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The Institute of Scottish Historical Research runs a popular research seminar programme, with visiting speakers delivering papers on a broad range of topics. Meetings are held in the the Old Class Library, St John’s House, South Street unless otherwise stated. Talks begin at 5:30pm.

ISHR Seminars 2023-24

Semester 1 (autumn)

Week 2: 21 September
Louisa Taylor (UHI)
Between the cultural world of the Norse and the Scots? The use of violence in high medieval Orkney

Week 4: 5 October
Pauline Van Thienen (École nationale de Chartes)
Renewing the Auld alliance: the Franco-Scottish relationship under the regency of John Stuart, duke of Albany (1515-1524)

Week 7: 26 October
Milinda Banerjee (St Andrews)
“For Freedom (svadhinatar janya)”: Scottish Historical Imagination and the Decolonization of India.

Week 9: 9 November
Dauvit Broun (Glasgow)
Scottish independence and British identity: a medieval perspective

Week 10: Monday 13 November (Parliament Hall. 5.15 pm)
Joint with St Andrews Institute of Medieval Studies
Michael Brown (St Andrews)
Honour and trust in the nation of Scotland: Treason, service and diplomacy in the 1450s

Week 11: 23 November
Karen McAulay (Royal Scottish Conservatoire and Visiting Fellow)
From Magic Lantern to Microphone: the Scottish Music Publishers and Pedagogues inspiring Hearts and Minds through Song

Semester 2 (spring)

Week 2: 25 January
Rebecca Mason
Women, Property and the Law in Early Modern St Andrews: A Study in Continuity and Change

Week 4: 8 February
Craig Lamont (University of Glasgow)
Hallowed Ground: Rites and Sites of Memory in 19th Century Scotland

Week 6: 22 February
Neil McGuigan
Scottish Kings and the Old English Past

Week 8: 14 March
Annie Tindley (University of Newcastle)
A nobility of trees: the dukes of Buccleuch and forestry in the nineteenth century

Week 10: 28 March
Bradford Bow (University of Aberdeen)
Americanising Scottish Enlightenment Racial Theories: Franklin, Jefferson, Rush and Smith on becoming white in the early republic.

Week 12: 11 April
Kate Ash-Irisarri (University of Edinburgh)
Chronicling the Mistress in late Medieval Scotland and England

Week 14: 25 April
Postgraduate research seminar
Frances Bickerstaff, Timber, sheep and salmon: the monastic economy of south-west Scotland c. 1160-1230.
Michael Fraser, Scots and Huguenots in the Immediate post-Union: A Match Made in [Calvinist] Heaven? 1707-1735.
Ruadhan Scrivener-Anderson, ‘Highland Chieftains’: Selection, Social Class and Nationality of Commissioned Officers in The Black Watch, 1902-1918.

ISHR Seminars 2022-23

Semester 1

Thursday 15 September (week 1)
Dr Allan Kennedy (University of Dundee)
Deviance, Marginality, and the Highland Bandit in 17th-Century Scotland

29 September (week 3) School V
TC Smout Lecture – Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch (Emeritus Professor of the History of the Church, St Cross College, University of Oxford)
Marriage: a moving target in Christian history

The TC Smout Lecture will take place in School V, with a reception following in Lower College Hall

13 October (week 5)
Dr Peryn Westerhof Nyman (University of St Andrews)
Digitally Dressing Scotland: Creating Accurate Historical Characters for Virtual Reality Heritage Environments (and why we should get them right)

3 November (week 8)
Dr Alasdair Raffe (University of Edinburgh)
Religious heterodoxy and intellectual pluralism in Scotland, c. 1714-1756

17 November (week 10)
Dr Valerie Wallace (University of St Andrews) TEAMS ONLY and at 7.00pm
Scots law and the British empire: a plea for a new subject

Semester 2

Week 1 (19th January): Coralie Mills (University of St Andrews)
Joint seminar with the Archaeology Society
The precise power of the rings: Dendrochronological insights into the last millennium in Scotland
The speaker will be online and can be viewed via Teams at this link or in the Old Class Library.

Week 7 (9th March): Erik Opsahl (Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Visiting ISHR fellow)
The Treaty of Perth (1266): Union of the Realm and the King’s Law in Norway

Week 9 (23rd March): Bryony Coombs (University of Edinburgh)
Joint seminar with the Centre for French History
Scottishness in the Margins: Visualising Scottish National Identity in French Manuscripts 1420-1540

Week 11 (6th April): Jo Tucker (University of Glasgow)
Scribal autonomy in multi-scribe manuscripts: the example of the Chronicle of Melrose Abbey

Week 13 (20th April): Robbie Johnston (Queen’s University Belfast)
Tam Dalyell and Mad Mitch at Empire’s End: Revisiting Scotland in 1968

