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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Celtic

Undergraduate Course: Celtic Civilisation 1B: Domination, Dislocation, and Defiance (CELT08024)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryCeltic Civilisation 1B: Domination, Dislocation, and Defiance is a survey course concerned with the histories, languages, literatures and cultures of peoples who speak a Celtic language-Irish, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Breton, Manx and Cornish-from the end of the Middle Ages (c. 1500) to the present. The principal objective of the course is to enhance students' understanding of how the emergence of the modern nation-state, and the political, social and cultural forces associated therewith, have impacted upon Celtic-speaking peoples, who have generally formed a minority in the states in which they are found, and how they have responded. The impact of the emergence of the centralised administrative state, the Protestant Reformation, wider British and French politics, empire and colonialism, the Enlightenment, the Romantic movement, and contemporary minority discourses will all be considered. Literary and other sources in the various Celtic languages (in translation) will be used to explore these themes.

The course is designed for students with no prior background in Celtic Studies. It is available to students enrolled on a Celtic degree programme, to undergraduates as an outside subject, and to Visiting Students.
Course description This broad-ranging survey course considers the history, perception, cultural, and ethnic experience of peoples, languages, and objects presented and understood as 'Celtic' from c. 1500 to the present (and the basis for that definition).

This course consists of three units, as follows:

Unit 1 (Weeks 1-4): The early modern period (1560-1746)

In this unit, we will explore the impact of the expanding power and reach of the English and Scottish states and, after the union of Parliaments in 1707, the British state, paying particular attention to the impact of the Protestant Reformation, the struggle between the Crown and Parliaments during the Civil Wars of the 1640s and 1650s, and the dynastic struggle following the deposition of the Stuart kings in 1688 and the emergence of Jacobitism as a potent political force. We will consider in particular:

- The impact of the Union of Wales and England of 1536 and of the Protestant Reformation in Wales
- In Ireland, Crown policy under Elizabeth I and James VI & I and, in particular, the Flight of the Earls (1607) and Plantation of Ulster
- The ongoing instability and Clan rivalry in the Scottish Highlands following the forfeiture of the Lordship of Isles during this period, known as 'Linn nan Creach'
- The emergence of Jacobitism in the Scottish Highlands and in Ireland, culminating in 'Bliadhna Theàrlaich', the final Jacobite Rising of 1745-6
- We will use literary texts from Wales, Ireland and Scotland to explore more deeply elements of these themes.

In addition, we will examine perceptions of the Celtic peoples, from accounts of 'insiders' such as Edward Lhuyd and Martin Martin, to those of 'outsiders' such as Edward Burt, in order to better understand some of the misconceptions and stereotypes that emerged and which continue to resonate.

Unit 2 (Weeks 5-8): The long nineteenth century (1746-1922)

In this unit, we will explore the ever closer integration of the peoples of the (externally defined) 'Celtic fringe' into the British and French states in the aftermath of the final demise of Jacobitism at the Battle of Culloden, in April 1746. We will also consider the impact of technological, social, and economic change, including that of the Industrial Revolution, and of the expansion of empire and overseas colonialism. The cumulative effects of the forces we will consider on the Celtic languages were generally negative. We shall examine in particular:

- Estate reorganisation and clearance in the Scottish Highlands
- Landlordism and famine in Ireland
- The impact of non-Conformism in Wales, and the arrival of the Industrial Revolution and its impact
- Large scale emigration from the so-called 'Celtic fringe' and the creation of emigrant communities in parts of the New World, such as Nova Scotia (in what is now Canada) and Patagonia, and the participation of speakers of Celtic languages in the British imperial project
- The impact of state-supported public education

We will once again examine perceptions of Celtic peoples, by themselves and, most commonly, by outsiders. In Scotland, we will examine how the Gaels were transformed in the popular imagination from 'rebels into heroes', in which the impact of James MacPherson's 'Ossianic' poetry in the 1760s and the emergence of the Romantic movement played a significant part, as did the Scottish Gaels' participation in the British military after 1746. We will also look at how empire and scientific discovery contributed to more negative perceptions of Celtic peoples. Finally, we will explore the great expansion in this period in the collecting and publishing of various types of literature and oral tradition in Celtic languages, as well as the 'Celtic Revival' movement of the late nineteenth century, which heralded the emergence of new social, cultural, and intellectual organisations within Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Brittany.

