2003-11-14 / Columnists

Chatting with Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader
Chatting with Chapey

Dr. Geraldine ChapeyDr. Geraldine Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

Last weekend, Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader and Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey member of the New York State Board of Regents each chaired a panel at the New England Regional Meeting of the American Conference on Irish Studies (ACIS) which was held in Massachusetts.

The American Conference on Irish Studies holds regional, national and international conferences during the year. It has a long and rich history of sharing and promoting the traditions of America and Ireland. Dr. Patricia Fanning, the chairwoman of the New England Conference notes that Irish Americans studies allow individuals to learn about their Irish heritage within the larger contexts of their ethnic experience in America. Fanning points out that over 40 million Americans identify themselves as having Irish roots. The Irish have been migrating to America for over three centuries.  The ACIS looks at the connections between Irish culture, society and history and the Irish American experience. Dr. Fanning assembled an excellent array of speakers at the conference. She is to be commended for her outstanding endeavors.

Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey chaired a panel on "the nineteenth century and modernism: reconsidering literary contexts". Literature allows us to open the doors to our cultures. It provides an insight into the creative and inventive adventures of the human mind. It allows us to explore the experiences of the author through their own individual lens. A review of literature unlocks the connection between the author and the reader. It is through literature that we can learn the value of the human spirit including qualities like - unflinching drive, contagious enthusiasm and extra ordinary accomplishments, which can and do inspire us.

Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey chaired a panel entitled "Moonstruck: Women and Domesticity in Jennifer Johnston". Jennifer Johnston was a great Irish woman. She was a prolific and award winning writer for over a quarter of a century. Her novels and short plays were published in many countries. She is hailed for the beauty of her language and her sharp intuition.  Jennifer Johnston’s works are endlessly fascinating, complex and important. She focuses on the far reaching effects of psychological relationships.  She highlights the role of Irish women as mothers and daughters. She causes us to reflect upon the role of mother - a role for which there is no formal training in any culture.

Each panelist spoke on a book entitled "Two Moons" by Jennifer Johnston. The novel is set in Dublin Bay.  Through the characters of Mimi (mother), Grace (daughter) and Polly (Grace’s daughter) Johnston looks at various aspects of women’s lives and analyzes the conditions of duty vs. fulfillment and other human dimensions. The panelists, all from the University of Connecticut, included Christopher Dowd who spoke on "Tangled Up With Our Children: Selfishness and Motherhood in Two Moons; Dr. Rachel Sealy Lynch who spoke on "The Great Bright American Fridge: (Big) Housekeeping in Two Moons" and Jennifer L. Malonson who spoke on "Once Upon a Time There Was a Caged Princess: Exposing the Feminine Fictions of Cultural Institutions in Jennifer Johnston’s Two Moons".

The ACIS highlighted other topics including: the contemporary Irish novel, twentieth century Irish and Irish American Women, Irish American Identities, emigrants and exiles and contemporary Irish poetry.

The ACIS was interesting and informative, both for the participants and for those who conducted the many workshops..

Please plan to join us on Thursday, April 29, 2004 at 12 Noon at Russo’s on the Bay for the 2nd annual Trinity Senior Services luncheon at Russo’s.  Tickets are $40.00.

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