Dr Conor McCarthy


Second Year Co-Ordinator
Associate Professor; Second Year Coordinator

Iontas Building
Ground Floor
Office 0.38
(01) 708 3393


Conor McCarthy is Senior Lecturer in English at Maynooth University. After schooling in Ireland and Canada, he took his BA in English and Sociology at Trinity College Dublin (1989), his Master’s Degree in English at University College Dublin (1991) and his D.Phil. in English at Sussex (1996). He is the author of Modernisation, Crisis and Culture in Ireland 1969 - 1992 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2000), and The Cambridge Introduction to Edward Said (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).   

 Conor won one of the first Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellowships, which he held from 2000 to 2002 at NUI Galway. He has lectured in universities in Ireland, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, the United States, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and in the Middle East. He is Associate Editor of College Literature and Second Year Co-Ordinator in the Maynooth University English Department.

Conor has long developed intellectual and political expertise both within and beyond the academy.  This work centres around the value of scholarship as a public good in itself but also on the vocation of the critical intellectual, who produces major research while seeking to put his/her expertise in the service of wider publics and constituencies beyond the academy.   Accordingly, Conor seeks to work as a scholar-activist.  He is a founder-member of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and of Academics for Palestine, which campaigns for the academic boycott of Israeli higher education institutions.  Through those organisations, and many other forms of research, cultural and outreach activities, Conor has helped shape discussion of the Palestine question in Ireland over the last two decades.   He is also a veteran member and participant in the work of the Red Stripe Marxist collective and seminar.   Conor's interest in and sympathy with the Marxist tradition issued most notably in the 2018 '(Re-)Birth of Marx(-ism)' conference, held to recognise the bicentenary of Marx's birth.   This international event, conceived and co-organised by Conor, was the largest humanities or social science conference held at Maynooth University for many years.

As well as two monographs and two edited volumes, Conor has published articles, essays and reviews on literature, criticism and cultural politics in the Yearbook of English Studies, Interventions, Textual Practice, the Irish University Review, the Irish Literary Supplement, Eire-Ireland, the Journal of Palestine Studies, the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, Wasafiri, College Literature, The Citizen, Current Writing, the Dublin Review of Books, the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Field Day Review. Conor has also written and reviewed for The Irish Times and The Sunday Business Post, as well as publishing political essays and reviews with Electronic Intifada, Jacobin, Jadaliyya, Mondoweiss and the Irish Left Review.  Conor's work has been translated into German and Italian.

Conor has supervised doctoral research on the twentieth century Irish novel, on the importance of Nietzsche to the great Irish modernists, and on the counter-revolutionary character of Irish fiction in the era of the Free State.    He welcomes research proposals in these areas, as well as in the history of Irish political thought, Western Marxism, postcolonialism, and twentieth century Irish culture.

Conor's Google Scholar page: ‪Conor McCarthy McCarthy‬ - ‪Google Scholar‬

Conor has kept a blog since 2012: reflectionsfromdamagedlife.blogspot.com   Views expressed there are his alone.

Research Interests

An internationally recognised expert on Edward Said, Conor edited a special issue of College Literature in 2013, 'Edward Said: Beginning Again', to mark the tenth anniversary of Said's death. He published a new anthology of the work of James Connolly, The Revolutionary and Anti-Imperialist Writings of James Connolly 1893-1916 in May 2016.  A volume of articles on academic freedom, edited with David Landy and Ronit Lentin and entitled Enforcing Silence: Academic Freedom, Palestine and the Critique of Israel, was published in May 2020.

Conor has recently published articles on Edward Said's self-invention as a radical humanist, and on James Connolly and empire.   A major article on the concept of authority in Said's criticism appeared in Ariel in October 2020.  'Edward Said: Literature and the World' was published in May 2022 in Joel Evans's edited volume Globalization and Literary Studies (Cambridge UP).  Conor published a review-article on Timothy Brennan's life of Edward Said Places of Mind, with the Dublin Review of Books in September 2021, and also a review-article of Seamus Deane's last volume of essays, Small World, with the Los Angeles Review of Books in November 2021.   An article on the political thought of the Irish revolutionary period was published in the Dublin Review of Books in October 2022. An article on the value and implications of Said's work for critical and normative political theory is due with the Los Angeles Review later in 2023.  Conor is currently working on an essay on Seamus Deane's appropriations of the work of the controversial jurist and political theorist Carl Schmitt.

