Scholarly biography and interests
Professor Graham Dawson is the University of Brighton's professor in Historical Cultural Studies. His research is interdisciplinary, drawing on cultural studies, history, literature, cultural geography and psychoanalytic theory to explore questions of memory, temporality, representation, trauma, contested space, historical justice, and human rights. His investigations have focused on the inter-relations between cultural memory, narrative and identity, the cultural politics of British imperialism and its contestation, and the memory of war and conflict in recent times, with a particular interest in the Irish Troubles. He co-founded the university's Centre for Research in Memory, Narrative and Histories and the Understanding Conflict: Forms and Legacies of Violence research cluster.
He is interested in the personal memories and subjectivities produced in oral histories/life stories and other forms, and in the cultural and political ramifications of their relation to public and national representations of the past. He is also committed to the use of psychoanalytic theory and insight in historical and cultural analysis, and has retained a strong interest in imaginative literature, especially fiction, as a vehicle both for exploring historical consciousness and intervening in cultures of memory.
Prof Dawson's first book, Soldier Heroes: British Adventure, Empire and the Imagining of Masculinities (1994) is acclaimed internationally as a cultural studies classic and is still being read and cited by researchers in diverse fields of study in many parts of the world.
Since 1995 the main focus of Graham Dawson's research has been on questions of cultural memory, violence and conflict transformation in the Irish Troubles and the peace process. This has resulted in numerous articles and a similarly influential second monograph, Making Peace with the Past? Memory, Trauma and the Irish Troubles, published by Manchester University Press in November (2007). He has also participated in national and international networks involved in the study of memory, co-editing three books - on the politics of war memory and commemoration, on trauma, and on contested spaces and the representation of conflicted pasts - and contributing to others.
His recent research develops the study of ‘post-conflict’ culture and the Irish peace process, focusing on temporal and spacial legacies of the Troubles in the North of Ireland and in Britain. This is informed by, and contributes to, wider transnational debates concerned with the cultural dimensions of dealing with the past within conflict transformation processes, involving questions of memory and subjectivity, representation, imaginative geography, historical justice, and human rights.
Graham Dawson's first degree was in English with Cultural and Community Studies from the University of Sussex. He studied as a postgraduate at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, University of Birmingham, where he worked as a member of the Popular Memory Group from 1979-1986 and was awarded a doctorate in 1991.
He has supervised three PhDs to completion, and is currently supervising nine students, several with fully-funded studentships. Dawson welcomes applications for doctoral study and supervision on the cultural history, representation and memory of war and conflict in recent times, on the cultural history, geography and memory of the Northern Ireland Troubles and peace process, and on ‘post-conflict’ cultures and subjectivities engaged in conflict transformation.
Number of items: 16.
Storytelling in ‘post-conflict’ times: narrative, subjectivity and experience in community-based peacebuilding
In: Lehner, S. and McGrattan, C., eds.
The promise of peace in Northern Ireland.
Manchester University Press, Manchester.
The meaning of “moving on”: From trauma to the history and memory of emotions in “post-conflict” Northern Ireland
Irish University Review, 47 (1).
Memory, ‘Post-Conflict’ Temporalities and the Afterlife of Emotion in Conflict Transformation after the Irish Troubles
In: Corporaal, M., Cusack, C. and van den Beuken, R., eds.
Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory.
Peter Lang, Oxford, pp. 257-296.
Dawson, Graham, Dover, Jo and Hopkins, Stephen
The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain: Impacts, engagements, legacies and memories
Memoryscapes, spatial legacies of conflict, and the culture of historical reconciliation in 'post-conflict' Belfast
In: Gobodo-Madikizela, P., ed.
Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition: A Global Dialogue on Historical Trauma and Memory.
Barbara Budrich Publishers, Berlin, Germany, pp. 57-80.
The theory of popular memory and the contested memories of the Second World War in Britain
In: Hoffmann, Katharina, Mehrtens, Herbert and Wenk, Silke, eds.
