Highland Clearances – 2

I have already stressed that much modern historical writing about the Clearances – the era when Gaels were forcibly dispossessed, relocated, and assimilated into the socio-economic norms of the anglophone world – is marred by the fact that so few who do this scholarship can read the many Gaelic sources that offer an insight into…

Scottish Studies in North America

Blind-Spots, Exclusions and Academic Apartheid As Scotland moves towards independence and projecting a national identity on the world stage, centres of intellectual activity devoted to Scotland’s history and cultural achievements gain new significance in legitimating it as a sovereign entity with distinctive characteristics and unique contributions. Not only is the field of Scottish Studies within…

Cultural Appropriation: Gaels and other Natives

Showbiz antics this summer, especially Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Tonto in the Lone Ranger movie and Miley Cyrus’s MTV dance performance, have prompted necessary public discussions about cultural appropriation. It’s tempting to try to boost the hits to my blog by inserting provocative pictures from one of those entertainment enterprises, but you’ll have to settle instead for…

Gaelic Tradition, Gender and Alcohol

Tradition is a two-edged sword. It can be a source of comfort and stability, connecting individuals to a larger supportive community and sense of continuity during times of anxiety and upheaval. It can also used as a rationale for entrenching the privileges of one group against the interests of another and perpetuating intolerance and inequities….

Launching the blog

As part of re-entering the Digital Humanities world, I’m launching this blog, which I’m calling The Virtual Gael, playing on various associations of the term “virtual.” I was not born into a Gaelic-speaking family or community, but have learnt to speak, read and write Gaelic fairly well. Am I virtually a Gael? (Let’s leave those…