Colin Nicolson is a leading expert on the history of the American Revolution. His work focuses on the origins of the Revolution in colonial Boston and the Imperial Crisis of 1765-1776. He is an elected fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and an elected member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. He is currently editing the Papers of Francis Bernard and writing a book and articles on the pre-Revolutionary life and politics of John Adams. He presently supervises five full-time PhD researchers working on New York Loyalism, slave literacy, friendship in colonial America, Massachusetts privateers, and British responses to militarization in Scotland and America during the mid- to late-eighteenth century. He encourages PhD applications from those aiming to investigate the American Revolution, Friendship, John Adams, Governor Francis Bernard, Revolutionary biography and prosopography. He loves family, fine books, and music, and is a dedicated writer and enthusiastic teacher.
Scottish Qualifications Authority Scottish Education Department and Scottish Qualifications Authority: Question setter (1995-2001) and Principal Examiner (1998-2001) for (a) the CSYS in History and (b) the Advanced Higher in History, both in field of study (g): the American Civil War. Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum and Higher Still Development Unit. Consultant on the preparation of study packs for the new Advanced Higher in American History, 2000-2001.
Divisional / Faculty Contribution
Director of Undergraduate Programmes in History. School of Arts and Humanities: History and Politics Division
Postgraduate Director. School of History and Politics
Research Committee. School of History and Politics
Student Recruitment Officer. Department of History
Website Administrator. School of History and Politics
Faculty of Arts
staff appointment committees
Faculty of Arts
Board member and subject representative
Deputy Director for Postgraduate Training (School of Arts and Humanities) Since 2012, have recently taken a lead role in developing doctoral training in the School of Arts and Humanities.Doctoral training provided by the School of Arts and Humanities (SAH) complements the Skills Development Programme run by the university's Stirling Graduate School (SGS). While the SGS programme focuses largely on researcher development and generic skills, the SAH activities concentrate on enhancing and applying subject skills within and beyond the academic environment. The SAH Postgraduate Skills Week in December, run jointly with the School of Applied Social Science, offers cross-disciplinary sessions on employability skills (writing, teaching, presenting research papers, publishing research, and understanding the impact agenda) and two days of intensive subject-focused sessions covering qualitative and quantitative research methods and topical research issues and approaches. I also co-ordinate Arts Training Modules for Masters programmes.
M.A. Hons. in History, summa cum laude
Event / Presentation
Friendship in Tough Times: John Adams and the Terrors of War, 1775. School of Arts and Humanities (Stirling) Postgraduate Conference, 2014. Inter-Disciplinary Reflections in Adversity University of Stirling
Organization of American Historians Organization of American Historians
School of Arts and Humanities
Co-ordinator of postgraduate training in ARTP01 and ARTP02.
He is presently editing the Bernard Papers, a six-volume historical documentary edition of considerable relevance to scholars of the imperial crisis on the eve of the Revolution. The project is funded by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and the Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Fellowship. The AHRC described the Bernard Papers project as "an outstanding proposal meeting world-class standards of scholarship, originality, quality and significance." Work on the project for Stirling has generated research income in excess of £180,000. He is also finishing a book on John Adams and his political friendships and is a member of the editorial advisory board for the Select Correspondence of Thomas Hutchinson.
Bernard Papers PI: Dr Colin Nicolson Funded by: Colonial Society of Massachusetts –
Nicolson C (2017) Understanding the Boston Stamp Act Riots, 1765. In: Marsh B, Rapport M (ed.). Understanding and Teaching the Age of Revolutions. Harvey Goldberg Series for Understanding and Teaching History, Madison, WI, USA: University of Wisconsin Press.
Nicolson C (ed.) (2013) The Papers of Francis Bernard, Governor of Colonial Massachusetts, 1760-69, Vol. 3: 1766-1767. Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 83. Boston: The Colonial Society of Massachusetts; distributed by the Univ. of Virginia Press.
Nicolson C (2009) A Plan "to banish all the Scotchmen": Victimization and Political Mobilization in Pre-Revolutionary Boston. Global Nations? Irish and Scottish Expansion since the 16th Century, 30.10.2009 - 1.11.2009, University of Aberdeen. Available from: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/events/3595/
Nicolson C (2009) Book review of: Taming Democracy: ‘The People’, the Founders, and the Troubled Ending of the American Revolution, by Terry Bouton. (Oxford: Oxford U.P., 2007; pp. 332. ISBN: 978-0195378566 , English Historical Review, 124 (507), pp. 449-451.
Nicolson C (2001) Book review of: Crucible of War: The Seven Years'War and the Fate of Empire in British North
America, 1754-1766, by Fred Anderson (New York: Knopf, 2000); pp. 862; ISBN: 0571205356, English Historical Review, 116 (467), pp. 736-737.
Nicolson C (1999) Civic wars: Democracy and public life in the American city during the nineteenth century by Mary P. Ryan (Book Review) , Book review of: Civic Wars: Democracy and Public Life in the American City
during the Nineteenth Century, Mary P. Ryan, (Berkeley and Los Angeles, Calif., and London: University of California Press, 1997). Pp. 383. ISBN: 0 520 20441 7., Journal of American Studies, 33 (1), pp. 125-126.
Nicolson C (1999) Book review of: Parades and the Politics of the Street: Festive Culture in the Early American Republic (Early American Studies), Simon P. Newman, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999, 288pp. ISBN-13: 978-0812217247 , Journal of American Studies, 33 (1), pp. 199-200.
Nicolson C (1997) Book review of: Yankee Sailors in British Gaols: Prisoners of War at Forton and Mill, 1777-1783, Sheldon S. Cohen, Newark, University of Delaware Press,1995, 280pp. ISBN-13: 978-0874135640 , History, 82 (268), pp. 634-635.
Nicolson C & Allen P (1995) Book review of: Roy Rosenzweig, Steve Brier, and Josh Brown, Who Built America? From the Centennial Celebration of 1876 to the Great War of 1914. CD-ROM, New York: The Voyager Company, 1995. ISBN 978-1581250442 , Craft, 12, pp. 12-13.