The Highlandization of Scotland, 1688–1783: War, Ethnicity, and the French Connection

Saturday, January 6, 2018
Atrium (Marriott Wardman Park)
Richard Lockton, Indiana University
During Britain’s century long conflict with France between the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the end of the American Revolution in 1783, Scottish Highlanders were important figures of empire in terms of their military experience and the discursive representations of this experience. As potential military assets to both Britain and its imperial enemies, Highlanders were a source of both hope and anxiety in the transatlantic British press. Constructions of Highlanders’ “warlike” ethnicity, and Highlanders’ entangled military relationship with Britain and France muddled Highlanders’ cultural image in the British Atlantic press. These dynamics problematized processes of national identity formation tied to imperial war and national military service. It was only when the dangerous entanglements in which Highlanders were embedded could be redefined, as a result of the Franco-American alliance of 1778, that ‘modern’ Scottishness could be safely and successfully ‘Highlandized,’ and a coherent Britishness unified through war could emerge. This poster will illustrate these dynamics through select, culturally resonant political prints which exemplify widespread cultural attitudes toward Highlanders, and how the transatlantic British press shaped such attitudes in relation to inter-imperial warfare and geopolitics.
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