Week 14 (27th April): Postgraduate Session
Sophie Kniaz, Highly Fragmented, Intensely Connected: Exploring the value of Mediterranean paradigms to the study of early medieval Scotland and the North Channel
Kate McGregor, The December Treaty of 1528: Re-assessing Anglo-Scottish Negotiations
Amber Ward, Towards a cultural history of deindustrialisation in Fife: oral history, subjectivities and memory

ISHR Seminars 2021-22

Semester 1

Thursday 23 September (week 2)
Dr Ewan Gibbs (University of Glasgow)
‘Understanding Coal Country: The Meaning and Memory of Deindustrialization in Postwar Scotland’

Thursday 7 October (week 4)
Postgraduate Presentations
Clemmie De la Poer Beresford (University of St Andrews)
‘Cultural projections of royal authority in Prince Henry Frederick’s creation as Prince of Wales in 1610’

Jessica Secmezsoy-Urquhart (University of St Andrews)
‘Liminal insiders? Disabled Natural Fools and Wonders at the Scottish Royal Court 1488-1603’

Thursday 28 October (week 7)
Dr Edda Frankot (Nord University)
‘To underlie the law within three tides as sea faring men’: Merchants and mariners before the Aberdeen courts in the later middle ages

Thursday 11 November (week 9)
Dr Adrián Maldonado (National Museums Scotland)
Creating a nation: an artefactual history of Scotland AD 800-1200

Thursday 25 November (week 11)
Dr Karie Schultz (University of St Andrews)
Education and the Catholic Mission in Scotland, c. 1660-1707

Semester 2

Thursday 10 February (week 4)
Dr Sarah Leith (University of St Andrews)
Scotland Zen and the Roots of Scottish Green Nationalism, c.1934-c.1974

Thursday 3 March (week 6)
Dr Clarisse Godard Desmarest (University of Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens)
Napoleon and Ossian: Celtomania and the construction of French nationhood

Thursday 17 March (week 8)
Dr Martin MacGregor (University of Glasgow)
Gaelic Sovereignty in the Later Middle Ages

Thursday 31 March (week 10)
Daniel Leaver (University of St Andrews)
“We were all Nationalists before oil was discovered”: Rethinking North Sea Oil and Scottish Nationalism, 1967-79.

Thursday 14 April (week 12)
Professor Neil Murphy (Northumbria University)
The Anglo-Scottish War of 1522-4 and Military Supplying in Sixteenth-Century Scotland

Thursday 5th May (week 15)
Professor Robert Morris (University of Edinburgh)
Why does Edinburgh have historic buildings?

ISHR Seminars 2019-20

Semester 1

Thursday 19 September (week 1)
Dr Ben Jackson (University of Oxford)
Old Nationalism and New Nationalism: Changing Arguments for Scottish Independence, c.1928-2014

Thursday 3 October (week 3)
Annual Smout Lecture
New Arts Lecture Theatre
Professor Poul Holm (Trinity College Dublin)
The North Atlantic Fish Revolution, c1500 AD – climate, markets, people

Thursday 17 October (week 5)
Professor Laura Stewart (University of York)
Manuscript Circulation and Political Mobilisation in Covenanted Scotland

Thursday 7 November (week 8)
Dr Jane Harrison (University of Oxford)
New Perspectives on Scandinavian settlement in the Northern Isles: Landscapes,
Longhouses and Place Names

Thursday 21 November (week 10)
Professor Kirstie Blair (University of Strathclyde)
The Piston and the Press: Industrial Heritage, Working-Class History and Literary

Thursday 5 December (week 12)
Dr Lucinda Dean (University of the Highlands and Islands)
Raising Royal Scottish Babes: Baptisms, Gossibs and Godparents in Late Medieval and Early Modern Scotland

Semester 2

Thursday 30 January (week 1)
Postgraduate work in progress panel (TBC)

Thursday 13 February (week 3)
Dr Kylie Murray (University of Cambridge)
New Identifications: George Buchanan and an Unearthed Manuscript in St Andrews.

Thursday 27 February (week 5)
Dr Alex Woolf (University of St Andrews)
Pictoscepticism and the Rise of the House of Alpin

Thursday 12 March (week 7)
Dr Alison Cathcart (University of Stirling)
James VI and I and his empire of islands: the view from the periphery.

