Two offerings of the course currently available with limited places:
Eight session course over eight weeks
Offering 1: Runs from 26/09/2021 to 14/11/2021
Offering 2: Runs from 09/01/2022 to 27/02/2022
Course sessions take place weekly between those dates on Sundays from 18.00-20.00 Irish time. During Offering 1, the session that would take place on Sunday the 31st October (Samhain/Halloween) is moved to Saturday 30th at the same time.
What does ‘Irishness’ mean, where did the concept come from, and is it something we should hold on to?
How does white supremacy culture operate through all of us in modern society to maintain destructive social systems?
Why is whiteness something we should be concerned about in efforts to reconnect with the land and ancient Gaelic ways?
What does it mean to reclaim our ‘indigeneity’ as modern people in white Anglocentric Irish society?
In what ways can we become accountable to our position as both colonised and coloniser in Ireland?
These are some of the questions we will explore throughout this course (and much more!)
Tuiscint na Talún is delighted to now be offering this vitally important course in a unique formulation that has not been offered anywhere else. The 2020 BLM moment was a wake up call for many white people who were never required to think of themselves in racialised terms before then. Many white people have also been realising the impoverishment of belonging to a culture that relies on violence against other people and the Earth in order to function. A culture based on hyper-individualism and endless consumption, that leaves us alienated without any sense of genuine meaning while diminishing the living world to resources. In short, this cultural way of being is whiteness, and it functions through us in how we think, know, sense, behave, and interact.
This 8 week online course is designed to provide critical frameworks for understanding the necessity to unlearn white ways of being in order to more fully participate in the revitalisation of Gaelic ways of being. This holistic framework is a way to both challenge whiteness and begin redeveloping a culturally meaningful relationship with the land. It is my assertion that both of these timely tasks mutually require the other in order to be effective in the creation of decolonial futures on the island.
When we talk about ‘whiteness’ we are not talking about skin colour or genes, although phenotypic features obviously play a significant part in how one is affected by the systems that uphold white supremacy. We are talking about the all-encompassing cultural ways of life, being, knowing, and doing that are mostly buried beyond our conscious awareness of how we exist in the world. Whiteness is better understood as a culture that pervades even the most seemingly basic assumptions and ‘common sense’ ideas of modern society.
White Anglocentric modern culture can be said to be the culture that we largely inhabit and reproduce in Ireland today. Gaelic culture still exists in fragments on the island but they face continual marginalisation and erasure. These two cultural ‘worlds’ largely exist in contradiction. Society on the island is not actively lived through Gaelic understandings of how to live in right relation with land or each other, for example. English language conceptions of ‘nature’ and white Anglocentric ways of being dominate lived realities on the island.
Throughout the course we will:
- identify and begin unlearning how white structures of thinking and being harmfully affect everyone in modern society in different ways. We’ll examine how they operate across everything we think and do because of how we are conditioned and socialised.
- excavate some of the many layers of white supremacy culture as it pertains to Ireland and ‘Irishness’; meeting this with possibilities for Gaelic revitalisation as a necessary counterbalance
- explore some of the ways in which the colonial way of being affects how we sense, perceive, know, and live, and how we relate to other people and the land. We’ll also look at other possibilities and ways of being.
- examine some cultural recovery and activist methods and options from Indigenous, Black and other colonised cultural contexts for lessons and ideas on how to undertake this work in the context of Gaelic revitalisation.
What to expect
- There will be at least 2 articles, book chapters, or podcasts etc. each week to keep up with in order to get the most out of the course. Please make sure you have the time and capacity for doing this work by yourself outside of the designated class times. All learning materials will be provided.
- Eight 120 minute online group sessions over 8 weeks (1 session per week, see dates at top of page).
- Having the opportunity to discuss with other course participants during each session. We will split into smaller groups for discussion and also have full group discussions.
- Time will be made for us to collectively grieve the wounds and heartbreak we find ourselves inheriting in this time and place of cultural impoverishment and global crisis. We understand that we largely do this work for those that come after us: it has taken many generations for this perfect storm of interlocking global crises to be created, and will take many more to undo the devastation.
Who is this course for?
- Those with a beginner to intermediate level of knowledge about the issues at hand (see also the course dynamics section). Those with an advanced critical understanding of whiteness, coloniality etc. will likely find much of the content too introductory and foundational. That said, we will be endeavouring to dig into layers of complexity and nuance surrounding these topics, so if you are interested then please sign up!
- People both inside and outside Ireland are welcome to participate for any reason. If you feel drawn to participate in this work, please join us! The issues at hand are global and concern everyone in varying ways. It is worth noting that as the course mentor I can only personally speak from my own locus of experience as a working class settled white Irish person. This means I cannot speak directly to the experience of being a settler on Indigenous land as I have not lived that. As such, I cannot offer explicit advice as to what settlers should ‘do’, though I can speak to many of the dynamics that involve us both.
