08 May 2017

The Translator Made Corporeal conference, London: "A Chum of the Accused"

Clip o'me presenting at The Translator Made Corporeal conference in London and explaining my presentation methodology. Here's the abstract of my presentation:

"A Chum of the Accused": An exploration of crime, court interpretation, friendship and enmity in 19th century Ireland

Patrick Byrne was an uneducated Deaf man from the small town of New Ross, County Wexford. Between the 1850s and the turn of the century, he was sent over 75 times to prison. His almost constant courtroom companion during these times was his neighbour and friend, Martin Neil - who not only interpreted court proceedings for Byrne, but was often co-accused and sentenced for the same offences. For almost thirty years, Byrne and Neil were notorious partners in crime around Wexford county, until a falling-out between them - arising from an accusation of murder - and Neil's eventual death led to a much changed dynamic in the courtroom for Byrne, who eventually ended his days in a criminal lunatic asylum.

Using a 'history from below' approach and a variety of sources including prison files and contemporary newspaper accounts of court proceedings, the paper will explore themes of class, language. disability and Deafhood in its account of Byrne and Neil over the course of their friendship and enmity. How Byrne was represented in court by Neil, and how Neil (as an interpreter) represented himself, will be analysed and discussed. Comparisons will be drawn to other developments in Ireland and Britain at the time around interpretation for Deaf people. 


Thanks to Anne Leahy of InterpreterHistory for being my cameradude!

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