Next up in Meet the Committee is Katie Ahern, one of our PG & ECR reps, who is based at UCC


KAHow did you end up where you are now?

I did a BA in English and Irish in University College Cork, during which I took a lot of American literature courses and discovered a lot of authors I’d not encountered before. This then led me to do a Masters in Twentieth-Century American Literature and Film, in the School of English. During my MA I read the novels of Anzia Yezierska and Edith Wharton, and fell down a research rabbit hole which brought me to do my PhD on both those authors.

Tell us a little bit about your current research interests?

My PhD thesis, ““All Night Long I Walked the Streets, Drunk with my Dreams”: A Comparative Study of Urban Space in Twentieth-Century American Literature” analyses American novels set in the urban environment to investigate marginalised identities and establish the ways in which neglected identities were conceived of by twentieth-century American writers.

Favourite book/film/album?

Any novel by Louise Erdrich.

Universities don’t exist. What job would you have instead?

A professional cookbook collector – for such a thing should exist.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?

Meryl Streep – because she’s played nearly everyone else.

How did you get involved with the IAAS?

I attended the IAAS PG symposium when I first started my PhD, discovered that it’s a great way to meet other people involved in American studies in Ireland, and was hooked by the idea that others understood the intellectual and emotional morass involved in doing research!

In an alternate universe to question 4, you have somehow ended up establishing your own university. What’s the motto?

“You should be writing.”

We’re all going to call around this evening. What’s for dinner?

Curry. Or else soup.

Who is your hero, academic or otherwise?

Dana Scully – despite aliens, inept bureaucrats and evil government forces interfering in her life, she gets stuff done.

Free space! You have about 200 words to plug something dear to your heart/announce plans to take over the universe/tell us about the grand plans you have as a member of the committee…

Calling all postgrads to join the ranks of the IAAS and make your views known!
The conferences and symposia are interesting, and a great way to meet other scholars in the area. I encourage everyone to think about joining the committee, or helping to run a conference. It looks good on the CV as well – proof that one can play well with others.