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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: The Lords of the Isles: Clan Donald, c.1336 - c.1545 (online) (PGHC11404)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course covers the origin, development and demise of the Clan Donald Lordship of the Isles, one of the most distinctive aristocratic lordships of late medieval Europe. The course will involve discussion of the most important stages in the development of the Clan Donald, but will also try to examine why the Lordship has become, in the modern era, such a powerful symbol of Gaelic linguistic and cultural identity.
Course description The history of the Western Isles in the medieval period is intriguing. For much of the period the Hebrides lay outside the political, administrative and social structures and cultural developments of the emergent monarchies, particularly the Scottish and English kingdoms, that dominated the British Isles and Ireland. The chief men of the Isles maintained a high degree of autonomous power despite living in a maritime world subject to the ambitions of the Norse, Scottish and English monarchies and Irish provincial kings. The complex and fluid nature of claims to 'sovereignty' and social pre-eminence in the Western Isles means that the region does not fit comfortably, if at all, into the 'national' narratives around which most modern historical writing has been organised. The chronological coverage of the course spans almost two centuries. Its opening date is provided by the first use of the Latin phrase 'Dominus Insularum', lord of the Isles, in documents of 1336 and its closing date, 1545, by the final failed attempt to revive the lordship, which had been forfeited to the Scottish crown in 1493.
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
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate via essay and article review a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the Clan Donald lordship of the Isles
  2. Demonstrate in essay and article review an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the late medieval Hebrides, primary source materials concerning the lordship of the Isles, and conceptual discussions about cultural interaction
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments, in oral and written form in collaborate seminar discussions and online forum posts, by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate in collaborate seminar discussions and online forum posts originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
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)

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 The study of the past gives students a unique understanding of the present that will enable them to succeed in a broad range of careers. The transferable skills gained from this course include:
- understanding of complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past
- ability to analyse the origins and development of historiographical debates on early medieval Scottish history
- a command of bibliographical and library- and/or IT-based online and offline research skills
- a range of skills in reading and textual analysis
- ability to question and problematize evidence; considering the relationship between evidence and interpretation
- understanding ethical dimensions of research and their relevance for human relationships today
- ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently and concisely, both orally and in writing
- ability to deliver a paper or a presentation in front of peer audiences
- ability to design and execute pieces of written work and to present them suitably, as evidenced by the final assessment essay of 3,000 words
KeywordsLordship Isles Clan Donald ODL
Course organiserProf Stephen Boardman
Tel: (0131 6)50 4035
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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