Myths, gender and the military conquest of air and sea.
Oldenburger Beiträge zur Geschlechterforschung
BIS Verlag, Oldenburg, Germany.
Life stories, trauma and the politics of memory in the Irish peace process
Memory Ireland: The Famine and the Troubles.
Irish Studies, 3
Syracuse University Press, New York, USA, pp. 195-214.
The desire for justice, psychic reparation and the politics of memory in ‘post-conflict’ Northern Ireland
Rethinking History, 18 (2).
Masculinities and 'the terrorist' in conflict transformation: representation, identity and reconciliation in post-conflict Northern Ireland
In: Malvern, Sue and Koureas, Gabriel, eds.
Terrorist transgressions: gender and the visual culture of the terrorist.
International library of cultural studies
I.B. Tauris, London, UK, pp. 157-180.
Storytelling, imaginative fiction and the representation of victims of the Irish Troubles: a cultural analysis of Deirdre Madden's ' One by One in the Darkness'
In: Lelourec, Lesley and O'Keeffe-Vigneron, Gráinne, eds.
Ireland and victims: confronting the past, forging the future.
Peter Lang AG, Oxford, UK, pp. 139-158.
Father Daly’s white hanky: survivor memories, collective memory, and the postmemory of Bloody Sunday in the Irish Troubles
In: Burke, Lucy, Faulkner, Simon and Aulich, Jim, eds.
The politics of cultural memory.
Cambridge Scholars, Newcastle, pp. 230-252.
Purbrick, Louise, Aulich, Jim and Dawson, Graham
Contested Spaces: Sites, Representations and Histories of Conflict
Making Peace with the Past? Memory, Trauma and the Irish Troubles
Manchester University Press, Manchester, UK.
The Ulster-Irish Border, Protestant Imaginative Geography and Cultural Memory in the Irish Troubles
In: Corrado, Adriana and Ascari, Maurizio, eds.
Sites of Exchange: European Crossroads and Faultlines.
Amsterdam and New York: RODOPI, Amsterdam, USA, pp. 237-250.
Trauma, Place and the Politics of Memory: Bloody Sunday, Derry, 1972 - 2004
History Workshop Journal, 59.
Mobilising Memories: Protestant and Unionist Victims Groups and the Politics of Victimhood in the Irish Peace Process
In: Gready, Paul, ed.
Political Transition: Politics and Cultures.
London and Sterling, VA: Pluto, London, UK, pp. 127-147.
Selected further works
- Dawson, Graham (2016), Dover, Jo and Hopkins, Stephen (eds), The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain: Impacts, Engagements, Legacies and Memories, Manchester University Press, forthcoming (MS to be submitted December 2015.)
- With Jim Aulich and Louise Purbrick (eds), Contested Spaces: Sites, Representations and Histories of Conflict, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007 (258pp)
- With T.G. Ashplant and Michael Roper (eds), The Politics of War Memory and Commemoration (Routledge Studies in Memory and Narrative, vol 7), London and New York: Routledge, 2000; paperback ed. 2015; republished as Commemorating War: The Politics of Memory, New Brunswick and London: Transaction, 2004 (282pp)
- With Kim Lacy Rogers and Selma Leydesdorff (eds), Trauma and Life Stories: International Perspectives, (Routledge Studies in Memory and Narrative, vol 2), London and New York: Routledge, 1999; paperback ed. 2014; republished as Trauma: Life Stories of Survivors, New Brunswick and London: Transaction, 2004 (262pp)
- Soldier Heroes: British Adventure, Empire and the Imagining of Masculinities, London and New York: Routledge, 1994 (350 pp)
Journals and book chapters
- ‘Storytelling and subjectivities in “post-conflict” times: Closure, healing, conflict transformation and historical reconciliation’, in Stefanie Lehner and Cillian McGrattan (eds), The Promise of Peace in Northern Ireland, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016-17 forthcoming.
