I grew up on the edges of the Atlantic, in Derry City, but decided to look out over a different body of water while continuing with my education. I made my way, via two years in Dublin, to Aberdeen where I graduated with a BA (Hons) in History in 1996 and a PhD in History in 2001. After working for three years at the University of St Andrews I felt the average rainfall level in the east was not substantial enough so I moved back west to join the University of Strathclyde in 2005. In 2019 I was fortunate enough to be appointed to the University of Stirling where I can contemplate both water and hills.
My interests increasingly lie in those communities that live at the intersect of land and sea, communities and areas often regarded as 'peripheral' to mainstream political, social and economic development. Having recently completed a monograph on processes of plantation by land and sea around the North Channel region, my attention is now focused on island communities within the archipelago and the interplay between local, regional, national and supra-national while also exploring customary legal practices on land and sea.
Research Culture Award
Nominated for a Research Culture Award in the Outstanding Mentor category
Teaching Impact Award
Highly commended by the panel for my role at LTO
North Channel British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Was interviewed by Helen Mark for an episode of BBC Radio 4 programme Open Country on the North Channel, first aired on 26 August 2021.
Divisional / Faculty Contribution
Learning and Teaching Officer for History, Heritage and Politics
Learning and Teaching Officer for History, Heritage and Politics
Head of Division I will be Head of Division of History, Heritage and Politics from August 2023.
Event / Presentation
King James VI and I and his empire of islands
invited to present the 2023 King James VI Coronation Anniversary Lecture, held in the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling
‘standing on the shoulders of giants’: James VI and I and his empire of islands
9 November 2022: invited to speak at Centre for Scottish Studies at Stirling
‘the scattered isles in the polar ocean’: Scotland’s northern shores in the sixteenth century
7-8 December 2022 was invited to speak at a two-day online international workshop in December 2022, ‘Casting Off’, a Royal Society of Edinburgh-funded project ‘Scottish Shores: Gothic Coastal Environments'
‘James VI and the creation of a ‘British’ maritime policy: the view from the west’
- 11 November 2021: invited to present online lecture to the Society for Highland and Island Historical Research on ‘James VI and the creation of a ‘British’ maritime policy: the view from the west’.
‘They offered to give what they do not even hope to gain’: Ireland, Orkney and Shetland, and kingship in the reign of James V
invited to present research paper to Institute of Northern Studies seminar series on ‘‘They offered to give what they do not even hope to gain’: Ireland, Orkney and Shetland, and kingship in the reign of James V’
James V and the kingship of Ireland (again).
23 February 2021: invited to speak at University of Aberdeen joint RIIS and EMSC seminar.
Scotland and the Atlantic archipelagic world University of St Andrews
invited to present research at the 'Flodden Gap' conference held at University of St Andrews on 1 September 2021.
‘The reparatioun of the said harborie is most necessaire and expedient for the honnour creditte and benefeit of the whole cuntrey’: Ayr and plantation in Ireland, c.1550-1625
27 February 2020: invited to speak at to Ayrshire Archaeological and Natural History Society
James V and the kingship of Ireland (again)
26 November 2020: invited to speak at University of St Andrews Scottish History seminar series
‘Bridge over Troubled Waters’?: maritime activity in the North Channel, c.1493-c.1620
invited to speak to Bute Museum and Natural History Society, Rothesay, Bute
Re-thinking the Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland
invited to present at ‘Re-thinking the Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland: A Conference in Honour of Roger A. Mason’, Parliament Hall, University of St Andrews
Internal examiner for two History PhDs.
External Examiners and Validations
External Examiner, University of Aberdeen
External Examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate taught level in the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy (for History), University of Aberdeen (1 October 2017 to 30 September 2021)
External Examiner for PhD at University of Glasgow
External Examiner for medieval and early modern History, History and Politics division, University of Stirling (1 September 2014 to June 2016)
External Examiner for Medieval and Early Modern Scotland, c.1100-1707 (Distance Learning/OU History), University of Dundee (1 February 2010 to 31 October 2013)
External Examiner for BA (Hons) Scottish History, North Highland College, Dornoch, University of the Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute (1 September 2007 to 31 August 2011)
External examiner for University of Glasgow Short Courses University of Glasgow External examiner for History and Politics Short Courses
Other Academic Activities
Co-editor of Archipelagic Studies This book series with Peter Lang focuses on the islands of the North Atlantic archipelago and on the water that surrounds those islands from pre-history through to the eighteenth century. Moving beyond traditional national histories, the series will highlight research that examines localities or regions bounded by geography and transnational studies of the Insular world, and connections between peoples and societies within the archipelago and their neighbours to the south (Brittany, Normandy and beyond) and the north (Norway and beyond). Archipelagic Studies will explore a range of themes (landscape, society, culture, language, religion, trade networks) and incorporate a number of disciplines and approaches (archaeology, heritage, history, literature, historical ecology, environmental, marine, political, social).
Economic and Social History Pathway Rep for Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences Economic and Social History Pathway Rep for Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences (and was ECSH Pathway Rep for a number of years during my previous employment at University of Strathclyde).