Conor’s research interests lie in the history of ideas and in Irish intellectual history, especially the history and politics of criticism and literary pedagogy. He is also interested in twentieth-century Irish culture, the history of Marxism, in postcolonial theory, and in the intersections of literature and political thought. He is currently planning a project concerning the intellectual legacy in Ireland of Edmund Burke.  Conor is also preparing a book for the radical French publisher La Fabrique, with the working title l'Irlande: Un inventaire du present.

Conor has supervised doctoral research in Irish modernism, theory, and the twentieth century Irish novel.  He welcomes doctoral research proposals in any of these or related areas.   He particularly welcomes research proposals in the areas of criticism and intellectual history.

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
GOI Scholarship for Conor Dowling: "Pictures of the Future:" Modernism and Uncertainty in Free State Literature PI Conor McCarthy is supervisor 01/10/2017 30/09/2019 46980


Year Publication
2016 Dr Conor D. McCarthy (ed.) (2016) The Revolutionary and Anti-Imperialist Writings of James Connolly 1893-1916. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
2010 Dr Conor D. McCarthy (2010) The Cambridge Introduction to Edward Said. : Cambridge University Press.
2000 Dr Conor D. McCarthy (2000) Modernisation, Crisis and Culture in Ireland 1969 - 1992. : Four Courts Press.

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2022 Conor McCarthy (2022) ''Edward Said: Literature and the World'' In: Globalisation and Literary Studies. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.
2021 Conor McCarthy (2021) ''James Connolly: Labor, Empire, Ireland'' In: The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. London : Palgrave Macmillan.
2020 Conor McCarthy, David Landy, Ronit Lentin (2020) ''Introduction: Palestine and Academic Freedom'' In: Enforcing Silence: Academic Freedom, Palestine and the Criticism of Israel. London : Zed Books.
2019 Conor McCarthy (2019) ''Said: The Birth of the Critic'' In: After Said: Postcolonial Literary Studies in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.
2017 Conor McCarthy (2017) ''Edward W. Said'' In: Handbuch Postkolonialismus und Literatur. Stuttgart/Weimar : JB Metzler Verlag.
2009 McCarthy C. (2009) 'Criticism, exile, Ireland' In: Aftermaths: Exile, Migration, and Diaspora Reconsidered. New Jersey, USA : Rutgers University Press.
2008 Conor McCarthy (2008) ''The State, the Text and the Critic: The case of Edward Said'' In: Thinking Palestine. London : Zed Books.
2006 Dr Conor D. McCarthy (2006) 'The Intellectual and the State: Irish Criticism since 1980' In: Liam Harte and Yvonne Whelan(Eds.). Ireland Beyond Boundaries: Mapping Irish Studies in the Twenty-First Century. London : Pluto Press.
2005 Conor McCarthy (2005) ''Ireland'' In: An Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures. Edinburgh/New York : Edinburgh University Press/Columbia University Press.
2005 Conor McCarthy (2005) ''Zionism'' In: An Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures. Edinburgh/New York : Edinburgh University Press/Columbia University Press.
2005 Dr Conor D. McCarthy (2005) 'Geographies of Liberalism: The Politics of Space in Colm Toibin's Bad Blood: A Walk along the Irish Border and The Heather Blazing'' In: Landscape and Empire. London : Ashgate Press.
2005 Conor McCarthy (2005) ''Palestinian Political Movements'' In: An Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures. Edinburgh/New York : Edinburgh University Press/Columbia University Press.

