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

Undergraduate Course: Gazing West: Scotland and the Atlantic in the Seventeenth Century (HIST10508)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the history of Scotland's early inroads into the Atlantic. It introduces students to the various attempts by Scotland and Scottish individuals at establishing trading companies and colonies in competition with and emulation of other, successful Atlantic powers, and asks why Scotland failed where others succeeded. Gazing West covers topics such as the Scottish East India Company, the failed attempts at settling in Nova Scotia and Darien and cooperation with the Dutch, the Swedes and the English.
Course description This course examines the history of Scotland's early inroads into the Atlantic. While Scotland's role in the British Empire has been widely acknowledged, it is less well-known that prior to 1707, Scotland made sustained attempts at becoming an Atlantic player. Gazing West introduces students to the various attempts at establishing trading companies and colonies in competition with and emulation of other, successful Atlantic powers such as England, France and the Dutch Republic, and asks why Scotland failed where others succeeded. This is the 'pre-history' of what, on occasion, has been called Scotland's Empire. It is important as it provides insights into why Scotland could become so important so quickly in the British Empire of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The course covers both the chronology and the historiography of Scotland's Atlantic history and makes extensive use of primary material.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.

Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
1,200 word Atlantic Proposal (30%)
3,000 word Essay (50%)

Non-Written Skills:
Presentation (20%)
Feedback Students are expected to discuss their coursework with the Course Organiser at least once prior to submission, and are encouraged to do so more often. Meetings can take place with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment. Students will also receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. provide a nuanced and critical understanding of the themes of Atlantic engagement, co-operation and competition and colonisation in Scottish history and its European context throughout the 17th century.
  2. offer a detailed knowledge of key events and developments during that period.
  3. conduct independent research skills commensurate with this level of study, including the ability to identify and organize relevant information on the subject through extensive reading in the relevant literature (using the course bibliography as a starting point).
  4. interpret primary sources and to evaluate critically secondary literature on the subject.
  5. use evidence effectively and argue cogently in writing and orally.
Reading List
I. Gallup-Diaz, The Door of the Seas and Key to the Universe: Indian Politics and Imperial Rivalry in the DariƩn, 1640-1750, revised print edition, (Columbia University Press, 2005).

M. Hamilton, 'Commerce Around the Edges: Atlantic Trade Networks Among Boston's Scottish Merchants', International Journal of Maritime History, 23, 2 (December 2011), 301-26.

A. I. Macinnes, Union and Empire: The Making of the United Kingdom in 1707 (Cambridge, 2007), Ch. 6.

E. Mijers & S. Murdoch, 'Migrant Destinations, 1500-1750', in: T. M. Devine and Jenny Wormald (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Modern Scottish History (Oxford University Press; Oxford, 2012), 320-338.

J. Orr, Scotland, Darien and the Atlantic World, 1698-1700 (Edinburgh, 2018).

G. Pratt Insh, Scottish colonial schemes, 1620-1686 (Glasgow, 1922), Ch. VI.

J. G. Reid, Acadia, Maine and New Scotland: Marginal Colonies in the Seventeenth Century (Toronto and Buffalo, 1981).

F. R. Siminoff, Crossing the Sound: The Rise of Atlantic American Communities in Seventeenth- Century Eastern Long Island (New York and London, 2004), Ch 4.

J. Wagner, 'The Scottish East India Company of 1617: Patronage, Commercial Rivalry, and the Union of the Crowns', Journal of British Studies, 59 (July 2020): 582-607.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical tools for understanding the long historic context of present-day problems and the contemporary relevance of early modern history

Experience in non-academic writing using historic evidence

Skills in research development and analysis

Oral communication skills, through seminar participation and presentation delivery

Written communication skills, through written assessments
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Esther Mijers
Tel: (0131 6)50 3756
Course secretaryMrs Ksenia Gorlatova
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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