Derry City Book news!
Very excited to share the catalogue info for Derry City!
(Note: If you want to buy the book, check here regularly, because I post discount promo codes from the press as they become available. The paperback won't be out for awhile, and the hardcover is pricey.
The book traces the social and cultural history of Catholic and nationalist Derry from the end of the 19th century to the 1960s through the lens of memory and thus explores how engagements with memory might help us better understand history. Mapping memory work and historical consciousness, I argue through this book, illuminates a deep reservoir of a community’s experience and makes visible battles that were waged quietly, out of the limelight over long periods of time.
When they were producing formal historical accounts, local chronicles, telling ghost stories and transmitting folklore, staging commemorative activities, performing engagements with the past, leaving traces on the cityscape, preserving material culture and more, Derry's residents charted contemporary experiences just as much as they reflected on historical events. This book investigates and contextualizes these dances with the past in order to illuminate aspects of Derry in the years before Partition and during the decades that saw Catholics and nationalists negotiate the challenges of being seen as a "suspicious minority" in Northern Ireland even as they grappled with estrangement with those on the other side of the Irish border and built a coherent community identity.
It is an academic book, yes, but it is also a book of stories. It features iconic figures from the city's past, people like Father Willie Doherty and Frank Curran, political figures like Eddie McAteer and Patrick Crampsey, Paddy Shiels, and Walter Bernard........it tells stories about the Féis Doire Colmcille and the AOH and St. Columb's Hall. There is music and storytelling and family drama and children's games and ghost stories. The GAA and the Gaelic League and Éoin McNeil and the IRA all feature.....Liam Brady tells the story of the Irish War of Independence from a Derryman's perspective.
The books takes a closer look at Derry from the 1890s through the 1960s and examines the ways Catholics and nationalists drew from the past to orient themselves, to galvanize around contentious politics and, in many cases, to maintain an Irish identity despite the realities of living in (what became after 1922) a partitioned state. The project took shape when I realized that in the Catholic-majority city, the memorial landscape before the period we know as the Troubles didn't seem to tell nationalists' stories or mark their spaces.
I was inspired by Diana Taylor's idea of the repertoire (as opposed to the archive) and started to look for historical evidence of memory practices that were performed through rituals, oral traditions, performances and through local history chronicles. When looked at from that angle, memories wove through nearly every aspect of Catholic and nationalist life in Derry. This book is an effort to investigate the threads on their own, and also to demonstrate the ways they came together as testament and guide for community life.
Here's a blurb from the intro: