Ann Rigney was educated at University College Dublin (BA, MA) and at the University of Toronto (PhD). Since 2003 she has held the chair of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University. She is a member of the Royal Dutch Academic of Sciences (KNAW) and of the Academia Europea as well as being an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy. In 2017 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Aarhus University and in 2021 she was recipient of the Belgian Francqui Chair at Antwerp University. Having served as Head of the Department of Languages, Literature, and Communication in 2017-2019, she currently leads the project Remembering Activism: the Cultural Memory of Protest in Europe, funded by an ERC-advanced grant; this will run until the end of 2023.



Ever since her PhD thesis, published as The Rhetoric of Historical Representation: Three Narrative Histories of the French Revolution (1990), Ann has been fascinated by the intersections between narrative, collective identity, and contestations of the past. She has published widely in the field of modern memory cultures, with projects both on the nineteenth century and on contemporary developments. She has also played an active role in cultural memory studies with a particular focus on issues relating to mediation and transnationalism. Her current project examines the memory-activism nexus with reference to protest cultures in Europe since the mid-nineteenth century: Remembering Activism: The Cultural Memory of Protest in Europe (REACT).


Research Interests

Transnational Memory and the Making of Europe; The Poetics and Politics of Public Apology; Historical Fiction in/against Colonialism; Cultures of Commemoration; The Cultural Memory of Protest; Mediation; Narrative in the Wild.


Current Research Projects

Remembering Activism: The Cultural Memory of Protest in Europe  (REACT), 2019-2023; ERC advanced grant.

Memorights: Cultural Memory in LGBT Activism. Marie-Curie Global Fellowship, 2019-2022. Researcher: Dr. Daniele Salerno



Convenor of Utrecht Memory Studies (Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies); member of Mnemonics: Network for Memory Studies.

Together with Astrid Erll, she was project leader in the COST-project ISTME (In Search of Transcultural Memory in Europe), 2012-2016.

She is currently a member of the Management Committe of the COST-project Slow Memory: Transformative Practices for Times of Uneven and Accelerating Change.



Ann teaches in the BA programme in Literary Studies (Literatuurwetenschap) and in the Research MA programme Comparative Literary Studies.

Together with Kiene Brillenburg, she authored an introduction to literary studies called Het Leven van teksten (Amsterdam UP, 2006) which also appeared in a revised version in English as The Life of Texts: An Introduction to Literary Studies (Amsterdam UP, 2019). In her teaching she combines a focus on literature, aesthetics and mediation with a concern for the 'social life of stories' and for their role both in shaping identities and shifting social values.



The Afterlives of Walter Scott: Memory on the Move (Oxford UP, 2012; paperback 2017). more.


Imperfect Histories: The Elusive Past and the Legacy of Romantic Historicism (Cornell UP, 2001). Winner Jean-Pierre Barricelli award. more.


The Rhetoric of Historical Representation: Three Narrative Histories of the French Revolution (Cambridge UP, 1990;2003). read more.  



Transnational Memory: Circulation, Articulation, Scales, edited with Chiara de Cesari (de Gruyter, 2014).  more.


Commemorating Writers in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Nation-Building and Centenary Fever, ed.with J. Leerssen (Palgrave, 2014).



Reconciliation and Memory: Critical Perspectives, edited with Nicole Immler and Damien Short (July 2012).  more.


Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory, edited with Astrid Erll (de Gruyter, 2009). read more  



The Past is Another Story, Lecture for the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity: Regions of Memory Conference, University of Warsaw, March 2016. Available to watch here.

Transnational Memory: Bloody Sunday 1887-2014, Lecture 2 in the Methodologies of Memory: Distinguished Lecture SeriesUCD Humanities Institute Dublin, February 2015. Available to listen to here.

BYU Radio Show Thinking Aloud Interview, BYU Utah, September 2014.Available to watch here.

Facing Waterloo: From Experience to Imagination, at the Varieties of Historical Experience Conference, University of Chicago, April 2014. Available to listen to here.

Memory and Mediation: Ideas and Challenges, Keynote at the ISTME Kick-off, Copenhagen, May 2013. Available here.


Algemene Literatuurwetenschap