Course dynamics and acknowledgements
- I kindly request that you sign up for this course only if you feel that you are prepared to do this kind of work. As such, there will not be space in the course for debating definitions about race, whiteness, and racism, and whether or not these things have a real effect in the world. The course is a space for generative discussion. I expect that you will have at least a very basic understanding that race & whiteness (etc.) profoundly shape the modern world in enormously complex ways. I ask that you show up with a spirit of wanting to take responsibility for those that come after us and accountability to those that came before us.
- I expect engagement if you decide to participate. While I acknowledge that everyone has their own way of learning, I would prefer if participants did not sit with their camera off and remain silent. Engagement enhances everyone’s experience and learning. We are all co-creators in what gets learned and the depths to which the discussions go.
- I wish to de-centre the role of the teacher in this course and instead re-centre the co-learning of mentor and participant. It is impossible for any one person to know everything. There will be things that participants can share that the course mentor doesn’t know. This reality is fully welcome in the space of the course as it enriches the experience for everyone and can generate many unexpected outcomes!
- What will be offered and taught on the course is far from the only way to understand white supremacy and Gaelic cultural revitalisation! This is simply my own formulation of trying to combine these complex interrelated tasks.
- The course will go ahead only if a minimum number of participants is met.
Jimmy is a scholar-activist and educator. He runs a research and education project called ‘Tuiscint na Talún’, which can be translated as ‘wisdom of the land’ from Gaeilge. He established Tuiscint na Talún for the dual purpose of challenging manifestations of coloniality and whiteness in Ireland in conjunction with the revitalisation of Gaelic ways of being and knowing. Jimmy is an Associate Researcher with the MA in Race, Migration and Decolonial Studies at University College Dublin.
See my short essay on ‘Decolonial possibilities in Ireland’ published in Airmid’s Journal, available here: https://talun.ie/2021/05/20/461/
Sign up, pricing, and payment plan
Email [email protected] to discuss or sign up. Please send a short few paragraphs on why you want to participate in the course before making any transfers. As per the Dana Economy principles, I don’t want to enter into a transactional relationship with you as the provider of a service for a consumer. Instead I ask that you consider the payment as a gift contribution that makes the sharing of this important work continually possible. I am not trying to turn enormous profits here – there are certainly less complicated routes of work for that. Pricing is based on maintaining a basic living for myself so that I can continue to refine this work and offer it more widely as time goes on.
Amounts include booking charges.
- €208 – This amount does not fully cover the costs of the continuous refinement, running, and teaching of the course. I recognise this is still not an insignificant amount of money to part with when you have very little. Over time I hope to be able to reduce this lower end of the scale and also offer full scholarships. There are currently very limited spaces available for this option on the September course start (please enquire). This option is no longer available for the January course start.
- €416 – This amount covers the cost of the course. Opting for this amount does not necessarily mean that you have significant financial means. It means that you consider participation in this course important and parting with this amount of money will not cause financial difficulty for you.
- €620(+) – Pay it forward. If you have the financial means and are willing to support others in the participation of this valuable work, please consider sharing €620 or more depending on your means and willingness at this time. This course will be continually offered and refined into the future. The generosity of those with more significant financial means will allow me to offer increasingly lower prices or scholarships on the lower end of the scale to support more people to partake in this work. It will also allow for guest collaborations in future which will enrich the experience.
- Additional mentorship option. Four 1-to-1 sessions that run alongside the course to help you navigate the topics as we encounter them. Add an additional €166 to the course price to avail of this option. Please enquire before doing so.
Deposit and payment plan
Amounts include booking charges.
Non-refundable deposit of €104 / €208 / €310+ (per chosen donation option) required to secure place on course. Following that you will be required to complete full payment over two subsequent installments as follows:
If participating in Offering 1 (26th Sept 21 – 14th Nov 21):
- First installment of €52 / €104 / €155+ (per chosen donation option) will be due by 20th September 2021.
- Second installment of €52 / €104 / €155+ (per chosen donation option) will be due by 18th October 2021.
If participating in Offering 2 (9th Jan 22 – 27th Feb 22):
- First installment of €52 / €104 / €155+ (per chosen donation option) will be due by 3rd January 2022.
- Second installment of €52 / €104 / €155+ (per chosen donation option) will be due by 1st February 2022.
Full single payment is also an option.
I kindly request that you only sign up for this course if you are sure that it is right for you, and that you have the necessary time and space to participate fully. This policy is in place to care for the time, effort, and energy it takes me to formulate and deliver this course with a deliberately small number of people, as well as due to the fact that otherwise the place could have been offered to someone else.
Due to this request, a 50% refund of installment payments (not deposit) is possible only before 4 weeks prior to the course start (29th August for September start; 12th December for January start).
After this cut off point of 4 weeks, there will be no refunds given once payment has been made except in extremely rare circumstances.
As stated, deposits are non-refundable.
If the course does not go ahead due to the enrolment quota not being met, participants will be fully refunded including deposit.
Tuiscint na Talún Terms and Conditions: https://talun.ie/terms-conditions/
© Jimmy Billings 2021