Scottish and Irish Literature
Glasgow University boasts the world’s first dedicated Chair of Scottish Literature (currently held by poet and critic Alan Riach), and has a world-leading role in the study of the subject. A confirmation of the University’s commitment was the recent (2014) appointment of Gerry Carruthers to the Francis Hutcheson Chair in Scottish Literature. Our researchers cover the whole range of Scottish literature, from medieval times to the present day, with a special emphasis on text-editing and material culture – something pursued in particular through the Centre for Robert Burns Studies. Much of our research is interdisciplinary, delivered through the College’s Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies, and there is close collaboration with colleagues in the School who undertake linguistic research on Scots and English in Scotland.
The School is committed to outreach and engagement with key national debates, expressed through (e.g.) Gerry Carruthers’ ongoing series of symposia on Literature and the Union (with Colin Kidd, St Andrews; funded by the Carnegie Trust); Murray Pittock’s The Road to Independence?; and work with the Sir Walter Scott collections at Abbotsford.
Irish studies are a growing strength at Glasgow, with new appointments since 2007. The School hosted the 33rd Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (2009); the 2013 conference 'Back to the Mother Country?' The Impact of Ulster-Scots Writing on Scotland 1750-2013, co-organised by the Centre for Robert Burns Studies and the University of Ulster; and a number of events associated with Joyce, including Bloomsday Celebrations at the university and at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 (two funded by the Irish Consulate). The Finnegans Wake Reading Group brings together experts and enthusiasts across and beyond the University for engagement with this crucial modernist text.