An IASH Work-in-Progress seminar, delivered by Dr Noelle Gallagher (Daiches-Manning Memorial Fellow in 18th-Century Scottish Studies 2023)
Oats and Scottishness in British Print Culture 1707-1815
Samuel Johnson’s famous 1755 definition of oats as “A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people” encapsulates one of the most enduring stereotypes about the Scottish: that they subsist on an abstemious diet of oatcakes and porridge. In this seminar, we'll explore why oats became so strongly associated with Scottishness in the eighteenth century, and we'll ask how this staple crop became both a means of denigrating the Scots as a malnourished, impoverished underclass, and a means of championing Scottish national strength, resilience, and self-discipline. We'll explore how writers and artists on both sides of the border used the stereotype of the Scottish oat-eater to express Anglo-Scottish political tensions - and we'll ask whether this stereotype has anything to tell us about Scottish identity today.
Please join in-person, or click the link below to join the webinar:
Please note that our weekly seminars will take place in the Moot Court in the School of Law between September and December 2023.