Member of the Committee for British Academy's Records of Social and Economic History series Member of the Committee for British Academy's Records of Social and Economic History series
Membership of Editorial Board for Journal of the North Atlantic Membership of Editorial Board for Journal of the North Atlantic
Routledge Resources Online: the Renaissance World Member of the advisory board for ‘Society in the British Isles and Northern Europe’ section of the Routledge Resources Online: the Renaissance World
Scottish History Society council member
Trustee of Scottish Medievalists
Trustee of Society for Highland and Island Historical Research
Fellow, Higher Education Academy Fellow, Higher Education Academy
Fellow, Royal Historical Society Fellow, Royal Historical Society
My research has focused primarily on connections between Scotland and Ireland within a wider archipelagic context during the early modern period. I am currently finalising a monograph that explores plantation by land and sea, c.1550-c.1625, and engages with the social, political, economic, environmental, maritime and confessional factors at play. The focus is on the communities that exist at the interface of land and sea, their interaction and integration within a geographic region defined by a body of water. My interests in local communities and in maritime and environmental factors have developed and will come to the fore in my forthcoming research project that focuses on insular communities of the archipelago. In addition, I have collaborated with colleagues in fisheries and marine science to explore the sustainability of fishing in historic and contemporary contexts. This has (much to my own initial horror) stimulated a desire for greater mathematical knowledge in order to utilise regression modelling more fully within my own research. I am pursuing research into island communities, control over maritime resources, and fishing within the early modern period.
Cathcart A (Editor) (2023) Maritime Communities of the North Atlantic Arc in the Early Modern Period. Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 12. https://www-eaglehill-us.ezproxy-s2.stir.ac.uk/JONAonline2/TOCs/spec-12-Cathcart.shtml
Cathcart A (2022) Island Empire: James VI and I and the Isle of Man in an archipelagic context. In: Cathcart A & McIntyre N (eds.) Scotland and the Wider World: essays in honour of Allan I. Macinnes. Studies in Early Modern Cultural, Political and Social History. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. https://boydellandbrewer.com/9781783276837/scotland-and-the-wider-world/
McIntyre N & Cathcart A (eds.) (2022) Scotland and the Wider World: Essays in honour of Allan I. Macinnes. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. https://boydellandbrewer.com/9781783276837/scotland-and-the-wider-world/
Cathcart A (2021) Plantations by Land and Sea: North Channel communities of the Atlantic archipelago c.1550-1625. Archipelagic Studies, 1. Oxford: Peter Lang. https://www.peterlang.com/document/1114378
Jones P, Cathcart A & Speirs DC (2016) Early evidence of the impact of preindustrial fishing on fish stocks from the mid-west and southeast coastal fisheries of Scotland in the 19th century. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil, 73 (5), pp. 1404-1414. https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsv189
Cathcart A (2014) A Spent Force? The Clan Donald in the aftermath of 1493. In: Oram RD (ed.) The Lordship of the Isles. The Northern World, 68. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 254-270. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004280359_013
Oram R, Martin PF, McKean C, Cathcart A & Neighbour T (2010) Historic Fraserburgh: Archaeology and Development. Scottish Burgh Survey. York: Council of British Archaeology. http://www.britarch.ac.uk/books/fraserburgh2010
Cathcart A (2009) Scots and Ulster: the late medieval context. In: Scotland and the Ulster plantations Explorations in the British settlements of Stuart Ireland. Dublin: Four Courts Press, pp. 62-83. https://www.fourcourtspress.ie/books/archives/scotland-and-the-ulster-plantations/
Oram R, Martin PF, McKean C, Cathcart A & Neighbour T (2009) Historic Tain: Archaeology and Development. Scottish Burgh Survey. York: Council of British Archaeology. http://www.britarch.ac.uk/books/Tain2009
Cathcart A (2008) 'Inressyng of kyndnes, and renewing off thair blud': the family, kinship and clan policy in Sixteenth-Century Scottish Gaeldom. In: Ewan E & Nugent J (eds.) Finding the Family in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland. Women and Gender in the Early Modern World. Abingdon: Ashgate Publishing, pp. 127-138. https://www.routledge.com/Finding-the-Family-in-Medieval-and-Early-Modern-Scotland-1st-Edition/Ewan-Nugent/p/book/9780754660491
Cathcart A (2007) The Western Gaidhealtachd. In: Scotland: The Making and Unmaking of the Nation, c.1100-1707. The making and Unmaking of the Nation, volume 2. Dundee: Dundee University Press & Open University, pp. 90-106.
Cathcart A (2007) James V, King of Scotland - and Ireland?. In: The world of the galloglass. Kings, warlords and warriors in Ireland and Scotland, 1200-1600. Dublin: Four Courts Press, pp. 124-43. https://www.fourcourtspress.ie/search-results/SearchForm?Search=The+world+of+the+galloglass
Cathcart A (2002) Crisis of Identity: Clan Chattan’s response to government policy in the Scottish Highlands, c. 1580-1609’. In: Fighting for Identity: Scottish Military Experience, 1550-1990. History of Warfare, HW 15. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 163-84. www.brill.nl.
I teach on the following year one and two modules:
For the Lion: Scotland, in the British Isles and Europe, 1100-1542
Renaissance, Reformation and Revolution: Scotland 1542-1715
Reputations in History
Rebellion and Enlightenment: Scotland 1713 to 1815
I teaching the following semester 5 and semester 6 modules:
Scotland's 'Highland Problem' in the sixteenth century
Islands in the Sea: the maritime world of the Atlantic archipelago
and a special subject:
Plantations in Ulster, c.1550-1620.
I am willing to supervise undergraduate and PGT dissertations and currently supervise a number of PhD students.