The Bottle Imp supplement is a new Spring publication dedicated to papers presented by members of the Scottish Literature Discussion Group at the Modern Language Association (MLA) convention. The session topic for 2013 was ‘Scottish Studies After Cultural Studies’, and the topic for 2014 was ‘Independent Thinking: Scotland’s Inscription of Separation’.

Introduction: Scottish Literature at the MLA: 2013, 2014

I recently completed a four-year term on the executive committee of the Scottish Literature Discussion Group sponsored by the Modern Language Association. The MLA website lists nearly 30,000 members in 100 countries, and 137 discussion groups or, in larger conglomerates (e.g., ‘The Victorian Period’; ‘Comparative Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature’), divisions.1 The Scottish Literature Discussion Group came […]

Glocalising Scottish literature: a call for new strategies of reading

Introduction As heralded by many observers and scholars, the 1999 reinstatement of the Scottish Parliament marked an important turning point in the field of Scottish studies. Among others, Caroline McCracken-Flesher pointed out how the forces underpinning the creation of the Parliament ‘are also cultural, therefore constantly alive and insistently creative’ and that ‘Scotland may seem […]

Independence for Whom? or What? Scottish Literature and the Inhuman

This past June, the Edinburgh newspaper The Scotsman ran a headline that struck me not because it seemed atypical of Scottish newspapers but because its correlative in the American news media is harder to fathom. This headline read ‘Scottish Independence: Burns would be Yes — Salmond’. Salmond here refers to Alex Salmond, Scottish First Minister, leader of […]

Scottish Literature, Devolution, and the Fetish of Representation

In October 2013 I received a flurry of messages informing me that James Kelman had changed his position on Scottish independence. (Big news in my world.) Speaking at the Radical Book Fair in Edinburgh, Kelman was quoted as follows: No, I’m not voting. I’m in solidarity with those who want to change things by voting Yes […]

Scottish Studies after Cultural Studies: Response by Caroline McCracken-Flesher

In 1919, responding to G. Gregory Smith’s assertion of a distinct Scottish literature, T. S. Eliot quipped: ‘Was there a Scottish Literature?’1 Rising—or sinking—to the challenge the next two generations of authors and scholars spilled much ink to demonstrate that there had been in the past and continued to be in their moment. Alternately, courtesy of […]

Scottish Studies after Area Studies

When cultural studies came of age in U.S. universities in the 1990s, it reinvigorated the concept of area studies, which had originated in response to cold war, decolonization, and globalization in the mid twentieth century. Whereas cultural studies describes a methodology or an aim &madsh; broadly, the critique of ideology—area studies traditionally were defined by […]

Green Scotland: Literature and the Seeds of Independence

To say that Scottish independence has been one of the most contentious political issues in the United Kingdom over the last decade would be to state a commonplace. On eighteenth September 2014 most people over sixteen years of age who are resident in Scotland will be able to vote on the long-awaited question ‘Should Scotland […]

Independent Thinking: Scotland’s Inscription of Separation: Response by Caroline McCracken-Flesher

The personal, we know, is always political. Since the 1970s, we have learned to respect cultural difference expressed in individuals, and to stand alert to its political import. Thus in recent years, Scottish authors have been newly understood as authoring Scotland, or at least expressing it. The nation is inscribed by its authors, and authors, […]

Have Scottish Studies Ever Involved Cultural Studies?

The simple answer to the question I pose in the title of my talk—have Scottish studies ever involved cultural studies?—is yes.1 Explorations of race, class, gender, and sexuality inform a great deal of new work in the field, supplemented by nuanced thinking about such subjects as vernacular language, national identity, the multi-mediated legacies of major Scottish […]

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