Funded by the Friends of Aberdeen University Library and the Special Collections Centre
The University of Aberdeen Museums & Special Collections Visiting Scholar Awards are available to academic researchers wishing to travel to Aberdeen to make use of our historic collections for innovative research.
The University’s rich and diverse holdings consist of over 230,000 rare books, some 5,000 archive collections, and over 300,000 museum artefacts and scientific specimens. The disciplinary range is wide, with particular strengths in eighteenth and nineteenth-century English and Scottish literature, history, anthropology, archaeology, fine art, the history of science and medicine, and the natural and life sciences. For information about our collections and facilities, please visit https://www.abdn.ac.uk/museums and www.abdn.ac.uk/special-collections.
The Awards provide financial support towards the costs of travel and accommodation - up to £2,000 to cover expenses incurred over a period of two to four weeks - while pursuing a research project directly relating to the University’s collections. Great latitude will be offered to the discipline and scope of proposals, subject only to their feasibility. Visiting Scholars will be granted access to the collections in the collections research facilities of the Sir Duncan Rice Library and Marischal College. Ideally, they will contribute to the academic and public engagement programmes of Museums and Special Collections.
These Awards are made with the support of the Friends of the Aberdeen University Library and will be administered by the Aberdeen Humanities Fund.
Applications should be submitted using the form provided here.
Forms should be submitted by 1 March 2018.
- 2017 Visiting Scholars
Dr Aaron Denlinger, Department Chair in Latin, Arma Dei Academy, Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania
The Theology of the Aberdeen Doctors and Henry Scougal (1650-78)
In addition to his appointments in the United States, Dr Aaron Clay Denlinger is Research Fellow for the Puritan Studies Program of the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa). From 2013 to 2016 he served as Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Reformation Bible College, Florida. Dr Denlinger is the author, editor, or translator of several books and numerous articles on early modern Protestant theology. His PhD explored developments in Protestant thinking on original sin and human solidarity in the Reformation and post-Reformation periods, while his postdoctoral research has increasingly focused on Christian theology and practice in early modern Scotland. Dr Denlinger’s publications include Reformed Orthodoxy in Scotland: Essays on Scottish Theology 1560-1775 (London: T & T Clark, 2015, as editor), and a translation of the Scottish divine Robert Rollock's 1596 Questiones et responsiones aliquot de foedere Dei, deque sacramento quod foederis Dei sigillum est, under the title Some Questions and Answers about God's Covenant and the Sacrament That Is a Seal of God's Covenant (Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick, 2016).
Dr Miles Kerr-Peterson, freelance researcher
Thomas Cargill’s Translation of Six Books of Politics or Civil Doctrine (1589)
Miles Kerr-Peterson completed his PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2016. His topic was the life, lordship and career of George Keith, fourth Earl Marischal (1553-1623) and the founder of Marischal College, one of the University of Aberdeen’s two antecedent institutions. Dr Kerr-Peterson’s research interests include the political, cultural, intellectual and religious life in James VI and I’s Scotland. Currently a Content Developer for Glasgow Life, he is also the co-founder and chairman of the Friends of the Wembdon Road Cemetery in Somerset.
Commenting on the Visiting Scholarship, Dr Kerr-Peterson says: ‘this award will allow me to research a previously unknown manuscript by the Aberdonian schoolmaster Thomas Cargill (d. 1602), namely his translation of the Flemish scholar Justus Lipsius’ Six Books of Politics or Civil Doctrine (1589). This was a practical moral guidebook on how to rule. It was dedicated to the provost of Aberdeen, and shows how the burgh was interacting with the cutting edge of European scholarship at the time.’
Dr Peter Ludlow, Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia
‘More Catholic Highlanders than any four dioceses in Scotland put together’: Scottish Catholicism in Nova Scotia
Vice-president of the Canadian Catholic Historical Association and a historian of religion and culture in Canada, Peter Ludlow earned a PhD from Queen’s University Belfast, with a thesis on the “two-boat” migration of Irish migrants in 19th century Newfoundland. Dr Ludlow is the author of The Canny Scot: Archbishop James Morrison of Antigonish (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015). His work has focused, broadly, on the interconnectivity of faith, ethnicity, migration and settlement within the British Empire. Currently writing a history of Catholicism in eastern Nova Scotia, his research focuses on the relationship between the Diocese of Antigonish and the Catholic Church in Scotland.
The Visiting Scholar Award will enable Dr Ludlow to use the late 18th century Scottish Catholic Archives holdings at Aberdeen in his examination of Scottish Catholicism in ‘New Scotland’. He will construct a profile of the missionary clergy and the people that migrated to Nova Scotia in this period, and particularly a philosophical profile of priests like Fr (later Bishop) William Fraser. Dr Ludlow says that this will enhance understanding of how Old World theology such as Jansenism helped Catholics in Cape Breton communities co-exist with their Presbyterian brethren.
- 2016 Visiting Scholars
Elizabeth Edwards, Emeritus Professor of Photographic History, De Montfort University, Leicester
Photographs, Sites, Monuments: The emergence of public histories 1850-1950
Elizabeth Edwards is a visual and historical anthropologist, Emeritus Professor of Photographic History, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, and Emeritus Curator, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. She was elected Fellow of the British Academy, 2015. She works on the relationships between photography, history and anthropology, on their social and material practices, and on photography and institutions. She directed the PhotoCLEC project on photography, museums and colonial memory in contemporary Europe. Her most recent monograph is The Camera as Historian: Amateur Photographers and Historical Imagination 1885-1912 (2012). She is currently working on further aspects of the relationship between photography and history and on photography and the emergence of ideas of 'public heritage' 1850-1950.
