Spotlight on Professor Colin Kidd

Colin KiddProf. Colin Kidd arrived at the University of St Andrews in the summer of 2012. Originally from Ayr on the other side of Scotland, he taught for over fifteen years at the University of Glasgow and, more recently, had a short spell at Queen’s University Belfast. He relishes the seemingly brighter light and fresher air of Scotland’s east coast, as well as finding St Andrews a remarkably friendly and congenial university in which to work.

Colin Kidd bookColin’s current research focuses on the intellectual history of the English Enlightenment and its nineteenth-century aftermath, particularly in fields such as antiquarianism, mythography and religious apologetic. Eventually, many years hence, these obsessions will intersect with an emerging interest in the history – and prehistory – of British anthropology.  Colin is at his happiest riding these particular hobbyhorses, but he also has a stable of other subjects which fascinate him. These include constitutional theory, British as well as American, and the church history of his native county of Ayrshire in the age of Enlightenment. However, he is alert to the possibility that the parishes of eighteenth-century Fife might yield up treasures of their own to delight the connoisseur of theological controversy.

Colin Kidd book 1Colin teaches on courses at various levels at St Andrews. He is involved in two team-taught courses, MO2008 Scotland, Britain and the World 1500-2000, and HI2001 History as a Discipline. He is thoroughly enjoying teaching historiography in a formal course setting for the first time, several decades after discovering the topic, by way of Pieter Geyl’s classic, Napoleon for and against, which he found on the shelves of the Carnegie Library in Ayr between his fifth and sixth years at secondary school. Ever since Colin has felt the lure and enchantment of historiography, but has never had the chance to teach it in a bespoke Historiography course.


Colin Kidd book 2 In addition, Colin teaches three third level courses to Honours classes, on MO3713 Nationalism and Unionism in Modern Scotland, on MO3220 The Enlightenment and the World, and on MO3715 The American Constitution: Past and Present.  Colin has been enormously impressed by the standard of Honours students at St Andrews in these areas, particularly the insight and sophistication displayed by undergraduates working on the theory, context and significance of American constitutional law between the late eighteenth century and the present.


Colin Kidd book 3Colin has spent his adult life in History departments of one sort or another, but is still not quite sure if he is an historian. He is increasingly interested both in Literature and in Political Science, and enjoys dabbling in other subjects, much to the irritation, no doubt, of their professional practitioners.

For more on Colin see his School of History webpage, the out-of-date wikipedia page devoted to him, his London Review of Books contributor page, his All Souls College Oxford Fifty-Pound Fellow page, and his page as Fellow of the British Academy.

About standrewshistory
With over forty fulltime members of staff researching and teaching on European, American and Asian history from the dawn of the Middle Ages to the present day, the School of History at the University of St Andrews has one of the finest faculty and diverse teaching programmes of any School of History in the English speaking world. The School boasts expertise in Mediaeval and Modern History, from Scotland to Byzantium and the Americas to South Asia. Thematic interests include religious history, urban history, transnationalism, historiography and nationalism. The School of History prides itself on small group teaching, allowing for in-depth study and supervision tailored to secure the best from each student. Cutting edge research combined with teaching excellence offer a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment for the study of History.

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