Spotlight on David Allan

Allan Nation of ReadersDr David Allan is Reader in Scottish History and has been at St Andrews since 1997. He was previously Lecturer in History at Lancaster University and earlier completed a Ph.D. at Cambridge. He has also held a number of visiting fellowships in the United States at Yale University, Harvard University, Brown University and the Huntington Library and won several international awards for his books.

Dr Allan’s research focuses on British cultural and intellectual history in the modern period, with a particular (though not exclusive) geographical interest in Scotland and a chronological focus pivoting around the long eighteenth century. The study of the Enlightenment has been an important preoccupation in his work, as has the broader social history of ideas.


Allan Philosophy and PoliticsHis current writing and publication pursues a number of different themes related to these existing interests. One strand is formed by university history, with interests in Scottish academic communities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A second brings together previous work on the history of reading so as to explore the role of libraries in Enlightenment culture and in the growth of the novel as a literary form. A third concerns the development of historiography in Scotland between the Treaty of Union and the death of Sir Walter Scott. Other essays in preparation include work on the scholarly activities of eighteenth-century English clergymen, associationalism in Scottish social theory and the place of chivalry and knighthood in the historical writing of the Scottish Enlightenment.


Dr Allan’s teaching is closely linked to many of these research interests. He offers a Special Subject on the Enlightenment in Scotland (MO4805 The Scottish Enlightenment) and two Honours modules on early-modern thought (MO3019, The Life of the Mind: Key Texts in European Thought, 1512-1697) and the British Enlightenment (MO3263, British Culture in the Eighteenth Century) and is a regular contributor to the School’s sub-Honours modules on modern British history (MO2008, Scotland, Britain and Empire, c. 1500-2000) and historical theory and methodology (HI2001, History as a Discipline: Developments and Key Concepts). At postgraduate level he contributes to the M.Litt. degrees in Scottish History, Modern History and Early Modern History and currently convenes the module SC5203 Building Britain: The Construction and Deconstruction of Britishness, 1707-2000.

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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