Margaret Brooks Robinson Professor of Celtic Languages and Literatures; Chair of the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures
Catherine McKenna is Harvard’s Margaret Brooks Robinson Professor of Celtic Languages and Literatures, specializing in the literature and legends of the Celtic-speaking peoples of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, and Cornwall. From ancient times down to the present, the peoples of Scotland, Ireland and Scandinavia have been linked by the waterways that seem to divide them--the North Atlantic, the North Sea, the Irish Sea—in what is sometimes described as ‘the Irish Sea Cultural Province’. Our trip will take us to places that bear witness to this interconnection at many different moments in history, from the prehistoric, to the medieval, to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries and on into our own day. Catherine McKenna has studied and taught the history and culture of the Gaelic and British worlds throughout all these periods. Prior to coming to Harvard, she spent 15 years as director of an undergraduate and graduate program in Irish studies in New York, and is currently working on a book on the cult of Saint Brigit of Ireland from its origins in the 6th century to the present day. She received her PhD from the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures at Harvard.