Thursday 9 April (week 9)
Karie Schultz (Queens University Belfast)
The reception of Catholic scholastic legal theory in Samuel Rutherford’s Lex, Rex (1644)

Thursday 25 April (week 11)
Dr Adrián Maldonado (National Museums Scotland)
Making a nation: an artefactual history of Scotland AD 800-1200

ISHR Seminars 2018-19

Semester 1

Thursday 20th September (Week 1)
Dr Mary-Anne Constantine (University of Wales)
‘The Many Voices of Thomas Pennant: Writing Travel in Late 18th Century Britain’

Thursday 4th October (Week 3) Annual Smout Lecture
Professor Charles Withers (University of Edinburgh)
‘Geographies of the Prime Meridian: Ruling the World – from St Andrews, Paris, Washington…’

Thursday 18th October (Week 5)
Professor Michael Brown (University of St Andrews)
‘Leading the Realm’s Estate: Royal Authority and the transformation of fifteenth-century Scotland’

Thursday 8th November (Week 8)
Dr Jemma Field (Brunel University)
‘The Political Wardrobe: Anna of Denmark and the uses of Clothing and Jewellery at the courts of James VI and I’

Thursday 22nd November (Week 10)
Dr Alison Duncan (University of St Andrews)
‘Social Position – networks, status and the physical city in Georgian Edinburgh’

Semester 2

Thursday 31st January (Week 1)
Postgraduate Work in Progress Panel

James Inglis (University of St Andrews)
‘”With secrecy and despatch”: typewriting offices in Scotland, 1880s-1920s’

Sarah Leith (University of St Andrews)
‘Sex, whisky and “Rock and Reel”: re-imagining national identity during the Scottish folk revival’

Thursday 14th February (Week 3)
Rory Scothorne (University of Edinburgh)
‘“Stop the World”: Intellectuals and Internationalism in 1970s Scotland’

Thursday 28th February (Week 5)
Diane Watters (Historic Environment Scotland)
‘“Fife Looks Ahead”: Glenrothes and the New Town movement in Scotland’

Thursday 14th March (Week 7)
Dr Corey Gibson (University of Glasgow)
‘“The Scotland in which there is no repetition”: Independence and the Literary Imaginary, from the Interwar Renaissance to IndyRef2’

Thursday 11th April (Week 9)
Dr Amy Blakeway (University of St Andrews)
‘The Long Shadow of War: 1550s Scotland and the aftermath of the Rough Wooings’

ISHR Seminars 2017-18

Semester 1

Wednesday 27 September (week 2)
ISHR welcome reception, 5-7pm
Undercroft St John’s House

Thursday 5 October (week 3)
T. C. Smout Lecture, Arts Lecture Theatre, 5.30pm
Dr Catriona MacDonald (University of Glasgow)
‘The Scotching of British History in the 19th century; or, how a Scot (con)founded the Royal Historical Society’

Thursday 19 October (week 5)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30pm
Dr Linsey Hunter (University of the Highlands and Islands)
‘#Medieval?: 19th Century Highland Castle Architectural Aesthetics and 21st Century Digital Responses’

Thursday 9 November (week 8)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30pm
Ms Laura Harrison (University of Edinburgh)
‘Places of memory: The role of locality in 19th and 20th century commemorations of the Wars of Independence’

Thursday 23 November (week 10)
ISHR seminar, joint with Reformation Studies, New Seminar Room, 5.30pm
Dr Chris Langley (Newman University, Birmingham)
‘Disability, charity and the boundaries of Reformed discipline in early-modern Scotland’

Thursday 7 December (week 12)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30pm
Dr Adam Grimshaw (University of St Andrews)
‘The Scots in 17th century Anglo-Swedish Commerce’

Semester 2

Thursday 25 January (week 0)
ISHR workshop, Old Class Library, St John’s House, 2.00pm – 6.00pm
Immortalized Memory: Iterations and adaptations of the work of Robert Burns.

Thursday 1 February (week 1)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30pm
Postgraduate work in progress panel:
Perin Westerhof Nyman, ‘Material Mourning and Meaning: the politics of dule in Scottish royal funerals, c. 1537-1542’
Chelsea Reutcke, ‘Royal Patrons of Catholic Print under the Stuarts, 1660-1688’
Paul Malgrati, ‘Mutable Memory: Burns’s Legacy and Scottish Politics from 1914 to 2014’

Thursday 15 February (week 3)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30pm
Dr Neil McGuigan (University of St Andrews) ’Máel Coluim III and the Norman Conquest’

Thursday 1 March (week 5)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30pm
Dr William Hepburn (University of Aberdeen) ‘Common books: burgh registers and documentary culture in fifteenth-century Scotland’

Thursday 15 March (week 7)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30pm
Dr Mary-Ann Constantine (University of Wales) ‘The Many Voices of Thomas Pennant: Writing Travel in Late 18th Century Britain’

Friday 6 April-Sunday 8 April
ISHR reading weekend, The Burn

Thursday 12 April (week 9)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30pm
Dr Lizzie Swarbrick (University of Edinburgh) ‘”Tickled by charm and sweetness”: Music and Devotion in Pre-Reformation Scotland’

Thursday 26 April (week 11)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30 pm
Dr Gary Hutchison (University of Edinburgh) ‘Scottish Conservatism and Political Culture in the Age of Reform’

ISHR Seminars 2016-2017

Semester 1

Thursday 15 September (Week 1)
Welcome reception, 5-7 pm
The Undercroft, St John’s House, South Street

Thursday 29 September (Week 3)
TC Smout Lecture, Arts Lecture Theatre, 5.30 pm
Dr Clare Jackson (University of Cambridge)
‘Sir George Mackenzie and the Stuarts’

Thursday 13 October (Week 5)
Joint seminar with Reformation Studies, New Seminar Room 5.30 pm
Dr Michelle Brock (Washington and Lee University)
‘”The people readily obeyed the minister”: Life and worship in a covenanting town, 1638-1660’.

