ethical responses to war and conflict must somehow overcome such divisions and find more inclusive forms of (cosmopolitan) identity.  Furthermore, such cosmopolitanism needs to be reflected in new types of political and social institutions that are both pluralistic and inclusive.

Juergen Barkhoff | School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies | RSS Profile

Within the theme clusters ‘Identity Politics and Memory Contests’ and ‘Narratives and performances of identity’ my main current research is on questions of cultural identity in Europe, mainly in the German speaking world and especially in Switzerland. Aspects of this include transcultural identities in literature; place and belonging in literature and culture; the legacies and ongoing reverberations of cultural nationalisms and foundational myths in the memory contests and identity politics of today.  I am also interested in the history and current relevance of national stereotyping in Europe and connected processes of othering, in the dynamics between national identities, European identity and hybrid, transcultural identities and the memory contestations around them.

Within the theme cluster ‘embodied identities’ I have worked and published for 20 years on the interface between medicine, psychology and science with literature during the Enlightenment, Weimar Classicism and Romanticism.  In the seminal threshold period into modernity around 1800 I have investigated a large variety of aspects of the interface between literature and the body, literature and psychology, anthropology, medicine and the sciences.

Lorna Carson | School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences | RSS Profile

Our schools and classrooms, the streets of our cities and the make-up of our regions and countries have changed irrevocably over the past century, with the blurring of physical boundaries and distance, unprecedented global mobility of goods and people, and the development of unimaginable technological and communication tools. Seeing, hearing and using many languages according to different audiences and purposes is simply the way that life now works. And yet, what could be understood as a ‘nation-state’ approach to language use and learning continues to predominate. However, it is important to point out that multilingualism (both societal and individual), rather than monolingualism, permeates most aspects of the daily lives of most people in most contexts. My research on multilingualism relates to our understanding of language learning. I employ qualitative multi-modal methods (interviews, surveys, photographic and archival) to investigate the interface between individual and societal multilingualism especially in urban contexts and in formal education settings. My funded research on multilingualism and language learning has included investigations of elite multilinguals (European Cultural Foundation), third cycle learners (Japan Foundation, Korea Foundation), refugees (IRCHSS) and indigenous language learners (International Council for Canadian Studies).  I am the national partner in a Jean Monnet network on multilingualism (2014-2017), investigating language and identity formation in Europe.

Anna Chahoud | School of Histories and Humanities | RSS Profile

My research focuses on fragmentary Republican Latin, Latin linguistics, and the transmission of Latin texts from antiquity to the early modern period. My overarching research questions address the interaction between language and literature, ideology and identity, and the function of linguistic choices in social performance as well as literary texts. I am especially interested in the interplay between literary and spoken Latin, between standard and non-/sub-standard language in oral and written communication. This approach is reflected in my published papers on early and late Latin, on the Latin grammatical tradition, on the transmission and translation of Classical literature into the early modern period, and in my two main ongoing single-author book projects—namely the first English language commentary of the fragments of Lucilius (CUP) and the edition and translation of Republican Latin satire, political invective and anonymous popular verse for the Fragmentary Republican Latin series ed. G. Manuwald (Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press). My study of Republican Latin satire explores the creation of a genre-specific diction for the genre of Latin poetry that the Romans claimed to be distinctively ‘their own’, i.e. representative of Roman intellectual choices and ideological appropriations. These broader themes are also the underlying themes of my engagement with Latin identities in historical and sociolinguistic perspectives, through collaborative projects and contributions to collaborative volumes.

Paul Delaney | School of English | RSS Profile

My research focuses primarily on twentieth-century and contemporary Irish literature.  In particular, it engages with three subjects: literary culture in the Irish Free State; contemporary Irish fiction; and cultural representations of and by Irish Travellers.  Each of these areas relate to core principles informing the ‘Identities in Transformation’ research cluster.  For one thing, each explores the ways in which ideas of Irish identity have been conceived and challenged at key points in the recent past, as well as in contemporary debates about what it means to be Irish in an increasingly globalised world.  My recent monograph on Seán O’Faoláin, for instance, focused on work by this vital literary figure in the period after Irish independence, when questions of identity and national culture were vigorously articulated and suppressed.  Critical collections on contemporary prose writers, such as Colm Tóibín and William Trevor, have engaged with similar questions – albeit in very different contexts, with issues of homosexuality and migration, for instance, being central components of these writers’ respective aesthetics.  In addition, my extensive publications on cultural representations of Travellers respond to the ways in which a marginalized community have often been represented through a discourse of nomadism, abjection and ‘Otherness’.

