History of Art MA

The Invention of Tradition? The Material Culture of Scottish Identity 1707-1822 HISTART4074

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 40
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

'The Invention of Tradition' examines the role of visual and material culture in the creation and dissemination of Scottish identity in the long eighteenth century. 1707-1822 saw the establishment of the Highlander as a cornerstone of Scottish identity but both fine art and wider material culture can offer alternative perspectives. This course will question and explore the origins of the Highlander trend, as well as identify other means by which the Scottish identity was presented and perceived.


1 x 1hr lecture and 1 x 1 hour seminar per week over 9 weeks per semester as scheduled on MyCampus.

2 x 2hr study trips (1 per semester). This is one of the Honours options in History of Art and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Examination (3hrs duration) - 60%

2 x 3,000 word essays - 15% each

2 x 10 min oral presentation - 5% each

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ develop students' knowledge of eighteenth-century Scottish art, artists and material culture through critical analysis and engagement with a variety of source types.

■ explain the role of material culture in the shaping of a national identity.

■ introduce students to the wider social, economic and political history of eighteenth-century Scotland.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ evaluate in a critical manner with primary and secondary material relating to eighteenth-century Scottish visual and material culture.

■ identify and assess key events, people and trends that impact the development of Scottish identity.

■ present this knowledge in oral and written form according to established scholarly conventions and appropriate to a senior honours level.

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.