- ‘Memory, the afterlife of emotion, and “post-conflict” temporalities in conflict transformation after the Irish Troubles’, in Marguérite Corporaal, Christopher Cusack and Ruud van den Beuken (eds), Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory (Re-imagining Ireland series), Oxford: Peter Lang, 2016 forthcoming.
- 'The meaning of “moving on”: From trauma to the history and memory of emotions in “post-conflict” Northern Ireland’, in Moving Memory, a special issue of the Irish University Review 47:1, Spring/Summer 2017, forthcoming.
- 'The Theory of Popular Memory and the Contested Memories of the Second World War in Britain', in Silke Wenk, Herbert Mehrtens and Katharina Hoffmann (eds), Myths, Gender and the Military Conquest of Air and Sea, Oldenburg: BIS Verlag
- 'Life Stories, Trauma and the Politics of Memory in the Irish Peace Process' in Oona Frawley (ed.), Irish Cultural Memory, vol. 3, Syracuse University Press
- 'Trauma, Place and the Politics of Memory: Bloody Sunday, Derry, 1972 - 2004' in Stephanos Stephanides (ed), Cultures of Memory, Memories of Culture, Intercollege Press and University of Cyprus, 2007, pp147-66 (Longer version previously published in History Workshop Journal, no 59, Spring 2005)
- 'Cultural Memory, Reconciliation, and the Reconstruction of the Site of the "Poppy Day" Bomb in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland' in Astradur Eysteinsson (ed), The Cultural Reconstruction of Places, University of Iceland Press, 2007, pp44-60
- 'The Ulster-Irish Border, Protestant Imaginative Geography and Cultural Memory in the Irish Troubles' in Adriana Corrado and Maurizio Ascari (eds),Sites of Exchange: European Crossroads and Faultlines, RODOPI, 2006, pp237 - 250
- 'Trauma, Place and the Politics of Memory: Bloody Sunday, Derry, 1972 - 2004' in History Workshop Journal, no 59, Spring 2005, pp221 - 250
- 'Ulster-British Identity and the Cultural Memory of Ethnic Cleansing on the Northern Ireland Border' in Robert Phillips and Helen Brocklehurst (eds),History, Nationhood and the Question of Britain, Palgrave MacMillan, 2004, pp356 - 71
- 'Mobilising Memories: Protestant and Unionist Victims Groups and the Politics of Victimhood in the Irish Peace Process' in Paul Gready (ed), Political Transition: Politics and Cultures, Pluto, 2003, pp127 - 47
- With T.G. Ashplant and Michael Roper, 'The Politics of War Memory and Commemoration: Contexts, Structures and Dynamics' in T.G. Ashplant, Graham Dawson and Michael Roper (eds), The Politics of War Memory and Commemoration (Routledge Studies in Memory and Narrative, vol 7), London and New York: Routledge, 2000, pp3 - 85; republished asCommemorating War: The Politics of Memory, New Brunswick and London: Transaction, 2004 , pp3 - 85
- 'Trauma, Memory, Politics: The Irish Troubles' in Kim Lacy Rogers, Selma Leydesdorff and Graham Dawson (eds), Trauma and Life Stories: International Perspectives, (Routledge Studies in Memory and Narrative, vol 2), London and New York: Routledge, 1999, pp180 - 204; republished as Trauma: Life Stories of Survivors, New Brunswick and London: Transaction, 2004, pp180 - 204
- With Selma Leydesdorff, Natasha Burchardt and T.G. Ashplant, 'Introduction: Trauma and Life Stories' in Kim Lacy Rogers, Selma Leydesdorff and Graham Dawson (eds), Trauma and Life Stories: International Perspectives, (Routledge Studies in Memory and Narrative, vol 2), London and New York: Routledge, 1999, pp1 - 26; republished as Trauma: Life Stories of Survivors, New Brunswick and London: Transaction, 2004, pp1 - 26
- 'The Paradox of Authority: Psychoanalysis and Cultural Criticism', Angelaki, 'Authorizing Culture', vol 2 no 2, 1996, pp75 - 102
