We have a renowned group of staff researching and contributing to the literatures and cultures of Scotland. Areas of scholarly expertise range from canonical literary figures (e.g. James Hogg) to the re-examination of Scottish cultural history (e.g. the ‘First’ Scottish Enlightenment, dating from the 1680s), to highly engaged writing on the contemporary politics – and creative re-imagining – of Scottish identity. The Centre for Scottish Studies is a hub linking our work to historical, political and media research elsewhere at Stirling.
Suzanne Gilbert is one of two General Editors of the landmark Stirling/South Carolina edition of James Hogg, continuing the foundational work of the late Professor Douglas Mack. Scott Hames writes about 'voice' and the cultural politics of Scottish devolution, shaping new approaches to the writing of figures such as James Kelman and Irvine Welsh. Adrian Hunter’s expertise lies in the short story, transatlantic publishing and James Hogg's legacy in North America. Kelsey Jackson Williams is an early modernist with special interests in seventeenth-century Scotland and antiquarianism, who serves on the Council of the Scottish History Society, and as Secretary of the Universities Committee for Scottish Literature. Together, their research is among the most dynamic and innovative in the field.
Making rather than mapping Scottish literature is an established strength of our creative writing programme, which boasts Norman MacCaig and Roderick Watson among its forebears. Our award-winning creative writing staff includes Liam Murray Bell, Kathleen Jamie and Kevin MacNeil, whose writings embrace the un-settled condition of contemporary Scotland to pose rich questions about community and identity, and re-examine the rights and duties of the artist within society (and within nature). They continue a proud tradition: Jackie Kay, Iain Banks and Alan Bissett are Stirling graduates who have become leading figures in Scottish fiction, poetry and drama.
Often working with the Centre for Scottish Studies, colleagues have hosted the following conferences and events in recent years:
If Scotland: Posting 2014 explored how the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence might be remembered by future citizens and historians. A speculative exercise held a few weeks prior to the vote itself, the conference included live youth theatre with BBC Scotland’s Generation 2014, and two set-piece debates imagining post-Yes and post-No Scotlands from a few decades on.
Locating Hogg (2017) was a major conference exploring new perspectives on the work of the Ettrick Shepherd, asking what Hogg's restless preoccupation with matters of origin, tradition and locality can reveal about our condition as readers and critics today.
James Hogg in the World (2017) a three-month public exhibition staged in the Pathfoot Building, explored the transmission of Hogg’s work around the English-speaking world. The exhibition was complemented by workshops and public readings.
Narrating Scottish Devolution (2014-15) hosted workshops exploring how devolution has been explained, understood and made culturally meaningful in Scotland. Participants ranging from literary critics to constitutional experts, and from poets to parliamentarians, considered the idea of ‘cultural devolution’ and its influence in post-1999 governance and literary culture. The resulting podcast was featured on the Guardian’s Scotland blog in February 2016.
We also have close ties with the Pathfoot Press, Stirling's Centre for Letterpress Printing and Teaching. The Press focuses on the publication of both historic and modern Scottish writers with recent projects including broadsheet poems by James Hogg and Mark Alexander Boyd as well as the first print edition of selections from James Fraser's Triennial Travels.