This essay contests the idea that Irish postcolonial studies is a diminished field in contemporary Ireland, instead contending that it has been a sustained and significant critical force in Irish studies for over four decades and will likely remain so. The Irish “decade of centenaries,” international protests against institutional racism, and “decolonizing the university” controversies have brought issues of colonialism, racism, and empire to new prominence in Irish society and encouraged the take-up of postcolonial critique in Irish historiography, political studies, and other disciplines. The essay surveys the achievements and limitations of Irish postcolonial studies, primarily in the field of cultural analysis, since the 1980s and concludes with an assessment of major challenges ahead. The crises of contemporary global capitalism, it suggests, will impel postcolonial studies not just to engage received histories of empire and anti-imperial struggle but also to consider current conjunctures in terms of postcapitalist futures.

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