- 'The Imaginative Geography of Masculine Adventure' in Renaissance and Modern Studies, vol 39, 1996: 'Space and Gender', pp27 - 45
- 'The Imperial Adventure Hero and British Masculinity: the Imagining of Sir Henry Havelock', in Timothy P. Foley, Lionel Pilkington, Sean Ryder and Elizabeth Tilley (eds.), Gender and Colonialism, Galway University Press, 1995, pp45 - 59
- 'The Public and Private Lives of T.E. Lawrence: Modernism, Masculinity and Imperial Adventure' in New Formations, no 16, Spring 1992, pp103 - 18
- 'The Blond Bedouin: Lawrence of Arabia, Imperial Adventure and the Imagining of English-British Masculinity', in Michael Roper and John Tosh (eds),Manful Assertions: Masculinities in Britain Since 1800, Routledge 1991, pp113 - 44
- With Bob West, 'Our Finest Hour? The Popular Memory of World War Two and the Struggle over National Identity' in Geoff Hurd (ed), National Fictions: World War Two on Film and Television, British Film Institute, 1984, pp8 - 13
- With Richard Johnson, as Popular Memory Group, 'Popular Memory: Theory, Politics, Method' in Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, Making Histories: Studies in History-Writing and Politics, Hutchinson, 1982, pp205 - 52; edited extract republished in Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson (eds), The Oral History Reader, Routledge, 1998, pp75 - 86; and in Second Edition, 2006, pp43 - 53
Selected conference and seminar presentations and other public talks
- Invited speaker, “Memory, the Afterlife of Emotion, and ‘Post-conflict’ Temporalities in Conflict Transformation after the Irish Troubles”, Modern History Research Centre, University of Winchester, 14 January 2016.
- Invited speaker, Closing Plenary Panel, “Re-engaging Elaine Scarry's The Body in Pain” international conference, University of Brighton, 10-11 December 2015.
- “Imagined Futures, Damaged Pasts: Temporalities, Subjectivities and the Politics of 'Post-conflict' Transition in Northern Ireland”, at the “Ireland: Shared Futures?” international conference, Université Rennes II, Rennes, France, 10-12 September 2015.
- Invited speaker, “Storytelling, Historical Reconciliation and the Politics of Memory in the Irish Peace Process”, Irish Studies Seminar, Université Rennes II, Rennes, France, 30 April 2015.
- Invited keynote speaker, “Memory, the Afterlife of Emotion, and ‘Post-conflict’ Temporalities in Conflict Transformation after the Irish Troubles”, at ‘Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory: Transitions and Transformations’, international conference, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 31 March–2 April 2015.
- Invited speaker, “Storytelling, Historical Reconciliation and the Politics of Memory in the Irish Peace Process”, Memory Studies Seminar, Department of Languages, Literature and Communication, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 30 March 2015.
- Invited speaker, “The Politics of Memory: History and Commemoration of War and Conflict”, Leicester CND 'Memories in Conflict' project, the Secular Hall, Leicester, 8 December 2014.
- Invited participant, ‘Culture, Conflict and Post-Conflict’ symposium, jointly organised by AHRC Care For the Future: Thinking Forward Through the Past, and AHRC Cultural Value Project, British Academy, London, 9–10 September 2014.
- Invited speaker, “War and its Emotional Legacies: Roundtable”, ‘War: An Emotional History’, British Academy conference, British Academy, London, 10–11 July 2014.
- Invited speaker, “Afterwards: Space, Time and Subjectivity in ‘Post-conflict’ Cultures”, ‘Governing Through the “Post–”: Post-Disaster, Post-Conflict, Post-Crisis?’ workshop, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick, 18 June 2014.
