P43
A tartan imaginary: cultural identity through the looking glass of the 'Scottish' second sight phenomena

Convenors:
Iain Edgar (Durham University)
Location:
Quincentenary Building, Wadsworth Room
Start time:
22 June, 2014 at 14:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

This panel analyses the distinctive historical and contemporary experience of 'Scottishness(es)' through the study of the tradition of the 'second sight' phenomena. There will be cross-cultural reference to vision, dream and divinatory practices studied within other comparable world cultures.

Long abstract:

In the background of this panel is the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence which will comprehensively challenge and evoke all known aspects of 'being Scottish'. This panel intends to illuminate the distinctive historical and contemporary experience of 'Scottishness(es)' through the consideration and study of the tradition of the second sight from antiquity to modern times. Such a reported visionary and dream tradition is deeply rooted in Scottish folk tales, especially Highland ones. The panel will analyse the warp and the weft of interaction between personal, experiential imaginative creativity and the social and collective imaginary, and accompanying embodied praxis, of 'being Scottish'. The formative role of Celtic, Norse and Christian imaginaries will be considered, as well as cross-cultural reference to the role of vision, dream and divinatory practices studied within other comparable world cultures. Archival and ethnographic studies are equally welcome, as are studies of the making of a communicative personal and social imaginative identity amongst emigrant Scottish communities. How the 'second sight' intuitive phenomenon intersects with immigrant populations, who often have their own visionary traditions and practices, is also an intended theme. The anticipated outcome, indeed the elixir, will be the theorising and demonstration of the creative interaction between personal and cultural imaginative forms and consequent individual and collective identities.