Professor Marjory Harper

Professor Marjory Harper
Professor Marjory Harper
Professor Marjory Harper

Chair in History

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 274473
Office Address

School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
Crombie Annexe
Meston Walk
King's College
University of Aberdeen
Old Aberdeen
AB24 3FX
Room 211

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History


Marjory Harper completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Aberdeen, where she has been employed since the mid-1980s. She is currently Professor of History and also a Visiting Professor at the Centre for History, University of the Highlands and Islands.

Marjory's research focuses on British (particularly Scottish) emigration since 1800. Two of her monographs have won international prizes, and she has published around 100 articles and book chapters. Her latest monograph, Testimonies of Transition (an oral history of twentieth-century Scottish emigration) was published in 2018, and a revised version was published as an audio book in 2020.

After three decades of teaching in a variety of undergraduate courses, Marjory's teaching activities now focus on the postgraduate sector. Since 2017 she has directed an award-winning online Master’s Programme in Scottish Heritage and she has also been involved in developing a training programme for the Scottish Tourist Guides' Association.

Public engagement lies at the heart of Marjory's interests and she particularly enjoys engaging with local communities through public lectures. She also acted as one of three historical consultants to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry and contributes regularly to radio and television programmes such as Digging Up Your Roots and Who Do You Think You Are



  • MA History 
    1978 - University of Aberdeen 
  • PhD History 
    1984 - University of Aberdeen 

External Memberships

Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Rutherford Centre for Reformed Theology.

Latest Publications

  • Diet and the Diaspora

    Harper, M.
    Presses universitaires de Franche-Comté
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Epistolary Exploits and Audible Adventures: Using Personal Testimony to Plot Patterns and Policies in Scottish-Australian Migration

    Harper, M.
    Northern Scotland, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 149-169
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Expectations, experiences and enigmas: hearing and evaluating emigrant testimony

    Harper, M.
    Oral History, vol. 51, no. 2
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • "I wish you would write oftender": An Aberdeenshire emigrant's experiences in 19th-century Canada

    Harper, M.
    Festschrift for Elizabeth Ewan. University of Guelph Centre for Scottish Studies
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Identifying a Doric diaspora?: Patterns of emigration from north-east Scotland, c. 1750 - c. 1950

    Harper, M.
    A New History of the University of Aberdeen. Aberdeen University Press
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters

View My Publications

Prizes and Awards

2020: Winner of the Royal Historical Society's Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching and Supervision

2019: University of Aberdeen Excellence Awards: Public Engagement with Research Award, main prize

2018: University of Aberdeen Postgraduate Teaching Prize

2013: Winner of the Frank Watson Prize (University of Guelph, Canada) and short-listed for the Saltire Society History Prize

2004: Winner of the Saltire Society History Prize and short-listed for the Frank Watson Prize

1992: Winner of Blackwell Prize


Research Overview

Professor Harper's research is primarily in the area of Scottish emigration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly to Canada

Current Research

Preparation of monograph on emigration from the Northern Isles since the eighteenth century

Ongoing collection of interviews for interview databank and use in forthcoming monographs and articles

Preparation of monograph on Scots in the Antipodes

Past Research

Several monographs, edited collections, book chapters and over 100 articles. Recent research strands have included migration and mental health, in particular Marjory Harper (ed.) Migration and Mental Health: Past and Present (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and migration and oral testimony (monograph published in 2018 and audio book in 2020)

Knowledge Exchange

Interface research project on the Iolaire disaster, under auspices of the UHI Centre for History. Included interview about the project with BBC Alba

Lecture to Stornoway Historical Society in connection with the centenary of the sailing of the Metagama in April 1923, and making available material from the Scottish Emigration Database for use as part of centenary exhibition

Guest lectures for Cunard on the Queen Mary from Southampton to New York

Article on British migration for British Library Learning Digital Resource 'Discovering History'

Participation in video 'Journey to New Edinburgh' for the Otago Early Settlers' Museum

Numerous public lectures since the lifting of Covid restrictions, including lecture for Greyhope Bay Community Programme (Aberdeen) which led to a podcast for 'Aberdeen Harbour Voices',harbour%20area%20of%20Aberdeen%20home.

Invited to Albyn School, Aberdeen, to lecture to Higher pupils

July 2023: hosting a panel discussion at Ullapool Museum on the 250th anniversary of the sailing of the ship Hector from Lochbroom to Nova Scotia 

Continuing involvement with the Scottish American History Forum (Chicago) including online talks 

2022: participation as interviewee for BBC TV episode of Who Do You Think You Are?




Collaboration with Dr Lauren Brancaz-McCarten, University of Chambery, on Celtic migrations

Collaboration with Ian Leith (Caithness) on migration and mental illness in Patagonia

Collaboration with Dr Iain Robertson, UHI Centre for History, in Knowledge Exchange Project on Lewis in the inter-war era


Teaching Responsibilities

HI502W A Millennium of Scottish History

HI502X: Approaches to Research - Archives and Sources

HI552T: The Scottish Diaspora

HI553E/HI5916: Dissertation in Scottish Heritage

HI2524: Scottish History: Chronologies and Controversies

Non-course Teaching Responsibilities

Numerous guest lectures in Scotland and overseas

Invited lecturer at Summer School run by the German Historical Institute, London, July 2023


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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals

Contributions to Specialist Publications

Non-textual Forms

Other Contributions