Anne Dolan | School of Histories and Humanities | RSS Profile

My work relates to the theme through a number of projects: The book I am currently working on for Cambridge University Press on killing in Ireland from c.1919-23 is shaped by a desire to move away from circular, local debates. It is drawing on the methods of scholars of violence from the sixteenth century wars of religion to the war in Vietnam.  By challenging the sense of exceptionalism about the Irish case, my research is setting the Irish experience in a much more nuanced context while also informing the broader study of violence itself.  The period studied is key to modern conceptions of Irish identity, particularly in the context of the current commemorations, and asks questions of the violence at the beginnings of the two Irelands and the changing understandings we have of it.
Contributing as part of a broad range of scholars to the Cambridge four volume history of Ireland edited by Thomas Bartlett, I will be addressing the period at which the modern Irish state defined and addressed many aspects of its identity – 1920-39.  I hope to ground my contribution in the lived experience of the period thereby drawing out how independence shaped or perhaps failed to shape Irish identity.
My work on TCD’s first MOOC, ‘Irish lives in war and revolution’, with almost 30,000 registered learners to date from its two runs, engaged a broad public audience from over 58 countries with some of the issues pertinent to the theme. 
Growing out of the MOOC and the level of public engagement with it, I am now developing in collaboration with Prof. Ciaran Brady and Dr Ciarán Wallace a new online project which may have links to the theme.  Provisionally titled ‘Rediscover – Irish lives in the twentieth century’, we are bringing together techniques in crowd-sourcing, online communities and historical research to create a digital repository and learning environment exploring twentieth century Irish lives.  The project will crowd-source artefacts and materials, comments and interaction from users of the site around a variety of themes and topics (e.g. working lives, children’s lives, emigrant lives amongst many others).  This project will create an open-ended, self-generating online resource to uncover Irish life at home and abroad, during the twentieth century.  By bringing new kinds of historical questions about the lived experience of the twentieth century together with the most innovative methodologies from online communities, it will allow the public to disrupt our sense of how to research this past.  It will challenge our sense of how Irish identity was shaped, formed and transformed throughout the twentieth century.  It will collect materials and experiences otherwise unrecorded by traditional repositories and will complement Trinity’s Library collections.

Luna Dolezal | Department of Philosophy | RSS Profile

My current research project is funded by a 3-year Irish Research Council ELEVATE postdoctoral fellowship (co-funded by Marie Curie Actions). This project is entitled ‘The Future of the Body: Phenomenology, Medicine and the Neoliberal Subject’ and I am based both in the Trinity Long Room Hub (TLRH) at Trinity College Dublin and the Department of Philosophy at Durham University, UK. This research is part of the Identities in Transformation Research Inititaive at the TLRH. In particular it considers how embodied identity is changing with respect to contemporary developments in our socio-political landscape and with respect to emerging medical biotechnologies. This project asks pressing questions about the origin and consequences of existing and emerging biotechnologies which can change or modify the body and identity, with a focus on three case studies: cosmetic surgery, anti-aging technologies and gender reassignment. This research is timely because, at present, there is an increase in the rate of cosmetic surgery, gender variance and anti-aging treatments in the UK, Ireland and worldwide. As a result, this research will inform bioethics with respect to the parameters for ‘health’, ‘pathology’, ‘treatment’ and ‘enhancement’ within medical practice in light of emerging medical practices and technologies which focus on appearance.

Jennifer Edmond | Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science | RSS Profile

Identities in transformation is a relevant and useful theme for my work in three ways: first and most obviously, I am interested in how we can use digital methodologies to better speak of and develop understandings of complex, contested and global identities across cultural and political spaces.  Second, I am interested in how technology is changing society, and in particular how it is molding our identities as individuals and as professionals.  As a part of this, I am very interested in how cultural heritage institutions are responding to technological and other changes in their macro environment, and how the relevance for identity formation of different types of heritage and institutions is shifting with these changes.   Finally, a very large proportion of my work is underpinned by the question of scholarly identity: how we create and communicate knowledge as scholars, and what this means for us as individuals, our institutions and for the pursuit of knowledge.

Daniel Faas | School of Social Sciences and Philosophy | RSS Profile

Most of my work can be categorised as falling into three principal areas, namely: (a) immigration and education, (b) citizenship and identity politics, and (c) curriculum development and design. These research areas relate to Identities in Transformation more broadly and to the cluster on globalisation, migration and belonging in particular. My most reputed work concerns the ethnic and political identities of youth in Europe, which has related to wider societal debates on immigrant integration, national identity, multiculturalism and cohesion in Europe. My work is innovative and ground-breaking in the area, for example my work on identities has brought together, for the first time, within-country and between-country differences in identity formation, revealing a range of factors which shape contemporary identities and offering innovative insights into the role of school dynamics in shaping youth identities, including school ethos, peer cultures and school-level policy approaches. This work is novel in that it departs from standard two-way comparisons of national-versus-European or national-versus-multicultural agendas in addressing the complex interface of national, European and migration-related issues. My work analyses questions of migration, education, citizenship, identity politics, multiculturalism and cohesion from a variety of angles: youth, curricula, and government policies. This allows me to build bridges between academic and policy communities and disseminate my research to a range of different audiences.

Roja Fazaeli | School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies | RSS Profile

My primary research interests encompass the intellectual framework and public policy implications of advancing women’s rights in Muslim majority countries. I study the relationship between Islamic law, international human rights law and women’s agency in Muslim majority countries. I utilize a socio-legal approach to study and interpret the histories, theologies and legal documents that have governed and mediated women’s lives in the Muslim world. Within the broader Middle East my particular focus is on Iran and Persianate societies. Through the use of narratives (interviews, prison narratives and women activists’ online writings) I trace the relationship between women’s rights and the reform of laws in Muslim majority contexts. I look in particular at how gendered and feminist identities shift in different political and socio-legal contexts. My research on female religious authorities in the Muslim world is of particular importance in this regard as it highlights the identities of women through an interpretive lens of agency.

Monica Gale | School of Histories and Humanities | RSS Profile

My research is primarily concerned with Roman poetry of the Late Republican and Augustan periods (broadly, 1st century BC), particularly that of Lucretius, Catullus, Virgil and Propertius. These authors touch in various ways on issues of identity, particularly in terms of the relationship between individual and community at a period of traumatic socio-political change (from a Republican to an autocratic/imperial system of government under Augustus). I have in recent years developed a particular interest in the challenges to traditional gender roles and stereotypes posed by Catullus and Propertius, and in social performance and self-representation in these two authors. My paper on ‘Property, Status and Social Relations in the Poetry of Catullus’ also considers issues of ‘class’ and social standing and their relationship to the poet’s self-representation and performance of identity. All these issues are central to my major ongoing research project, a commentary on the compete poems of Catullus commissioned by Cambridge University Press.

