Memory and Political Struggle in Northern Ireland
348 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Hardcover | 9780268107932 | June 2020
eBook (PDF) | 9780268107963 | June 2020
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268107956 | June 2020
Derry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland and has had a Catholic majority since 1850. It was witness to some of the most important events of the civil rights movement and the Troubles. This study examines Catholic Derry from the turn of the twentieth century to the end of the 1960s and the start of the Troubles. Plotting the relationships between community memory and historic change, Margo Shea provides a rich and nuanced account of the cultural, political, and social history of Derry using archival research, oral histories, landscape analysis, and public speeches. Looking through the lens of the memories Catholics cultivated and nurtured as well as the memories they contested, she illuminates Derry’s Catholics’ understandings of themselves and their Irish cultural and political identities through the decades that saw Home Rule, Partition, and four significant political redistricting schemes designed to maintain unionist political majorities in the largely Catholic and nationalist city. Shea weaves local history sources, community folklore, and political discourse together to demonstrate how communities maintain their agency in the midst of political and cultural conflict. As a result, the book invites a reconsideration of the genesis of the Troubles and reframes discussions of the "problem" of Irish memory. It will be of interest to students and scholars of memory, modern and contemporary British and Irish history, public history, the history of colonization, and popular cultural history.
Margo Shea is an assistant professor of history at Salem State University.
Mapping memory work and historical consciousness' in Derry and Northern Ireland, as Margo Shea does so beautifully and assiduously, is indeed a wonder of illumination. Derry City reveals in heartbreaking and stunning detail how memory, in all of its multiple forms, serves as screen, catalyst, and infrastructure for our understanding of the Troubles—and how they continue to shape the present moment. A must read for all still consumed by this not-so-distant past. —James E. Young, author of The Stages of Memory
"This is indeed an original study that makes a significant contribution not only to the recent political and cultural history of the city of Derry, but it is also an interesting contribution to the literature on the politics of memory in Ireland as pioneered by writers such as Guy Beiner and Mary Daly." ~Ciaran Brady, Trinity College Dublin
"Mapping an urban memoryscape to reveal a rich tapestry of traditions, Derry City is a sparkling demonstration of the value of public history. Through subtle examination of myriad performances of social remembrance, Shea masterfully charts the Catholic community’s historical consciousness, monitoring the persistent growth in nationalist confidence over the decades preceding the outbreak of ‘the Troubles’." —Guy Beiner, author of Forgetful Remembrance