Ann Rigney - Profile#

Ann Rigney (BA, MA University College Dublin; PhD University of Toronto) holds the chair of Comparative Literature at the University of Utrecht and is currently coordinator of the University research area Cultures and Identities. In 2005 she was elected a fellow of the Royal Dutch Academic of Sciences (KNAW).


I teach at all levels in the field of Comparative Literature, with a particular emphasis on theories and methods in literary studies. I participate in the BA programme in Comparative Literature (Literatuurwetenschap), the one-year MA programme Literatuur and cultuurkritiek (Literature and Cultural Criticism), and in the Research MA programme Comparative Literary Studies. Together with Kiene Brillenburg I am the principal author of an introduction to literary studies called Het Leven van teksten ['The Life of Texts'] (Amsterdam UP, 2006). In my teaching I combine a focus on literature and storytelling with a concern for the 'social life of texts' and for their role, alongside other media, in shaping identities.


My research is located in the field of cultural memory studies and philosophy of history. Ever since my PhD thesis, published as The Rhetoric of Historical Representation: Three Narrative Histories of the French Revolution (Cambridge UP, 1990; 2002), I have been fascinated by the intersections between historical narration, fiction, and collective identities. This has led to various projects, most recently to a collaborative programme called The Dynamics of Cultural Remembrance: An Intermedial Perspective, funded by the Netherlands Research Council (2006-2011), and to the creation of an interdisciplinary platform at Utrecht on Transnational Memory. For more information see and

I have published widely in the field of narrative theory, theories of cultural memory, and memory practices in the nineteenth century, including Imperfect Histories: The Elusive Past and the Legacy of Romantic Historicism (Cornell UP, 2001; winner of the Jean-Pierre Barricelli award 2001). I have co-edited several collections, including Historians and Social Values (Amsterdam UP, 2000; with Joep Leerssen) and Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory (De Gruyter, 2008; with Astrid Erll).

I have recently finished a new monograph on the cultural afterlife of Walter Scott and its implications for our understanding of the interchange between memory and modernisation. Called The Afterlives of Walter Scott: Memory on the Move it is scheduled to appear with Oxford University Press in March 2012.

New projects include a special issue of Memory Studies (forthcoming in 2012) on memory practices and reconciliation (co-edited with Nicole Immler and Damien Short); and a collection on Memory: Beyond Methodological Nationalism (co-edited with Chiara de Cesari).

As one of the coordinators of the university research focus area Cultures and Identities I am also actively involved in an interdisciplinary project on Changing Literacies;

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