Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Migration, Identity and Scotland

Scott's View, near Melrose

Many historians who study immigration are also interested in identity: who did the emigrants think they were before they left their homeland and how did this change in their country of destination. Similarly, many historians who study Scotland are also interested in identity. A colleague of mine once talked about "the trendy notion of Scottish identities." Despite the "trendiness" of the topic it is a really interesting question - how did a region with many regional identities and languages (Pictish, Viking, Briton, Gael) which was later overlaid by immigrants from Normandy and Flanders become Scots? You can read more about identity formation in Medieval Scotland at Senchus: Notes on Medieval Scotland here and here; and in a 1996 article by Dauvit Broun of the University of Glasgow here; listen to Dauvit Broun discuss the available documents from this time period on BBC's Making History here, and explore the actual participants of this identity formation during the 11th-13th centuries at PoMS: The Paradox of Medieval Scotland.

Come back next Tuesday for the first part of a three part interview with Matthew Hammond, lecturer in Scottish History at the University of Edinburgh and co-investigator of PoMS. Matthew will discuss among other things what the paradox was, scholarly fascination with Scottish identity, and how the database was created.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


This is an interesting post to me. I just started my master's in history degree in Early American Colonial History and that idea of who the immigrants thought they were is a big topic--and how the new American environment changed them--I suppose it is true no matter when you immigrate--the more you think about it, the more complex it becomes! Looking forward to next Tues! --Kim


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