Collapsing Time and Space: Seeing the Future in the Transatlantic Telegraph

This is the first of two public lectures by Professor Chris Morash of Trinity College Dublin.


Collapsing Time and Space: Seeing the Future in the Transatlantic Telegraph
Collapsing Time and Space: Seeing the Future in the Transatlantic Telegraph


2 November, 6–7.15pm (This event is FREE but registration is essential)

About the event#

The ANU School of Cybernetics, in collaboration with the Humanities Research Centre at ANU, presents:

Collapsing Time and Space: Seeing the Future in the Transatlantic Telegraph

When the first Transatlantic Telegraph cable connected Valentia Island in Ireland, with Heart’s Content in Newfoundland (and in the process connected London and New York), the event was marked with huge celebrations on both sides of the Atlantic, including a fireworks display so large it damaged the roof of the city hall in New York. Throughout these celebrations, it was often claimed that this new technology had abolished time and space – a very different reaction to that which met a comparable technological accomplishment, the Australian Overland Telegraph of a few years later. Returning to this moment in the mid-nineteenth century today, we glimpse an uncanny intimation of some of the ways in which we imagine technology and its uses in our own time.

About the Speaker

Prof Chris Morash

Professor Chris Morash, FTCD, MRIA, is the inaugural Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin. He has published widely on Irish cultural and literary history, ranging from studies of Irish Famine literature (Writing the Irish Famine, Oxford, 1996), histories of Irish telecommunications and media and of Irish theatre (A History of the Media in Ireland, Cambridge, 2010 and A History of the Irish Theatre, 1601-2000, Cambridge, 2002), as well as a work of spatial theory, Mapping Irish Theatre (with Shaun Richards, Cambridge, 2013). His most recent book is Yeats on Theatre (Cambridge, 2021), and Dublin: A Writer’s City will be published in 2023. He served as Vice-Provost of Trinity College, 2016-2019, was a member of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (2009-2014), and currently chairs the judging panel for the richest prize for a single work of literature in English, the International Dublin Literary Award. Prof. Morash was elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy in 2008.

His research interests range across a number of areas in the wider field of Irish Studies, Irish theatre; Irish media history; the Irish Famine; Irish cultural history and Yeats. He has also published on the Transatlantic Telegraph and contributed an essay on the telegraph to the publication States of Entanglement, which accompanied the Irish entry to the Venice Biennale in 2021.

Artwork: Landing the Shore End of the Atlantic Cable by Robert Charles Dudley, 1866 (Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

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