Welcome to the Centre for French History and Culture at the University of St Andrews
Scotland, and particularly St Andrews, has enjoyed long-standing ties with France dating back to the Middle Ages. The "Auld Alliance" between the two states was a key feature of both international relations and domestic politics in both countries between the 14th and 16th centuries and continued to have echoes through to the period of the Jacobite risings in the 18th century. In recent times Scotland played host to a sizable contingent of the Free French forces under General De Gaulle during the Second World War. The University of St Andrews itself was founded in the early 15th century using the existing arrangements in French universities to help model its own structure and organisation. Furthermore, St Andrews acted as the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland during the late Middle Ages and for most of the 16th century, and here too connections with France were manifest.
As well as personal and institutional connections between St Andrews and France, in 1547 there was a major siege of the castle, held by protestant rebels, who capitulated to a superior catholic force including French land forces and naval vessels. After the Reformation there continued to be strong connections between St Andrews and France, though now with the French calvinist community. And many of the Jacobite leaders who lived in exile in France in the decades after 1688 had been educated at St Andrews. The University of St Andrews has extensive library holdings of printed French works, dating back to the sixteenth century; and between 1997 and 2007 was the home of the ongoing French Vernacular Book Project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which created an analytical bibliography of all books published in the French language before 1601.
The St Andrews Centre for French History and Culture was founded in 2005 to enhance and expand the university's existing strengths in French history. The Centre provides an intellectual and social focus for staff and graduate students working in any field and on any period related to the history of France and its possessions, and offers a designated specialist pathway in French history for postgraduate students. It runs a biannual seminar for outside speakers, and hosts and sponsors national and international conferences. In 2010 the Centre began producing a unique series of midigraphs entitled “St Andrews Studies in French History and Culture”, published in paperback and electronically as downloadable e-books. The Centre and its staff also enjoy links to other research centres in France, other European countries and North America.The Centre and its staff also enjoy links to other research centres in France, other European countries and North America.
There are currently five academic staff members in the School of History researching principally in the field of French history, with another five possessing closely related research interests. Staff in the School of Art History, in the School of International Relations and in the Department of French (School of Modern Languages) are also closely associated with the Centre and sit on its board of management. Dr. David Parrott (New College, Oxford) sits on the board as an external advisor. From 2005 until 2010 the Centre was privileged to have the late Professor James McMillan (Edinburgh University) also as an external advisor.
The Centre for French History and Culture welcomes applications for Visiting Scholar status. The Centre also began a funded Visiting Fellow scheme in 2009, welcoming Professor Norman Ingram (Concordia University, Canada) as the first recipient of this award. The Visiting Fellow in 2011-12 was Professor Eric Jennings (University of Toronto, Canada). The competition for the position of Visiting Fellow for 2013-14 will be announced shortly through the H-France network webpage for announcements.
Centre for French History and Culture Seminar Series
Thursday 2nd May 2013 - 5pm.
Professor Alan Forrest (University of York)
"Remembering the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in Nineteenth-Century France"
(School of History: St Katharine's Lodge, The Scores – room 1.10)
© 2005- St Andrews Centre for French History and Culture