Her time in Aberdeen will be spent on this latter project, working especially in the archives of Aberdeen photographer, George Washington Wilson. Wilson was one of the major players in the nineteenth century 'views trade'. Producing photographs especially for the tourist market, and in formats suitable for home albums , his firm’s photographs of views, abbeys and cathedrals became very widely disseminated and were an integral part of an increasingly visualised sense of the past in the late nineteenth century.
Dr Helge Wendt, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin
Coal in the Scottish Enlightenment: Contributions to a History of Science
In the second half of the 18th century, coal was a subject that was written about regularly. In French, German, Spanish and Italian publications, coal was discussed from various perspectives such as that of geology, chemistry, utility in production processes, mining and medicine. British publications on coal ranged from mining handbooks, early works on geology, economy and chemistry to treatises concerning social and environmental issues.
In the history of science, there is a proliferation of writings dealing with the new mathematics, medicine and the economy of the Scottish Enlightenment. Coal, the most important resource to enable the industrialization and economical development of this period and the global expansion of the British Empire, has received much less attention. This could be one of the reasons why the writings on black coal of the Aberdonian physician David Skene are still largely unknown, in contrast to his medical, “psychological,” religious and botanical works.
During my stay at the Special Collections Centre of Aberdeen University, I wish to research several geological studies of David Skene, which, among other themes, also deal with black coal. Skene, who was in contact with Europe’s leading natural scientists, was an important figure in the development of the Aberdonian economy. My research aims to bring to light the knowledge Skene had on the various issues related to coal in the fields of geology, chemistry and the environment, on its use in industrial production and the effects it had on human health.
The research forms part of a research project on Coal as a matter of history of science (1750–1850) which investigates the development of knowledge about coal in different scientific disciplines and institutional contexts in West European countries (France, the German states, the British Isles and Spain) and their colonial empires. The results of this project will be presented in a book publication and several articles published in scientific journals.
Dr Matteo Binasco, CUSHWA Center, University of Notre Dame, Rome
The Scots Community in the Eternal City: A New Assessment
After completing his BA in history at the University of Genoa, Matteo Binasco earned his Masters at Saint Mary's University of Halifax in Canada. He completed his PhD in history at the National University of Ireland in Galway. He has been a short-term fellow at the Institute of Canadian Studies in Ottawa and a fellow at the John Carter Brown in Providence. From February 2010 until January 2013 he was research fellow at the Istituto di Storia dell'Europa Mediterranea of Italy's National Research Council (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche). Since mid-September of 2014 he has been a post-doctoral research fellow at the CUSHWA Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the Rome Global Gateway, University of Notre Dame.
His main area of interest is the development of the clerical networks within the Atlantic area during the early modern period. He authored Viaggiatori e missionari nel seicento, edited Little do We Know, and published twenty-nine articles and essays. The Visiting Scholar research award offered by the University will enable Binasco to examine the records pertaining to the Scots College of Rome held in the Scottish Catholic Archives at the Special Collections Centre. His research will focus on the material relating to William Lesley, the procurator of the Scots clergy in Rome, and the first official archivist of the Sacred Congregation "de Propaganda Fide".
- 2015 Visiting Scholars
Jane McDermid, University of Southampton
‘Evenings Out in Urban Scotland, c 1870-1940’
Jane McDermid is Reader in Women’s and Gender History, Faculty of Humanities, University of Southampton. She holds doctorates in both Russian history and the history of Scottish education, the latter with a thesis on the schooling of working-class women. Dr McDermid’s research project, entitled ‘Evenings Out in Urban Scotland, c.1870-1940’, examines both social interaction between classes and sexes and the projection of local, national and imperial identities during the period, and considers the question of whether the notion of ‘the city’ as a theatre of social action is also applicable to smaller towns. Drawing upon our extensive local collections, Dr McDermid intends to use the award to examine the relationship between gender and civic identity distinctive to Aberdeen, which will in turn, she writes, ‘help me identify similarities and peculiarities of urban associational life throughout Scotland’.
John Stone, University of Barcelona
‘Libraries at the 18th century Royal Scots College in Valladolid & cultural transfer’
John Stone is Serra Hunter Fellow from the Departament de Filogia Anglea I Alemanya, Universitat de Barcelona. A graduate of McGill and Barcelona, he completed a PhD on Samuel Johnson in 2006, and has published extensively on Johnson and seventeenth and eighteenth-century print culture, particularly in Spain. Dr Stone’s four-week project in Special Collections looks at libraries at the eighteenth-century Royal Scots College in Valladolid and cultural transfer. Established in 1771 by John Geddes, Vallodolid was by the 1790s an early centre of English-to-Spanish translation. Using records from the Scottish Catholic Archives which are now on deposit at Aberdeen, Dr Stone’s research explores connections between manuscripts, books and individuals associated with the College. Some interlinear translations of Spanish songs, as part of the curriculum drawn up by Geddes, may constitute, Dr Stone says, ‘the first sustained, regular instruction in English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English translation in Spanish history’.
Samantha Walton, Bath Spa University
‘Mind, Place and Ecology in the work of Lewis Grassic Gibbon and Nan Shepherd.’
Samantha Walton joined us from Bath Spa University, where she is Lecturer in English Literature: Writing and the Environment. Dr Walton’s research addresses the relationship between mind, place and ecology in the works of Lewis Grassic Gibbon (James Leslie Mitchell) and Aberdeen alumnus Nan Shepherd, two prominent North East writers of the interwar Scottish Literary Renaissance. Her three-week project will access Grassic Gibbon’s correspondence and the personal papers of both Grassic Gibbon and Shepherd to reveal and document networks of communication between writers and reviewers in the modernist period. Dr Walton anticipates using her archival research at Aberdeen to contribute to three planned publications, including a monograph bringing environmental humanities perspectives to the study of interwar British literature and rural culture.