Map of Ireland

Doctoral project: Towards Decolonial/Gaelic Aesthesis: Delinking from Anglocentrism, Predatory Extractivism and the Coloniality of Perception in Éirinn

This doctoral project investigates the triadic project of mapping land, painting landscapes and the annotation of melodies led by the British regime in Éirinn in the 19th century and the decolonial strategies that the colonized have used to resist and respond to these colonial projects in the domain of aesthetics.

While foregrounding decolonial/Gaelic responses to this traidic project, the thesis shows how it has had enduring effects on the perception of cartography, visuality, sonority and the construction of aesthetic hierarchies in Ireland in terms of anglocentrim and predatory extractivism of the knowledge of the colonized.

Project information

Doctoral student
Eóin Ó Cuinneagáin
Dr Barzoo Eliassi, Linnaeus University
Assistant supervisors
Prof Madina Tlostanova, Department of Thematic Studies and Department of Gender Studies, Linköping University
Prof Lillis Ó Laoire, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, National University of Ireland, Galway
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University
Linnaeus University
1 September 2018 – 31 December 2022
English Literature

More about the project

This doctoral project aims to interrogate from where and how the antiquarians and folklorists of the 19th century appropriated Gaelic knowledge and policed the perception of cartography, visuality and audibility in Éirinn* and how the antiquarian and folklorization movements' location, reorientation and reformulation of power are inscribed within aesthetic and epistemic production today.

It identifies three co-constructive operations arising therefrom: anglocentrism, predatory extractivism and the coloniality of perception (Tlostanova), where anglocentrim refers to the imposition of English language, naming and systems of knowledge as the only available to be legible in modernity/coloniality; predatory extractivism denotes the drive for the non-reciprocal appropriation of colonized people’s energy, knowledge and intelligence; and coloniality of perception refers to a way of sensing the world through the vision, taste, categories and sensibilities of the colonizer.

In this doctoral project I recentre and reveal different forms of resistance and response of the cosmhuintir* to antiquarianism and folklorization from the 19th century onwards in the form of decolonial aesthesis (Tlostanova; Gómez; Vázquez; Mignolo), a process which desettles the anglocentric/eurocentric, modern/colonial aesthetic, marked by the intervention of Gaelic epistemologies into zones from which they have previously been excluded, in order to reclaim space, taste, land, language, identity and dignity. As a link in the reproduction of Gaelic oral knowledge, I demonstrate how a decolonial/Gaelic method and attitude can be practiced to disrupt the theory/practice dualism of modernity/coloniality by drawing on the cartography, visuality and sonority that are embodied in Gaelic epistemologies and what I call decolonial/Gaelic sensing in such practices as amhránaíocht*, scéalaíocht* and sean nós* rhythms.

*Éirinn – one of the Gaelic names used to describe the island of Ireland
*cosmhuintir – the ordinary people, the downtrodden, “the wretched of the earth” (Fanon)
*amhránaíocht – the practice of singing orally transmitted knowledge
*scéalaíocht – the practice of storytelling orally transmitted knowledge
*sean nós – the traditional ways of making knowledge and performing


The project is part of:
Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies

Cluster for Migration Citizenship, and Belonging