Scottish Parliamentary elections took place on 6 May 2021 and, with the victory of the Scottish National Party (SNP), there may be a mandate for a second referendum on independence. This quest for national political identity coincides with wider trends in nationalism, both cultural and political, and exhibits both parallels and marked contrasts within different contexts: thus the question of how culture interplays with politics, in the context of nationalism, is both topical and controversial.

‘Cultural nationalism’ arguably seeks to present a coherent vision of a nation’s identity, history and destiny. It is often associated with social, cultural and political crises, and especially with the advent of modernity. In contrast to the medieval Church’s universalism, and the Enlightenment’s emphasis on rationality and cosmopolitanism, it was the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries which saw a resurgence of interest in historical and cultural particularity.

Cultural nationalism more widely, and its relationship with political nationalism, has been intensely debated by historians and sociologists (including Ernest Gellner, Eric Hobsbawm, Terrence Ranger, Benedict Anderson, Hans Kohn, Miroslav Hroch, Anthony D. Smith and John Hutchinson).

We propose, here, to explore how and why cultural nationalism has (or has not) coincided with political nationalism in the history of Scotland. What are the historical roots of Scotland’s contemporary cultural and political identities? How have cultural and political expressions of ‘Scottishness’ developed over time? And how do they relate to Scotland’s constitution, administration and economy, past and present?

By looking at the relationship between political and cultural nationalism from medieval to contemporary times, this conference affords the opportunity for social, political and economic historians, cultural and literary scholars, and historians of art and architecture to engage in what today is clearly a very relevant and topical discussion.

We are delighted to welcome all our participants, and Prof. Ian Brown, Prof. Tom Devine and Dominic Grieve QC as our keynote speakers.

Conference venues are: 'Logis du Roy' on 7 & 8 October and Citadelle University Campus on 9 October 2021

We have adopted a hybrid mode for the conference. So if you would like to attend online, please send a message to   Mme Bacquet will send you a zoom link 

Organiser: Dr. Clarisse Godard Desmarest /



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