Prof Moynagh Sullivan

English, Motherhood Project


Iontas Building
0.39 Iontas
(01) 708 4607


I am a Professor of English, with specialties in Gender, Intersectionality, Motherhood, and Irish Studies.

I was Visiting Fellow in Irish Studies at the Centre for Irish Studies/Moore Institute at NUIG, in Spring 2022, and in the autumn semester of 2021, I was Visiting Professor In Irish Studies at the Centre for Irish Studies at Boston College, both leading global centres for Irish Studies.

I am also Associate Dean for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion & Interculturalism, Faculty of Arts, Celtic Studies and Philosophy. I share this role with my colleague, Dr Catherine Gander; we submitted a pioneering co-application for the position of Associate Dean to create possibilities and models for a gender-responsive and flexible method of collaborative leadership.  In my role as EDI Associate Dean, I am also the co-chair of the Faculty Self-Assessment Team (SAT) for the Athena SWAN Bronze Award application and am the first chair of the Implementation Group for the FACSP Gender Equality Action Plan.

A long-standing and deep commitment to equality, inclusion, and diversity has been a core value of my work in research, teaching, and service. My work has focused on diversifying culture by examining cultural gender gaps, ableism, and by mapping the overlooked and unseen maternal imaginaries -- or, in other words, the shapes and practices of motherhood and care so often unnamed, as well as under- or unpaid, in culture and society. I have examined intersections of these areas in the fields of Irish writing, as well as contemporary poetry, fiction, art, and popular culture more broadly, and I have published extensively in these areas. These diverse practices are linked in my work by my consistent engagement with intersectionality, social and environmental justice, and the psychoanalytic approach I take. This critical lens is eclectic, drawing on Attachment Theory, Object Relations, Anglo-American feminism as well as French feminist and Jungian psychoanalytical approaches.

The psychoanalytical lens allows for experiential and affective topologies to be linked to wider cultural practices. Recent research in trauma studies, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology have refreshed this practice, especially in the area of Polyvagal theory, and this combined with ecofeminism and queer ecology, as well as indigenous and feminist economic models of rematriation and gift economies, can help create responsive critical paradigms for understanding and integrating the innovative work of artist/activists seeking a sustainable future in which issues of social justice can be meaningfully addressed. I see this as part of the wider scholarly search for new modes of critical engagement to respond to the innovative ways in which artists and writers cross genre boundaries and merge modalities to create the interventions needed for the urgent crises that the planet currently faces.

Inclusion, diversity, and equality have also been driving principles in my teaching practice. In my work in Japan, at UCD, and at MU, I have created accessible, enabling, supportive, and motivating learning environments, a commitment recognized in a USI and National Forum National Teaching Hero Award 2021, and in my selection as an Advance HE Innovative Assessment Torch Bearer. 

The service roles I have pursued that include Associate Dean for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion & Interculturalism, MAP Officer, and Co-Chair of FACSP Athena Swan Committee reflect my dedication to equality across all sectors of university life.

I have supervised PhDs on motherhood and reproductive politics, gender, aging, class and sexuality in fiction, drama, art, and poetry, performance art, and I welcome Ph.D. proposals in these and any of the other areas listed in my research fields. As a former Fulbright Scholar in Irish Studies at UC Berekely (2009), I have served as a Fulbright mentor and am currently a mentor on the Horizon 2020-funded Mothernet project, as well as in the faculty of Arts, Celtic Studies and Philosophy, and I welcome applications from post-doctoral fellows.

I am currently PI on the IRC-funded project Mamecology, in which I partner with the Irish Cancer Society (ICS).  Mamecology is a curated virtual exhibition of artistic responses to breast cancer by both established artists and writers and by those who have turned to creative practices when faced with a diagnosis. Including writing, visual art practices, music, and performance, and it gathers expressions of the inner life of patients and loved ones, and provides a rich resource to assist with 'living well with, and through, cancer' (ICS). I am a former director of two MU Arts and Humanities research clusters (2011- 2015), a founding member of MU's Motherhood Project, which has successfully attracted funding from MU's Arts and Humanities Institute (AHI), and a member of Mothernet, a Horizon 2020 Twinning Project between MU, Vilnius University, Lithuania and Uppsala University, Sweden.


