Faculty Name: Paul Jenkins
Co-registrant Names: Dr. Mary Kelly
Type of Presentation: Paper
Presentation Title: "Sinead O'Connors "Famine": Art Meets History"
Sinead O'Connor was born in Ireland in 1966. While her best known song is a cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares to You," many of her own compositions deal with personal struggles. "Famine", included on the 1994 album, Universal Mother, contrasts how the great Irish famine of 1845-1852 has traditionally been depicted with O'Connor's own views on the subject. In the song, O'Connor questions the veracity of traditional accounts. Was there really a famine in Ireland during this period, or did thousands of Irish people starve or emigrate due to the willful withholding of food by the English? Professor Jenkins will explore the various musical and lyrical devices employed by O'Connor, her band, and her producer, John Reynolds. Dr. Kelly, a noted scholar on the Famine, will then examine the claims made by O'Connor in the song. Attendees will thus learn how art and history intersect in the piece. Besides exploring the topic of famine, the song also touches on a number of other significant issues, including healing, the theme of this year's Academic Showcase.
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