MO3260 Constructing Identities: Scottish Historians and the Past, 1707-1832 (previously SC3033)
Lecturer Dr David Allan (St Katharine's Lodge, room 2.21)
Credits 30
Availability 2012-2013 - semester 2
Class Hour view timetable
Description This module explores the wider issues raised by the energetic re-writing of Scottish history between the Act of Union and the death of Sir Walter Scott. It will draw attention to the search for a new national identity through the better understanding of the past; the role of historical scholarship in making possible the broader cultural achievements of the eighteenth century; and the peculiar pre-occupations of Enlightenment historians, their purposes, their methods and their influence, in an age in which the Scots were among Europe's most popular and most innovative practitioners.
Basic Reading
  • D Allan, Virtue, Learning and the Scottish Enlightenment (1993)
  • C Kidd, Subverting Scotland's Past (1993)
  • C J Berry, Social Theory of the Scottish Enlightenment (1997)

Course Structure

  1. Introduction: Scholarship in "The Historical Nation"
  2. Scottish History and the Union: Partner, Province, People?
  3. Case Study - Late Medieval Scottish Politics
  4. David Hume: Political Culture for a Commercial Society
  5. William Robertson: Toleration and Politeness
  6. Case Study - Reinterpreting Mary, Queen of Scots
  7. "Conjectural History" and Theories of Historical Development
  8. Case Study - The Celtic Fringe and Sentimental History
  9. Scott: The Triumph of Historical Fiction
  10. The Strange Death of Scottish History
  11. Overview
Assessment 60% examination - 3-hour paper
40% coursework

Learning Outcomes

  • Experience of analysis of relationship between historical narratives and social, political and cultural contexts
  • Understanding of Enlightenment historiography
  • Development of knowledge of and approaches to intellectual history
Restrictions SC3033
Resource Lists