Siobhán Garrrigan | Confederal School of Religions, Peace Studies and Theology | RSS Profile

My research focuses on how ritual shapes theology – perhaps not official doctrines, but the felt theologies of people’s lives – and how this, in turn, deeply shapes people’s identities. Having developed new methods for the theological study of worship in my early work (based in ritual studies and ethnography), I then undertook a series of studies of matters of social justice, investigating the ways that religion is implicated in social difficulty and conflict. I produced work on racism, poverty, the Irish in England, queer identity and sectarianism. The latter has constituted the major work of my career to date, with a ten-year study that showed how religious ritual helps to manufacture and maintain (but could also help to undo) sectarianism in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. My present work examines more deeply two key themes that emerged in the sectarianism work: the idea of home, and the synapses of human belonging. I’m currently addressing the first through a ritual-based study of homelessness, and the latter through a theological examination of loneliness.

Daniel Geary | School of Histories and Humanities | RSS Profile

My research explores the transformation of identities within the United States during the twentieth century.  As an intellectual historian, my work particularly investigates those Americans who have played key roles in shaping national and group identities.  I am especially interested in the interrelated nature of transformations in thought, culture and politics. My recent publications explore the contested nature of racial discourse within the United States.  For example, my 2015 book, Beyond Civil Rights: The Moynihan Report and Its Legacy, explores debates about African American inequality in the United States since the civil rights era.  By examining the contested legacy of a controversial 1965 government report on African American families, it shows how the status of African Americans has proven a crucial issue for negotiating national and group identities since the 1960s.    

Patrick Geoghegan | School of Histories and Humanities | RSS Profile

My research centres on the development of the different political traditions on this island, and the changing nature of the Anglo-Irish relationship in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the first phase I examined the break-down of the existing constitutional structures in the late-eighteenth century, culminating in the passing of the Act of Union (1800). This work addressed how the questions of religious identity, political corruption, and national identity operated in this period. In the second phase of my research I looked at the operation of post-Union politics from the Unionist and British perspective.  As part of this work I studied the career of Lord Castlereagh, the Irish-born foreign secretary during the Congress of Vienna.  Next I looked at the question of radical republicanism in the 1790s and the radical response to the Union.  This research centred on the leading republican figure in the post-1798 period, Robert Emmet. In the fourth phase of my research I returned to the themes of constitutional nationalism and the post-Union settlement.  By looking at the central figure of Daniel O’Connell it was possible to explore how Irish politics – and Irish identity -was polarised along sectarian lines in the nineteenth century. 

James Hanrahan | School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies | RSS Profile

My recent contributions to the Complete Works of Voltaire (2, 3, 4, 5 above) relate to Voltaire’s later political pamphlets written on behalf of the pays de Gex, an isolated enclave between France and Switzerland. They show his attempts to use his influence to recreate the image of this rural area as a place free from the influence of feudal tax and trade regulations. Voltaire’s work on behalf of the pays de Gex led to a new status for this area, which remained a ‘free zone’ in trade terms into the 20th century thanks to his initiatives. In parallel, my forthcoming article (1 above) and recent workshop (A above) relating to Voltaire’s historical practice contribute to a larger project in which I collaborate, a critical edition of Voltaire’s contemporary history of Louis XV’s France. In writing a contemporary history, Voltaire seeks to define France’s role on the European stage and its consolidation of its primary role in Europe, both in terms of its political and cultural importance, even if this representation did not necessarily correspond to the historical reality. Voltaire’s historical works in general were hugely influential in defining France’s attitude to its own history in later centuries. The other recent conferences I have (co-)organised (B, C, D above) also deal with the theme of identities in transformation, C and D through the reflection of the legacies of influential 18th century thinkers, and B through the theme of origins, which saw contributors discuss personal, regional, and national origins as represented in French literature from the Renaissance to the present day.

Poul Holm | School of History and Humanities | RSS Profile

My work encompasses three major research fields (research on research, environmental humanities (specifically marine), and Viking studies) which relate to the research theme in different ways. My interest in research on (humanities) research fits the theme in a generic way. My work in environmental humanities is about how to change attitudes, mentalities, practices in the light of past and present environmental crises. My Viking studies are primarily driven by an interest in understanding contact and conflict in early medieval societies. My research projects are all very interdisciplinary projects, funded by major international funders (A W Mellon, A P Sloan, FP7, and recently ERC). 

John Horne | School of Histories and Humanities | RSS Profile

For the past twenty years I have worked on the cultural history of war. The themes of experience, representation, identity and memory have been central to this work, including the narrative strategies and iconographic representations by which individuals, groups and entire societies grapple with the gap between expectations and extreme experiences that radically contradict these expectations. The subsequent attempts (often unsuccessful) to order such encounters retrospectively (the symbols and myths of memory) are also important to this work. I have chosen to focus this work, which continues to interest me at a conceptual level, on the Great War since this latter event provides an extraordinary laboratory for the historian, not least in the amount of primary source material that it generated. Identities, and the often radical changes which these underwent, have been, and continue to be, at the heart of this work.

Nicholas Johnson | School of Drama, Film and Music | RSS Profile

My research broadly investigates the critique of identity manifested in literary modernism and its implications within the contemporary, in particular in its expressions through performance and in the works (across genre and time) of Samuel Beckett. In the development of a new space and technique for this research to occur both within and through performance at the Samuel Beckett Laboratory, as well as through publications, talks, and workshops around the world, my work has found relevance across a range of areas, including pedagogy (especially for performance-led or practice-based research), medical humanities, business/management, and human rights. In my forthcoming monograph on Beckett’s prose in performance, I engage with the relationship between literature as “object” or literature as “event” and the implications of this transition; in new work relating to a second book and a number of research grants underway, I am beginning to ask broader questions about the embodied knowledge held by actors and how this might be useful across disciplines and contexts. I work on these questions in both traditional publishing and professional theatrical contexts, as well as a number of textual events/practice-based research/workshop contexts, raising further questions of “identities” in the form of my research as well as its content.

