3/5 – Guy Beiner on “Is it Possible to Write a History of Forgetting?”
While memory studies regularly acknowledge the significance of forgetting, the pursuit of the historical study of forgetting poses conceptual and methodological problems. In suggesting directions to address this challenge, the talk will introduce a concept of ‘social forgetting’ that pivots on tensions between silences in the public sphere and the persistence of obscured recollections in more private and local arenas. It will demonstrate how vestiges of social forgetting can be uncovered and charted over time through the examination of the less-conventional sources of ‘vernacular historiography’. The arguments will be clarified with reference to an in-depth case study of repeated attempts by communities in Northern Ireland to suppress, for over two centuries, memories of troublesome events in the past that do not sit well with present-day identity politics.
Guy Beiner is professor of modern history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and is currently the Burns Scholar in Irish Studies at Boston College. His publications on remembering and forgetting in modern Ireland include Remembering the Year of the French: Irish Folk History and Social Memory (University of Wisconsin Press) and Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster (Oxford University Press).
March 5th at 6:30 pm
Skylight Room (9th floor)
Please RSVP to BAM@gc.cuny.edu