Niall Ferguson and Tom Devine to wrap up Stevenson Lectures

Two of the most renowned Scottish History experts, Professors Niall Ferguson and Tom Devine are due to speak at the University of Glasgow on issues relating to the Scottish independence debate.

  • Thursday September 11th - Professor Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, will offer his analysis under the title, ‘Kicking the Life Back into a Dying Mutual Friend: A Letter from America on Independence.’
  • Monday September 15th - Professor Sir Tom Devine, Professor of History at Edinburgh University, will present his reflections under the title, ‘The Decline (and possibly imminent fall?) of the Anglo-Scottish Union, 1950-2014.’

Both Devine and Ferguson hail from the West of Scotland (Niall Ferguson from Glasgow and Tom Devine from Motherwell), and both have gone on to build an international reputation for their work.

Ferguson, now the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, returns to his home town to offer his view, as an historian and an expatriate.

A staunch supporter of the Union, Ferguson will use his lecture to question, why, when all the obvious ingredients for a nation state were in place well before the age of nationalism, did Scotland remain a part of the United Kingdom? Why did the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment attach so little importance to national independence? How would an independent Scotland have fared in the past three hundred years? Why did Scots play a disproportionately large role in the building of the British Empire? And why now are the millions of overseas Scots left out of the debate as well as the decision about the future of their native land?

Professor Sir Tom Devine’s The Scottish Nation 1700-2000, published in 1999 and since updated to 2007, brought his work to a wider readership and established him as Scotland’s leading authority on its modern history.

Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said: “The University of Glasgow has consistently been at the forefront of the referendum debate and now, as the campaign enter its final stages, I am delighted to be able to welcome two of the most respected Scottish historians in the world to the University to share their opinions with our staff, students and members of the public.

“These events mark the culmination of the landmark Stevenson Lecture series, which has attracted world renowned politicians and experts to Glasgow to discuss all aspects of the referendum debate and has played a key role in the exchange of ideas and opinion.”

These events are the culmination of a two-year series of lectures, arranged by The Stevenson Trust for Citizenship at the University of Glasgow, entitled ‘Scotland’s Citizens: The Referendum and Beyond’. On Tuesday 16th September, The Stevenson Trust are also running a pre-election special panel discussion on the referendum, which will respond to audience questions. The panel comprises academic experts who remain neutral and seek only to offer analysis of the debate and the key issues.

Immediately after the Referendum, on Tuesday September 23rd, Professor John Curtice will again offer an analysis of the vote.

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More information on the Stevenson Trust and the lecture series.


First published: 11 September 2014