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Graham Dawson

Prof

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Personal profile

Research interests

Professor Graham Dawson is the University of Brighton's professor in Historical Cultural Studies, with seminal publications on the cultural memory of war and conflict. He is Director of the university's Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories. His research is interdisciplinary, drawing on cultural studies, history, literature, cultural geography and psychoanalysis. It investigates the inter-relations between memory, narrative, lived experience and identity, with a particular interest in the personal memories and subjectivities produced in oral histories/life stories and the cultural and political ramifications of their relation to public and national representations of the past and the future. Dawson's main focus is on the politics of memory and ‘post-conflict’ culture in the Irish peace process, and legacies of the Northern Irish Troubles in Ireland and Britain. His current interests lie in the cultural politics and temporal dynamics of ‘dealing with the past’ within conflict transformation, involving questions of memory and silence; subjectivity, identity and emotion; representation and acknowledgement; imaginative geography and historical justice. 

Scholarly biography

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. His 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 Northern Irish Troubles and the Irish peace process. This has resulted in a similarly influential second monograph, Making Peace with the Past? Memory, Trauma and the Irish Troubles (Manchester University Press, 2007); a ground-breaking co-edited book, The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain: Impacts, Engagemements, Legacies and Memories (Manchester University Press, 2017), and numerous articles. Over this period 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 many others.

Dawson's 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 and historical justice.

In 2008 Prof Dawson co-founded the Centre for Research in Memory, Narrative and Histories at Brighton, becoming its Director and securing its status as one of the university's Centres of Research and Enterprise Excellence (COREs) in 2017. Between 2013-16 he co-led, with Prof Bob Brecher of the Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics, the 'Understanding Conflict: Forms and Legacies of Political Violence' research cluster.

Professor Dawson has supervised five PhDs to completion, and is currently supervising ten students, the majority being recipients of fully-funded studentships from the AHRC TECHNE consortium, including Collaborative Doctoral Awards in partnership with the Imperial War Musems and Falls Community Council.

‘The Shadow of Conflict: The Spectral Presence of Violence in Political Art Practice’;

‘Narrating the War Experience. The Politics of Memory and Commemoration within the Framed Peace Process in Bosnia and Herzegovina’;

‘The People's War? The Women's Auxiliary Services, Social Memory and Colliding Identities in the Second World War’.

Dawson welcomes applications for doctoral study and supervision on the cultural history, representation and memory of war and conflict, on the cultural history, geography and memory of the Northern Ireland Troubles and peace process in Britain and Ireland, on ‘post-conflict’ cultures and subjectivities, and on the cultural and historical dimensions of conflict transformation.

Supervisory Interests

Professor Dawson has supervised five PhDs to completion, and is currently supervising ten students, the majority being recipients of fully-funded studentships from the AHRC TECHNE consortium, including Collaborative Doctoral Awards in partnership with the Imperial War Musems and Falls Community Council. 

He welcomes applications for doctoral study and supervision on the cultural history, representation and memory of war and conflict, on the cultural history, geography and memory of the Northern Ireland Troubles and peace process in Britain and Ireland, on ‘post-conflict’ cultures and subjectivities, and on the cultural and historical dimensions of conflict transformation.

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  • 3 Similar Profiles
trauma Social Sciences
subjectivity Social Sciences
peace process Social Sciences
emotion Social Sciences
reconciliation Social Sciences
politics Social Sciences
reparation Social Sciences
justice Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2003 2019

Storytelling in ‘post-conflict’ times: narrative, subjectivity and experience in community-based peacebuilding

Dawson, G. 1 Jan 2019 (Accepted/In press) The promise of peace in Northern Ireland. Lehner, S. & McGrattan, C. (eds.). Manchester

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

subjectivity
narrative
community
experience
source analysis
Open Access
File
trauma
emotion
political relations
studies (academic)
psychoanalytic theory

Memory, ‘Post-Conflict’ Temporalities and the Afterlife of Emotion in Conflict Transformation after the Irish Troubles

Dawson, G. 31 Dec 2016 Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory. Corporaal, M., Cusack, C. & van den Beuken, R. (eds.). Oxford, p. 257-296 40 p. (Reimagining Ireland)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

emotion
justice
transitional society
antagonism
political conflict

The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain: Impacts, engagements, legacies and memories

Dawson, G. (ed.), Dover, J. (ed.) & Hopkins, S. (ed.) 30 Nov 2016 Manchester. 369 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook - edited

Northern Ireland
History
Contestation
Peace
News

Memoryscapes, spatial legacies of conflict, and the culture of historical reconciliation in 'post-conflict' Belfast

Dawson, G. 21 Dec 2015 Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition: A Global Dialogue on Historical Trauma and Memory. Gobodo-Madikizela, P. (ed.). Berlin, Germany, p. 57-80 24 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Belfast
Reconciliation
Memorialization