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Hi-jacked: Scots and the Contested Memory of Robert Burns

This lecture examines how the memory of Robert Burns has bewen used to shape not only into Scottish social history, but also on the changing nature of Scotland's culture and identity.

'Hi-jacked: Scots and the Contested Memory of Robert Burns'
by Professor Christopher Whatley, Thursday 26th November

Lecture 6pm, Drinks Reception 7pm, Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill

Up until the early 20th century, Robert Burns-related events, such as the unveiling of memorials - drew some of the biggest, most fervent crowds ever seen in Scotland. Not Beatlemania but Burnsmania.

Why was the Burns legacy so powerful after his death - much more so than all of the great celebrity Scots who died after him, and why did Scots feel more passionately about what Burns represented in 1850 than they do now? Why was there a contest to 'own' Burns, with towns and cities, conservatives and radicals fighting to claim the bard as their own?

Robert Burns is today a global icon, and his image is used to advertise a range of products, and to induce visitors to Scotland's places of interest, albeit that some have only a faint link with the poet.

Burns is still celebrated, but in many respects Burns has been neutered, his memory an excuse for conviviality and good cheer, his name a device for selling food and drink. This lavishly illustrated lecture will provide fresh insights not only into Scottish social history, but also on the changing nature of Scotland's culture and identity.

It is a fitting occasion with which to mark Scotland's national day, St Andrew's Day, on 30 November.

This lecture is run jointly between the University of Dundee, and DUSA Year of Democracy Campaign, sponsored by Borders Books.


Professor Christopher Whatley | talks | www


Date and Time:

26 November 2009 at 6:00 pm


1 hour



University of Dundee
01382 384021

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Available from:

Tickets are free but limited and are available from Tower Building Reception, events@dundee.ac.uk, 01382 385564, www.dundee.ac.uk/tickets or Borders Books.

Additional Information:

Drinks reception follows.

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