What did war look like in the cultural imagination of 1914?
Why did men in Scotland sign up to fight in unprecedented numbers?
What were the martial myths shaping Scottish identity at the end of the 19th century?
How had war been mythologised in the construction of Scottish national identity?
What did the Scottish soldiers of the First World War think they were fighting for?
2014 will see the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn and the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. The importance of these two events for Scotland cannot be overstated: in 1314, a small Scottish army defeated a much larger English force in an action that would acquire mythological status in the history, literature and politics of the nation; in 1914, Scots signed up in disproportionately large number to fight in an imperial conflict that arguably brought about the collapse of hopes for Scottish home rule. Both events generated a literature, and in the case of Bannockburn, that literature became part of a myth of a national identity and martial prowess that would, in 1914, motivate young men to undertake the adventure of war. This colloquium will examine the cultural significance of Bannockburn alongside the events, literature and memory of the First World War in Scotland and beyond, exploring how war was imagined, represented and commemorated within a specific national context.
Confirmed speakers: Fran Brearton (QUB), Michael Brown (St Andrews), Robert Crawford (St Andrews), Margaret Higonnet (UConn), Stefan Goebel (Kent), David Goldie (Strathclyde), Carolyn McCracken-Flesher (Wyoming), Catriona Macdonald (Glasgow), Peter MacKay (St Andrews), Carol Symes (Illinois), Jay Winter (Yale).
Bannockburn 1914 will be the second annual University of St Andrews School of English Colloquium; it will also be the first event in a five-year WAR-Net programme examining anniversary culture and the mediation of the First World War.
The colloquium will be held in the School of English, Kennedy Hall, the Scores, St Andrews. It is a free event, but space is limited, so registration is essential. A full programme and information on how to register will be posted nearer the time.
For further information, contact Gill Plain, School of English, University of St Andrews.