Welcome to the St Andrews Institute of
Scottish Historical Research
St Salvator's Quadrangle
The Institute of Scottish Historical Research was founded in 2007 by Prof. Roger Mason, who also acted as Director until 2013. It is the largest institute for research into Scotland’s past and holds a central place in the life of Scottish historians at the University of St Andrews. The Institute draws together the excellence and expertise of nearly twenty historians of Scotland, including Prof. T.C. Smout, the Historiographer Royal for Scotland. In 2013 the ISHR launched an initiative to attract scholars of international distinction to visit the institute for short periods to undertake intensive research.
The Institute provides an intellectual and social focus for staff and a thriving community of postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers working on all periods of Scottish history from the early Middle Ages to the present. The Institute hosts a number of events throughout the year attracting delegates and speakers from all over the world, including a fortnightly research seminar series, workshops and conferences with an emphasis on new discoveries and directions in historical enquiry.
The Institute has several major collaborative research initiatives under its auspices, including the Mediaeval St Andrews Project, the History of the Universities Project, the Scotland and the Wider World Project, the Scotland, Scandinavia and Northern Europe Database, and the Scotland and the Flemish People Project. The ISHR was formerly home to the Scottish Parliament Project. Staff working in the ISHR regularly attract research funding and grants to further their research into Scotland's history.Enquiries about the work of the ISHR can be sent to the current Director, Dr Katie Stevenson.
The Institute runs a popular research seminar program with visiting speakers delivering papers on a broad range of topics.
The current seminar series programme can be found here
Mediaeval St Andrews App
2015 T.C. Smout Lecture in Scottish History
The annual T. C. Smout lecture in Scottish History will be delivered by Prof Sir Tom Devine on Thursday 8 October at 7pm in the Arts Lecture Theatre on the topic:
‘Scotland and Slavery: Amnesia and Denial’
The lecture tries to resolve a historical puzzle. The international Scotland and Slavery Project reveals in great detail the full extent of the nation's involvement at all levels of the Atlantic slave systems between the mid seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries (the results are published in T. M. Devine (ed.), Recovering Scotland's Slavery Past (Edinburgh University Press, 2015)). Yet until the last decade or so Scottish academic history, creative literature and public discourse were virtually silent on this controversial subject. When it was occasionally broached, the assumption was that Scots had little to do with chattel slavery. That nefarious business was essentially seen to be the preserve and monopoly of the English, and especially of the ports of Bristol, Liverpool and London. This lecture will seek explanations for amnesia and denial over the long run from the end of slavery in the British empire in 1833 to the new research of more recent times which has served to demolish the old mythologies.
Professor Sir Tom Devine is Sir William Fraser Professor Emeritus of Scottish History and Palaeography in the University of Edinburgh. He previously held Chairs in Scottish History and Irish-Scottish Studies at Strathclyde and Aberdeen Universities respectively. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy and Fellow of the British Academy. He has been awarded several prizes and honorary degrees throughout his career, notably the Royal Gold Medal, Scotland's supreme academic accolade, by HM The Queen on the recommendation of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His next book will be Independence or Union: Scotland's Past and Scotland's Present to be published by Allen Lane: The Penguin Press in April 2016. Tom Devine was knighted in 2014 'for services to the study of Scottish history'.