for the History
Director: Professor Cairns Craig FRSE
The Centre for the History of
Conferences and Workgroups
Since 1999 CHIS has run conferences on a variety of Scottish thinkers. One of its principal projects has been the investigation of the work of the Scottish philosopher John Macmurray (1891-1976) and many of the world’s leading Macmurray scholars --including Macmurray’s biographer, John Costello -- have been speakers at CHIS symposia. CHIS has also been sponsor to major international conferences, such as the Eighteenth Century Scottish Studies Conference of 2002, ‘Union and Cultural Identities’.
The next major conference with which it is associated is the Biannual Conference of the Irish Scottish Academic Initiative on National Identity and Cultural Exchange in Ireland and Scotland (Sept 9-11, 2004) (click for details).
The topics studied by its workgroups have included ‘Kant and Scottish Philosophy’, ‘Duns Scotus’, ‘Scottish Political Economy’, ‘The Ninth Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’, as well as studies of the main works of David Hume, Adam Smith, J.F. Ferrier, John Anderson and T.F. Torrance.
The topic of its forthcoming workgroup,
starting in October 2004, is ‘Science, Theology and Philosophy in late nineteenth-century
The Centre is
also the publisher of Edinburgh Review,
In addition, the Centre has just launched, in association with Edinburgh University Press, a new series of Edinburgh Review Introductions to Scottish Culture. The first title in the series is a study of Glasgow-born existential psychiatrist R.D. Laing, by Dr Gavin Miller (available from Edinburgh Review, 22a Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LN). Forthcoming titles in the series include Adam Ferguson by David Allan, James Kelman by Laurence Nichol, Willa Muir by Aileen Christianson, and J.G. Frazer by Robert Fraser.
About the Director
Cairns Craig is Professor of Scottish and Modern Literature in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh and was Chair of the Department of English Literature, which was rated 5* in the last RAE, from 1997-2002. He has published widely on modernist literature – most notably, Yeats, Eliot, Pound and the Politics of Poetry (1982) – and on contemporary writing – Iain Banks’s Complicity (2002), for instance – as well as on the history of Scottish Literature. He was General Editor of the four-volume History of Scottish Literature published by Aberdeen University Press in the late 1980s, and Out of History (1996) collected many of the influential essays he had published in Cencrastus and Radical Scotland in the 1980s. His most recent book, The Modern Scottish Novel: Narrative and the National Imagination (1999), presents an overview of the characteristic features and the historical development of Scottish fiction since the late nineteenth century. His forthcoming book, Associationism and the Literary Imagination (EUP 2005), traces the influence on both literature and literary theory of the philosophical and psychological tradition of British empiricism, with its insistence that knowledge and identity are based on the association of ideas. He is currently working on a history of the Scottish novel, to be published by Cambridge University Press, and a study of late nineteenth century Scottish culture.
Cairns Craig is also an editor of the Canongate Classics series, which makes available in paperback format the most significant works of Scottish literature and thought since the earliest foundations of the nation. The one-hundredth Canongate Classic was recently celebrated with the publication of Alasdair Gray’s Lanark (1981), probably the most influential book in modern Scottish literature. Recent publications relevant to the history of Scottish thought include Alexander Broadie’s The Scottish Enlightenment: An Anthology, Dorothy McMillan’s edition of Queen of Science: Personal Recollections of Mary Somerville, and a new edition of Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus. For the Classics series Cairns Craig has edited, with Randall Stevenson, the Canongate anthology of Twentieth Century Scottish Drama (2001) and a new edition of J.G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough (2004), which also includes some of Frazer’s key early essays and his later reflections on the nature of anthropological research.