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TITLE
What fired your interest in your subject? - Jim Hunter
EXTERNAL ID
AB_SGI_03_JIM_HUNTER_Q_02
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Jim Hunter
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
41020
KEYWORDS
conferences
emigration
lecturers
audio
audios
subjectinterest

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As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad.

Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Professor Jim Hunter answers the question:

'What fired your interest in your particular area of expertise?'

'Well, in, in relation to being interested in the history of, in history and the history of the Highlands, it actually connects very much with my family background. When I was little, my grandfather, my mother's father, lived with us; his name was John Cameron. He'd been born in 1872 in the Ardgour area and he himself grew up and lived in Strontian. And he was, he died when I was, I suppose about thirteen, fourteen, but he was full of stories about things like the Highland Clearances and all of that. So, and it was from him, for instance, I first heard mention of the name of Patrick Sellar because Patrick Sellar, after his fairly notorious career in Sutherland, using the money he'd made, bought an estate, Ardtornish Estate in Morvern, where my grandfather had actually worked - not in Sellar's time, Sellar was dead long before he was born - but there was a lot of, there were a lot of stories about Sellar in that area and, of course, he continued his policy of clearance when he went to Morvern as well as, you know, after what he'd done in Sutherland.

So, I'd, I'd heard all of this, and I was interested in history in school, but it was really when I was in school reading the books of John Prebble; the first one I read was his book about Glencoe. John Prebble's often much maligned, well then, and still, to some extent, by academic historians. I actually got to know John Prebble and I've a very high regard for his writing; I think his writing's tremendous. But it was reading John Prebble's book on Glencoe that it suddenly dawned on me that history wasn't just what we were doing in school, which was all about the Corn Laws and the foreign policy of Queen Elizabeth the first of England and all of that sort of stuff, but actually history also included what I'd heard from my grandfather. That was the first time I'd kind of got the notion that there actually was - I suppose previous to that - I mean it's hard to remember now what I was actually thinking at the time - but I think I kind of had in the stories I was hearing from my grandfather and so on, I think I was thinking were just that - stories. And then it suddenly dawned on me that there was actually a Highland history, and it was Prebble who kind of connected the two things together for me, as it were. So that's how I became interested in it.

And then I went to, when I went to Aberdeen University, I studied history and then did a PhD, and when I wrote my PhD, which developed into a book called 'The Making of the Crofting Community' I was really trying to demonstrate that you could write the history of the Highlands, the modern Highlands, in a way that was simultaneously academically reputable, in the sense that it was well researched, and it had all the requisite footnotes and so on, and, but that it was also telling the story of people's history in the Highlands in a way that was truer to their thoughts about it, and their experience, rather than the academic take on it which, at that time, tended to be - well there wasn't much modern Highland history written about at all - but what little there was tended to be fairly denigratory, as it were, of, of the popular view as it would have been called.'


BIOGRAPHY

Professor James Hunter CBE FRSE is director of the Dornoch-based UHI Centre for History, UHI being the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands. The author of eleven books on Highlands and Islands themes, he has also been active in the public life of the region. In the mid-1980s he became the first director of the Scottish Crofters Union, now the Scottish Crofting Foundation. More recently he was chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the north of Scotland's development agency. In the course of a varied career, Jim has also been a journalist and broadcaster. He is presently a board member of Scottish Natural Heritage and chairs SNH's Scientific Advisory Committee.

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What fired your interest in your subject? - Jim Hunter

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

2000s

conferences; emigration; lecturers; audio; audios; subjectinterest;

Am Baile

Scotland's Global Impact

As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad. <br /> <br /> Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Professor Jim Hunter answers the question:<br /> <br /> 'What fired your interest in your particular area of expertise?' <br /> <br /> 'Well, in, in relation to being interested in the history of, in history and the history of the Highlands, it actually connects very much with my family background. When I was little, my grandfather, my mother's father, lived with us; his name was John Cameron. He'd been born in 1872 in the Ardgour area and he himself grew up and lived in Strontian. And he was, he died when I was, I suppose about thirteen, fourteen, but he was full of stories about things like the Highland Clearances and all of that. So, and it was from him, for instance, I first heard mention of the name of Patrick Sellar because Patrick Sellar, after his fairly notorious career in Sutherland, using the money he'd made, bought an estate, Ardtornish Estate in Morvern, where my grandfather had actually worked - not in Sellar's time, Sellar was dead long before he was born - but there was a lot of, there were a lot of stories about Sellar in that area and, of course, he continued his policy of clearance when he went to Morvern as well as, you know, after what he'd done in Sutherland.<br /> <br /> So, I'd, I'd heard all of this, and I was interested in history in school, but it was really when I was in school reading the books of John Prebble; the first one I read was his book about Glencoe. John Prebble's often much maligned, well then, and still, to some extent, by academic historians. I actually got to know John Prebble and I've a very high regard for his writing; I think his writing's tremendous. But it was reading John Prebble's book on Glencoe that it suddenly dawned on me that history wasn't just what we were doing in school, which was all about the Corn Laws and the foreign policy of Queen Elizabeth the first of England and all of that sort of stuff, but actually history also included what I'd heard from my grandfather. That was the first time I'd kind of got the notion that there actually was - I suppose previous to that - I mean it's hard to remember now what I was actually thinking at the time - but I think I kind of had in the stories I was hearing from my grandfather and so on, I think I was thinking were just that - stories. And then it suddenly dawned on me that there was actually a Highland history, and it was Prebble who kind of connected the two things together for me, as it were. So that's how I became interested in it.<br /> <br /> And then I went to, when I went to Aberdeen University, I studied history and then did a PhD, and when I wrote my PhD, which developed into a book called 'The Making of the Crofting Community' I was really trying to demonstrate that you could write the history of the Highlands, the modern Highlands, in a way that was simultaneously academically reputable, in the sense that it was well researched, and it had all the requisite footnotes and so on, and, but that it was also telling the story of people's history in the Highlands in a way that was truer to their thoughts about it, and their experience, rather than the academic take on it which, at that time, tended to be - well there wasn't much modern Highland history written about at all - but what little there was tended to be fairly denigratory, as it were, of, of the popular view as it would have been called.'<br /> <br /> <br /> BIOGRAPHY<br /> <br /> Professor James Hunter CBE FRSE is director of the Dornoch-based UHI Centre for History, UHI being the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands. The author of eleven books on Highlands and Islands themes, he has also been active in the public life of the region. In the mid-1980s he became the first director of the Scottish Crofters Union, now the Scottish Crofting Foundation. More recently he was chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the north of Scotland's development agency. In the course of a varied career, Jim has also been a journalist and broadcaster. He is presently a board member of Scottish Natural Heritage and chairs SNH's Scientific Advisory Committee.