Sites of Oblivion
Questioning the inevitability of an inherent opposition between myth and history opens possibilities for rethinking our engagement with the past through the lens of ‘mythistory’. In the same vein, the concept of ‘vernacular historiography’ is introduced in relation to a number of related historiographical developments, namely: living history, history from below, people’s history, subaltern history, democratic history, ethnohistory, popular history, public history, applied history, everyday history, shared history, folk history, grass-roots history, as well as local and provincial history. In turn, the study of forgetting and of lieu d’oubli is identified as a new direction for advancing the field of Memory Studies and moving beyond our current understanding of lieux de mémoire. In particular, ‘social forgetting’, whereby communities try to supress recollections of inconvenient episodes in their past, is conceptualized as thriving on tensions between public reticence and muted remembrance in private. Finally, charting the forgetful remembrance of the 1798 rebellion in Ulster—known locally as ‘the Turn-Out’—is presented as an illuminating case study for coming to terms with social forgetting and vernacular historiography.
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