Rosemary Gallagher is one of our PG reps and is based at NUI Galway.


2016-03-18 17.48.44How did you end up where you are now?

I was working in a really cool antiquarian and online bookshop in Galway for a few years (, and though I loved the work I found myself craving a new challenge. I missed talking about books in a really meaningful sense. So I attended a funding workshop, and began the process of applying for a PhD, and lo and behold I got it! (I mean I got accepted, I didn’t get the funding – not until the following year.) My topic was quite a bit broader when I applied, but I talked with the person who was to become my supervisor and honed it in a bit and once I started researching I focussed it even more. It’s pretty surprising to look back at where I started.

Tell us a little bit about your current research interests?

I’m all about the Humour Studies. My research looks at how jokes work in post-World War II American war novels. I am also curious about how jokes function in different cultures, and even outside of literature, so all the recent additions to my “Things to Research When I Finish My PhD” list are on that general theme.

Favourite book/film/album?

Man, picking favourites is tough. Thankfully most of my favourite novels are still by the authors I’m studying. It’d be a toss up between Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins. Do I really have to pick a book? Jeez! Ok. Another Cowgirl with Woodpecker! No, you busted me, that’s three novels smushed together. I’ll be good. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins.

Album: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel

Film: Baz Luhrmann’s Return of the Indiana Jedi and the Raiders of the Field of Dreams Rouge. Don’t give me that look, I picked a novel.

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

Editor of the New York Times Book Review. But only because my accent is too grating to be a Podcaster. I could listen to Roman Mars’ husky voice all day long.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?

Emma Stone? She’s pretty goofy. I’ll aim to grow into Julianne Moore so she can play me in 25 years when you ask me this again. She’ll be 25 years older too but I reckon she could still pull it off.

How did you get involved with the IAAS?

I met Zalfa Feghali at a Postgraduate Conference in 2011 and she introduced me to Philip McGowan, who was then IAAS Chair, at the Manchester BAAS Conference dinner later that academic year. I thought the IAAS didn’t exist anymore, because the website was a bit dated and there didn’t seem to be much happening. Boy was I wrong! Philip set me straight, and around two weeks later I found myself at the IAAS Conference in Cork making new friends every time I turned around. Two weeks and a day later I was on the Committee! We now have a lovely website with lots of information and it’s much easier for new researchers to get involved – you don’t need to go to Manchester for dinner at all at all.

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

In Ron We Trust.

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

I love to cook, so… everything? How do you feel about everything? I bought a balcony-friendly barbecue in Lidl recently so let’s grill up some burgers (I use a spicy sausage meat in my mix for extra flavour), served on home-made burger buns, shrimp in Old Bay Seasoning for the pescatarians (my aunt ships it over from North Carolina), a big salad with my favourite Honey Sesame Dressing and grilled asparagus. Would you mind bringing the potato salad? Thanks, see you at 8.

Who is your hero, academic or otherwise?

Sarah Koenig. I’m going to give her a pass on season two.

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…

As Postgraduate Rep, along with Katie Ahern and Kate Smyth, I’m mostly interested in getting our rookie members more involved. If you’d like to experience what it’s like to be on the committee, help organise a conference, contribute to a journal, or if you have a great idea you’d like some guidance on, get in touch. We can help you set a cunning plan in motion, or we can put you to work, whichever you prefer. You can find me on Twitter: @roe_gal