About Aoife


A page from the first draft of Traed mewn Cyffion, by Kate Roberts. From the digital archives of the National Library of Wales



Absolute quiet days reading in a fav dress with tea and rain KNOWING no parent can burst in on me and scream abuse and disgust. Such relief. Wouldn’t it be great if I could just — be — all the time? And now at last I can, no filters, love for the full honesty. Transitioning was the best decision of my life, for it gave me Life back. My life has become a fulfilled desire of future come. Albeit in anachronistic fashion. But that’s just me. Leaving academia for tech has turned me into a total cosplay nutjob. Find me in Cupertino, Boston, and Caerdydd. 1950s satchel of handstitched bridle leather (boarding school issue), library by the quayside breeze. Straw boater, strap biting chin. Tea, scones, used books just purchanced in the speciality lane shops. Theology, mostly. Only an hour until the train back to town. I toy with my hat ribbon. Here I am as I always knew to be. Me. An annoying anachronistic prim transsexual. catholic. works in translation. writing a novel in welsh: / y cwtch / [‘the safe place’]. you’ll really hate it and think it pretentious. Overgrown schoolgirl. #annibyniaeth



My first book /Ancestral Recall: The Celtic Revival and Japanese Modernism/ was published last year (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2016). By examining Celtic and Japanese modernism, I demonstrate that folklore cannot be understood solely in terms of individual nations but must be situated within a global nexus of movements, ideas, and influences. Ancestral Recall analyzes Celtic nationalism, regional dialects, and globalization in the twentieth century. Eager to insulate tradition from the homogenizing forces of globalization, yet profoundly aware that traditions cannot be divorced from living cultural practices—I describe how Celtic nationalism developed a new conception of heritage that can exist within the transnational contexts of modernity, one that is locally produced but internationally circulated. This central claim, which emphasizes the degree to which Irish, Welsh, and Japanese folklorists influence each other and the various ways in which heritage takes shape (voices, landscapes, ghosts, etc), motivates interlingual examinations. My wonderful editor at McGill-Queen’s UP — Mr Mark Abley — is himself a prize-winning author with experience and expertise in Welsh and other minority language activism.

And writing a novel. Defies the term experimental. About a trans academic who flees her past origins to do a dissertation on religious eunuchs at Prifysgol Caerdydd. Entitled /y cwtch/; text yn Gymraeg, with undertow ripples of English dialogue (like how ‘Hinterland’ used to be). Atmospheric in the sense our girl pays too much for pints in queer pubs. Gets sappy at Eisteddfod. Spits on gender.



Second monograph, in progress, analyzes theology, biopolitics, phenomenology, and the question of transsexual embodiment: /The Theology of the Marginal Body: The Catholic Church and the End of Gender/. Being trans and Catholic is often assumed to be a heretical condition. But I would argue otherwise. Religion and medicine were both equally responsible for the extraordinarily healing Iʻve received in overcoming gender dysphoria.  Itʻs complicated, yes. I’m a weirdo, sure. So donʻt expect canned answers from me– but honest, experiential reflection. Under different circumstances, I probably would have been a nun.

Undergrad studies that I had to abandon for the narrowness of graduate school would decades later coincide with a very fortuitous work opportunity. As an ex-academic, I’m still writing just as much, but also getting my hands on the research being integrated with all kinds of fascinating digital platforms. I presently work in tech, translation, and linguistic protocols, with fluency in Japanese, Welsh, and Irish Gaelic. Hawai’ian language recovery efforts in comparison to Cymraeg is my current research project. I’m also on the translation team to turn Twitter into Trydar! I’m based Silicon Valley, with my beautiful partner in crime, a security engineer and data scientist, along with our inimitably sweet calico, Saoirse . . . she’s in my gravatar pic! My job and projects mean I also spend a good part of the year in Caerdydd (Cardiff, Wales). I’ll most likely settle there with my harp when the silicon bubble bursts.

I use Facebook, iOS, and WordPress in Cymraeg (Welsh), although be wary of this dreadfully anoying localization bug with Word. Along with Hawai’ian (studied in Hilo, HI) — Cymraeg is one of the tongues of Heaven. I’m a member of the translation team developing a Welsh platform for accessing Twitter.  I am certified Level 1 as evaluated by the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I speak — or rather bumble mouth — the North Wales dialect.



I had been an adjunct (crap contracts, low pay, not tenurable, almost nil benefits) professor at UBC — with over seven years full time experience. I won a teaching prize and my evaluations and reviews were consistently among the very highest in the Faculty of Arts.  My teaching portfolio includes a range of syllabi that have explored the intersections of religion, gender, culture, and ethics through comparative literature (especially Welsh, Irish, and Japanese).  See here for a seminar I gave on gender critical theory and praxis, the last which I offered at the University of British Columbia before resigning (Autumn, 2014). I quit academia, because the conditions both intellectually and pedagogically were horrid.

Although I’ve studied about a dozen additional languages to my native English, I strive to maintain proficiency in Japanese, Irish, and Welsh. Much of my first book, in the comparaitive perspective of modernism, also presents my assessments of 21st century politics in the Celtic nations against Little England sensibilities. As Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru declared in defiance of #Brexit, “I will forever remain a Welsh European.”


I am a card carrying member of Plaid Cymru, and I am a passionate supporter of independence movements in the Celtic Nations, in response to #Brexit. Mae’n amser i Lywodraethau wrando ar gymunedau Cymru. Gyrrwch y neges drwy fwrw pleidlais i Plaid Cymru ar 4 Mai .

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