The Scottish Studies
program at the University of Guelph, the most ambitious in North America,
began with the formation of an Inter-departmental Committee in 1967. It
has since grown into a full interdisciplinary area of study with MA
programs in several departments and a PhD program in the department of
History. In addition, undergraduate and Open Learning courses are
available. Supplementing the courses are events organized on campus for
the benefit of students and all interested parties. There is a steady
stream of distinguished visiting professors who give public lectures on a
variety of topics. Also, each year a Scottish Colloquium is held in which
a number of speakers present talks about their research. The scholarly
journal Scottish Tradition, which offers a wide range of articles on
Scottish history, literature and culture, is produced annually through the
Office of Scottish Studies at Guelph.
The Scottish Collection
To aid students in their
research the library whioch has the largest collection of Scottish
material in North America, has an extensive collection of printed
materials on Scottish and Scottish-Canadian topicsw and a considerable
amount of manuscript source material which covers a broad range of
subjects from the fourteenth through the nineteenth centuries. The
collection is particularly strong in printed primary source material and
manuscripts on microfilm as well as in local history, family and clan
history. Jacobitism, agriculture and the church. The Library also
subscribes to a wide range of Scottish periodicals. The library collection
is regularly augmented through purchase and donation. In recent years the
Scottish Studies Foundation, a charitable organization which supports the
Scottish Collection and is raising funds to established a Chair of
Scottish Studies, has generously donated a significant two volume
scrapbook of William Lyon McKenzie's writings and provided funds towards
the purchase of a large collection of Scottish novels.
Scottish Studies courses
offer a new perspective on an old subject - British History. In contrast
to the traditional English outlook, undergraduate courses like Celtic
Britain and Ireland analyze events from the point of view of Scotland,
Ireland and Wales, often with surprising resulots. At the more advanced
levels, seminar based courses offer in depth looks at a variety of topics.
If a subject that interests
you is not covered by any of the scheduled courses, the History and
English programs may be able to offer you Independent Reading Courses for
more specialized study.
The Department of History
also offers a series of credit courses in a distance format through the
Office of Open Learning. These courses, which are open to anyone with an
interest in the history of the Celtic peoples, explore a wide range of
subjects from the prehistory era to the twntieth centry.
Thye first thesis on a
Scottish topic was accepted in 1968 and since then enrolement in both
Master's and Doctorate programs has grown steadily. Over forty theses have
been completed since 1970. In the History Department, research has been
carried out on a variety of aspects of Scotland's political, economic,
social, religious and cultural history from the Middle Ages to the
nineteenth century. Special empahsis is also given to Scottish emigration
and the important contribution Scots made to the development of Canada. In
the English department research has been carried out on several Scottish
writers and issues of contemporary relevance such as nationalism.
Through the focus of the
Scottish studies graduate program at this time is mainly upon history, it
is nevertheless an interdisciplinary activity. The Committee for Scottish
Studies contains represenatives from the departments of History, Languages
and Literature, English, Sociology and Anthropology and the Library.
Students intere3sted in
Scottish Studies should apply to the Department in which their main
disciplinary interest lies (eg. History, English). The Department of
History is part of the Tri-University program with Wilfrid Laurier
University and the University of Waterloo. Applicants must meet
satisfactory qualification to both the Tri-University and Guelph History
Gradute Committee. Those interested in Scottish literature should apply to
the Guelph program in English.
Upon registering in the
program, the student will establish a course of study and research in
consultation with his or her supervisor. The Master's degree usually
requires that a student successfully complete four courses to be followed
by the writing of a thesis based upon original research. A six course M.A.
involving a major reseaqrch paper is also available. Some proficiency in a
second language is required.
At the Ph.D. level students
take graduate courses in three fields in their first two years. After
successful completion of these students go on to conduct the research
necessary for a doctoral thesis.
Coming from outside the
University educational system it is often unclear as to the benefits that
the Scottish Studies department offer to the wider community. Above was
discussed the importance of original research and the production of
written thesis. It is clear that these works are often the basis for books
that the wider public can read. As this is the only University in
North America to offer a degree in Scottish Studies this means those
people that graduate will go on to lecture on the topic of Scottish
Studies and thus educate a wider audience in these matters.
When I visited the Scottish
Studies department I was looking for course material that ordinary members
of the public might benefit from and I didn't really see the overall
benefits of the work that they do. I do however maintain that there
should be a little better marketing of the Scottish Studies department and
that the open distance learning include courses that more ordinary members
of the public could take. I hope with the new Chair being announced that
Graeme Morton will be able to bring the resources of his department to a
wider audience as there is undoubtedly a great interest in Scottish
history from the general public and especially in North America.
For more information
The Office of Scottish
Department of History
University of Guelph
Tel: 519 824 4120 ext. 3209
Further details on the
Scottish Studies program can be found at the web site.