Book Chapter

Year Publication
2022 Moynagh Sullivan (2022) 'The Law of the Mother and the Sibling World: Leeanne Quinn’s Queer Ecologies' In: Gender in Irish Literature and Culture. Cork : UCC Press.
2021 Moynagh Sullivan (2021) 'Rematriating Mid-century Modernism: Carla Lanyon Lanyon' In: Cambridge History of Irish Women's Poetry. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.
2016 Moynagh Sullivan (2016) ''An Ear to the Earth: Matrixial Gazing in Tim Robinson's Walk-Art-Text Practice'' In: Unfolding Irish Landscapes: Tim Robinson,in Culture and Environment. Manchester : Manchester University Press.
2016 Moynagh Sullivan (2016) ''“Scatter-Eyed /And Daunted”: The “Matrixial Gaze” in Seeing Things'' In: The Soul Exceeds Its Circumstances: The Later Poetry of Seamus Heaney. Indiana : Notre Dame University Press. [Link] [DOI]
2013 Moynagh Sullivan (2013) ''Watch Your Language: Speculative Theory and the Poetry of Rita Ann Higgins'' In: Theory on the Edge: Irish Studies and the Politics of Sexual Difference. BASINGSTOKE : PALGRAVE.
2011 Moynagh Sullivan (2011) ''No Undue Details: Love, Sex and Embodiment in the Poetry of Pearse Hutchinson'' In: Reading Pearse Hutchinson: From Findrum to Finestra. Dublin : Irish Academic Press. [Full-Text]
2008 Moynagh Sullivan (2008) ''Gender, Sexuality and Irish Studies: Foreword'' In: Essays in Irish Literary Criticism: Themes of Gender, Sexuality, and Corporeality. New York; Wales : Mellon press.
2008 Moynagh Sullivan (2008) ''In Search of Male Poets'' In: Irish Poetry after Feminism. Oxford : Colin Smythe. [Full-Text]
2008 Moynagh Sullivan (2008) ''Raising the Veil: Mystery, Myth, and Melancholia in Irish Studies'' In: Irish Literature: Feminist Perspectives. Dublin : Carysfort Press. [Full-Text]
2007 Moynagh Sullivan (2007) '‘Boyz to Men: Irish Boy Bands and Mothering the Nation’' In: Wanda Balzano, Anne Mulhall and Moynagh Sullivan(Eds.). Irish Postmodernisms and Popular Culture. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan. [Full-Text]
2007 Moynagh Sullivan and Borbala Farago (2007) ''Facing the Other: Introduction’' In: Borbala Farago and Moynagh Sullivan(Eds.). Facing the Other: Interdisciplinary Studies in Race, Gender and Social Justice. : Cambridge Scholar’s Press.
2007 Moynagh Sullivan, Wanda Balzano, Anne Mulhall (2007) ''Aporias'' In: Irish Postmodernists and Popular Culture. Basingstoke : Palgrave McMillan. [DOI]
2000 Moynagh Sullivan (2000) 'Feminism, Postmodernism and the Subjects of Irish and Women’s Studies’' In: P.J. Mathews(Eds.). New Voices in Irish Criticism. Dublin : Four Courts Press.
1999 Moynagh Sullivan (1999) 'Irish Mid-Century Writers: Máire Bradshaw, Ita Daly, Nicolette Devas, Polly Devlin, Dervla Murphy, K. Arnold Price, Moira O’Neill, Blanaid Salkeld, and Elizabeth Shane' In: The Cambridge Guide to Women’s Writing. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. [Link]


Year Publication
2022 Moynagh Sullivan (2022) Mama/L: Maternal Imaginaries in Contemporary Irish Culture. TBC: TBC.

