Scottish Radicalism and Scottish Society, 1790-1945 (SS) HIST4206

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This Special Subject explores modern expressions of Scottish Radicalism and its relationship with social development from the period of the King's Birthday Riots of 1792 to the emergence of the Welfare State in 1945. A chronological perspective in the first Semester (addressing the Jacobin tradition, the Radical War (1820), the Reform Movement, Chartism, the rise of Scottish Liberalism and the eventual emergence of Scottish Labour and Socialism) will form the foundation on which will be built critical evaluations of thematic case studies in Semester Two addressing international perspectives, the radical literary heritage, biography, material culture, gender, religion and regionalism.


10 sessions of 3 hours duration in each semester as scheduled in MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Junior honours in History.

Excluded Courses






Two 2,500 word essays (one in each semester) (10% each)

Two 20 minute seminar presentations (one in each semester), accompanied by a written (800 words) hand-out, and powerpoint presentation (10% each)

Examination: 2 x 120 minute examinations (30% each) at the end of the course

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

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:


■ demonstrate a deep knowledge of the Scottish radical tradition over time, paying particular attention to the social, political and economic context of each stage of development.


■ situate Scottish radicalism in a European (and ultimately global) tradition, and identify common and distinctive attributes.


■ critically assess the causes and consequences of political radicalism in a regional and national context.


■ demonstrate familiarity with and the ability to interpret primary manuscript and material sources relating to Scottish radical movements.


■ appreciate, compare, contrast and - when possible - reconcile multiple interpretations of key events, important historical debates and the legacy of political movements.


■ present such understanding in written and oral assessments and in class debate in an imaginative and complex manner, showing cognisance of audience and the constraints imposed by the assessment regime.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's

summative assessment.