31st March – Jerome Devitt on Irish Nationalists in Victorian Bermuda

We are very happy to welcome Jerome Devitt, over from Trinity College Dublin, for the last seminar of this academic year. Jerome will be speaking on the especially exciting subject, ‘Fenian Footprint: Revolutionary Irish Nationalism and Victorian Bermuda’.

 This paper will be on Tuesday between 1 and 2pm, Please note, the venue for this paper has changed to S1 of 7 George Square (the Psychology Building) due to a burst radiator. All are welcome – and it would be wonderful to have a big audience to wave off our graduate diaspora seminar for another year…

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Kimberly Sherman on ‘A Family Affair: Kinship Networks and Scottish Emigration in Colonial North Carolina’

Thank you very much to Kimberly Sherman who came down from St Andrews to regale us with tales of the Cathcart family. Kimberly, a first year doctoral student, spoke about transatlantic kinship and networks of obligation between North Carolina and Lowland Scotland between 1735 and 1775. She began with a fascinating overview of the historiography of transatlantic family ties, and followed this with a case study of Scottish emigrant, William Cathcart and his family, both in Scotland and in North Carolina.

Johnston_Samuel_Museum_of_History

Samuel Johnston – William Cathcart’s son-in-law and future Governor of North Carolina

Kimberly used the Cathcart family and circle of friends to illustrate how Scottish emigrants became intertwined in networks of marriage, patronage, and obligation. These networks allowed for social advancement within North Carolina, but also provided financial and emotional support to and from Scotland. These links were cemented by the tradition of sending sons back to Scotland to receive further education in the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Q&A session explored ideas of Scottish identity, family/individual agency in determining push and pull factors of emigration, and interactions between Lowland and Highland Scots abroad. Comparisons between the situation in North Carolina and other destinations for Scottish emigration were made, and I believe everyone attended really enjoyed Kimberly’s paper. Thank you again.

The final paper of this semester’s series will be on 31st March when Jerome Devitt from Trinity College Dublin will be speaking. Jerome will be speaking on the especially exciting subject, ‘Fenian Footprint: Revolutionary Irish Nationalism and Victorian Bermuda’. As always, this paper will be on Tuesday between 1 and 2pm, and will be held in Room G16 of the William Robertson Wing, University of Edinburgh. All are welcome.

17th March – Kimberley Sherman on Scottish family and kinship networks in North Carolina

The next seminar of the graduate diaspora workshop will be Kimberley Sherman who is joining us from St Andrews on Tuesday. Kimberley will be speaking on ‘A family affair: Kinship networks and Scottish emigration in colonial North Carolina’.

All are welcome, 1pm in G16 of the William Robertson Wing, Tuesday 17th March.

Sarah Arens on ‘Decolonising the Atomium: Diasporic Writing in Brussels’

Today we welcomed second year doctoral student Sarah Arens across from the French department of the University of Edinburgh. Sarah’s paper was fascinating and sparked a lot of discussion, as well as quite a few new strands of thought in this writer’s head. Focusing on the work of novelist Mina Oualdlhadj, this paper sought to explore how Brussels is portrayed and viewed by the Moroccan diaspora living there, and in turn how that ethnic group is viewed by others. Oualdlhadj’s 2008 book, Ti T’Appelles Aïcha, Pas Jouzifine (You’re Called Aisha, Not Josephine)was used to examine the key themes of ‘other’, space, and gender – this was primarily done through focusing on the Atomium and the hammam (a Moroccan bath-house).

The Atomium, Brussels

The Atomium, Brussels

The Atomium is an interesting focal point. It has a history of juxtapositioning the coloniser with the colonised, the modern with the not, or the dominant with the other (as seen by its creation for the 1958 World’s Fair, as a celebration of peaceful uses of nuclear energy – the same Fair which had a human zoo filled with colonial Congolese villagers), and therefore was a great image to have in mind when discussing the meeting (or clashing) of cultures.

The paper generated plenty of questions, which ranged in topic from the rupture and trauma caused by geographical displacement, to the Western idealisation of female-only spaces such as the Hammam, and the subversive elements of renaming spaces. Sarah’s responses to the comments and questions added a lot to a thoroughly fascinating talk, and I’m sure we all learnt a lot from it.

Thank you to Sarah, and to all the LLC staff and students who joined us in HCA.

Please join us again in a fortnight (17th March) when Kimberley Sherman will be joining us from St Andrews. Kimberley will be speaking on ‘A family affair: Kinship networks and Scottish emigration in colonial North Carolina’. All are welcome, 1pm in G16 of the William Robertson Wing, Tuesday 17th March.