Edited Book

Year Publication
2020 David Landy, Ronit Lentin, Conor McCarthy (Ed.). (2020) Enforcing Silence: Academic Freedom, Palestine and the Criticism of Israel. London: Zed,

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2020 McCarthy, C (2020) 'Edward Said and Authority: From Conrad to Orientalism and Beyond'. Ariel: A Review of International English Literature, 51 :33-64. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Conor McCarthy (2018) ''James Connolly, Civil Society and Revolution''. Observatoire de la société britannique, 23 :11-34. [Full-Text]
2016 Conor McCarthy (2016) ''Academic Freedom and the Boycott of Israeli Universities: On the Necessity of Angry Knowledge''. College Literature, 43 (1):264-274. [Full-Text]
2013 McCarthy C. (2013) 'Said, Lukács, and Gramsci: Beginnings, geography, and insurrection'. College Literature, 40 (4):74-104. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2010 McCarthy, C (2010) 'Irish Criticism and the Political'. Wasafiri, 25 :59-64. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2010 Conor McCarthy (2010) ''The Wake of Edward Said''. College Literature, 37 (4):195-203. [Full-Text]
2007 Dr Conor D. McCarthy (2007) 'Edward Said and Irish Criticism'. ÉIRE-IRELAND, 42 :311-335. [Full-Text]
2005 Conor McCarthy (2005) ''Reply to Bruce Stewart, or, The Politics of Irish Criiticism''. Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 30 (1):91-92. [Full-Text]
2005 Conor McCarthy (2005) ''Seamus Deane: Between Burke and Adorno''. The Yearbook of English Studies, 35 :232-248. [Full-Text]
2005 Conor McCarthy (2005) ''Ireland and Israel''. Journal of Palestine Studies, 35 (1):114-117.
1997 Dr Conor D. McCarthy (1997) 'Ideology and Geography in Dermot Bolger's The Journey Home''. Irish University Review, 27 :98-110. [Full-Text]

Other Journal

Year Publication
2023 Conor McCarthy (2023) ''The Wars on Palestine'' Dublin Review of Books, . [Link]
2022 Conor McCarthy (2022) ''The Primacy of Politics'' Dublin Review of Books, (148) . [Link]
2021 Conor McCarthy (2021) ''Intellectual Insurrection'' Dublin Review of Books, (136) . [Link]
2021 Conor McCarthy (2021) ''Edward Said Showed Intellectuals How to Bring Politics to Their Work'' Jacobin, . [Link]
2021 Conor McCarthy (2021) ''Relentless Erudition'' Los Angeles Review of Books, . [Link]
2020 Conor McCarthy (2020) ''Academic Freedom in Palestine Matters, Too'' SSRN Electronic Journal, . [Link]
2020 Conor McCarthy, David Landy, Ronit Lentin (2020) ''Enforcing Silence: Academic Freedom Palestine and the Criticism of Israel - New Texts Out Now'' Jadaliyya, . [Link]
2016 Conor McCarthy (2016) ''James Connolly in America'' Jacobin Magazine, . [Link]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2021 Conor McCarthy (2021) 'Fanon and Ireland' A seminar on the value of Fanon's ideas for Ireland University College Cork, 06/12/2021-06/12/2021.
2019 Conor McCarthy (2019) ' Panel Discussion - Civil War and Cultural Interventions: The Example of Field Day' Consortium of Humanities Centres and Institutes Annual Conference 2019 Trinity College Dublin, .
2018 Conor McCarthy (2018) 'Conor Cruise O'Brien, South Africa, Boycott' American Conference on Irish Studies, University College Cork University College Cork, .
2018 Conor McCarthy (2018) 'James Connolly, Syndicalism and Republicanism' Political Theory Seminar Brighton University Brighton University, 14/02/2018-.
2016 Conor McCarthy (2016) 'James Connolly, Civil Society and Revolution in Ireland' Activism Beyond Borders - Civil Society and Transnational Networks conference, Universite de Toulouse I Capitole University of Toulouse I Capitole, Toulouse, 04/05/2016-.
2015 Conor McCarthy (2015) 'Criticism and Crisis: Irish Criticism After the Financial Crash' Keynote talk New Voices in Irish Criticism, University College Dublin University College Dublin, .
2015 Conor McCarthy (2015) 'Thomas MacDonagh as Intellectual' Revival to Revolution Symposium on Thomas MacDonagh National Gallery of Ireland National Gallery of Ireland, .
2015 Conor McCarthy (2015) 'Edward Said and the Novel' Global Realism conference, University of Kent at Canterbury University of Kent, .
2011 Conor McCarthy (2011) 'Said, Lukacs and Gramsci' University College Dublin English Department Research Seminar University College Dublin, .
2010 Conor McCarthy (2010) 'Edward Said, Diaspora, Criticism' Keynote talk Biannual Symposium on Comparative Literature Cairo University Cairo University, .
2010 Conor McCarthy (2010) 'Violence, Partition and the Writing of History in Ireland, Israel and Palestine' Summer Programme West-Eastern Divan Orchestra/Said-Barenboim Foundation Seville Seville, .
2008 Conor McCarthy (2008) 'Irish Criticism and the Political' Invited Talk at Institute of English Studies Institute of English Studies, University of London, .
2005 Conor McCarthy (2005) Roundtable with Donald Pease and Declan Kiberd Conference on 'intellectuals and the nation-state', Clinton Institute of American Studies University College Dublin, .
2002 Conor McCarthy (2002) 'The beginnings of English Studies in Ireland' Invited talk at Irish Studies Seminar, Institute of English Studies University of London, .


