Homecoming Scotland 2009: Mobilising Diasporia for Tourism Development

Sarah Cassidy

VisitScotland, the Scottish government's tourism board, is running a campaign this year entitled 'Homecoming Scotland 2009'. This marketing campaign targets Scotland's largest constituency of foreign tourists, people from the United States who are descendants of Scottish emigrants. Anyone who claims Scottish ancestry is part of this constituency, and they are referred to as the Scottish diaspora. Although there are many events and products specifically being offered to the diaspora, close inspection of the concept of diaspora and the activities of these supposedly Scottish constituencies reveals that these Transatlantic relations, on the whole, are rather shaky and based on stereotypes of Scottishness. The heritage industry promotes such a relationship. This raises the question of whether it is a positive choice to attempt to rally visitor numbers based on ethnic heritage.

The Young Robert Southey: An Atlantic Poet

Susan Miller

Robert Southey's boyhood days on Weymouth Beach left a lasting impression on him, for he frequently referred to the Atlantic Ocean in letters to friends and family members. In addition, he was born in Bristol, a slave-trading port city, and had a lifelong interest in abolition. He wrote several anti-slavery poems in his late teens and early twenties during the 1790s while he and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were lecturing in Bristol, making an Atlantic lens best suited for considering his early works. Numerous anti-slavery pieces were produced by Bristolians, placing Yearsley, More, Southey and Coleridge at one of the epicenters of abolition's twenty-year debate in England, yet Southey remains undervalued. Moreover, he wrote in a circuitous fashion, framing his arguments abstractly, and this has led to confusion. Therefore, after providing relevant background information, one of Southey's dramatic abolitionist poems written in 1795, 'To the Genius of Africa', will be analyzed in terms of its form, meter, metaphor and meaning. In this way, it is hoped that Southey's poetics in general, and his contribution to the poetry of the abolitionist movement in particular, will be better understood. Finally, the impact that two poets had on this poem, the largely forgotten Welsh poet, John Dyer, and William Cowper, will be explored.

De-Nationalizing American Music in the 'Third Space' of Graceland

Jacob Patterson-Stein 

In this paper I explore the ways Chris Abani's 2004 novel GraceLand subverts critical discourse on cultural imperialism through the novel's treatment of imported American music. The novel follows the story of Elvis, named after his deceased mother's favorite singer, as he negotiates his way through Lagos and Afikpo, Nigeria. The Nigeria Elvis knows and interacts with is a globalized space which is “half slum, half paradise” (Abani, 2004, p.7) and the protagonist struggles to understand the world around him. Critics of GraceLand have generally read the novel as a post-colonial 'trauma' story where identity is made fragile by the overbearing importation of American cultural goods and the effects of political instability caused by neo-liberalism. Although a reading of this novel which highlights the detrimental effects of globalization on everyday lives in Nigeria is apt, it misses the way music is de-nationalized and functions as part of the 'third-space' reality for Elvis. Music, this paper argues, occupies the notion of a 'third space'—a space where the lines between the foreign and local, past and present are blurred or, as seen by Elvis, non-existent. By showing the dynamic role of music in the novel, contrasting it with overtly imported material, and exploring the ways this creates the 'third-space' reality of Elvis' Nigeria, GraceLand can be read as more than a reaction against globalization. This paper shows how, in Abani's GraceLand, trans-Atlantic cultural transmission does not necessarily adapt to models of imperial flow and materialist hegemony. 

The Very Model of an Early Modern Major General: Thomas Gage and the British Atlantic World, 1763-1775

Andrew David Struan

The concept of an Atlantic Empire in the eighteenth century – an empire built on trade, the generation of wealth, a common language, and the shared concept of British 'liberty' – has attracted a great amount of historical interest and debate in the last few years.  Historians have sought to explain the varying ways in which Britons in Great Britain were connected to their fellow subjects, and fellow Britons, in the American colonies.  This paper seeks to examine and analyze the ways in which the leading military figure in the years immediately prior to the American Revolution – Major-General Thomas Gage, the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces in North America from 1763 to 1775 – provides us with an example of a member of the Atlantic Community.
 The paper is based largely on Gage's personal and professional communications with the various Secretaries of State with responsibility for the American Colonies.  This communication was Gage's main, and most reliable, link to the British establishment.  In the correspondence – which is both official, and personal and private in nature – we find a fascinating point-of-view of the developing crises in the American colonies throughout the 1760s and 70s, and also an account of how one man can be seen to be playing out his life's events in the Atlantic World.

Uprising in Storyville: Conjuring Resistance in African-American Literature

Tom Tàbori

The Atlantic passage hangs heavy in the African American present, a trace of origins-denied and a cultural memory of the violence that birthed the people's beginnings in America. This uprootedness demanded the construction of new modes of being to fit the terrain, bringing debates as to what form these ought to take. Since the 1960s these competing discourses have played across the writing of Ishmael Reed, whose own theory he titles 'NeoHoodooism', an Americanised form of religions brought over the Atlantic and from the Caribbean, which combines both postmodernist pastiche of twentieth century American culture and virulent critique of its structural poverty. In quantifying this theory, the figure of the conjure man develops as a signal trope in African American writing, from Rudolph Fisher in the 1930s through to contemporary writers such as Randolph Kenan. Along with its attendant theories of parody and storied reality, 'conjure' emerges as an articulate response to African American experience, negotiating roots severed by the Atlantic and exploring how best to live and organise when complicit within the host culture.