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Remembering and Forgetting 1916: Commemoration and Conflict in Post-Peace Process Ireland


Rebecca Graff-McRae

An investigation of the discourses of commemoration in Ireland, focusing on the Battle of the Somme, the 1798 Rebellion, the H-Block Hunger Strike, and in particular the Easter Rising. The book asks how these events have become incorporated into present politics.

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Remembering and Forgetting 1916 engages with the diverse, divergent, and at times contradictory, discourses of commemoration in Ireland.

It explores the complex politics of commemoration of four significant events in Irish history: the Easter Rising, the Battle of the Somme, the 1798 Rebellion, and the H-Block Hunger Strike. It asks how the commemorations of these events have become incorporated into present politics in the wake of the Good Friday Agreement.

The book begins and ends with the Easter Rising. The construction of 1916 as the pivotal moment of Irish history, identity and memory has had lasting consequences for the Irish definition of political conflict and how this is defined through commemoration.

In Remembering and Forgetting 1916, it is argued that the ghosts of 1916 are in many ways the ghosts of 1998. This book thus calls forth the ghosts of commemoration and examines how the ghosts of conflict and consensus are used to political ends in the present.

Table of Contents

Introduction The Politics of Commemoration: Theories of (and in) Conflict
1 Ghosts of 1916: Spectropolitics and the Haunting of Irish History
2 Tug-of-War: The Somme, the Rising, Commemoration and Conflict
3 1798/1998: (Dis)United Irishmen
4 Hunger to Remember: Commemorating and Contesting the 1981 Hunger Strike
Conclusion (In)Conclusion(s): Remembering and Forgetting, 1916 to 2006

About the Author

Rebecca Graff-McRae completed her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at Queen’s University, Belfast. She currently holds a post-doctoral fellowship at Memorial University of Newfoundland. This is her first book.