Maureen Junker-Kenny | Confederal School of Religions, Peace Studies and Theology | RSS Profile

Both religious and ethical traditions constitute prime examples of identities in transformation. Following up current Neo-Kantian approaches in applied ethics, such as genetic enhancement (J. Habermas and the Rawls School), or justice in a national (J. Rawls) or a cosmopolitan framework (Onora O’Neill) shows the need for recourse to the original meaning of terms such as “autonomy” and “dignity” in Kant, and subsequent developments in ethics, including Kierkegaard’s analysis of the self.  The ethics of memory (e.g., A. Margalit, A. and J. Assmann, and P. Ricoeur) pose philosophical and theological questions of history and evil, agency and suffering, judgment and forgiveness which relate to the quest for new identities. The development of Christian monotheism from its Jewish matrix in its encounter with “gentile” cultural and religious traditions since antiquity presents the hermeneutical challenge of specifying the “identity” of Christianity and of comparing different theological authors. The task has been compared to the interpretation of a Constitution which is specified in concrete cases, e.g., of what dignity means in children’s rights. The hermeneutical competence required by theology as the reflection on what is normative in a religious tradition can offer a productive example for other identity debates in the Humanities.

Jeffrey Kallen | School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences | RSS Profile

My work has always been concerned with questions of identity, whether in my primary degree in folklore studies, my post-graduate education in linguistics, or my subsequent research on topics such as the English language in Ireland, Linguistic Landscape, dialectology, semiotics, or bilingualism and language rights. The English language in Ireland (known also as Hiberno-English) has a historical link to the Irish language and to the outcomes of language contact between Irish speakers, colonists, and others. The field has often been preoccupied with historical questions, but more recent approaches that I have worked with view Irish English in the context of world Englishes more generally, and now considers Irish English not just in relation to its roots in Ireland, but in a multilingual society in which superdiversity and globalisation are to the fore. Linguistic Landscape refers essentially to the use of visible language in the public space. This research invariably brings in questions of new identities in a global world, where consumer pressures, population movement, global networks of communication, and the expression of identity are manifest.

Jarlath Killeen | School of English | RSS Profile

My studies of Anglican culture in Ireland from 1641 to the end of the nineteenth century are focused on how Protestant identities were in flux during this period. Gothic Ireland (2005) argued that the Gothic form infiltrated Anglican literary culture in Ireland during the eighteenth century as the dominant methodology to express the peculiarities of a hybrid identity, and examined a number of key Irish Anglican writers and thinkers: John Temple, William Molyneux, William King, Jonathan Swift, Edmund Burke and Maria Edgeworth. This book, together with more recent articles theorising and exploring the still-emerging field of Irish Gothic, and its ‘sequel’ The Emergence of Irish Gothic (2014) trace the shifts in Irish Anglican identity in both fiction and non-fictional work. My studies of Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and J. S. Le Fanu have been concerned with detailing their involvement in the identity politics of the nineteenth century, the transformation of the Irish Protestant community, and the development of the Gothic as a way of articulating this transformation.

Joan Lalor | School of Nursing and Midwifery | RSS Profile

My research has focused broadly within the area of maternity care and motherhood. Although becoming a mother is transformative in and of itself; I am particularly interested in motherhood and identity in times of crisis such as the diagnosis of a fetal abnormality, fetal or infant loss, becoming a mother with a disability and the identity crisis of concealed pregnancy and Neonaticide. It is often during times of crisis and when the reality of motherhood fails to match what was imagined or expected that women may question who they think they are. Societal views of motherhood are of critical importance, as for many women, the crisis of identity is (for a time) influenced by concerns of other’s views, and, in particular, judgements as to where the responsibility lies for bearing a child with an abnormality, the wisdom or morality of choosing to mother as a disabled women, choosing to end a pregnancy or to hide the fact. Within Ireland there is much change both in practice and in law as religious authority begins to lose its control over women’s reproductive rights. My research seeks to analyse women’s experiences of pregnancy and motherhood within the context of changing societal attitudes towards health, disability and what it means to be ‘normal’.

Denise Lawler | School of Nursing and Midwifery | RSS Profiles

My research work on women with a disability and maternal identity transcends a number of clusters within the Identities in Transformation theme.  All too often, these women are positioned at the margins of society and are disenfranchised at a number of levels but most especially in relation to their reproductive rights and the right to parent. By documenting and telling their experiences, their narrative have the potential to affect change in society in how parents, especially women with a disability are perceived and understood. It challenges societies, communities and individuals located in communities and societies to reassess their perceptions and redefine their expectations of people with a disability identity. The aim is to facilitate in the destabilization and discrediting of unconstructive identities associated with person with a disability and the construction of new productive identities. My research explores how women with a disability negotiate and construct an identity as a person with a disability, how this identity is renegotiated post motherhood and how it evolves in a society where various discourses play a significant role in how mothers with a disability are typecast. Maternal identity bestows a sense of belonging for women with a disability, a sense of belonging in a society that heretofore marginalized and excluded them.

