Festschrift for Professor John M MacKenzie

Published: 19 July 2016

A festschrift conference was held recently in honour of Professor John M MacKenzie MA(Hons) PhD FRHistS FRSE, a graduate of the University of Glasgow (1964).

A festschrift conference was held recently in honour of Professor John M MacKenzie MA(Hons) PhD FRHistS FRSE, a graduate of the University of Glasgow (1964) writes Dr Nigel Dalziel. 

Professor Emeritus John MacKenzie held the chair of Imperial History at Lancaster University, where he worked for 34 years (1968-2002), and he remains an active scholar in the field of imperial cultural history. His wide-ranging research interests have included pre-colonial and colonial southern Africa, environmental history (including hunting), Orientalism, the Scottish diaspora, the four-nations approach to the British Empire, and imperial propaganda and the culture of empire. He was the originator and founding editor of the Manchester University Press ‘Studies in Imperialism’ series, the foremost as well as the largest series in its field (currently 140 volumes). He was also the university’s first Dean of Humanities (1989-92) and Dean of Education (1994-7). He currently holds honorary professorships at the universities of St Andrews and Aberdeen and a Professorial Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh. He is also Visiting Professor in the UHI Centre for History at Dornoch.

The conference took place between 6-10th July at the Goodenough Trust country house estate, The Burn, at Edzell in Angus, eastern Scotland. It was inspired and organised by Dr Bryan Glass of Texas State University (assisted by myself and Dr Martin Farr) and attended by distinguished scholars from the UK, Europe and North America as well as former colleagues and students of John’s at Lancaster (See photo. List of participants below). The attached conference programme itemises the areas of historical study which John is considered to have had an important impact in his ideas and research.

"Well-merited accolades"

 One of Britain's pre-eminent historians, Sir Tom Devine OBE HonMRIA FRSE FBA, University of Edinburgh, in a message read to the conference, stated that ‘Few historians in the UK are more deserving of these well-merited accolades now awarded by his admiring peers and friends.... After many decades of virtually total neglect, it was John’s inaugural lecture [as Professor of Imperial History in 1992] at Lancaster on the Scottish factor in the British Empire which in large part triggered a renaissance in this field and which has since brought so many new perspectives to enrich the study of the national past’. (This was published privately and later revised and extended for International History Review, xv. 4 (1993), pp.661-680.)

Sir Tom also referred to the ‘seminal and wide-ranging contributions that John MacKenzie has made to the study of empire, not least through those books written when imperial history was far from fashionable... Several of these are now recognized as major classics in their field. John’s remarkable stewardship of the MUP series ‘Studies in Imperialism’, which he founded in 1984 and edited for nearly three decades until 2012, ranks as an unparalleled historiographical achievement for which scholars of the future will long remain in his debt’.

A festschrift volume is expected to emerge from this conference edited by Dr Martin Farr of the University of Newcastle, currently director and general editor of the British Scholar Society.

Professor John MacKenzie website

Image of the festschrift conference delegates honouring Prof. John M MacKenzie.

List of participants

Prof. Stephanie Barczewski, Clemson University, South Carolina USA
Prof. Fabrice Bensimon, Paris-Sorbonne University
Dr Esther Breitenbach, University of Edinburgh
Prof. Elizabeth Buettner, University of Amsterdam
Prof. Emeritus Stephen Constantine, Lancaster University
Prof. John Darwin, Nuffield College, Oxford
Dr Martin Farr, University of Newcastle
Dr Bernhard Gissibl, University of Mainz
Dr Douglas Hamilton, University of Winchester
Prof. Marjory Harper, University of Aberdeen
Dr Chris Jeppesen, University College London
Dr Vincent Kuitenbrouwer, University of Amsterdam
Dr Cherry Leonardi, University of Durham
Prof. Dr Ulrike Lindner, University of Cologne
Dr Justin Livingstone, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr Sarah Longair, University of Lincoln
Dr Donal Lowry, Oxford Brookes University
Dr John McAleer, University of Southampton
Mr Finlay McKichan, University of Aberdeen
Dr Andrew MacKillop, University of Aberdeen
Dr Berny Sèbe, University of Birmingham
Dr Matthew G. Stanard, Berry College, Georgia USA
Prof. Stuart Ward, University of Copenhagen
Prof. Wendy Webster, University of Huddersfield
Dr Peter Yeandle, Loughborough University


First published: 19 July 2016

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