Unit 3 (Weeks 9-11): The contemporary Celtic World (1922-present)

In the final unit of the course, we will consider the ways in which speakers of Celtic languages responded to the increasing vulnerability of their languages in the modern world. Of particular importance was the evolution of greater political activism, notably through the development of various language movements. The creation of the Irish Free State in 1922 was of particular significance, as Irish language activists played an important role in the nationalist movement and the founding of the new state. The 'rights revolution' of the 1960s helped to inspire a new era of language activism, and intellectual movements such as multiculturalism and environmentalism and the need to find new paradigms for accommodating diversity created new opportunities for the Celtic languages. We will examine in particular:

- The development of minority language broadcasting in the Celtic languages
- The emergence of dedicated language planning initiatives, and the creation of a variety of language laws in support of Irish, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic;
- Contemporary efforts to revive languages such as Manx and Cornish, and to preserve Welsh and Scottish Gaelic in the new world diasporas.

We will also examine the development of new forms of cultural expression in Celtic languages, of emerging identities resulting from the acquisition of Celtic languages through various educational initiatives, and the ongoing efforts to record and preserve the rich oral cultures that continued to survive in the twentieth century.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 33, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 158 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework«br /»
«br /»
End-of-unit quizzes (15%), 3 automated tests reflecting on factual course content and secondary reading, released at the conclusion of each unit.«br /»
«br /»
Case Study (15%), a short (c. 750-word) textual assignment based on one of the active learning 'case studies' from Weeks 1-6 (due mid-semester).«br /»
«br /»
Course essay (40%): 2,000 words (due late semester). «br /»
«br /»
A take-home assignment (THA) (30%), released during exam diet; students will respond to 3 questions from a selection covering all three units of course content.
Feedback End-of-unit quizzes are graded automatically with addition of correct answers.

Students will normally receive written feedback on the 'Case Study' document commentary before their essay is due, providing further guidance and general recommendations to improve written work for the more substantial written piece. Full written feedback will be provided for the course essay, and brief written commentary for the concluding THA.

Opportunities will also be provided for students to discuss written feedback with markers/course conveners at designated points across the semester.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate understanding of the impact of the emergence of the modern nation state, the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment and Romanticism, empire and colonialism, and contemporary minority discourses on peoples who speak Celtic languages.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of external perceptions of the Celts which have emerged since the late Middle Ages (after c. 1500).
  3. Demonstrate understanding of contemporary political and policy responses to the ongoing decline of Celtic languages.
  4. Produce a sound and competent essay, in accordance with the common marking scale.
  5. Demonstrate the following transferable skills: independent gathering of relevant evidence pertaining to a posed problem; critical consideration of evidence in order to arrive at sound conclusions; evaluating the work of others, including peers; presenting evaluations and conclusions clearly in both written and oral form; and independent management of personal timetable, workload and other priorities in order to meet established deadlines.
Reading List

Bernhard Maier, The Celts: A history from the earliest times to the present (2nd edition Edinburgh, 2017)

John Koch (ed.) Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, 5 vols, (Santa Barbara, California, 2006)

M. J. Ball and N. Muller, The Celtic Languages (London, 2009)

V. E. Durkacz, The Decline of the Celtic Languages (Edinburgh, 1984)

J. Davies, The Welsh Language: A History (Cardiff, 2014)

A. Doyle, A History of the Irish Language: From the Norman Invasion to Independence (Oxford, 2015)

D. Mac Giolla Chríost. The Irish language in Ireland: from Goídel to globalisation (London, 2005)

C. Nic Pha¿idi¿n and S. Ó Cearnaigh (eds.), A new view of the Irish language (Dublin, 2008)

J. Walsh, One Hundred Years of Irish Language Policy, 1922-2022 (Oxford, 2022)

K. MacKinnon, Gaelic: A Past and Future Prospect (Edinburgh, 1991)

C. W. J. Withers, Gaelic in Scotland, 1689-1984 (Edinburgh, 1984)

W. McLeod, Gaelic in Scotland: Policies, Movements, Ideologies (Edinburgh, 2020)


J. Davies, A History of Wales (London, 1994)

G.H. Jenkins (ed.), The Welsh Language before the Industrial Revolution (Cardiff, 1997)