Year Publication
2012 Conor McCarthy (2012) Reflections from Damaged Life. [Blog] [Link]

Magazine Article

Year Publication
2018 Conor McCarthy (2018) 'Why Marx? Why Now?'. Dublin: [Magazine Article]
1996 Conor McCarthy (1996) 'Speculations on Big John and the Technological Sublime'. Dublin: [Magazine Article]

Book Review

Year Publication
2016 McCarthy, C (2016) The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel. W CHESTER: [Book Review]
2016 McCarthy, C (2016) Who's Afraid of Academic Freedom?. W CHESTER: [Book Review]
2016 McCarthy, C (2016) Against Apartheid: The Case for Boycotting Israeli Universities. W CHESTER: [Book Review]
2016 McCarthy, C (2016) The Case for Sanctions Against Israel. W CHESTER: [Book Review]
2012 McCarthy, C (2012) Utopianism and Marxism. UNIVERSITY PK: [Book Review]
2008 Conor McCarthy (2008) 'Review of Andrew Kincaid, Postcolonial Dublin:. [Book Review]
2012 McCarthy, C (2012) Writing Ireland's Working Class: Dublin After O'Casey. ABINGDON: [Book Review]
2010 McCarthy, C (2010) Economies of Representation, 1790-2000: Colonialism and Commerce. ABINGDON: [Book Review]
2008 Conor McCarthy (2008) 'Review of Andrew Kincaid, Postcolonial Dublin: Imperial Legacies and the Built Environment'. London: [Book Review]
2008 McCarthy, C (2008) Taboo memories, diasporic voices. W CHESTER: [Book Review]
2008 Mccarthy, C (2008) Postcolonial Dublin: Imperial legacies and the built environment. ABINGDON: [Book Review]
2006 Conor McCarthy (2006) 'Review of :Declan Kiberd, The Irish Writer and the World and Heather Laird, Subversive Law in Ireland 1879-1922. London: [Book Review]
2005 Conor McCarthy (2005) 'Review of Abdirahman Hussein Edward Said: Criticism and Society and Mustapha Marrouchi Edward Said at the Limits. London: [Book Review]
2003 McCarthy, C (2003) Ireland and Scotland: Literature and culture, state and nation, 1966-2000. ABINGDON: [Book Review]

Newspaper Articles

Year Publication
2020 Conor McCarthy (2020) 'Academic Freedom, Boycott and the Question of Palestine'. Dublin: [Newspaper Articles] [Link]


Year Publication
2019 Conor McCarthy Emily Jacir (2019) 'Ireland, Resistance and Boycott'. [Workshops]


