Commemorating the Irish Famine: Memory and the Monument presents for the first time a visual cultural history of the 1840s Irish Famine, tracing its representation and commemoration from the 19th century up to its 150th anniversary in the 1990s and beyond. As the watershed event of 19th century Ireland, the Famine’s political and social impacts profoundly shaped modern Ireland and the nations of its diaspora. Yet up until the 1990s, the memory of the Famine remained relatively muted and neglected, attracting little public attention. Thus the Famine commemorative boom of the mid-1990s was unprecedented in scale and output, with close to one hundred monuments newly constructed across Ireland, Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia. Drawing on an extensive global survey of recent community and national responses to the Famine’s anniversary, and by outlining why these memories matter and to whom, this book argues how the phenomenon of Famine commemoration may be understood in the context of a growing memorial culture worldwide. It offers an innovative look at a well-known migration history whilst exploring how a now-global ethnic community redefines itself through acts of public memory and representation.
'Mark-Fitzgerald’s excellent book will have an important position as questions arise around the relationship between the high-profile memory practices relating to the Irish Famine, so centred on creating a usable narrative of the past and of Irish identity, and the more recent traumatic memories which were being actively suppressed and silenced during the same period. Commemorating the Irish Famine: Memory and the Monument is sure to enrich several disciplines, from social and visual histories to the study of Irish culture, both in Ireland and throughout the diaspora.'
Niamh NicGhabhann, Irish Studies Review
'Emily Mark-Fitzgerald's book will have certainly paved the way for and influenced the debate [on the Irish Famine]. It is a remarkable study which crosses several disciplines and which will be of interest to many.'
Irish Literary Supplement
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