The Scottish Diaspora, c.1700-1945 module (HY31013)

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Module code


  • Level 3
  • 24 places
  • History - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 50% Examination 50%


This module offers students a comprehensive overview of Scotland's diaspora history, focusing on a broad range of themes and settlement locations. Covering the period c. 1700 to 1945, the historical geographies explored include the 'near diaspora' of England, Wales and Ireland; Continental Europe; North America; the Antipodes, Africa; and Asia.

A range of concepts and approaches will be introduced, including chain and return migration, enforced and philanthropic migration, homeland and associational culture, trade and missionary interaction, racial constructions and indigenous encounters.

We will be able to critically understand and address the work of migration and diaspora historians and read widely from a range of contemporary, historical and theoretical materials. The literacy skills developed will give you the ability to extract information from a variety of resources, assess the quality and validity of material and use it to discover new knowledge.

Through examination of case studies and situations where Scottish migrants have settled in the world, you will gain global understanding of the process involved in creating a diaspora. By comparing and contrasting cultural similarities and differences, historical context, and engagement and assimilation of these migrants and diasporans into host societies, by the end of the course you will be able to place the Scottish diaspora in its global context.

With thematic overviews used to investigate the case studies, the course provides a range of analytical and historical skills for students studying diaspora history and for those interested in migration history more broadly.


This module will involve one lecture of one-hour and one seminar of 2-hours per week for 11 weeks.


This module is assessed as follows:

  • Presentation (15%)
  • Essay 3,500 words (35%)
  • Two-hour Examination (50%)


Sample Reading:

  • T Bueltmann, A. Hinson and G. Morton, The Scottish Diaspora, (Edinburgh, 2013)
  • T M Devine, To the Ends of the Earth; Scotland's Global Diaspora, (London, 2011)
  • T Bueltmann, A. Hinson and G. Morton (eds), Ties of Bluid, Kin and Countrie: Scottish Associational Culture in the Diaspora, (Guelph, 2009)

Access the online reading list system

Intended learning outcomes

Topics we will examine include migration and diaspora history; diasporic 'actions'; society and economy at the time of great exodus; the regional basis to Scotland's migration and emigration; temporary and permanent migrations to England and Ireland, and to various destinations overseas (including Canada, New Zealand, Africa, and Europe).

Concepts such as 'homeland', 'step migration' and the 'laws' of migration will be examined along with migrant categories such as philanthropic, sojourner and 'forced'.


This module is available on following courses: