Nation Building in the Borderlands: Anglo-Scottish Relations in the Frontier, 1553–1603
North American Conference on British Studies 1
During the sixteenth century, relations between the disparate kingdoms of the British Isles were in a constant state of flux. England, Scotland, and Ireland remained independent states, yet were intricately tied together. This was especially true in the frontier regions of Ulster and the Anglo-Scottish border. This panel investigates understandings of territory, legitimacy, and authority during extended periods of Anglo-Scottish negotiation and diplomacy. Our papers center around three themes of early modern nation building: negative characterizations of the “Other”, real or imagined geographic boundaries, and instances of exchange. All three papers incorporate various aspects of these themes in order to understand the complexities of government involvement in the frontiers.
How did exclusion or acceptance in the frontier impact the success of individual political ambitions? How did government activities in the borderlands serve as a means to encourage violent or tense interactions? Why did the frontier become a viable center of financial and military support for the dominant regime? How did concern for sociopolitical stability in the borderlands impact political decisions at Court? This panel investigates the ways in which interactions between disparate peoples, whether peaceful or not, helped to shape understandings of identity and the nation. Together, our papers involve an in-depth examination of smaller, local conflicts and interactions, and their impact on the formation of the early modern monarchy and state.