Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

September 03, 2002

U of G conference to explore Scottish traditions

Kilts, bagpipes, William “Braveheart” Wallace and Robert the Bruce — these Scottish cultural symbols and heroes will be the focus of the University of Guelph’s semi-annual Scottish studies colloquium on Sept. 28 in the Lifelong Learning Centre. The theme of the conference is “(Re-) Inventing the Scottish Tradition.” Members of the public, the media and the academic community are welcome to attend.

Speakers from several universities, including keynote speaker Graeme Morton of the University of Edinburgh, will share their thoughts on the great figures and symbols of Scottish nationhood.

“There’s been an interest among historians in trying to understand the nature of tradition — things that purport to be timeless, ancient emblems of identity and nationhood — and to understand the way in which symbols and emblems are invented or created, and the social and cultural needs they respond to,” said Kevin James, chair of Scottish studies. “So we thought that it’d be interesting to look at some of the great figures and emblems of Scottish national identity and treat them using these new historical approaches.”

The keynote lecture on William Wallace will be given at 3 p.m. “Graeme Morton is considered one of the up-and-coming scholars in contemporary Scottish historiography and his interests and his publications are wide-ranging,” said James. “We chose him because his work on William Wallace has really been ground-breaking and his book (William Wallace: Man and Myth) has been very well-received critically.”

Other highlights include:
• 9:45 p.m. — Ian Maitland Hume from Edinburgh, Scotland will present the paper, “Tartan and the Kilt - Symbols of the Past or Present?”

• 10:45 a.m. — David Wilson of the University of Toronto will discuss “The Celtic Myth in Scott’s Waverley.”

• 1 p.m. — Rob Falconer of the University of Guelph, Sarah Tolmie of the University of Waterloo and Scott-Morgan Straker of Queen’s University will take part in a panel discussion of “Mediaeval and Early-Modern Scotland.”

The university library’s annual book sale of copies from its Scottish collection will take place in the conference venue. The library contains on of the largest collections of Scottish material outside Scotland.

The fee for the conference is $36 general, or $25 for seniors and members of the Scottish Studies Foundation. Advance registration is recommended, as lunch is provided. To register, contact June Pearson by Sept. 13 at (519) 824-4120 Ext. 3093, or send email to Late registrants are welcome, but won’t be guaranteed lunch. For more details about the colloquium, visit the Scottish studies web site at

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 519-824-4120, Ext. 6982.

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