Centre for Scottish Culture Blog

Dying to Invest: Scotland and the Tontine

A plot-point in numerous books, films, and TV shows, the tontine is among the most notorious financial products every devised. But, as Dr Andrew McDiarmid explains, this most infamous of investment schemes had a notable – and broadly positive – impact on Scotland during the early 19th century. Follow Andrew on Twitter at @apmcdiarmid1. From

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Dundee Historian wins Local History Prize!

The Centre for Scottish Culture was delighted to learn that our History Lecturer, Dr Allan Kennedy, has been awarded the inaugural Birlinn Prize for Scottish Local History! The prize is awarded annually to the best paper published in the journal Scottish Local History. Allan’s paper, which was named-joint winner, is entitled ‘Cromwell’s Highland Stronghold: The

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Publishing Success for our PhD Researcher!

The Centre for Scottish Culture was delighted to learn that our PhD candidate, Sylvia Valentine, has recently succeeded in publishing some of her exciting research! Sylvia’s article, ‘Meet the vegetarian anti-vaxxers who led the smallpox inoculation backlash in Victorian Britain’, appeared in the most recent issue of Little Doric: The Journal of the Aberdeen Branch

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Seven Deadly Tales: Halloween with Walter Scott

  Although the great Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott is most famous as a historical novelist, his work is also notable for frequently exploring supernatural themes. With Halloween just behind us, Dr Daniel Cook delves into Scott’s prose and picks out seven of his spookiest stories. Follow Daniel on Twitter at @drdanielcook.   Still revered as one

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The Crook of Devon Witches

  With Hallowe’en nearly upon us, Dr Allan Kennedy gets into the spooky spirit by telling the story of the supposed witches’ coven discovered in Crook of Devon, Kinross-shire, in 1662.   Follow Allan on Twitter at: @Allan_D_Kennedy    Between 1563 and 1736, roughly 4,000 Scots, mainly women, were accused of witchcraft. Of these, perhaps 2,500 were

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The Bandit of Callander: Crime and Marginality in Restoration Scotland

  Dr Allan Kennedy tells the story of the little-known bandit Calum Og McGrigor, who terrorised the Stirlingshire area throughout the 1660s, and asks what his crimes can tell us about deviance and marginality in 17th-century Scotland.   Follow Allan on Twitter at: @Allan_D_Kennedy    Banditry was a major problem in 17th-century Scotland, particularly the Highlands.

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Tales from the Dundas Archives 2

Continuing his exploration of the rich and fascinating papers of West Lothian laird Sir Walter Dundas (1562-1636), Dr Alan MacDonald grapples with an age-old problem: how many legs are there on a goose? Follow Alan on Twitter at @estaitis   In 1616, John Meek was in arrears of rent to the laird of Dundas in West Lothian.

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‘Scotch Songs’ and English Perceptions of Scotland in the Restoration

Dr Allan Kennedy looks at the vogue for Scotland-based popular songs in Restoration England, asking what their subject-matter was, and what they can tell us about English attitudes towards Scotland in the later 17th century. Follow Allan on Twitter at: @Allan_D_Kennedy    The Restoration (1660-c.1688) is well known as an age of exuberant artistic expression in

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Tales from the Dundas Archives 1

  Dr Alan MacDonald delves into the rich and fascinating papers of Sir Walter Dundas (1562-1636), a West Lothian laird whose innovative land-management practices suggest that ‘Improvement’ may have begun in Scotland a good deal earlier than is often supposed. Follow Alan on Twitter at @estaitis   Sir Walter Dundas (1562-1636): Pioneer of ‘Improvement’? When I

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A Kirk Session Coverup

  Samantha Hunter is a PhD student at the University of Dundee, researching governance and social control in seventeenth-century Scotland.   Follow Samantha on Twitter at @sam_hunter95   The records of the early modern period provide wonderful, and often unexpected, glimpses into the lives of the people who lived centuries ago. Not only can they

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