G.H. Jenkins (ed.), The Welsh Language and its Social Domains, 1801-1911 (Cardiff, 2000)

G.H. Jenkins and M.A. Williams (eds.), 'Let's do our best for the ancient tongue': the Welsh Language in the twentieth century (Cardiff, 2000)

J. Aitchison and H. Carter (eds.), Language, economy and society: the changing fortunes of the Welsh Language in the twentieth century (Cardiff, 2000)

D. Mac Giolla Chríost, The Welsh Language Commissioner in Context: roles, methods and relationships (Cardiff, 2016)

G. Griffiths and M. Stephens (eds.), The old red tongue: an anthology of Welsh literature from the 6th to the early 21st century (London, 2017)

H. Ó Murchú, More Facts about Irish (Baile Átha Cliath, 2008)

A. Jackson (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish History (Oxford, 2013)

J. Lee, Ireland 1912-1985: politics and society (Cambridge, 1989)

J. Lee, The Modernisation of Irish Society, 1848-1918 (Dublin, 2008)

S.K. Fisher and B. Ó Conchubhair (eds.), Bone and marrow / Cnámh agus smior: an anthology of Irish poetry from medieval to modern (Winston-Salem, NC, 2022)

M. Watson and M. Macleod (eds.), The Edinburgh companion to the Gaelic language (Edinburgh, 2010)

W. McLeod and M. S. Newton (eds.), An Ubhal as Àirde / The highest apple: an anthology of Scottish Gaelic Literature (London, 2019)

E. Cameron, Impaled Upon a Thistle: Scotland since 1880 (Edinburgh, 2022)

A.I. MacInnes, Clanship, Commerce and the House of Stuart, 1603-1788 (Edinburgh, 2022)

R. Dodgshon, From Chiefs to Landlords : Social and Economic Change in the Western Highlands & Islands (Edinburgh, 2022)

T.M. Devine, Clanship to Crofters' War: The social transformation of the Scottish Highlands (Manchester, 2018)

M.S. Newton (ed,), Seanchaidh na coille / The memory-keeper of the forest: anthology of Scottish-Gaelic literature of Canada (Sydney N.S., 2015)

J. Gibson and G. Griffiths (eds.), The turn of the ermine: an anthology of Breton literature (London, 2006)

P. Denez, Brittany: a language in search of a future (Brussels, 1998)

P. Galliou and M. Jones, The Bretons (Oxford, 1991)

R.C. Carswell, Manannan's cloak: an anthology of Manx literature (London, 2010)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and enquiry
To engage well with this course's assessed work, students will need to identify multivalent themes, evaluate complex primary texts and material artefacts, contextualize those sources' origin, reception, and secondary analysis, and respond criticially to secondary scholarship and scholarly paradigms.

Personal and intellectual autonomy
Students will develop transferrable skills in preliminary research (critically selecting primary/secondary sources, conducting reasoned analysis, and synthesising those sources' context to development an argument).

Personal effectiveness
Planning assessed work and meeting assignment deadlines will require students to develop/hone skills in project management: multitasking and discerning parallel priorities; planning research; using resources effectively to an appropriate timescale and for defined goals.

Students will develop written and oral communication skills through coursework assessments, to an anticipated high standard, e.g. measured, strongly evaluated communication of ideas in the 'Case Study' document commentary and essay. Oral communication in small-group discussion will be encouraged, with appropriate consideration to students with recognised learning adjustments that impact speaking or listening.
KeywordsCeltic,Great Britain,Ireland,Scotland,Wales,England,France,Gaelic Literature,Celtic Languages,Scots
Course organiserProf Robert Dunbar
Tel: (0131 6)50 3621
Course secretaryMr Iain Harrison
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