- Invited speaker, “The Afterlife of Emotions and Post-conflict Temporalities: The Case of the Northern Ireland Troubles”, ‘History of Emotions’ seminar series, University of Oxford, 10 June 2014.
- Invited participant, “Memory, Trauma and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding”, Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace International Seminar, GHFP Peace Centre, Brighton, 4 April 2014.
- Invited speaker, “Dealing with the Legacies of the Past” panel, ‘The Promise of Peace in Northern Ireland’ conference, Ulster Museum, Belfast, 14 March 2014. (Closing event of ‘The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, 15 Years On: Revisiting the Promise of Peace’ project, supported by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust, 2013–14.)
- “Afterwards: Legacies of War in Culture, Memory and Experience”, Inaugural Professorial Lecture, University of Brighton, 27 November 2013.
- “Sites of Memory, Spaces of Fear and the Culture of 'Historical Reconciliation' in 'Post-conflict' Belfast”, at ‘Memory, Conflict and Space’ conference, Archbishop Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies, Liverpool Hope University, 10-12 July 2013.
- “Sites of Memory, Spaces of Fear and the Culture of 'Historical Reconciliation' in 'Post-conflict' Belfast”, at ‘Engaging the Other: Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition’ conference, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa, 5-8 December 2012.
- Invited lecturer, "Memory, Trauma and Language in the Northern Ireland Conflict", at the 13th International Summer
School on Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding, INCORE [International Institute of Conflict Research], University of Ulster, 18-22 June 2012.
- Invited speaker, "Sites of Memory, Spaces of Fear and the Dark Heritage of Violent Conflict in 'Post-conflict' Belfast", for the panel "Deconstructing the Dark: A Critical Approach to Dark Heritage" (organised by the Heritage Research Group, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge), at "The Re/theorisation of Heritage Studies", Association of Critical Heritage Studies inaugural conference, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, 5-8 June 2012.
- Invited speaker, "Making Peace with the Past? Memory, Conflict Transformation and the Problem of 'Closure' in the Irish Troubles", at the History Seminar, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 20 February 2012.
- Paper 'The Desire for Justice, Psychic Reparation and the Politics of Memory in 'Post-conflict' Northern Ireland', at "Historical Justice and Memory" conference, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, 14-17 February 2012
- Paper 'Violence, Memory, Reconciliation: Representations of Gender in Encounters Between Ex-combatants and Their Victims in 'Post-conflict' Northern Ireland' at 'Violence, Horror and Gender conference (organised for the AHRC Terrorist Transgressions network on gendered representations of the terrorist), University of Reading, 28-29 January 2012.
- 'Representation: How Do We Record and Represent Difficult Memories?', Invited panel speaker at 'Representing Memories from Conflict', One-day Symposium at the Centre for Media Research, University of Ulster, Belfast, 25 February 2011
- Paper 'Legacies of Violence and the War over Memory in the Irish Peace Process', invited speaker at 'Fratricide and Fraternité: Understanding and Repairing Neighbourly Atrocity', Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series, Closing Conference: 'Fraternité', University of London, 28-29 October 2010
- Paper 'The Desire for Justice, Psychic Reparation and the Politics of Memory in 'Post-conflict' Northern Ireland', at 'Ireland and Victims: Recognition, Reparation, Reconciliation?' conference, University of Rennes 2, France, 9-11 September 2010
- Paper 'The Desire for Justice: Life Stories of Violence, Discourses of Victimhood and the Politics of Memory in 'Post-conflict' Northern Ireland', at 'Life Writing and Intimate Publics', The International Auto/Biography Association Conference, University of Sussex, 28 June - 1 July 2010
- 'Victims, Justice and the Politics of Memory in the Irish Peace Process', Invited speaker at ‘Bloody Sunday and the Saville Inquiry’, Annual Symposium of the London Irish Studies Seminar, King's College London, 25 June 2010
- Keynote speaker: 'Imaginative Geographies and Contested Memories: Problems of Representation across the Psychic and Political 'Peace-lines' of 'Post-conflict' Northern Ireland', at 'Conflicting Views: Visual Culture, Conflict and Northern Ireland' conference, Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Republic of Ireland, 9-11 June 2010
