Scottish Radicalism 1848-1950 HIST5123

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores the growth to maturity of Scottish political radicalism in the period from the death of Chartism to the foundation of the welfare state, and the events associated with the Scottish Covenant in the mid-twentieth century. It will critically explore the origins of Scottish Labour politics, the influence of native and foreign political traditions, key personalities, the impact of franchise extension, the politicisation of Scottish nationalism and the particular experiences of the Scottish Highlands and Scottish women in the narrative of Scottish radicalism. Primary and secondary sources will be supplemented with the evidence from political poetry and song and the assessment of the material culture of radicalism as evidenced in the holdings of Glasgow Museums.


Seven two-hour weekly seminars, one workshop in the Janey Buchan Collection of Political Song, one two-hour field trip to Glasgow Life's Nitshill repository and one two-hour class conference.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses

This course cannot be taken by Glasgow graduates who have undertaken the Scottish Radicalism and Scottish Society Special Subject.




Essay of 3,500 words (60% of overall grade)

Conference presentation (10 minutes), including powerpoint presentation and 500 word hand-out (40% of overall grade)

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Prepare students for the independent, critical and original investigation of a complex range of primary and secondary evidence, including poetry, song and material culture;

■ Develop knowledge of the key events, personalities and trends in the development of Scottish radical politics, including Labour, socialist, communist and nationalist dimensions;

■ Situate Scottish political developments in the wider context of British politics and wider changes in Scottish society;

■ Address theoretical debates regarding gender, regionalism, class and unionist nationalism;

■ Foster skills necessary for the successful completion of a Masters dissertation

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Express with confidence in both oral and written work a critical appreciation of key phases in the development of Scottish radicalism;

■ Articulate an awareness of the role of personality, myth and rhetoric in the emergence of popular historical narratives relating to Scottish radicalism;

■ Identify, research and evaluate a range of sources relating to radical politics held in local archives, and show an awareness of relevant national archives;

■ Contribute meaningfully to group debates regarding key controversies relating to the period.

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.