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Wha' bears a blade for Scotland?

This 4-year research workshop explored the construction of Scottish diasporic military identities, from around 1880 to the present day.

Last updated: 24 February 2022

About the project

This project sought to enhance our understanding of military Scottishness in the wider context of the associational culture of the Scottish diaspora, which brings with it a material culture dimension.

The project generated three outputs. Firstly, in March 2012 an international workshop which brought together a small group of leading academics and museum curators, representing Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK to participate in an international workshop. This workshop explored, for the first time in a comparative manner, the phenomenon of military Scottishness as an overlooked expression of Scottish diasporic identity.

This was followed by a well-attended public symposium hosted at the National Museum of Scotland in September 2012. Here, themes which emerged from the symposium were reviewed and developed. Finally in February 2016, Edinburgh University Press published a jointly-edited volume entitled A Global Force: War, Identities and Scotland's Diaspora, which brings together the presentations and papers from the two events.

A Global Force book cover

Project details

Project title

Wha' bears a blade for Scotland?

Project active

2012 - 2016

Research theme

Scotland's Material Heritage

Contributors

David Forsyth - Principal Investigator 
Scottish History and Archaeology, National Museums Scotland

Wendy Ugolini - Co-investigator
University of Edinburgh

The British Commonwealth in Arms, a poster published in 1918 on which both Canada and South Arica are represented by a kilted ‘Scottish’ solider.

The British Commonwealth in Arms, a poster published in 1918 on which both Canada and South Arica are represented by a kilted ‘Scottish’ solider. CWM 19900348-004 Canadian War Museum.

Supported by

About the partnership

Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Edinburgh

This workshop project has been funded through a Scottish Government Arts and Humanities Award which was administered by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. These awards are designed to encourage collaborative investigation into an incipient research proposition.

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