Edited Book

Year Publication
2009 Moynagh Sullivan, Borbola Farago (Ed.). (2009) Facing the Other: Interdisciplinary Studies in Race, Gender and Social Justice in Irleand. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishers,
2007 Moynagh Sullivan, Anne Mulhall, Wanda Balzano (Ed.). (2007) Irish Postmodernisms and Popular Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan,

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2017 Moynagh Sullivan, Abby Palko, Sinead Kennedy (2017) ''Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Intersectionality in Irish Studies''. BREAC: A Digital Journal of Irish Studies, . [Link] [Full-Text]
2013 Moynagh Sullivan (2013) ''A Quare Pair: Feminist and Queer Ecologies in Irish Cultural Studies''. Irish University Review, 43 (1):41-48.
2012 Moynagh Sullivan (2012) ''An Unthought Known of Her Own: The Aesthetics of Interruption''. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13 (2):106-111. [Link] [DOI]
2012 Moynagh Sullivan (2012) ''The Woman Gardener: Transnationalism, Gender, Sexuality, and the Poetry of Blanaid Salkeld''. Irish University Review, 42 (1):53-71. [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2011 Moynagh Sullivan (2011) ''Looking at Being Somebody: Class and Gender in the Poetry of Rita Ann Higgins''. Irish University Review, 41 (2):112-133. [Link] [Full-Text]
2009 Moynagh Sullivan (2009) ''On Her Second Birthday: Medbh McGuckian''. Irish University Review, 39 :320-332. [Link] [Full-Text]
2007 Moynagh Sullivan, Wanda Balzano (2007) '‘The Ballroom of Critical Romance’'. The Irish Review, :1-8. [Full-Text]
2006 Moynagh Sullivan (2006) ''Boyz to Men: Irish Boy Bands and the Alternative Nation''. The Irish Review, 3 (34):58-73. [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2005 Moynagh Sullivan (2005) 'The Treachery of Wetness: Seamus Heaney, Irish Studies, and the Politics of Parturition'. Irish Studies Review, 13 :451-468. [Full-Text]
2004 Moynagh Sullivan (2004) ''The In-formal Poetics of Medbh McGuckian''. Nordic Irish Studies, 3 (1):75-92. [Link] [Full-Text]
2003 Moynagh Sullivan (2003) ''I am Not Yet Delivered of the Past: The Poetry of Blanaid Salkeld''. Irish University Review, 33 (1):182-200. [Link] [Full-Text]
2002 Moynagh Sullivan (2002) ''I Am, Therefore I'm Not (Woman): Eavan Boland, Ireland and Poetry''. International Journal of English Studies, 2 (2):123-134. [Full-Text]
2000 Moynagh Sullivan (2000) ''Joking with the Critically Serious: McGuckians Comic Oeuvre''. The Journal of Irish Studies, 15 :6-13. [Link] [Full-Text]

Edited Journal Issue

Year Publication
2007 Moynagh Sullivan, Wanda Balzano (2007) Special Issue: 'Irish Feminisms'. EJRNL [Link]

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2005 Moynagh Sullivan (2005) American Association of Irish Studies (ACIS) and British Association of irish Studies (BAIS) Conference 2004 Review of BAIS/ACIS Conference, July 2004, BAIS Newsletter, Spring 2005

