The Highland Clearances HIST4149

  • Academic Session: 2015-16
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course offers fresh ways of interpreting one of the landmarks of Scottish history. It avoids conventional political and economic approaches to the Highland Clearances, focussing instead upon ideologies: the intellectual, cultural and religious systems of belief which shaped and drove the process of change in the Scottish Highlands between 1745 and 1886.


3 x 1 hour lectures for the first five weeks of teaching and 1 x 1 hour seminar for the last five weeks of teaching. This is one of the honours options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes.

Excluded Courses







One two-hour examination in April/May of year taught: 60%.

Coursework - class essay (2,000 words): 20%

Coursework - seminar contribution: 6%

Coursework - seminar presentation (5 mins): 4%

Coursework - seminar paper (800-1000 words): 10%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:


■ prepare students for independent and original analysis of a complex range of evidence, including source materials, thereby developing intellectual skills that will be of benefit in a wide range of careers.

Students' research capacity will be enriched by their introduction to diverse source materials and their oral and written communication skills enhanced in ways designed to address employers' expectations for highly literate and highly articulate graduates who are fully cognisant of a range of research tools.


■ show students how a professional historian works.

By supporting students in the production of their essay and seminar presentation, students will gain first hand experience of the scoping and shaping of research projects and the challenges faced by historians in the pursuit of advances in knowledge.


■ familiarise students, through source-criticism, with a wide-range of problems of interpretation arising from different usages of language, underlying meanings and intentions, differing standards of objectivity, and the variety of purpose and intent associated with historical evidence (written, visual or other).

The critical interpretation of key historiographical and theoretical debates relating to this subject will inform the close reading of sources. Provenance, perspective, context, intent and audience will be core considerations in students' interpretation of sources.


■ ensure, through student-led discussion, that the relative validity of alternative historical interpretations is fully recognised. The seminars aim to encourage student-led learning and the facilitation of rigorous and informed debate.


■ encourage students to develop imagination, skills and self-discipline required to master a similarly demanding brief in the future, whether in historical research or in any sphere or employment where these qualities are valuable.

Students will be encouraged to reflect on the range of generic research and communication skills they are developing over the course of this course in order to align their academic and professional aspirations and competencies and encourage reflective practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ identify and explain the ideologies which shaped the Highland Clearances;

■ analyse critically, selected primary and secondary texts upon which our present knowledge of these factors is based;

■ debate the relative significance of these ideologies, and their interaction;

■ argue and defend the role of these ideologies relative to political and economic forces, for the Highland Clearances.