Thursday 27 October (Week 7)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30 pm
Ms Katy Jack (University of Stirling)
‘”Usurpations [and] infringements”: The Earldom of Mar in the 15th Century’

Thursday 10 November (Week 9)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30 pm
Dr Valerie Wallace (Victoria University of Wellington)
‘The Scottish Disruption and the politics of colonial Auckland’

Monday 21 November (Week 11)
Joint with Modern History, 4.30pm, Room 1.10, St Katharine’s Lodge
Prof John MacKenzie (University of St Andrews)
‘Scottish identity and empire: from the 18th to the 20th centuries’

Thursday 24 November (Week 11)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30 pm
Dr Miles Kerr-Peterson and Dr Steven Reid (University of Glasgow)
‘James VI and noble power: New thoughts on an old theme’

Semester 2

Thursday 26 January (Week 1)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30 pm
Dr Malcolm Petrie (St Andrews)
‘Serfdom in Wishaw, Hayek in Kirkcaldy: The thought-world of Scottish nationalism, c.1942-c.1975’

Thursday 9 February (Week 3)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30 pm
Postgraduate work in progress panel
Morag Allan Campbell ‘A tale of two asylums: Caring for the insane in nineteenth century Dundee and Angus’
Rory MacLellan, ‘The Lion Dormant? Armchair-crusading and the Scottish Hospitallers, 1322-88’
Anne Rutten, ‘How to do things with medieval words: Writing in the reigns of Robert II and Robert III’

Thursday 23 February (Week 5)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30 pm
Prof Steve Boardman (University of Edinburgh)
‘Bucktooth, Earl Beardie, and the Black Knight: Names and by-names in late medieval Scotland’

Thursday 9 March (week 7)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30 pm
Dr Valerie Wright (University of Glasgow)
‘”The evils of the present housing conditions”’: Women’s organisations and campaigns for improved housing in interwar Scotland’

Thursday 6 April (week 9)
ISHR seminar, New Seminar Room, 5.30 pm
Ms Lynn Kilgallon (Trinity College Dublin)
‘Parliament, legitimacy and the ‘absent king’ in the insular world (c. 1399-1450)’

Friday 7 April-Sunday 9 April
ISHR Reading Weekend, The Burn

Thursday 20 April (week 11)
Public Lecture, Arts Lecture Theatre, 5.30 pm
Dr Nadine Akkerman (University of Leiden)
‘Missreading Women, Misleading Women: How One Letter Changes Everything’

ISHR Seminars 2015-16

Semester 1

Thursday 24 September Welcome reception
Old Class Library, 5.30-7.30

Thursday 8 October    T.C. Smout Lecture in Scottish History
Prof Sir Tom Devine (University of Edinburgh)
‘Scotland’s Slavery Past: The Origins of Amnesia’
Arts Lecture Theatre, 7pm

Thursday 22 October   research seminar – *NOW CANCELLED*
Ms Amy Eberlin (St Andrews)
‘The Place of Flemish Trade in Fifteenth-Century Scottish Politics’

Thursday 5 November   research seminar
Dr Maks Del Mar (Queen Mary University, London)
‘Is There a Scottish Tradition of Jurisprudence? Neil MacCormick and the Scottish Enlightenment’

Thursday 19 November   research seminar
Dr Kelsey Jackson Williams (St Andrews)

Semester 2

Thursday 28 January
PG Work-in-Progress
Andrew Carter:- ‘”A Moderate Presbyterian Episcopacy”: The Church of Scotland, 1660-90’
Amy Eberlin:- ‘The Influence of Flemish Trade on Fifteenth-Century Scottish Politics’
Hannah Lawrence:- The nicety of the heritage sector?: Addressing slavery and colonialism in British historic houses

Thursday 11 February
Dr Claire Hawes (St. Andrews)
‘James III: A “Bad King”?’

Thursday 25 February
Dr Nick Evans (University of Hull)
‘”Historia Brittonum” and perceptions of early history in medieval Scotland’

Thursday 21 April
Dr Allan Kennedy
(University of Manchester)
‘”For Preserving the Publick Peace”: Prosecuting Serious Crime in Late-Seventeenth-Century Scotland’.