Year Publication
2018 Conor McCarthy (2018) Edward Said and Orientalism. University College Dublin: [Podcast]


Year Publication
2021 Conor McCarthy and Timothy Brennan (2021) Book Launch Places of Mind A Life of Edward Said. Youtube: [Webinar] [Link]
2021 Conor McCarthy and Timothy Brennan (2021) 'Edward Said, Jonathan Swift and Ireland'. [Webinar] [Link]
2021 Conor McCarthy (2021) Enforcing Silence Booklaunch. [Webinar] [Link]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Irish Network for Middle Eastern and North African Studies member -

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
01/01/2000 Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences
01/01/1992 British Academy Doctoral Studentship British Academy


Committee Function From / To
Maynooth University Decade of Commemorations Committtee member -
Maynooth University FACSP Teaching and Learning Committee member 01/09/2015 - 04/02/2022
Maynooth University Academic Council member 01/09/2019 - 31/05/2022
Maynooth University AC Quality Committee member 01/12/2020 - 31/05/2022
Maynooth University AC Research Committee member 04/11/2019 - 31/05/2022


Language Reading Writing Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
French Functional Basic Functional
Irish-Gaeilge Basic Basic Basic

Outreach Activities

Organisation Type Description
Academics for Palestine Civic Society Founder member of Academics for Palestine since 2014. Campaigns for the academic boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education, as called for by the Palestinian BDS call of 2005. [Link]
U3A Bray Civic Society The University of the Third Age is an offshoot of Age Action Ireland, an education initiative for retired persons. I delivered a talk on Zionism, the nakba/war of 1948, and Trump's Middle East policy, for U3A Bray, on April 18, 2019
U3A Monkstown Civic Society I delivered a talk on Palestine for U3A Monkstown, October 16, 2018.
U3A Glasthule Civic Society I gave an invited lecture to U3A Glasthule on June 6, 2017, on 'Palestine in the Age of Trump'.
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign Civic Society Founder member of Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign in 2001. Premier Irish organisation for Palestine-related activism in Ireland [Link]

Teaching Interests

A firm believer in the value of "old-fashioned" generalism and the importance of long-range literary and historical interpretation, Conor teaches across the span of the English curriculum.  Teaching he's most enjoyed lately has included a course introducing First Year students to the history of ideas.  More recently, Conor has been co-teaching a course on Romanticism, and a new third year seminar on the fictions of Joseph Conrad, a writer he's been passionate about since his teens.   This seminar expanded in 2021-2022 to encompass other writers in Conrad's wake, such as H Rider Haggard, Graham Greene, Joan Didion and Robert Stone.   Conor also co-teaches (with Professor Emer Nolan) a module on modernism, where he deals with Kafka and Woolf.

Conor also has taught courses in cultural theory at Second Year (BA) and MA level.  Having worked on a second year course on feminism a few years ago, where he concentrated on Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir, Conor more recently lectured on Western Marxism - the ideas of Gramsci, Brecht, Benjamin, Adorno and Jameson. 

In the spring of 2020, Conor co-taught a Third Year module on 'Dissent and Revolution', where he concentrated on Maxim Gorky, Alexandra Kollontai and Mikhail Bulgakov as writers of the Russian Revolution of 1917.   In spring 2022, this module was re-organised to deal with the counter-revolutionary contexts of early 19th century and Victorian English literature, reading writers such as Disraeli, Gaskell, Dickens and Engels against the background of industrial unrest, Owenism, Chartism and the Peterloo massacre.   This course, with its new focus on Victorian literature and society, will run again in Spring 2023.

In the coming year (2022-2023) Conor will also teach his Master's level module on fictions from Israel and Palestine.   This course covers writers as various as Sahar Khalifeh, AB Yehoshua and Emile Habibi, and looks at cultural representations of such controversial matters as the history of Zionism, the Nakba and the birth of Israel, the ongoing occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and the Lebanon War and the camp massacres.   The course is recognised by external examiners as rare in the British and Irish university systems, and never fails to elicit passionate reactions from students.