What is Memory Studies?

From the public commemoration of historic events to private memoirs of childhood, modern culture seems obsessed with the remembrance of things past. The increasing focus on memory studies as a distinct field of research is a response to the dominance of the past in literatures and cultures. In Ireland, this is not a new phenomenon; representations of the past have always been an integral element of how the nation is imagined and framed. Given these traditions, and the particular emphasis of Irish remembrance culture on loss, how can we use the discipline of memory studies to read Irish history and culture? Can we talk of national memory and, if so, can we read it in the context of global memory banks? Should we be reading the past under the sign of trauma? And are the events of the past to be resolved through commemoration or will they – should they – remain as provocative elements of our present?

Whether discussing the recent past or more distant histories, our conversations are marked by an interrogation of what and how we remember; what and how we choose to commemorate; and what we forget.

UCD Humanities Institute (© Real Smart Media)

UCD Humanities Institute (© Real Smart Media)

IMSN @ UCD Humanities Institute

The Irish Memory Studies Network is hosted by the UCD Humanities Institute and represents a key strand of the Institute’s research infrastructure. The Network aims to open up a critical dialogue across multidisciplinary aspects of, and international contexts for, memory studies, with a view to generating discussion across disciplinary boundaries and, it is hoped, laying the foundations for collaborative research work. These collaborations are made possible through lecture series, workshop events, and conferences. The purpose of these events, and of the Network more generally, is to raise the visibility of our research, to promote interaction and exchange, and to provide a hub for researchers both nationally and internationally in the fields of memory studies.


The IMSN is funded by UCD College of Arts and Humanities, and the Irish Research Council under New Foundations. The Network is supported by the School of English, Drama and Film at UCD.

Who we are:

Dr Emilie Pine (UCD)

Dr Fionnuala Dillane (UCD)

Dr Oona Frawley (NUI Maynooth)