Conversations on Europe. "When the Past is Present: Museums and the Mobilization of History in Ireland and Northern Ireland (1966-2006)"
In this presentation, Thomas Cauvin will explore the changing relations between past and present in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Based on his doctoral research, Cauvin will discuss the changing role of museums in mobilizing history for present purposes since the 1960s. In addition to their traditional participation in identity building, museums in Ireland and Northern Ireland have been confronted with the rise of sectarian and paramilitary violence. Focusing on commemorative exhibitions of controversial events (1690 Battle of the Boyne, 1916 Easter Rising), he will explain to what extent museums have contributed to the politics of reconciliation and how the increased mobilization of the past has blurred the distinction between history and memory.
Thomas Cauvin is the 2012-13 European Union Institute (EUI) Postdoctoral Fellow in the University of Michigan’s Department of History. A native of Rouen (France), he was educated at the Universities of Rouen (BA, 2000), Cork (MPhil, 2001), Sciences-Po (MA, 2002), La Sorbonne (Paris, 2005), and the European University Institute (PhD, 2012). He has been a research fellow at the University College Dublin (2009) and New York University (2010). His dissertation, National Museums and the Mobilization of History in Ireland and Northern Ireland: Commemorative Exhibitions of Anglo-Irish Conflicts (1921-2006), offers a comparative historical study of representations of controversial pasts. While researching on Ireland and Northern Ireland, Dr. Cauvin has pursued parallel interests in museums and material culture in Europe, memory and history, and public and digital history, on which he has published several articles and book chapters. His current projects deal with public understanding of the past in Europe and museum visitors’ reception/interpretations of historical narratives.