Dr Alison Cathcart

Associate Professor in Early Modern Scot

History A64 Pathfoot Division of History and Politics University of Stirling Stirling FK9 4LA

Dr Alison Cathcart

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About me

About me

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.

Consultancy

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

Event / Presentation

‘‘They offered to give what they do not even hope to gain’: Ireland, Orkney and Shetland, and kingship in the reign of James V’.

- 25 November 2021: 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’.

Seminar presentation

23 February 2021: invited to speak at University of Aberdeen joint RIIS and EMSC seminar.

‘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’.

conference paper
University of St Andrews

invited to present research at the 'Flodden Gap' conference held at University of St Andrews on 1 September 2021.

Seminar presentation

27 February 2020: invited to speak at to Ayrshire Archaeological and Natural History Society

Seminar presentation

26 November 2020: invited to speak at University of St Andrews Scottish History seminar series

Seminar presentation

9 July 2018: presented a lecture on ‘The Statutes of Iona’ at St Giles Cathedral as part of their Exploring Gaelic lecture series.

Seminar presentation

13 October 2018: 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.

Seminar presentation

20 November 2018: invited to speak to Bute Museum and Natural History Society, Rothesay, Bute.

Conference organisation and presentation

14&15 June 2018: co-organised and hosted the conference ‘Scotland and the Wider World’ celebrating the career and historical contribution of Professor Allan I. Macinnes. At this conference I also presented my own research ‘Island empire? James VI & I and the Isle of Man in an archipelagic context’. These conference contributions will be published as an edited volume in 2021-22.

Event

31 October 2017: chair and interviewer for the early modern History panel as part of the Historical Conversation series, organised and hosted by University of Glasgow’; the early modern panel (and my interviewees) were Professor Keith M. Brown, University of Manchester, and Roger A. Mason, University of St Andrews.

Seminar presentation

11 October 2017: ‘Living on the edge? Early modern maritime communities of the Atlantic archipelago’, a paper presented to the School of Humanities research seminar autumn series, University of Strathclyde.

Conference presentation

20-21 October 2017: ‘Living on the edge: a Highland Scot community in Ireland’, presented an invited plenary paper presented at a two-day symposium on ‘The Communities and Margins of Early Modern Scotland’; a conference organised by postgraduate students from a number of Scottish universities.

Symposium participant

26&27 September 2017: a participant speaking on ‘the state’ at ‘Tyrannous Constructs or the Tools of the Trade?: the use and abuse of concepts in Medieval History’, Cohen Quad, Exeter College, Oxford, a follow-up to the symposium held in Dublin in 2016.

Seminar presentation

28 February 2017: presented a version of ‘James VI and I and the ‘dark corners’ of his realm’ to Celtic and Scottish Studies seminar series, University of Glasgow.

Symposium participant

30&31 May 2016: a participant at ‘Tyrannous Constructs’, a symposium held at Trinity College Dublin hosted by Drs Peter Crooks (TCD) and Jackson Armstrong (University of Aberdeen).

Conference paper

14&15 April 2016: presented a plenary lecture at the first International Postgraduate Port and Maritime History Conference, at the University of Strathclyde.

Conference organisation

3-5 September 2015: co-hosted with Professor Michael Brown (University of St Andrews) a three-day conference ‘Lords and Lordship hip in the British Isles c.1300 – c.1600’. This brought together academics from across UK and Ireland.

Seminar presentation

24 May 2014: presented my research at an interdisciplinary workshop, hosted by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh on ‘Identity, Independence and Interdependence’.

Seminar presentation

20 March 2014: presented my research to the Scottish History seminar series, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh.

Conference paper

4 June 2014: presented my research at the Donegal Diaspora conference held at Letterkenny hosted by Donegal County Council.

Examining

Examiner
External and internal examiner for a number of MRes and PhD thesis at various institutions including Universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde and Stirling.

External Examiners and Validations

External Examiner

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

External Examiner for medieval and early modern History, History and Politics division, University of Stirling (while employed at University of Strathclyde)

External Examiner

External Examiner for Medieval and Early Modern Scotland, c.1100-1707 (Distance Learning/OU History), University of Dundee

External Examiner

External Examiner for BA (Hons) Scottish History, North Highland College, Dornoch, University of the Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute

External examiner for University of Glasgow Short Courses
University of Glasgow
External examiner for History and Politics Short Courses

Other Academic Activities

Membership of Editorial Board for Journal of the North Atlantic
Membership of Editorial Board for Journal of the North Atlantic

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

Member of Advisory Board for Routledge Encyclopedia of the Renaissance World
Member of Advisory Board for Routledge Encyclopedia of the Renaissance World

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).

Other Project

Fellowship

Short-term fellowship (one month), Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Fellowship

National Maritime Museum Caird Short-term Research Fellowship (two months)

Fellowship

Ernestine Richter Avery Fellow (short-term: one month), Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Professional Career

Scottish History Society council member

Trustee of Scottish Medievalists

Trustee of Society for Highland and Island Historical Research

Professional membership

Fellow, Royal Historical Society
Fellow, Royal Historical Society

Fellow, Higher Education Academy
Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Research

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.

Outputs (14)

Outputs

Book Chapter

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/

Book Chapter

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/

Book Chapter

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

Book Chapter

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.

Book Chapter

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

Teaching

Teaching

I currently offer the a semester 5 module: Scotland's 'Highland Problem' in the sixteenth century a semester 6 module: Islands in the Sea: the maritime world of the Atlantic archipelago and a special subject: Plantations in Ulster, c.1550-1620. In addition I contribute to teaching on the semester 1 Scottish History module; and the semester 3 module Reputations. I am willing to supervise undergraduate and PGT dissertations and currently supervise a number of PhD students.