Politics and the Public in Scotland, c.1300-2000

Thursday 13 – Friday 14 June 2013, Parliament Hall, University of St Andrews


One of the facets of the current debate surrounding Scotland’s future within the United Kingdom has been a renewed interest (both in the media and contemporary political discourse) in Scottish political history.  Recent speeches by politicians are replete with appeals to the “commonweal”, “the community of the realm”, and “the people of Scotland”, references which resonate through our history from the medieval period to the present day.  This conference aims to engage with this significant contemporary interest and to shift historical enquiry on to the changing role and conceptualisation of the “public” throughout Scottish political history, from the late medieval period through to the present day.  Up to the late 17th century there has been limited discussion of the role of the “public”, or the extent of any “public sphere” within Scottish historiography.  Even in post-1707 discussion there remains much potential for new perspectives to be offered on the participation of ordinary Scots in the political process, and likewise for modern historians to engage with their early modern and medieval peers in examining how the involvement and conceptualisation of the “public” in Scotland has changed and developed since the fourteenth century. Moreover, the conference will aim to explore how different approaches to the past – whether interdisciplinary, theoretical or comparative - can offer new perspective and insight to our understanding of the “public”, and its changing role in Scotland’s political history. 


The conference will include keynote lectures from:

Dr. Steve Boardman (University of Edinburgh)
Dr. Karin Bowie (University of Glasgow)
Professor Richard Finlay (University of Strathclyde)

For further information, please contact the conference organisers, Wayne Cuthbertson, Claire Hawes, and Malcolm Petrie (polpub@st-andrews.ac.uk

This event is being generously sponsored by the St. Andrews Institute of Scottish Historical Research