Invited Lectures

Year Publication
2014 Moynagh Sullivan (2014) 'Undressing Irish Motherhood'. INVL
2013 Moynagh Sullivan (2013) ‘Poetry and Popular Culture’. INVL
2013 Moynagh Sullivan (2013) Journey through the Self: Poetry and Healing. INVL
2011 Moynagh Sullivan (2011) 'Poetry and Ecology'. INVL
2011 Moynagh Sullivan (2011) Anne Enright and Irish Literary History. INVL
2010 Moynagh Sullivan (2010) Closer to the Next Moment. INVL
2009 Moynagh Sullivan (2009) 'Inside Out: Psychoanalysis, Gender and Irish Popular Culture', Fulbright Scholar Lecture. INVL
2009 Moynagh Sullivan (2009) 'Mothers, Poets and Praises' Fulbright Scholar Lecture, Dominican University, Chicago. INVL
2009 Moynagh Sullivan (2009) 'Motherhood, Poetry and Politics', Fulbright Scholar Lecture, Wake Forest University, Salem-Winston, North Carolina, USA. INVL
2009 Moynagh Sullivan (2009) ‘The Mirror Bites into Me': Medbh McGuckian's Poetics, Maternal Aesthetics, and Matrixial Borderspace’, Fulbright Scholar Lecture, UC Berkeley. INVL
2009 Moynagh Sullivan (2009) 'Motherhood and Gender in Contemporary Irish Culture', Fulbright Scholar Lecture, Irish Literary and Historical Society, San Francisco at UCal SF. INVL
2007 Moynagh Sullivan (2007) ‘Irish Literature, From Yeats to Today’. INVL
2005 Moynagh Sullivan (2005) ‘The Treachery of Wetness: Irish Studies, Seamus Heaney and the Politics of Parturition’. INVL
2004 Moynagh Sullivan (2004) ‘Boys, oh Boys: Boy bands, Nationalism and Popular Irish Culture’. INVL
2004 Moynagh Sullivan (2004) ‘Feminist Theory in Irish Studies Today’. INVL
2002 Moynagh Sullivan (2002) ‘Re-membering The Future: Tradition and the Figural in Recent Representations of Irish Studies’. INVL
1995 Moynagh Sullivan (1995) ‘Irish Women and Culture: Self-Representation’. INVL

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2013 Moynagh Sullivan (2013) ‘“A Quare Pair”: Feminism and Queer Theory in Irish Studies’ American Association for Irish Studies (ACIS) Annual Conference Chicago, 10/04/2013-13/04/2013.
2013 Moynagh Sullivan (2013) ‘Irish Studies from the Edge of Reason’ American Association for Irish Studies (ACIS) Annual Conference Chicago, 10/04/2013-13/04/2013.
2012 Moynagh Sullivan (2012) ‘From Tiger to Pussycat: Representations of Older Women in Irish Culture’ American Association for Irish Studies (ACIS) Annual Conference New Orleans, 15/03/2012-18/03/2012.
2012 Moynagh Sullivan, Borbola Forago (2012) Double Vision: Liminal Irish Identities A major international and interdisciplinary conference addressing race, gender and sexuality, and disability in Celtic-Tiger Ireland UCD, 18/03/2005-21/03/2005.
2010 Moynagh Sullivan, Margaret Kelleher (2010) International Association for the Study of Irish Literature (IASIL) Co-organiser of major International Conference Maynooth University, Kildare, .
2010 Moynagh Sullivan (2010) ‘Rita Ann Higgins, Gender, Class and Poetry’ International Association for the Study of Irish Literature Maynooth University, .
2009 Sullivan, Moynagh (2009) The Border/Spaces Cut in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney and Medbh McGuckian (M)Other Trouble International Conference Birkbeck University London, .
2009 Moynagh Sullivan (2009) ‘The Pre-Natal Mountain, Landscapes, Cuts and Borders in Seamus Heaney and Medbh McGuckian' (M)other Trouble Conference Birbeck College, University of London, .
2006 Moynagh Sullivan (2006) ‘Every Child has Theatre in them: Inner Spaces and Outer Consciousness in the Work of Medbh McGuckian’ European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS) Gothenburg, .
2005 Moynagh Sullivan (2005) ‘Seeing through “My-Mother-to-be-Dreams”, Borderlands and Identity in the work of Medbh McGuckian’ Double Vision: Liminal Irish Identities Conference UCD, .
2005 Moynagh Sullivan (2005) ‘Chicklit: The “I Want a Big House Novel”’ International Association for the Study of Irish Literature Prague, .
2004 Moynagh Sullivan (2004) ‘Why Still Oedipus?’ American Conference of Irish Studies NUI Galway, .
2004 Moynagh Sullivan (2004) ‘Loving Mammy to Bits: Little Big Boys and Girls in Contemporary Irish Fiction’ American Conference of Irish Studies University of Liverpool, .
2001 Moynagh Sullivan (2001) ‘McGuckian and Derrida: Tradition and Post-structuralism’ Understanding Tradition: A Multidisciplinary Exploration University College Cork, .
2001 Moynagh Sullivan (2001) ‘Subjects, Objects, and the Postmodern Comic Poet: McGuckian’s Jokes’ The Irish Studies Seminar of the European Society for the Study of English (ESSE) Helsinki, .
2001 Moynagh Sullivan (2001) ‘The In-Former: Formalism and McGuckian’s Poetics.’ European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS) University of Aarhus, .
1999 Moynagh Sullivan (1999) ‘Postmodernism, Feminism and the Subjects of Irish and Women’s Studies’ New Voices in Irish Criticism, Dublin Irish Film Institute Dublin, .