Catherine Lawless | School of Histories and Humanities | RSS Profile

I work on representations of gender and holiness in Italian art of the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries. This involves working on representations of the holy body, and how that body is framed, for what audiences, and how those representations intersect with contemporary understandings of gender, anatomy and power. In investigating this, questions are asked about how identity is constructed and maintained through the appropriation of saints cults, whether such an appropriation offers understandings of gender systems (for instance, familial identity is often projected through male saints, the perfect example being the Medici family’s successful use of the cult of SS Cosmas and Damian), and the construction or projection of particular identities. Under examination also is the way in which saintly representations are used by religious orders, and how they are used in various spaces (ecclesiastical, domestic, civic) in the Italian city state. Control and mediation of somatic piety (in particular female piety) is also investigated, and its relationship to emerging humanistic culture.

Caitriona Leahy | School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies | RSS Profile

Current Project: I am currently working on the German visual artist, Anselm Kiefer, exploring the literary, philosophical and political correspondences between Kiefer and other articulations of monumentalist thought. One of the main threads of this work is looking at the ways in which Kiefer has positioned himself and his artworks as the embodiment of an internationally acceptable Germanness, that presents itself in constant dialogue with its past and future. He gathers German history and German literature into his presentation of a constantly evolving and decaying present moment. Kiefer, in other words, is all about German identity in the process of performing and transforming itself. More generally: I have worked on Austrian literature for most of my career, in particular specializing in the post-war writer Ingeborg Bachmann, who is now acknowledged as one of the pioneers of Austrian cultural memory, striving to understand the philosophical, literary and embodied nature of fascism.

Lorraine Leeson | School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences | RSS Profile

I am interested in how Deaf communities are constructed, performed and narrated from both a Deaf-centric and a ‘hearing’ world view. I am particularly interested in inter-disciplinary (linguistic, sociolinguistic, gender studies, Deaf studies, interpreting studies, translation studies) inter-sectional analyses of manifestations and negotiations of identity in hearing-deaf relationships, and in the “in-between” spaces occupied by interpreters. My work on sign languages has explored aspects of embodiment, from a cognitive linguistic perspective, mapping to the lived experiences of deaf sign language users as ‘visual people’ and the cognitive metaphors that permeate Irish Sign Language. I have also worked on documenting aspects of gendered and generational language use in the Irish Deaf Community, particularly female variant, which has been considered ‘less’ than the male variant for many decades, exploring what this ‘means’ for sign language teaching and learning, for attitudes toward Irish Sign Language, and to the work that interpreters do. A key theme underpinning much of my current work is the construction and performance of identity via interpretation in situated contexts (e.g. workplace, political, educational, legal, medical settings). I have been working with several international teams of interpreting scholars on a range of projects, funded and unfunded. The overarching theme for my work is the exploration of how deaf people experience being interpreted into spoken languages. For example, how do they influence how their identities – collectively (as Deaf communities) and individually (as patients, witnesses, academics, students, leaders) are performed via interpretation?. The corollary of this is how hearing people are constructed and performed to Deaf communities. In the hinterland stands the interpreter: I am interested in if and how interpreters bring inter-subjective awareness to the work they do in constructing and performing identities via language in situated contexts. A future task is the exploration of how individual instances of interpretation add up, over time, to a construction of the identity of a deaf/hearing person, which may be significantly influenced by an interpreter’s knowledge/world-view, and be at odds with the interpreted person’s self-identity/identities. Both interpretation and the person interpreted are often conflated, and all stakeholders in an interpreted event are situated within master narratives/dominant discourses that can conspire against effective intercultural communication, but also contribute to privileging/disadvantaging individuals and communities.

Stephen Matterson | School of English | RSS Profile

At a fundamental level most of my critical studies are focused on change and self-transformation.  At times this transformation is self-managed and self-directed; this is certainly evident in my representation of American poetry, where the will to change and redirect is a crucial criterion for the US poet; hence my focus on style and career change in the work of poets such as William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, John Berryman and Robert Lowell.  However I also explore writers whose representation of transformation is from that of an outside agency.  My recently published monograph on Herman Melville had this as a core theme, examining particularly the ways in which clothing and dress represent the individual’s capacity for self-alignment in modernity.  My research for this book led to a developing special interest in clothing and identity representation, clearly germane—and in some respects central—to the theme of identities in transition.

Moray McGowan | School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies | RSS Profile

My work concerns textual and performative articulation of material experience (individual and collective) in imaginative literature, drama and theatre. Literature and performance reflect and promote, but also challenge and subvert, processes of transformation, and are inseparable from them. Since the mid-1990s, my work on modern German-language literature, ideas and cultural studies has focused on two areas:
Firstly the theatre and drama of the late GDR up to and including the collapse of the state, asking questions about the challenges to individual and collective identity represented by working in and against, and then looking back on, a state which made certain assumptions about, and put certain compulsions on, the role of art and the artist in the collective.Secondly the increasingly significant and diverse  ‘literature of migration’ in German. In the 1990s I contributed materially to the mapping of the field and in the 2000s to the problematizing of some of the key assumptions about migrant experience and its literary articulation, with a focus on Turkish-German writing. Currently I am exploring the work of Iraqi writers in German. In both cases, one of the agendas is to rethink Germanness and remap ‘German’ historical and geographical experience.

Kathleen Mc Tiernan | School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences | RSS Profile

My research focuses on the transformative effects that the assimilation of new experiences to a pre-existing knowledge base can have on an individual’s sense of identity.  The Life Histories Archiveand the Lifescapes Mapping Dublin Lives, Bridge IT Digital Archive exemplify the links between identity, transformative learning, wellbeing and technology. The digital archives are thematically linked structured collections of stories extracted from interviews and autobiographies of older people from Dublin and Belfast.  They exemplify how life reflections can contextualise past experience and transform original ascribed meanings.  Through this process of reflection, assimilation and transformation, it is possible for individuals to have multiple growth-oriented iterations of identity throughout the lifespan. Further to the personal transformative effects of reflection and meaning making, because the Archives are fully searchable and are open access resources, the wider community is afforded the opportunity to engage with others’ memories and experiences, make personal links the universal themes in the stories and thereby create their own growth stories.  There is no doubt that the reach of the archives has a transformative effect on, not only the individuals who were involved in the archival processes, but also individuals in the wider community who engage with the content of these digital resources.  

