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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Scottish History

Undergraduate Course: Clan Campbell and the Lordship of the Isles in the Later Middle Ages (SCHI10017)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThe aim of the course is to offer students the chance to study the origins, development and interaction of two of the most powerful and enduring aristocratic lordships operating in Britain and Ireland during the 14th and 15th centuries. The Clan Campbell, lords of Argyll and the Clan Donald, Lords of the Isles are seen not just as regional rivals, but as representatives of a 'clash of cultures', the struggle between the lowland anglicising influences embodied in the Campbell earls of Argyll and the defiantly 'Gaelic' lordship offered by the Clan Donald. The course will evaluate the origins and growth of this picture of culturally-driven enmity and examine how far it reflected medieval realities.
Course description The course is designed to reflect and respond to recent developments in the study of the medieval British Isles and Ireland that have laid greater emphasis on the influence of regional aristocratic lordship in the long-term process of 'state' formation. By the end of the course students will have acquired an awareness of the tenurial, military and political organisation of West Highland lordship and the way in which these features shaped perceptions of the Highlands as an area distinct in social and cultural terms from the rest of the Scottish kingdom. Topics to be covered include the annexation of the Hebrides to Scotland in the 1260s, the impact of the wars of independence on Hebridean society, the growth of Campbell and MacDonald power, the increasing prominence of the families in the political and social affairs of the Scottish kingdom, the battle of Harlaw (1411), the role of the MacDonalds and Campbells as patrons of Gaelic cultural production, the collapse of Clan Donald power at the end of the fifteenth century, and the modern commemoration of the Lordship as a bastion of 'Gaelic' values.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503780).
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
G.W.S.Barrow, Barrow, G.W.S., Kingship and Unity: Scotland 1000-1306 (London, 1981).Chap 6.
S.Boardman, The Campbells, c.1250-c.1513 (Edinburgh, 2006)
M.H.Brown, The Wars of Scotland 1214-1371 (Edinburgh, 2004)
E.J.Cowan, 'Norwegian sunset-Scottish dawn: Hakon IV and Alexander III', in N.Reid, ed., Scotland in the Reign of Alexander III (Edinburgh, 1990)
A.A.M.Duncan and A.L.Brown, 'Argyll and the Isles in the Earlier Middle Ages', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 90 (1956-7).
R.Andrew McDonald, The Kingdom of the Isles, Scotland's Western Seaboard, c.1100-c.1336 (East Linton, 1997).Chaps 2-6.
W.D.H.Sellar, 'Hebridean Sea Kings: The Successors of Somerled, 1164-1316', in Alba: Celtic Scotland in the Middle Ages (East Linton, 2000) (eds.) E.J.Cowan and R.A.McDonald, 187-218
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsClan Campbell
Course organiserProf Stephen Boardman
Tel: (0131 6)50 4035
Course secretaryMiss Clare Guymer
Tel: (0131 6)51 5566
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