Complex Normalities: Soldier Memories and Politics of the Post- in Northern Ireland

CMNH Occasional Seminar (online)

Annemarie Majlund Jensen (Aarhus University, Denmark)

19th May, 6pm to 7:30pm (online) All welcome.

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The past presence – and present absence – of the British Army in Northern Ireland often reappears in accounts of the island’s transformation from a place ridden by violent political and sectarian conflict into a place now on the surface ‘normal’, as it were. In this context, how to tell a research story able to convey a perspective of soldiering during recent times of violent political upheaval? And how to understand what it is like to remember experiences of soldiering today, amid, on the one hand: ongoing contestation over how to “deal” with Britain’s past in Northern Ireland and in particular, the role of soldiers in it, and on the other hand: a context where most of thematerial traces of military conflict have been erased, as part of what has been coined, and recently critically analysed as, a post-conflict process of ‘normalisation’?

This talk will explore how Britain’s military presence in Northern Ireland during the Troubles continues to resonate today, as memory, with – but significantly also beyond – those who drove the vehicles, worked in the barracks, and sat in the sangers so characteristic for Northern Ireland’s visual identity up until the army’s gradual withdrawal of the post-1998 peace process.

Bio: Annemarie Majlund is an anthropologist with a particular interest in how people and collectives remember incontexts of political upheaval and post-conflict transformation. She is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the CMNH.

Title: Annemarie Majlund, PhD Fellow, Aarhus University, Denmark

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