- 'Beyond Reconciliation: Dealing with the Aftermath of Mass Trauma and Political Violence,' Cape Town 2 - 6 December 2009, invited plenary round table speaker with Archbishop Desmond Tutu
- Paper 'The desire for justice, psychic reparation, and the politics of memory in 'post-conflict' Northern Ireland', based on recent research with the Border Unionist victims' group, West Tyrone Voice. 'Beyond Reconciliation: Dealing with the Aftermath of Mass Trauma and Political Violence,' Cape Town 2 - 6 December 2009
- Keynote speaker: 'The ‘Ulster’-Irish Border, Protestant Imaginative Geography and Cultural Memory in the Irish Troubles', at 'Occupation: Negotiations with Constructed Space’, 2-4 July, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton
- Keynote speaker: 'Masculinities, State Violence, and the Political Psychology of Military Extirpation: Reflections on the Israeli Assault on Gaza,' 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009', at 'Men at War: Masculinities, Identities, Cultures', organised by Swansea University, 10-11 September 2009
Peer reviewing for international bodies and research councils
- Peer reviewer for AHRC, Early Career Research Grant
- Expert evaluator, multidisciplinary Research Programme on Human Mind (MIND) 2013–2016, Academy of Finland and the Russian Foundation for Humanities
- Independent peer reviewer, Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme 2012–13, Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences, Republic of Ireland
- External Assessor for Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Grant (3–5 years)
Grants and awards
2005 - present
- Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of Location, Memory and Visuality, MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University
2002 - 2006
- University of Brighton representative as Partner in European Thematic Network Cultural Memory in European Countries: An Interdisciplinary Approach (ACUME): lead institutions - the Universities of Bologna and Warwick; Erasmus/Socrates grant awarded to Network October 2002
- British Academy Overseas Conference Grant to attend the 'Memory and Narrative' symposium, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
2001 - 2002
- AHRB Research Leave Scheme, 'Making Peace with the Past? Cultural Memory, the Irish Troubles and the Peace Process' (£8,844)
1999 - 2001
- Leverhulme Trust Research Grant, 'Cultural Memory and the Irish Troubles' (£3,570)
1999 - 2000
- British Academy Small Research Grant, Cultural Memory and the Irish Troubles: Making Peace with the Past? (£2,140)
Juries, committees and editorial boards
2009 - present
- Editorial board, Journal for War and Culture Studies
2008 - present
- Member of Steering Committee, Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory, Institute of Romance and Germanic Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London
2004 - present
- Peer review assessor, Research Grant Scheme
- External assessor, Research Leave Scheme, Arts and Humanities Research Board
1999 - present
- Advisory Editor, Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies (based at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia)
1996 - present
- Editorial Board, Memory and Narrative: an international book series of monographs and edited collections, published until 2003 by Routledge, and since 2003 by Transaction Publishers, Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, USA
Providing expert evidence
- Invited participant, Foresight Future of Identity Project scoping workshop, organised by the Government Office for Science, 24 January 2012
External examining for PhD
- External Examiner for PhD thesis submitted to the School of Art and Design, University of Ulster: ‘The Role of Community Oral History Archives in Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland’
- External Examiner for PhD thesis submitted to the Department of History (Humanities Division), University of Oxford: 'The Construction of Formal and Informal Historical Narratives of Violence in North-Western Bosnia, World War II Until Present'
- External Examiner for practice-based PhD thesis submitted to the School of Media, Film and Journalism, University of Ulster: 'Audiovisual Storytelling in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland
- External Examiner for PhD submitted to Deptartment of Sociology, University of Essex: 'The Victims of Military Humanitarian Intervention: A Study of the Psycho-Social Impact of the UNOSOM Involvement in Somalia'