The Future of Early Modern Scottish Studies

Blog written by Dr Kelsey Jackson-Williams

One of the best things about any corner of academia is the community.  Whether you study Shakespeare or dolphins or Italian volcanoes there’s always that group of similarly-minded scholars with whom you correspond, chat to, argue with, and collectively build the field.  Scottish studies is no different; indeed, its small size has traditionally meant that the community surrounding it is strong and close-knit (though not without the occasional squabble).  It was a great pleasure, then, to organise – along with Kimberly Sherman and Andrew Carter – a conference, held in St Andrews, drawing together part of that community in January 2017.

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The general roundable: “Where do we go from here?”

The Future of Early Modern Scottish Studies”, as we grandiosely called it, was meant to be more than just another opportunity to chat about our research.  We had the usual twenty-minute papers, yes, but we also had lightning talks and discussion sessions focused on how we could develop as a discipline, what could and should be done to make that happen, and how our small neuk of the academy interacted with the humanities as a whole.  It was a fantastic two days, with twenty-two speakers from across Europe and America present, and I hope that everyone else learned as much as I did.

But that’s not all.  As I said, we wanted this to be something more lasting than an ordinary conference and to that end we also recorded the proceedings.  These are now available online at the conference website and on Youtube.  Our hope is that they can be watched by interested scholars who weren’t able to be present in person, but also that they can serve as resources for teaching at the undergraduate and masters level, providing an opportunity to expose students to some of the cutting edge research currently going on in the field.

 

Going forward, we’re preparing an edited volume showcasing the work of conference attendees (as well as a couple of other scholars who had hoped to attend the conference but were unavoidably detained).  Our goal is to advance the field, but also to build its community and to help that community better work together and share its discoveries, plans, and ambitions.  What better way forward for Early Modern Scottish studies?

 

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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