Category Archives: History

A Horror of Dirt: Uncleanliness and Vice in Early Modern Scotland

  Dr Allan Kennedy discusses the concept of uncleanliness in early modern Scotland, and explores the way this idea linked to issues of public order and criminal deviance.  Follow Allan on Twitter at: @Allan_D_Kennedy    Among the many consequences of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been renewed emphasis on the importance of cleanliness. Thorough hand-washing, we

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The Marital Woes of Margaret Tosheoch: Mythologizing Marriage, Divorce, and Concubinage in Early Modern Perthshire

  Lisa Baer-Tsarfati is a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph, whose research uses natural language processing and word embeddings (vector space modelling) to examine how language was used to exert control in early modern Scotland. In this special guest post, she discusses what family tradition around one 16th-century Perthshire marriage can tell us about matrimony,

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The Missing Colourist? Searching for John Maclauchlan Milne RSA

  In this guest post, Maurice Millar explores the life and work of the often-overlooked Dundee Colourist painter John Maclauchlan Milne.   John Maclauchlan Milne (1885-1957) – JMM –  was in the same places, at the same times, doing the same thing, as those who would later become known as ‘The Scottish Colourists’, namely the

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Patrick Geddes’s Intellectual Origins

  In this guest post, Murdo Macdonald, Professor Emeritus of the History of Scottish Art at the University of Dundee, tells us about his new book, Patrick Geddes’s Intellectual Origins (Edinburgh University Press, 2020).   My book, Patrick Geddes’s Intellectual Origins (Edinburgh University Press, 2020) explores the interdisciplinary achievement of one of the key thinkers of the

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Who was Expected to go to Church in Early Modern Scotland?

  Samantha Hunter is a first-year PhD researcher at the University of Dundee, exploring governance and control in seventeenth-century Scotland. In this guest post, she discusses early modern expectations of church attendance, and asks when, and for what reasons, certain people might have been excused from attending.   Follow Samantha on Twitter at @sam_hunter95   It

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Confronting the Legacy of Slavery in Scotland

  Dr Michael Morris explores recent efforts to confront the legacy of Scotland’s involvement in Atlantic slavery, and suggests a possible road-map for public commemoration. Follow Michael on Twitter at @M_J_Morris81   Following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer in 2013, African-American activists developed a new campaign with a name that is poignant in its starkness: Black

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Scottish Women in Early Modern London

  Dr Allan Kennedy explores what life was like for the Scottish women who made their homes in London during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.  Follow Allan on Twitter at: @Allan_D_Kennedy    Since 2018, I, in collaboration with Professor Keith Brown (University of Manchester) and Dr Siobhan Talbott (Keele University), have published a series of

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Patronage and ‘the general taste for Portrait’: David Allan and the Erskine of Torrie Portrait

  In this guest post, Dr Nel Whiting takes a look at the role of gender in shaping the portraiture of David Allan (1744-96), specifically in his family portrait of the Erskines of Torrie. Follow Nel on Twitter at @nel_whiting   Historical portraits are more than likenesses of people from the past; they are artful

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Spring Poets and Public Parks

  In this guest post, Dr Erin Farley explores how the popular ‘spring poetry’ of 19th-century Dundee celebrated the freeing, invigorating effect of the city’s public parks. Follow Erin on Twitter at @aliasmacalias   For many city residents, especially those in flats or tenements with no garden, our local park has become an essential respite

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Charles Maitland, Overlooked Pioneer of Smallpox Inoculation

  Sylvia Valentine is a professional genealogist who is also completing a PhD at the University of Dundee. Her thesis explores opposition to compulsory smallpox vaccination in 19th and early 20th– century Scotland. Follow Sylvia on Twitter at @historylady2013   One of the least recognised figures in the history of smallpox prevention is Aberdonian Charles

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