Scotland and the Sea (special issue of the journal Scottish Studies)

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Call for Publications
June 1, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Literature, Popular Culture Studies


“Scotland and the Sea”
Études écossaises/ Scottish Studies, n°20, 2017


The 2017 edition of the journal Études écossaises / Scottish Studies (Université Grenoble Alpes – ILCEA4) is seeking submissions of papers on Scottish culture, history and politics on the theme of the sea. Papers in English or French are welcomed from specialists in all fields of Scottish studies including arts and literature, civilization studies, history, political science, culture and the media.


Scotland and the Sea

While much of Scottish identity, culture and politics is informed by the relationship between Scotland and England, this polarization has resulted from their geographic situation as two neighbouring peoples and countries sharing a land border within a single geographic territory. Underpinning this relationship and shaping so much else about Scotland, therefore, is the maritime nature of a territory bounded everywhere else by water. Of course, the insularity of Great Britain, and the subsequent peninsularity of Scotland, should not be thought of in a pejorative sense, given the wealth of connections afforded by the sea at a time when it offered a privileged means of cultural, diplomatic and commercial exchange. Glasgow tobacco merchants in the USA, Scottish colonial administrators in India, or Scottish brigades in Sweden during the Thirty Years’ War have all been dependent on the sea for advancing their individual prospects and extending the wealth and reach of Scotland. But as Gunn’s The Silver Darlings (1941) recounts, Scots have viewed the sea in a profoundly ambivalent manner—as much as the herring of the novel represent a bountiful resource, the sea itself is often synonymous with loss and displacement. As both boundary and vector, surface and depth, the sea can be seen to incarnate this essential duality which, from Hogg to MacDiarmid, has often been seen as a fundamental trait of the supposed Scottish character. It is certainly true that the sea plays a federating role, binding local and regional specificities within a subsuming, shared experience. From the former shipyards, ports and naval bases of the Forth and Clyde to the seal-watching tours, ferries and oil terminals of the Shetlands, the Scots continue to share a common history bounded by the sea.


The upcoming issue of Scottish Studies/Études écossaises is seeking papers which address how Scotland has been shaped by its proximity with the sea, with a particular focus on maritime communication and cultural transfer.

As a multi-disciplinary journal, we encourage contributors from all specialties, particularly in the fields of literature, poetry, history, cultural studies and political science. Some fruitful areas of study will include:

•             the cultural representation of the sea and of maritime communities

•             the maritime displacement of Scottish diaspora communities

•             the role of the sea as a facilitator of Scottish culture and presence

•             the sea as a vector of cultural change in Scotland

•             the history of maritime commerce to and from Scotland

•             the development of maritime resources such as fishing and oil exploration

•             the sharing of  Scottish maritime resources at a UK or EU level

•             the socio-economic vitality of coastal communities

•             the symbolism of the sea as a tangible physical frontier


A brief proposal (200-300 words) should be sent by 1st June 2016.

Papers (45,000 signs max., including spaces) may be submitted in French or English, but authors must first obtain the appropriate style-guide from the address below. The deadline for finished papers is 1st October 2016.

Contact :

This edition of the journal Études écossaises contributes to the ongoing research project into borders and migration run by the Institut des Langues et Cultures d'Europe, des Amériques, d'Afrique, d'Asie et d'Australie (ILCEA4 — Grenoble Alpes University)



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Cyril Besson, Office C313, 1180 avenue centrale, 38400 St Martin d'Hères, FRANCE. Tel.: 0476827733