June 14, 2008

Glasgow University Tower

15 – 17 January, 2009

Marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, the newly established Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow is hosting a three-day conference celebrating all aspects of Burns’s life and works. Papers are welcomed on any aspect of Burns studies but may be focussed on the following areas:

Burns and Slavery
Burns and America
Burns and Adam Smith
Burns and Ireland
Burns and Media
Burns and Enlightenment
Burns and Music
Burns and Biography
The Politics of the Kilmarnock Volume
Burns and Clare
Burns, Bawdry and the Body

If, by chance, you wish to give a paper which doesn’t fit into any of the above panels we’d still be delighted to hear from you. Or if you have an idea for another panel then please do get in touch.

Titles and abstracts for papers should be no longer than 250 words and should be submitted by e-mail to NO LATER THAN FRIDAY 16th MAY 2008.

The Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the Department of Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow

Director: Dr Gerard Carruthers
Associate Director: Dr Kirsteen McCue

Launch of the Centre:
On the anniversary of Burns’s death on 21 July 2007, the Department of Scottish Literature launched the first ever Centre for Robert Burns Studies, with an inaugural lecture given by Dr Fiona Stafford of the University of Oxford.

Directed by Dr Gerard Carruthers, the Centre will carry out a wide range of activities to better understand the life and work and the reception of Scotland’s National Bard. Dr Carruthers said, ‘No writer has wider appeal, both popular and scholarly. One of the greatest poets and also one of the finest song-writers produced by Scotland, or for that matter Britain, Burns is someone who matters in so many ways. Along with the sheer creative art that he expresses, he is a writer who is a crucial intellectual figure of the Enlightenment age, and a Romantic writer whose depiction of Scotland and of the wider world speaks of a new age of global concerns. The politics, theology, economics, history and many other interests that inform his work all point to the revolutions of the world and of the human mind that accompany the late eighteenth century and which underpin to a large degree life in the twenty first century. As well as the work, the world has remained fascinated with Burns in other ways that makes him a huge cultural icon, a phenomenon in itself that is worthy of long and deep investigation, and again the new Centre will seek to make a contribution to its understanding.’

New Editions and Publications:Brand new multi-volume edition of Burns’s poetry, song and prose:

The Centre’s main aim will be working towards the completion of a new ten volume edition of the work of Robert Burns, with special emphasis on his songs under the direction of Centre Assistant-Director, Dr Kirsteen McCue. An international team of advisors and scholars from Britain and abroad will contribute to the new edition, and Professor G. Ross Roy, University of South Carolina, and the doyen of Burns scholars, has agreed to be a special Honorary Fellow of the Centre. The expertise already at Glasgow especially across three departments, Scottish Literature, English Language and English Literature (which together comprise the School of English and Scottish Language and Literature) complemented by a wide range of outside scholars of international repute means that the Robert Burns Centre should become a genuinely world-class resource. A new collection of critical essays will also be edited from the Centre.

Online letters of James Currie:
The Centre is currently completing an online edition of the letters of James Currie, Burns’s first editor, which is co-edited by Gerard Carruthers and Dr Kenneth Simpson, who will be Honorary Professor in Burns Studies in the newly launched Centre. This project is funded with a major grant from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, a fact in itself that is indicative of the fresh academic energy now building up behind Burns.

Conferences and Events:

Dr Fiona Stafford of the University of Oxford gave the Centre’s inaugural lecture on 21 July 2007, the first of three major lectures in first six months of the Centre’s life. Dr Kenneth Simpson (Honorary Professor of Burns Studies in the new Centre) gave a second lecture on 31st October, and Professor Murray Pittock of the Department of English literature at the University of Glasgow spoke in February 2008. Talks programme

Burns International Conference 2009 at the University of Glasgow:

The year 2009 has been designated Scottish Executive ‘Year of Homecoming’ marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. The University of Glasgow in its west of Scotland locus and with its amassed expertise in Burns scholarship is in an unrivalled position to create a lasting legacy from this commemorative year.

A huge raft of organisations and interest are assembling themselves in preparation for 2009, and the Department of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow will be making a truly original contribution hosting a four-day conference from Wednesday 14th to Sunday 18th January 2009.

Held in the splendid surroundings the University’s Kelvin Gallery and Bute Hall in the fabulous Gilbert Scott Building this conference will bring together scholars from around the world to debate and discuss the complete output of Burns, and the conference will be hosting a number of key performance events. One of these will be a major concert in the Bute Hall on Friday 16th January with a new musical commission by Scotland’s most exciting living composer, James MacMillan. This concert will also celebrate the connection Burns has with the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn, as 2009 is the bi-centenary of Haydn’s death. The University of Glasgow has played a major in new editions of Haydn’s folk song settings, and recordings of the complete settings will be launched at this conference too.

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