ISHR Reading Weekend 2016


Photo attrib. Ashley, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

On 8 April, members of the Institute for Scottish Historical Research descended upon the Burn in Edzell for another reading weekend. This year, second-year PhD-students Kimberly Sherman and Andrew Carter were in charge of organising lectures, activities and the highly anticipated Third Annual Pub Quiz.

After everyone had settled in the house and had enjoyed the tea and cakes, the Mlitt students spoke about their dissertation proposals. Claire Hawes introduced the eager students, whose work ranges from Scoto-Danish relations to the teaching of Scottish history at Scottish universities. The Mlitt panel was followed by discussion and during the evening, the extensive game collection was sampled.

The Saturday morning kicked off with two first-year PhD students discussing their work. Rory MacLellan spoke on the Knights Hospitaller in Scotland, particularly how only one leader of the organisation, William Knollys, was able to advance his position in the Scottish government. Anne Rutten discussed the Murthly Charm, a peculiar fourteenth-century Gaelic text which sheds light on the reading and writing abilities of the wider Gaelic community. After a short break, the second set of the lectures was centred around nineteenth-century Dundee. Morag Allan Campbell gave an interesting talk on pleas of insanity, particularly relating to mothers who had murdered their children. Matt Ytilato’s lecture was focused on women working in the Dundee whaling industry, participating in such tasks as brewing ale and boiling whale-oil.


Photo attrib. Morag Allan Campbell, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

After these papers had been presented, the field trip took the members of ISHR to the Glenesk Folk Museum, which possesses a delightful collection. Featuring exhibits such as 1920s formal wear and kitchen utensils, the museum provided a look into the daily life of Scottish people. The trip left everyone refreshed for the skills panel, where Claire Hawes discussed her project ‘The Craftsmen of St Andrews Past and Present’, which brings research on guilds to a wider audience. Dawn Hollis also explored that most necessary skill in scholars, as she provided tips on how to put words to paper without hesitation.

The prescribed fun time in the form of a pub quiz was both exhilarating and hilarious. Andrew posed many challenging questions, while his dingbats collection left the teams puzzled. Ranging from the amount of murdered bishops in Great Britain to the connection between Edward II and Oliver Cromwell, everyone was forced to think hard to answer as many questions as possible. Dr Katie Stevenson and her team ‘ISHR Team As Good As Ours’ won the prize for best team name, but ‘The Despicable Four’was crowned the victor of the pub quiz.

The Sunday morning saw the lecture of Gordon Pentland, which explored the representation of Scots in print. In between tartan, devils and poverty, the Scottish people were certainly not depicted in the most positive of manners! The final lectures were given by Kimberly Sherman and Andrew Carter, who shared their research on the many intricate connections between expatriate Scots in North Carolina, and on the many divisions (and reasons for divisions) in Scottish Protestantism respectively. After these talks, it was sadly time to return to leave the Burn and return to St Andrews, but everyone was left refreshed and ready for more research!

About standrewshistory
With over forty full time 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 S cotland to Byzantium and the Americas to the Middle East and South Asia.Thematic interests include religious history, urban history, transnationalism, historiography and nationalism. The School of History prides itself on small group teaching and tutorials 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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