Elaine Moriarity | School of Social Sciences and Philosophy | RSS Profile

My research agenda seeks to explore, understand and inform the personal experiences of global phenomena.  In particular, I am interested in migration and mobility within a globalised world, how this impacts on Irish and European societies and how individuals and groups maintain a sense of self within these processes. In researching the mobility of Europeans in the past decade, conceptualisations of national and essentialised identities have been challenged and problematized by new transnational practices, virtual connections and greater complexities in how people live, work and transfer their social rights. I am interested in the dynamics between increasingly mobile European nationals, EU directives guaranteeing equal rights among European nationals, an increased emphasis on global labour markets and expectations of a mobile, flexible workforce and national assumptions of belonging. A rise in various forms of mobility has implications for individuals’ identity experiences and performances, both formally through legislative imperatives and experientially through expressions of cosmopolitan or ethnicised identities.

Graeme Murdock | School of Histories and Humanities | RSS Profile

My research focuses on the changing character of religion and religious identities in post-Reformation Europe. I am particularly interested in Calvinism and Reformed churches and communities. I have examined the nature of Calvinist identity and the meaning of ‘being Calvinist’ in early modern Europe in a variety of contexts. I have examined the construction and reception of Reformed confessional identity in Central Europe, focusing on Hungary and the Transylvanian principality. I have examined the nature and resilience of a trans-national Reformed community with a shared Calvinist identity. I have also examined the performance of religious violence and contests over religious truth between those of rival identities in France and elsewhere. My current research focuses on the long-term history of religion of a small village in the duchy of Savoy divided between Calvinists and Catholics. I analyse the place of religious identity within this small rural community between the Renaissance and French Revolution.

Colm O'Boyle | School of Nursing and Midwifery | RSS Profile

Giving birth is relevant to personhood and one’s identity as parent, mother and citizen. Birth is without doubt a significant transition and so warrants inclusion in the identities and transformation theme. Attendance at birth is relevant to professional role and identity as well as the recognition and nurturance of the person and the various expressions of identity. Midwifery and sociological research best fits this of all TCD themes. There is a spiritual aspect to birth and birth attendance that should be acknowledged and which fits well with the identities and transformation theme. My work around home birth, midwifery and maternity services capacity building encompasses holism, embodiment, and personal and cultural identities and practices.

Ciaran O'Neill | School of Histories and Humanities | RSS Profile

Much of my work has focused on contested identity of transnational elite groups. My monograph Catholics of Consequence is a study of elite circulation, cosmopolitan identity and social mobility - all of which relate to core elements of Identities in Transformation. This type of work has brought me into contact with groups at Uppsala, the Sorbonne, and Lausanne – the product of which is a network meeting in Trinity in June 2015 on the subject of ‘Power, Cosmopolitanism, and the Transformation of European Elites’. Likewise the work I have done on feminist literature and children’s literature focuses on identities in flux among writers living in cosmopolitan contexts (usually in Paris, London or New York) who are trying to reconcile their suburban/urban anonymity with their strong identity with their place of origin. A special edition of the 1* ranked interdisciplinary journal Eire-Ireland next year will look specifically at ‘Transnational Ireland’, seeking again to think about those at the ‘periphery’ of Irish identity more clearly, as well as concentrating on circulations and flows across borders.

Desmond O'Neill | School of Medicine | RSS Profile

The collective ageing of our populations is the most profound and far-reaching social change of the last century, and is enormously transformative of individual and societal identities. The key hall-mark of ageing is that of complexity, and society and its institutions has grappled as with only partial success to tease out and appreciate the enormous benefits of ageing, the longevity dividend. My work in the area of medical humanities and cultural gerontology, engaging in interdisciplinary work between the humanities and the life sciences, seeks to explore the lived experience of ageing, particularly through late-life creativity in literature, music and the arts.

David O'Shaughnessy | School of English | RSS Profile

My research is currently exploring the extent to which Irish playwrights living and working in eighteenth-century London negotiated their Irish background in the cosmopolitan whirl of the city. Many Irish playwrights did consider themselves Irish (both Catholic and Protestant) but were reluctant to allow this identity to define and delineate their professional and social ambitions. Irish identity in this period was a fluid and malleable state of being, one that could offer advantage (through access to Irish networks of patronage) or disadvantage (the potential to be stereotyped was considerable). How this impacted on their own work is in itself fascinating, given the considerable stature of writers such as Richard Steele, Oliver Goldsmith, Arthur Murphy, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, among many others, but there are broader questions to be answered as to how this tradition impacted upon the development of the British theatrical tradition, particularly comedy. Moreover, there is considerable scope for considering how these Irish writers contributed to a diasporic Irish Enlightenment in a forum (i.e. the theatre) not often considered in scholarship of the British Enlightenment. Selected aspects of my work on William Godwin also relate to the theme – his status as a Dissenting Protestant intellectual, who suffered discrimination, was the impetus for much of his political and intellectual agitation.

