MO3761 Nationalism and Unionism in Modern Scotland
Lecturer Professor Colin Kidd
Credits 30
Availability 2013-2014 - semester 1
Class Hour view timetable


This course provides an examination of the phenomena of nationalism and unionism in modern Scottish history. It will explore the nature of the Union-state created in 1707 and the varieties of unionist ideology which sustained it, but it will also look at the emergence of a nationalist response in Scotland, which also took various forms ranging from Home Rule sentiment and reformist imperialism to the desire for total independence or ‘independence in Europe’. A particular feature of the module will be the way it integrates the micro-politics of Fife and St Andrews in particular (including the careers of Thomas Chalmers and Douglas Young; by-elections in Fife; and the role of St Andrews in the rise of Thatcherism) into broader themes in the history of Scotland. Other issues to be tackled will include republicanism and the monarchy, religious tensions, the Constitution, and the relationships of Scotland with both England and Ireland.


Basic Reading

M. Fry,  Patronage and Principle (Edinburgh, 1987)
G. Hassan (ed.), The Modern SNP (Edinburgh, 2009)
C. Kidd, Union and Unionisms: political thought in Scotland 1500-2000 (Cambridge, 2008)
A. Marr, The battle for Scotland (London, 1992)
J. Mitchell, Devolution in the UK (Manchester, 2009)


Course Structure

Week 1 The Union of 1707 and the Nature of the British State 
Week 2 Union and the Legacy of Nationhood
Week 3 The Disruption and the Scottish challenge to the British state
Week 4 From romantic conservatism to unionist-nationalism
Week 5 Empire and the rise of Scottish Home Rule
Week 6 The Scottish Renaissance and the Irish Dimension
Week 7 World War II and MacCormick v Lord Advocate
Week 8 The rise of the SNP
Week 9 Thatcherism and the Decline of Unionism
Week 10 Devolution and the Salmond era
Week 11 Republicanism, Monarchy and the Scottish Question



60% examination - 3-hour paper
40% coursework


Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:

1. a knowledge of the main features of modern Scottish political history
2. a comparative approach to the phenomena of nationalism and unionism
3. an historically-informed understanding of the political and constitutional debates which currently beset Scotland and the United Kingdom
4.  the ability to construct well-supported historical arguments by way of essays and seminar presentations
5. the acquisition of certain transferable skills (oral, organisational and interpersonal skills) through participating in and chairing group discussions and making oral presentations to the group

Restrictions None
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