Introduction: Diverse Scotlands

The 2022 MLA panel on ‘Diverse Scotlands’ was inspired by Scotland’s outsized role in the history of British imperial expansion, by its vexed status as a ‘postcolonial’ colony within the imperial fold, and by its current incarnation as an increasingly heterogenous society that nonetheless embraces a ‘Scottish’ civic identity. Added to the upcoming re-vote on […]

When Tartan Was Not Fake: The Disclothing Act in Gaelic Song

Tartan is simultaneously a material object, a design template, and a symbol with multiple referents. As a patterned textile, it features straight lines, right angles, bright colours, and no ambiguity; as a symbol, its lines become fuzzy, its angles circular, its colours muddied, and its meaning polysemic (Brown, 9). While this paper addresses the significance […]

“We always think of ourselves as the oppressed”: Scotland’s Conflicted Imperialist Legacy in Aileen Ritchie’s The Juju Girl

1995 saw two major films about Scottish history: Michael Caton-Jones’s Rob Roy and Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. Both present Scotland as – to one degree or another—subordinated to and seeking liberation from England. Gibson’s film is the more overt, focusing on William Wallace (played by Gibson), who fought the English king Edward I for Scottish independence. […]

Historicizing Shuggie Bain’s Reception

The opening line of Fredric Jameson’s The Political Unconscious – ‘Always historicize’ – may seem an odd way to begin a paper on Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain. Unlike the works Jameson discusses, Shuggie is a contemporary novel and, while not historicized, it is historical, set in and around Glasgow, from 1981 to 1992. Stuart’s novel […]

Recovering Scotland’s Antarctic Research and Literary Contributions

In the history and literature of Antarctica, Scotland and its people hold an anchored presence. One of the earlier crews to venture south, on 2 November 1902, was an all-Scottish expedition, intent on researching Antarctica in as much totality as possible, including climate, astronomy, meterology, botany, biology, geology, and geography. William Speirs Bruce was a […]


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