David Rieff

David Rieff: In Praise of Forgetting

Irish history provides a particularly illuminating case study of the uses and misuses of the past in the construction, reconstruction, amendment, and transformation of the collective memory.

David Rieff

David Rieff is an independent writer who has reported on bloody conflicts in Africa, the Balkans, and Central Asia. He is the author of many books, including The Reproach of Hunger: Food, Justice, and Money in the 21st Century (Simon & Schuster, 2015) and, most recently, In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies (Yale, 2016) .

In October 2017 Rieff visited Queen’s University Belfast to give a talk based on this latest work. The talk was jointly organised by the Belfast International Arts Festival and ‘Commemorating Partition and Civil Wars in Ireland, 2020-23‘, a project led by Dr Marie Coleman and Dr Dominic Bryan at Queen’s. The project, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, examines approaches to the 2020-2023 period of the ‘decade of centenaries’, on both sides of the Irish border.

The paper – ‘In Praise of Forgetting, Historical Memory and its Ironies’ – was recorded by Real Smart Media and is now available as a podcast on History Hub.

Listen back

Since ‘Commemorating Partition and Civil Wars in Ireland, 2020-2023′ began its work in 2017, a number of events have taken place in QUB. These events have examined the complex challenges of upcoming centenaries, in the context of commemoration, specially in Northern Ireland.

Engaging the public with contested history is one of History Hub’s core objectives and we have partnered with the project to produce freely accessible podcasts from project events, including: Civil Wars and their Legacy; and Commemoration and Conflict in Ireland, 1920-1922. These podcasts, produced by Real Smart Media, are now available on History Hub, iTunes and Soundcloud.

Click here for more information on the project.