Carmel O'Sullivan | School of Education | RSS Profile

Eve Patten | School of English | RSS Profile

My research focus spans nineteenth-century Irish cultural history, including book, print and publishing history, to twentieth-century literary history, with an emphasis on Irish-European literary interrelations and Second World War fiction. In these contexts, I have specifically engaged with the theme of ‘Identities in Transformation’ in my use of intercultural (and inter-European) approaches to modern Irish and British literature. Building on my published work in modern Irish fiction, I have adopted a critical paradigm which rejects a ‘nation-bound’ thesis of literature in favour of broader contextual readings of both British and Irish writing, attentive to changing identities within European imperial and post-imperial frameworks. My focus on the intercultural and imagology-related facets of modern Irish writing has also stimulated internationally-based projects and publications on Irish writers and their connections to Central and Eastern Europe.

Andrew Pierce | Confederal School of Religions, Peace Studies and Theology | RSS Profile

From a background in historical theology, my work currently focuses on Christian ecumenism (both in general and with particular reference to the Anglican Communion in which I serve on an international commission with a 10 year lifespan and with a brief to monitor critically inter-Anglican relations and Anglican ecumenical relations), theological engagements with so-called religious fundamentalism, and, increasingly, with theological understandings of place.  These areas share a concern with the ways in which social and religious identities are articulated in specific contexts; the ways in which these identities undergo translation/mistranslation into new settings; and the ways in which debates and conflicts over identity may be transformed through appropriately staged and resourced dialogue.  David Tracy famously noted 3 ‘publics’ to which theologians are answerable (church, academy, society); my work is most explicitly orientated to the first 2 of these, but its concern with critical, self-critical religious reflection on intra- and inter-religious relations contributes to the well-being of the 3rd. 

Clemens Ruthner | School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies | RSS Profile

Throughout my academic career, the theme of identities (in transformation) has played a significant role in my teaching and research. I have been teaching a 4th-year’s module on cultural theory (GR4040) and an applied Master’s class on ‘Central European cultures of identity and memory’ (EU7003) for quite a while. My probably most crucial area of research is alterity, i.e. othering as a culture technique to construe and enforce identity ex negativo: literary and cultural constructions of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, monstrosity. I am currently finishing a monograph and two edited volumes on  the quasi-colonial formatting of ‘Balkan’/Islamic identities by the Austro-Hungarian occupier in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1878-1918. I have contributed extensively to the discussion and definition of the Gothic/fantastic in literature and culture (which usually  challenges rational concepts of identity) in the German-speaking world through my publications. A literary character and cultural phantasm which is of particular interest to me is the vampire / vampirism, the epitome of a shape-shifter, floating signifier, and liminal ‘identity’ between life and death, which I particularly analyze as a political trope. My next book project, however, is on liminality as a critical concept in literary and cultural studies, i.e. the shift, transition and threshold between construed identities.

David Scott | School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies | RSS Profile

The first strand of my research on this theme focuses on issues of national identity as expressed in visual form within the European context. My work has taken the form of books, articles, lectures, Masters modules and exhibitions at a national and international level. A major contribution is my exhibition and book European Stamp Design (London: Design Museum & Academy Editions, 1995). Also my edited volume Sémiotique et herméneutique du timbre poste (Protée, 2002). The second strand of my research focuses on identity issues in relation to travel, an area I have explored in terms of books, lectures, a final year UG module and international conference papers. My major contribution to this field is my book Semiologies of Travel from Gautier to Baudrillard (Cambridge University Press, 2004) The third significant area of my identity-related work is on boxing as an expression of masculinity. To date I have published two important books on this subject: The Art & Aesthetics of Boxing (University of Nebraska Press, 2009)and Cultures of Boxing (Peter Lang, forthcoming 2015), based on a conference I organized on this subject in TCD in 2011.  I am also a contributor to the Cambridge Companion to Boxing (forthcoming 2016) and have given papers on this topic at international conferences.

Aidan Seery | School of Education | RSS Profile

My research is in the field of educational theory with particular reference to the contemporary status and possibilities of a re-formulated concept of Bildung as educative self-formation. This work entails an examination of contemporary views on the nature of the individual, the subject and the process of subjectivation in the dialectical encounter with socio-cultural structures and the traditional bodies of knowledge as enacted in the modern university. A recent focus for this work is provided by the theories of the subject in the work of Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek and Catherine Malabou and how the subject is established and formed in the truth-events of educational encounters. This process is regarded as one of radical, unpredictable transformation of the individual and hence fits well with the theme of ‘Identities in Transformation’ by examining and challenging the relationship between identity and subjectivity in contemporary thought and educational theory.

Peter Simons | School of Social Sciences and Philosophy | RSS Profile

What, in the strict and philosophical sense, is it for something to be the very same (identical) with something? Is identity a logical or a metaphysical notion, neither, or both? Is there one sense of ‘identical’ or more than one? If the latter, how are they related? Also: what is it for something to be the very same (identical) thing at different times, in different places, in different instantiations. Questions of the identity conditions of objects in all categories are central to metaphysics, and the notion is ubiquitous there. Also: how does the strict and philosophical notion relate to looser conceptions such as similarity, solidarity, connectedness and unity?

Brian Singleton | School of Drama, Film and Music | RSS Profile

All of my research has been connected to the Identities in Transition research theme, first in respect of interculturalism and performance, and the second in relation to gender & sexuality in performance. I was one of the first scholars to publish in the field of interculturalism, particularly in contemporary performance, in the early 1990s and contributed to defining the field over the next two decades. My 1997 essay ‘The Pursuit of Otherness for the Investigation of Self’ (Theatre Research International, 1997) was translated and published in Hindi, Mandarin and Korean. In 2004 I published a monograph on Oscar Asche, Orientalism and British Musical Comedy, reappraising from a postcolonial perspective popular culture at the height of Empire with its us/them dialectic, with a particular emphasis on the First World War. In 2009-10 I became a Research Fellow of the Institute of Interweaving Cultures of Performance at the Freie Universitat, Berlin where I examined historically the development of the cultural movements and theories that began with orientalism, moved to interculturalism and then shifted again through processes of globalization. Currently I have been commissioned to write two separate book chapters on historical representations of otherness, one in Britain and the other in France. Although I continue to work in the same field (with two commissioned essays, though refracted in terms of performance in global contexts, rather than through an intercultural lens), I have also been interrogating shifting identities, particularly in relation to class, religion, gender and sexuality in Irish performance. In 2011 I published a monograph entitled Masculinities and the Contemporary Irish Theatre, revised in a new edition in 2015. This was the first book on the subject that has led to a burgeoning field of study. I am currently analyzing contemporary performance that interrogates space, time, memory and history from the perspective of class, race and gender, for my next monograph.

Martine Smith | School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences | RSS Profile

My research is primarily directed at understanding the context and needs of children and adults who have significant physical impairments and cannot speak. Language is a powerful factor in the construction of identity; so too is the human voice. Many children and adults who use augmentative communication rely on graphic symbols, writing or computer-generated voice output devices, including iPad technology to communicate. Becoming an Aided Communicator is an international cross-linguistic project focused on the emergence of communicative competence in children using augmentative communication and the perspectives of key stakeholders (children, parents and teachers) on how and to what purposes augmentative communication modalities are used in interactions in everyday life. Children using graphic symbols may rarely encounter a peer who shares their communication system, or may use a voice output device with speech characteristics that are very different to those of the language community or the peer group. My research explores the impact of these features on the construction of identity within the community and in particular on understanding how best to support the construction of competence as a core feature of identity.

Sarah Smyth | School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies | RSS Profile

Part of the ‘Our Languages’ research project consists of the creation of an archive of life stories which tell part of the story of migration to Ireland at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries and present the voices of the participants which might not otherwise be heard in the media and in academic discourse.  This part of the project provides a resource to study the process involved in the of narrativization of identity, and in particular (1) how the Soviet Union, or post-Soviet space in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, shaped the horizons of expectations, established values and boundaries, framed dreams and provided master narratives by/through which to structure one’s life; (2) how rupture (be it the collapse of the Soviet Union, or migration) impacted on the trajectories of the lives recounted; (3) how the evaluative intonations of others come to shape the representation of self; (4) how the narrators conceptualise the ‘good life’ and (5) within the uncharted spaces of asides, commentary and digressions how tellers subvert the framing of their narrative identities.

Irene Walsh | School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences | RSS Profile

My research work has a common thread of ‘identities in transformation’ and emanates from my PhD research. My PhD thesis was titled: Conversational Sociability: Emerging ability amidst perceived disability in chronic schizophrenia. In my work in (spoken) discourse analysis and psychiatry, I am concerned with exploring identities in transformation and as they emerge in talk taking place between person and therapist (in my case in the discipline of speech and language therapy). For example, many people with diagnoses such as schizophrenia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are all too frequently cast in the role of the ‘disordered’ or ‘impaired’ communicator, often ignoring the co-construction of that identity by the interlocutor in the discourse.  Revealing patterns of ‘disabling discourses’ is the first step to challenging such negative constructions and working towards a more transformative and positive emergent identity - an enabled communicator as opposed to a disabled one. Mapping professional identities in education in speech and language therapy and other allied healthcare education is also a research interest of mine. The transformative journey from clinical observer to clinical practitioner is one that can also be mapped in discourse. Spoken and written discourse of teaching and learning activities, such as reflective learning logs, case presentations, and group tutorials can be explored to reveal emergent professional identities in talk.

James Wickham | School of Social Sciences and Philosophy | RSS Profile

I research mobility – how people move – and its relation to employment - how people gain an income.  I am especially interested in the mechanics (including as a student of technology the actual machinery) of movement and I query whether contemporary forms of mobility undermine our traditional conceptualizations of migration.  This in turn has implications for identity.  Traditional conceptualisations of identity link migration to permanent moves from one nation state to another, but as in particular our study of Polish migrants in Ireland showed, such a focus ignores new movements and new more individualized and reflexive identities.  Mobility may be a more useful term than migration! I also research European social structure and social policy. My work on the ‘European Social Model’ suggests that if ordinary Europeans have a common identity, it is more to do with their experience of living in national welfare states than with any European ‘culture’ in the traditional sense.

Gillian Wylie | Confederal School of Religions, Peace Studies and Theology | RSS Profile

I have researched the issue of human trafficking for almost a decade now. Over that time I have learned to abandon an early concern with establishing the empirical reality of trafficking (it’s a hopeless case), becoming instead ever-more aware of the politics of the concept, including the many ways it is used in the politics of identity formation by states, international organizations and NGOs. Intensified migration is undoubtedly a consequence of globalization – yet the control of people’s movement remains an obsession for states, as they seek to shore up notions of national identity and border security. The identification by states of some migrants as ‘trafficked’ categorizes them as ‘innocent victims’ of organized crime, but this enables the identification of many others as ‘illegal’ or ‘smuggled’ migrants, i.e. ‘guilty’ transgressors of state borders. ‘Traffickers’ are meanwhile identified as criminals, threatening to state security and so legitimating punitive responses to an issue which has far more systemic causes – as has been so evident in recent European responses to the 'migration crisis’. Even some NGOs repeat these discourses as they seek to raise advocacy concerns or seek funding. In my research I try not to lose sight of the real difficulties encountered by exploited migrants in the globalizing world, while recognizing how the concept of trafficking plays out in the politics of migrant classification, border control and national identity formation.