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Irish Studies at Hofstra University

Irish Studies Affiliated Faculty and Staff


Patricia Cregan Navarra (Program Director) is a founder of the Irish Studies Program at Hofstra University. The program offers a rich variety of interdisciplinary courses, an Irish Studies minor, an essay contest, a new Irish Studies Society, a robust study abroad opportunity, and community programming. That latter includes a film series (“Reel Ireland”), a book club in partnership with the Irish American Centre, concerts, poetry readings, student internships, and - of course - proud participation in several St. Patrick’s Day parades.

As director of the Hofstra in Ireland study abroad program since 2010, she has accompanied hundreds of Hofstra students to Ireland in a program that is proudly accessible to all. Highlights of study abroad include student participation in the Galway Arts Festival and the Galway Film Fleadth. Trained by the late Gene Frankel (“Father of Off Broadway”) in acting and playwriting, she has performed and produced theater in New York and Los Angeles, and is co-author and an original cast member of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, which ran for 22 years Off-Broadway and in hundreds of cities throughout the world. Professor Navarra holds a BA in English from SUNY Buffalo and an MA in Literature and Creative Writing from CUNY Queens.

In addition to directing and teaching in the Irish Studies Program (Modern Irish American Literature and Culture; Ireland Inside Out; Anglo-Irish Drama), Professor Navarra is a member of the Writing Studies & Rhetoric Department. She also teaches in the English Department (Creative Writing), Honors College (Drama and the Irish Political Stage), and a First Year Cluster in Drama and Dance (This Great Stage). True to the tradition of her Irish heritage, Professor Navarra is a national labor leader in the American Association of University Professors. She will serve as a guest scholar at the 2018 Tennessee Williams Provincetown Festival to discuss the works of Williams and Samuel Beckett.


Professor Margaret Burke has served in the Axinn Library Reference Department since 1999. Her subject areas include Women's Studies and Romance Languages and Literatures and she has now taken on the responsibility of Irish Studies. As liaison to Irish Studies, Professor Burke has been bringing the Library collection in this area up to date. She has an M.A. in Humanities and has published on the contemporary Irish poet, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill. Professor Burke has had the opportunity to study in Ireland and travels there often.


Professor Darrah Carr holds an MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Named one of the Influential Women of 2010; by the Irish Voice and one of the Top 40 Under 40 by the Irish Echo. She is the Artistic Director of Darrah Carr Dance and describes her choreographic style as Moderin: a unique blend of traditional Irish step and contemporary modern dance. Recent performance highlights include: NBC's The Today Show and a performance with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. Carr has presented her research at the Congress on Research in Dance, the World Dance Alliance, and Dance Research Forum Ireland. She recently contributed a chapter to Close to the Floor: Irish Dance from the Boreen to Broadway, published by Macater Press. Carr has also written numerous articles for Dance Magazine, Dance Studio Life, Dancer, and the Dance Insider. www.darrahcarrdance.com.


Dr. John Louis DiGaetani is a professor of English. He teaches modern Anglo-Irish drama both on campus and at Hofstra's London Program. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His most recent book, Stages of Struggle: Modern Playwrights and their Psychological Inspirations, discusses many Irish playwrights including Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Eugene O'Neill, Brian Friel, and Martin McDonagh. His earlier book, Richard Wagner and the Modern British Novel, analyzes the novels of James Joyce.


Dr. Charles McMellon is an Associate Professor of Marketing and International Business. Dr.McMellon earned a Ph.D. in business at The City University of New York. His dissertation was one of the first to examine consumer behavior of the elderly on the Internet. Dr. McMellon brings 24 years of advertising managerial experience at such firms as Young & Rubicam; Foote, Cone & Belding; and Ally and Gargano to his teaching. His research interests include International Business with an emphasis on Ireland, the consumer behavior aspects of new media, and advertising management, strategy and tactics. Dr. McMellon's articles have been published in the Journal of Direct Marketing, the Journal of Applied Gerontology, the Journal of Advertising Education, The Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising, Journal of Services Marketing, and Advances in Consumer Research. He is a member of the editorial review board of The Journal of Business Research and The Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising.


Professor Leandra Reilly has been teaching in the Radio, Television and Film department of the School of Communication since 2004. An award winning national broadcaster with over twenty years experience in television news and sports, she is also a critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker whose film has been screened at the IFFM of New York City. The documentary, "Running Down a Dream," premiered in Philadelphia and was televised nationally on pay-per-view. A producer of music videos and award winning mini-documentaries, she also produces instructional videos and infomercials. She studied screenwriting at NYU, and is a member of IFP and ASCAP. At Hofstra she teaches "Sound & Image Aesthetics" as well as "Television Performing." A frequent traveler to Europe-including Ireland and Northern Ireland, Reilly studied at the Paris/ American Academy of Fine Arts.


Professor John Walsh is an adjunct lecturer in the Teaching, Literacy and Leadership Department. He retired from the New York City School System in 1995 after thirty-four years as an English teacher and English Department Chair, most of his years being at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside, Queens. He earned a supervisor's certificate and his Masters Degree at Brooklyn College and his BA at St. John's. He started working with student teachers at Hofstra University in 1996 and continues until the present. Since 1981, Professor Walsh has been the editor of The Hedgemaster, the newsletter of the Irish Cultural Society. He has written over thirty articles for the newsletter, many of which are posted on the Society's website, www.irish- society.org. For over twenty years, Mr. Walsh has managed the writing contest for the Society, a contest which is open to all high school students in Nassau County. He feels fortunate to have been working at Hofstra when the Irish Studies Program was created.


Phyllis Zagano is an internationally acclaimed Catholic scholar and lecturer on contemporary spirituality and women's issues in the church. Her award-winning books include Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church (First Place, 2001 Catholic Press Association and 2002 College Theology Society), Women & Catholicism: Gender, Communion, and Authority (Second Place, 2012 Catholic Press Association) and Women Deacons? Essays with Answers (First Place, 2017 Catholic Press Association).

Her writing is widely translated — her best-selling On Prayer: A Letter for My Godchild is in Indonesian, Spanish and Italian as well as English — and she edited the Liturgical Press’ "Spirituality in History" series.

She is a member of the Papal Commission for the study of the diaconate of women. She is the winner of two Fulbright awards and her professional papers are held by the Women in Leadership Archives, Loyola University, Chicago.