Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster

ISBN : 9780198864196

Guy Beiner
736 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Apr 2020
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Winner of the AHA 2019 George L. Mosse Prize
Winner of the 2019 Katharine Briggs Award.

Forgetful Remembrance examines the paradoxes of what actually happens when communities persistently endeavour to forget inconvenient events. The question of how a society attempts to obscure problematic historical episodes is addressed through a detailed case study grounded in the north-eastern counties of the Irish province of Ulster, where loyalist and unionist Protestants-and in particular Presbyterians-repeatedly tried to repress over two centuries discomfiting recollections of participation, alongside Catholics, in a republican rebellion in 1798.

By exploring a rich variety of sources, Beiner makes it possible to closely follow the dynamics of social forgetting. His particular focus on vernacular historiography, rarely noted in official histories, reveals the tensions between professed oblivion in public and more subtle rituals of remembrance that facilitated muted traditions of forgetful remembrance, which were masked by a local culture of reticence and silencing. Throughout Forgetful Remembrance, comparative references demonstrate the wider relevance of the study of social forgetting in Northern Ireland to numerous other cases where troublesome memories have been concealed behind a veil of supposed oblivion.






Preface: Forgetful Remembrance

Introduction: Sites of Oblivion

Vernacular Historiography

Social Forgetting

The Turn-Out

Part I: Pre-Forgetting: Before 1798

1 Recycling Memory

2 Initiating Counter-Memory

3 Silencing

4 Anticipating Forgetting

Part II: Amnesty and Amnesia: The Aftermath of 1798

5 Wilful Forgetting

6 Unforgivingness

7 Exiling Memory

8 Impenitence

9 The Chimera of Oblivion

Part III: The Generation of Forgetting: The First Half of the Nineteenth Century

10 Uninscribed Epitaphs

11 Wilful Muteness

12 Versified Recall

13 Fictionalized Memory

14 Hesitations in Coming Out

15 Collecting Recollections

16 Postmemory Anxieties

Part IV: Regenerated Forgetting: The Second Half of the Nineteenth Century

17 Continued Disremembrance

18 Excavating Memory

19 Countering Neglect

20 Imagined Reminiscence

21 Cultural Memory and Social Forgetting

22 Revivalism and Re-Collecting

Part V: Decommemorating: The Turn of the Century

23 Infighting

24 Iconoclasm

25 Rowdyism

26 Recasting and Performing

27 Rewriting and Staging

28 Historical Disregard

29 Re-Commemorating

Part VI: Restored Forgetting: The Short Twentieth Century

30 Partitioned Memory

31 Breaking Silence

32 Unperceived Remembrance

33 Troubled Forgetting

34 Nonconformism

Part VII: Post-Forgetting: Into the Twenty-First Century

35 Remembrance and Reconciliation

36 Exhibiting Memory

37 Countering Disremembering

38 Disparities of Esteem

Part VIII: Conclusion: Rites of Oblivion

39 Dealing with the Past

40 Social Forgetting Beyond Ulster

41 Rights of Forgetting

Select Bibliography

About the author: 

Guy Beiner is a professor of modern history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He specializes in the study of remembering and forgetting, with a particular interest in the history of Ireland. He was a Government of Ireland scholar at University College Dublin, a Government of Ireland Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the University of Notre Dame, a Government of Hungary scholar at the Central European University, and a Marie Curie fellow at the University of Oxford. He is the author of the multi-prize-winning book, Remembering the Year of the French: Irish Folk History and Social Memory.

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