Book Review

Year Publication
2013 Moynagh Sullivan (2013) Poetry by Women in Ireland: A Critical Anthology 1870-1970. EDINBURGH: BREV
1999 Moynagh Sullivan (1999) Shelmalier by Medbh McGuckian. Edinburgh: BREV [Link]
2013 Moynagh Sullivan (2013) The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women's Poetry. EDINBURGH: BREV


Year Publication
2002 Moynagh Sullivan (2002) The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing Volumes IV and V: Irish Women's Writing and Traditions. Cork: ED
1995 Moynagh Sullivan (1995) The Kenkyusha Japanese-English Collocation Dictionary: Editorial Assistant. Tokyo: ED

Electronic Publication

Year Publication
2015 Moynagh Sullivan (2015) 'Critical Analysis of Eavan Boland's The Pomengranate'. Maynooth: ELECP [Link]
2015 Moynagh Sullivan, Jody Allen Randolph (2015) 'A Poet's Dublin -Eavan Boland'. Maynooth: ELECP [Link]

Encyclopedia Entry

Year Publication
2013 Moynagh Sullivan (2013) The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland: ‘Irish Boy Bands’. Dublin: ENC [Link]

Invited Seminars

Year Publication
2012 Moynagh Sullivan (2012) 'Room, Tooth, Door': Allegories of Birth in 'Room'. Vancouver: INVS
2011 Moynagh Sullivan (2011) , ‘Watching Language, Gender and Class in the Poetry of Rita Ann Higgins’. INVS
2006 Moynagh Sullivan (2006) ‘Class, Poetry and Rita Ann Higgins’. INVS
2005 Moynagh Sullivan (2005) ‘Elizabeth Bowen and Irish Modernism’. INVS

Invited papers

Year Publication
2019 Moynagh Sullivan (2019) 'Transformers: the Transhuman Horizon and Emma Donoghue’s Room'. INVP
2018 Moynagh Sullivan (2018) 'Queer Notes: Gender, Sexuality and Ireland’s Musical Diaspora'. INVP
2015 Moynagh Sullivan (2015) 'Contemporary Irish Poetry'. INVP
2014 Moynagh Sullivan (2014) 'What is Melancholia?: Poetry and Pain'. INVP
2014 Moynagh Sullivan (2014) patfest. INVP
2013 Moynagh Sullivan (2013) Reading Rob Weatherill’s Forgetting Freud: Is Psychoanalysis in Retreat?. INVP
2011 Moynagh Sullivan (2011) 'Can Feminist Literary Criticism be Queer'. INVP
2011 Moynagh Sullivan (2011) 'Looking at Being Someone: Gender and Class in the Poetry of Rita Ann Higgins'. INVP
2010 Moynagh Sullivan (2010) Respondent to Professor Laura O'Connor. INVP
2010 Moynagh Sullivan (2010) ‘Daphne Wright, Amanda Coogan and Body Language’. INVP
2010 Moynagh Sullivan (2010) ‘Gender Blind-Spots and Post-Colonial Criticism’. INVP
2007 Moynagh Sullivan (2007) ‘Feminist and Queer Futurities’. INVP
2006 Moynagh Sullivan (2006) ‘Modernism and Women Writers in The Cambridge History of Irish Literature’. INVP
2006 Moynagh Sullivan (2006) ‘Feminism and Irish Poetic traditions and Cultures’. INVP
2006 Moynagh Sullivan (2006) ‘Women, History and Irish Critical Genealogies’. INVP
2002 Moynagh Sullivan (2002) ‘McGuckian Makes Sense’. INVP
2001 Moynagh Sullivan (2001) ‘Postmodernism and Irish Studies’. INVP
2001 Moynagh Sullivan (2001) ‘Postmodernism and Feminism’. INVP
1999 Moynagh Sullivan (1999) 1999 ‘Exploring Oedipus’s Silences: The Psychodynamics of Irish Critical Traditions’. INVP
1998 Moynagh Sullivan (1998) ‘Postmodern Moods: The Subject in Postmodern Theory’. INVP
1994 Moynagh Sullivan (1994) ‘Teaching Contemporary Irish Women' Writing to Japanese University Students’. INVP

