Borders in Flux: Identities and Conflict in Ireland

Border seminer 2023
Borders in Flux, spring 2023

Program Description

Borders in Flux: Identities and Conflict in Ireland is a travelling seminar designed for students as part of their semester abroad with Syracuse London. Students will consider the relationship between politics and religion in Ireland, what constructs a ‘national identity’, and how Ireland’s violent past impacts the present day. Students will explore these topics during their travels to Dublin, Derry/Londonderry, and Belfast.

This seminar invites you to consider:

  • What is the relationship between politics and religion in Ireland?
  • Why are there so many Irish Americans? What does this mean for both countries?
  • What makes ‘national identity’ – and do we all have the same one?
  • How does Ireland’s violent past shape its fractured present?

You will travel as a group to the island of Ireland to discover how the past is inseparably entangled with present, with old wounds lingering in current politics.

Themes examined in this course include religious conflict and peace-making within Ireland; the concepts of ‘Irishness’ and ‘Britishness’; and new tensions wrought by international migration and regional politics. In each of our destinations, you will engage with aspects of Irish history to explore its impact on contemporary reactions to issues like Brexit, the eighth amendment referendum on abortion, and the current economic and housing crisis.

Field Studies and Seminar Highlights

This travelling course will spend time considering the Irish Diaspora, Brexit, gender and religious politics, and more. Activities will include:

students on the Borders Seminar cross the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge in Northern Ireland

-cycling around Dublin’s iconic city centre,

-hiking around scenery featured in shows like Game of Thrones, and

-examining ‘phoenix tourism’ at the Titanic Belfast.

Program Dates

Borders in Flux is typically offered as a pre-semester seminar in the fall and spring semesters. It begins before the London Center semester program starts and returns to London upon completion. Visit the Program Dates page for specific seminar dates.

Course Information

This seminar carries three credits in one of three disciplines: History, Religion, or Political Science. You can learn more about the class through London’s Virtual Classroom, the “Questioning Borders” Symposium,  or this mock newspaper article covering the 1916 Easter Uprising.


The seminar program fee of $2500 includes all travel between and around London, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland; group accommodations; entrance fees to sites; guided tours and activities; course materials; and at least one main meal a day. Meet with your financial aid counselor to discuss possible support for this course fee.

Eligibility & Admissions

All students accepted for a semester at the London Center, including Special Programs, can apply for this seminar. Previous knowledge of Irish history or politics is not required, though space is limited and some preference may be given to students whose curricular interests best align with course themes.  If there is insufficient interest, the Seminar will be canceled and your deposit refunded.


To apply, log into the Syracuse Abroad application portal and indicate that you are interested by Monday, October 10. If accepted, you must pay a $300 non-refundable deposit to the Syracuse Abroad office by October 17.

For more information about this Signature Seminar, contact Joelle Orecki, London’s International Program Advisor.