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Differences in Welsh and Scottish identity?

11 May 2011


Scotland’s leading historian, Professor Tom Devine, will be visiting the University on 17 May to give a free public lecture on the death and reinvention of Scotland.

Professor Devine has queried the "narrow nature" of Welsh identity in advance of his lecture, which will examine the powerful renaissance of Scottish identity, which he considers the vital context for the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Professor Devine said: "Some Scots, rightly or wrongly, regard Welsh identity as circumscribed, founded on the single and limited issue of language."

"On the other hand, Scots point to the much greater range of cultural and civil markers which shape their sense of themselves as a nation, where language plays little part, and which contributed to the emergence of a new and meaningful Parliament north of the Border in 1999 when the Welsh, in the view of many Scots, opted for a relatively toothless Assembly".

Professor Tom DevineProfessor Tom Devine

"I look forward to discussing these controversial perspectives with the audience on the 17th May", he added.

The lecture will be a consideration of national identity, how it forms, metamorphoses and responds to different ideological and political developments.

In the early nineteenth century several of Scotland's leading thinkers predicted the end of the nation's traditional sense of itself but what actually happened not only perplexed the intellectual pessimists, but became a fascinating narrative of cultural transformation which has influenced the national mindset of the Scottish people. The audience will be left to judge how much, if any, of this story resonates in the history of Wales.

The "Death" and Reinvention of Scotland’ will be held on Tuesday 17th May 6.30pm at Wallace Lecture Theatre, Main Building, Cardiff University, Park Place, CF10 3AT. It is the University of Wales’ annual O’Donnell Lecture.

The event is open to all and free to attend but places must be booked in advance. Please contact or 02920 876935.

Professor Devine holds the Sir William Fraser Chair of Scottish History and Palaeography at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author or editor of nearly three dozen books, one of which, The Scottish Nation (1999) became an international bestseller – for a period even outselling the adventures of Harry Potter in Scotland.

He is the only UK humanities scholar elected to all three national academies in the British Isles - the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), the Royal Irish Academy (Hon MRIA) and the British Academy (FBA).