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Negotiating Scottish Sites of Memory, 1707 / 2014
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“The terms of the Act of Union have served as a target of debate and discussion both before and after their ratification, albeit viewed differently by Scots – and managed different by the British government – in different eras. The 2014 referendum – and the resulting shape of the United Kingdom in the future – needs to be seen within this pattern of change, negotiation and adaptation.”
Both the 1707 Act of Union and the 2014 Scottish independence referendum took place in eras of rapid media transition: the 1707 Act of Union was negotiated during an unprecedented flowering of popular print culture, and the 2014 referendum was the first decision of such national magnitude in Britain to be undertaken during the digital age. In this essay, Professor Leith Davis compares representations of Scotland, England and the Union in 1707 and 2014.
Leith Davis is Professor of English at Simon Fraser University, and director of the Centre for Scottish Studies there. She is the author of Acts of Union: Scotland and the Negotiation of the British Nation, 1707–1830 (Stanford University Press, 1999) and co-editor of Scotland and the Borders of Romanticism (Cambridge University Press, 2004). She is currently at work on a book on Media and Cultural Memory in Britain, 1688–1745.