Atlantic Archipelagos: A Cultural History of Scotland, the Caribbean and the Atlantic World, c.1740-1833

Morris, Michael (2013) Atlantic Archipelagos: A Cultural History of Scotland, the Caribbean and the Atlantic World, c.1740-1833. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis, situated between literature, history and memory studies participates in the modern recovery of the long-obscured relations between Scotland and the Caribbean. I develop the suggestion that the Caribbean represents a forgotten 'lieu de mémoire' where Scotland might fruitfully ‘displace’ itself. Thus it examines texts from the Enlightenment to Romantic eras in their historical context and draws out their implications for modern national, multicultural, postcolonial concerns. Theoretically it employs a ‘transnational’ Atlantic Studies perspective that intersects with issues around creolisation, memory studies, and British ‘Four Nations’ history. Politically it insists on an interrogation of Scottish national narratives that continue to evade issues of empire, race and slavery. Moving beyond a rhetoric of blame, it explores forms of acting and thinking in the present that might help to overcome the injurious legacies of the past.

Chapters include an examination of pastoral and georgic modes in Scottish-Caribbean texts. These include well-known authors such as James Thomson, Tobias Smollet, James Grainger, Robert Burns; and less well-known ones such as John Marjoribanks, Charles Campbell, Philip Barrington Ainslie, and the anonymous author of Marly; or a Planter’s Tale (1828). Chapters two to four highlight the way pastoral and georgic modes mediated the representation of ‘improvement’ and the question of free, bonded and enslaved labour across Scotland, Britain and the Caribbean in the era of slavery debates. The fourth chapter participates in and questions the terms of the recovery of two nineteenth century ‘Mulatto-Scots’, Robert Wedderburn and Mary Seacole. Bringing ‘Black Atlantic’ issues of race, class, gender, empire and rebellion to the fore, I consider the development of a ‘Scottish-Mulatto’ identity by comparing and contrasting the way these very different figures strategically employed their Scottish heritage. The final chapter moves forward to consider current memorialisations of slavery in the Enlightenment- Romantic period. The main focus is James Robertson’s Joseph Knight (2003) that engages with Walter Scott’s seminal historical novel Waverley (1814) to weave issues of racial slavery into the familiar narratives of Culloden. Robertson also explores forms of solidarity that might help to overcome those historical legacies in a manner that is suggestive for this thesis as a whole.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
E History America > E11 America (General)
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Leask, Prof. Nigel and Gough, Dr. Katie
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Dr Michael Morris
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-3863
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2013 16:18
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2013 16:20

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