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Critical Perspectives on Commemorating Partition

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Critical Perspectives on Commemorating Partition in Ireland

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2021 marks the hundredth anniversary of the partition of the island of Ireland, and the creation of the state of Northern Ireland. Whether and in what ways this event can or should be commemorated is an intrinsically and divisively political question. Bound up in it are issues of empire, violence and political identity that are, by their very nature, contested. Bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scholars of contemporary Irish history, heritage and sociology, this seminar will critically interrogate the divisive politics of the centenary of partition. In so doing, it will problematise prevailing approaches to this centenary which claim to be founded on 'shared and ethical remembering', explore what such approaches leave out or act to silence, and stake out what a deliberately anti-colonial approach to commemoration might look like.

Participants:

Jonathan Evershed is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the Ports, Past and Present project at University College Cork. He is an anthropologist with a research interest in postcolonial politics, culture, heritage and identity in the UK and Ireland. His book, Ghosts of the Somme: Commemoration and Culture War in Northern Ireland (University of Notre Dame Press, 2018) examines the contested politics of commemoration in Northern Ireland during the Decade of Centenaries.

Rebecca Graff-McRae is a Research Manager for the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. She completed her undergraduate and doctoral studies at Queen’s University Belfast, exploring the role of memory and commemoration in post-conflict transition. She has previously held a research assistantship with the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s, and post-doctoral research fellowships at Memorial University Newfoundland and the University of Alberta.

Her work has appeared in Ethnopolitics, Nordic Irish Studies, and several edited collections, including 1916 in 1966: Commemorating the Easter Rising. A monograph, Remembering & Forgetting 1916: Commemoration and Conflict in Post-Peace Process Ireland was published by Irish Academic Press in 2010.

Brian Hanley is assistant professor of Twentieth Century Irish history at Trinity College Dublin. He is the author of several books and articles on Irish republicanism and is currently examining the global impact of the Irish struggle for independence.

Peter Leary is a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow in History at Oxford Brookes University and author of Unapproved routes: histories of the Irish border, 1922–72 (Oxford University Press, 2016), winner of the American Conference for Irish Studies Donald Murphy Prize. His writing on the Irish border has appeared in various publications including History Workshop Journal, Folklore and the Guardian.

Laura McAtackney is an Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark and a Docent in Contemporary Historical Archaeology at the University of Oulu in Finland. Her research uses contemporary archaeology and critical heritage approaches to explore social justice issues, including long-term studies on political imprisonment in Ireland (Long Kesh / Maze prison and Kilmainham Gaol) and post-conflict Northern Ireland (especially materialized segregation), gendered perspectives on the past and the experiences and memory of the colonial Caribbean. She is currently the PI for an Independent Research Fund Denmark Project Enduring Materialities of Colonialism: temporality, spatiality and memory on St Croix, USVI (EMoC) (2019-2024), a Co-I on ARCHAEOBALT (2018-2022), an EU-Interreg project on archaeological tourism and is part of the OPEN HEART CITY collective working with Magdalene Laundries in Ireland.

Chair:

Hussein Omar is a lecturer in Modern Global History at UCD. He specialises in the history of the Middle East and North Africa, with a special focus on political thought, the history of death and dying as well as family history. His book Anticolonialism and the Discovery of Politics is forthcoming with OUP.

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