Christopher Whatley

+44 (0) 1382 384177
Professor of Scottish History

Bio

Biography

My academic title is Professor of Scottish History.

The field in which I specialise is Scotland's history from the seventeenth century - economic, social and political. A long standing interest has been Scotland's relationship with England and the rest of the UK, now and in the past. This work which is best represented in my award winning book The Scots and the Union, a new extended and revised edition of which was published by Edinburgh UP in 2014, prior the the Scottish independence referendum. This led me to delve more deeply into Whig ideology and culture and its impact. More recently I have been working on memorisalisation in Scotland, and in particular how the memory of Robert Burns was fought over and secured in the century after his death in 1796. I have recently finished writing a book on Burns' legacy in Scotland, for John Donald/Birlinn, that was published late in 2016. 

As someone who left school at 16 and therefore entered academic life later than most of my contemporaries I’ve long recognised the transformational role that further and higher education can play in people’s lives. I believe too that universities have a responsibility to teach the virtues of academic rigour but also to create environments which enable students to maximise their potential after graduation.

Since returning to Dundee after a spell in St Andrews I’ve striven to enhance the reputation and standing of the University of Dundee. This I began by leading what was then the Department of History to become one of the best for teaching and research in Scotland.  Subsequently I’ve worked with colleagues from a wider range of disciplines at Dundee and other institutions in Scotland, the UK and overseas, to achieve academic excellence but wherever possible by engaging with the wider community which, after all, funds what we do in universities.

Research

I’ve always been interested in Scottish history, although earlier in my career my specialism was economic history. Subsequently my interests have broadened to encompass social and political history, as well as aspects of Scottish literature. I’ve written about industry, work, labour organisation and popular protest, as well as about the ways this last was managed by urban rulers who feared the prospect of riotous mobs in their midst. This work is best represented in Scottish Society 1707-1830: Beyond Jacobitism, towards industrialisation (2000). 

I enjoy working with scholars from other disciplines, mainly art historians and literature specialists, and have published work on the Scottish novelist John Galt (most recently in The Edinburgh Companion to John Galt, 2017) and on Robert Burns – exploring how his memory was fixed, not only in print and through his numerous poet-disciples but also through festivals and in statues and other memorials.  

Much of my research effort in the past twenty years or so has been devoted to the history of everyday life in Scotland (I co-edited a four-volume series published by Edinburgh University Press).  

I am best known however for my work on the Union of 1707, its causes and its aftermath. This has appeared in several books, chapters in books and articles. The Scots and the Union (Edinburgh University Press, 2006) won the Saltire Society’s Scottish History Book of the Year award in 2007. In the light of the continuing interest there is in Scotland’s place within the UK, I wrote a new edition of the book, as well as adding a section on the Union today (The Scots and the Union: Then and Now (EUP, 2014). I continue to reflect upon and write on the subject, more often for the wider public.

This project has led me to explore what some historians have called anti-Jacobitism – that is what motivated supporters in Scotland of the Revolution of 1688-89, the Union and the Hanoverians, and what part they played in defending their cause against the Jacobites.  The first significant output from this research appeared in the Scottish Historicak Review (April 2013).  

However following my involvement as co-investigator on the AHRC funded research project, led by Professor Murray Pittock at Glasgow, 'Robert Burns: Inventing Tradition and Securing Memory', I have been writing up some of the vast amount of data we collected. This has appeared in articles (2011, 2014, 2017) and chapters (2010, 2016, 2017) and in Immortal Memory: Burns and the Scottish People (2016).

Publications

Contested Commemoration : Robert Burns, Urban Scotland and Scottish Nationality in the Nineteenth Century
1/2018
Research Output: Contribution To Book Anthology > Chapter

The Insider's Eye in the Age of Improvement, Urbanisation, and Revolution
5/2017
Research Output: Contribution To Book Anthology > Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Local History and the Nation : Commemorating Robert Burns, 1859-1914
1/2017, Scottish Local History
Research Output: Contribution To Journal > Article

Immortal Memory : Burns and the Scottish people
10/2016
Research Output: Book Anthology > Book

The Thread of Migration : A Scottish-French Linen and Jute Works and its Workers in France, c. 1845–c. 1870
3/2016, Journal of Migration History
Research Output: Contribution To Journal > Article

Transatlantic Reception and Commemoration of the "Poet of the Scotch", Robert Burns
/2016
Research Output: Contribution To Book Anthology > Chapter

'Zealous in the Defence of the Protestant Religion and Liberty' : The Making of Whig Scotland, c. 1688-c. 1746
/2015
Research Output: Contribution To Book Anthology > Chapter

The Scots and the union : Then and now
4/2014
Research Output: Book Anthology > Book

Poems and festivals, art and artefact and the commemoration of Robert Burns, c.1844-c.1896
4/2014, Scottish Historical Review
Research Output: Contribution To Journal > Article

The Scots and the Union Then and Now
/2014
Research Output: Book Anthology > Book

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Activities

Edinburgh University Press (Publisher)

Christopher A. Whatley (Editor)
20102011

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

Activity Type: Editorial Work

Dundee University Press (Publisher)

Christopher A. Whatley (Editorial board member)
2004

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

Activity Type: Editorial Work

Scottish Historical Review (Journal)

Christopher A. Whatley (Editorial board member)
2003

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

Activity Type: Editorial Work

Tuckwell Press (Publisher)

Christopher A. Whatley (Editor)
2001

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

Activity Type: Editorial Work

Scotland's Story (Journal)

Christopher A. Whatley (Editor)
19992000

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

Activity Type: Editorial Work

Scottish Economic and Social History (Journal)

Christopher A. Whatley (Editor)
19941998

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

Activity Type: Editorial Work

Scottish Economic and Social History (Journal)

Christopher A. Whatley (Editorial board member)
19901994

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

Activity Type: Editorial Work

Birlinn (Publisher)

Christopher A. Whatley (Peer reviewer)
1987

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

Activity Type: Editorial Work

British Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies (Journal)

Christopher A. Whatley (Peer reviewer)
1987

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

Activity Type: Editorial Work

Business History (Journal)

Christopher A. Whatley (Peer reviewer)
1987

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

Activity Type: Editorial Work

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