Magazine Article

Year Publication
2001 Moynagh Sullivan (2001) 'On Union and Other Metaphors'. Belfast: MA [Full-Text]


Year Publication
2014 Moynagh Sullivan (2014) TEDx: Creativity and Play as Social Transformers in Emma Donoghue’s Room. MEDIA [Link]
2014 Moynagh Sullivan, Jody Allen Randolph (2014) 'Eavan Boland- A Poet's Dublin', Arena RTE Radio 1. Dublin: MEDIA [Link]
2012 Moynagh Sullivan. Declan Kiberd (2012) 'Meave Binchy: A Celebration’. Dublin: MEDIA [Link]
2011 Moynagh Sullivan (2011) 'Sinead Morrissey and Eastern Culture'. Dublin: MEDIA
2009 Moynagh Sullivan (2009) ‘Language and Grammar’ Dave Fanning Show. Dublin: MEDIA
2007 Moynagh Sullivan (2007) 'Chicklit', Ryan Tubridy Radio Show. Dublin: MEDIA
1998 Moynagh Sullivan (1998) 'Eavan Boland: A Study' Public Broadcasting Documentary. Dublin: MEDIA


Year Publication
2014 Moynagh Sullivan (2014) 'Irish Poetic Geneologies: Eavan Boland and Paula Meehan. PRES
2006 Moynagh Sullivan (2006) ‘John Montague: Poems for the Leaving Certificate’. PRES

Guest Editor

Year Publication
2017 Moynagh Sullivan, Abby Palko, Sinead Kennedy (2017) Special Issue: Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality in Irish Studies. GUESTE [Link]


Year Publication
2014 Moynagh Sullivan (2014) Discussion of Gender and Class in the Poetry of Rita Ann Higgins. PODCAST


Year Publication
2012 Moynagh Sullivan (MU English Department), Joe Woods (Poetry ireland), Trish Groves (Trocaire) (2012) Poetry Reading and Educational Outreach. POEM [Link]
2010 Moynagh Sullivan (2010) Recorded Public Interview Interview with Sinead Morrisey at Carton House. POEM

Guest Speaker Hosted

Year Publication
2014 Moynagh Sullivan (2014) A Poet's Dublin. GUESPH
2011 Moynagh Sullivan (2011) Poetry Reading. GUESPH
2010 Moynagh Sullivan (2010) MA Seminar for Incoming Students September 2010. GUESPH
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Teaching Interests

Literary and Cultural Theory: Intersectionality; Gender and Feminist Theory; Disability Studies; Eco- Criticism; Graphic Fiction: Contemporary Poetry; Contemporary Fiction; Popular Culture

Recent Students

Graduation date Name Degree
2011 Maggie O'Neill PhD
2010 Sharon Tighe-Mooney PhD
2019 Brenda O'Connell PhD
2019 Claire Brophy PhD
2019 Amy Mitchell PhD