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TITLE
What fired your interest in your subject? - Eric Richards
EXTERNAL ID
AB_SGI_05_ERIC_RICHARDS_Q_02
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Eric Richards
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
41036
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 Eric Richards answers the question:

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

'It's, it's a slightly complicated story, but while I was a student doing my honour's thesis in England, I did some work on the local rural estates of the Marquis of Stafford in the early nineteenth century. Having done that, I then went on to do some postgraduate work in the same family because they was a colossal body of family papers in the local archives in England, belonging to the Dukes of Sutherland, who owned not only estates in Staffordshire and Shropshire, but also the first railway company - the Liverpool and Manchester Railway - and also part, the profits of the Bridgewater Canal, as well as, of course, the county of Sutherland, or most, most part of that. And I began to find that story of the money that was being flooded up to the Highlands from the south, through this family, and then the Clearances, of course, and the drama of that, totally absorbing.

And I continued to study that and began - I had terrible - a great deal of interest in, in Marxist history, and Marx himself talks about the Sutherland Clearances and the Dukes of Sutherland and the Duchess of Sutherland and the Countess of Sutherland, so that brought it into a sharp focus and I became increasingly interested in the uses of landlord power, aristocratic money, and the displacement of rural people which is, of course, central to the Highland story. And I did a lot of work on that, and when I came to live in Scotland I was able to focus more on that still, and that was where I was focussing my academic attention. So, it was a combination of Marx, of the serendipity of finding this colossal body of family papers belonging to the Leveson-Gowers, the Dukes of Sutherland, and, and an interest in the economic history of ordinary folk, here being engineered, of course, by the aristocratic family. So, I was interested in that, in the, in that particular context, but then I was widening it out a bit more because I'm interested in the whole general problem of why rural people have been leaving the rural world over the last two centuries, into urbanisation, into the modern world, and what are the dynamics of that.'


BIOGRAPHY

Eric Richards is Professor of History at Flinders University, Adelaide, having previously taught at Stirling and Adelaide Universities. His specialist subject is the Highland Clearances and his acclaimed biography of Patrick Sellar was awarded the prize for Scottish History Book of the Year (1999). His most recent books are 'Britiannia's Children. Emigration from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland since 1600', (London and New York, Hambledon and London, 2004); 'Debating the Highland Clearances' (Edinburgh University Press 2007) and 'Destination Australia: Migration since 1901' (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press 2008).

Image copyright: Susy Macaulay

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What fired your interest in your subject? - Eric Richards

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 Eric Richards answers the question:<br /> <br /> 'What fired your interest in your particular area of expertise?'<br /> <br /> 'It's, it's a slightly complicated story, but while I was a student doing my honour's thesis in England, I did some work on the local rural estates of the Marquis of Stafford in the early nineteenth century. Having done that, I then went on to do some postgraduate work in the same family because they was a colossal body of family papers in the local archives in England, belonging to the Dukes of Sutherland, who owned not only estates in Staffordshire and Shropshire, but also the first railway company - the Liverpool and Manchester Railway - and also part, the profits of the Bridgewater Canal, as well as, of course, the county of Sutherland, or most, most part of that. And I began to find that story of the money that was being flooded up to the Highlands from the south, through this family, and then the Clearances, of course, and the drama of that, totally absorbing. <br /> <br /> And I continued to study that and began - I had terrible - a great deal of interest in, in Marxist history, and Marx himself talks about the Sutherland Clearances and the Dukes of Sutherland and the Duchess of Sutherland and the Countess of Sutherland, so that brought it into a sharp focus and I became increasingly interested in the uses of landlord power, aristocratic money, and the displacement of rural people which is, of course, central to the Highland story. And I did a lot of work on that, and when I came to live in Scotland I was able to focus more on that still, and that was where I was focussing my academic attention. So, it was a combination of Marx, of the serendipity of finding this colossal body of family papers belonging to the Leveson-Gowers, the Dukes of Sutherland, and, and an interest in the economic history of ordinary folk, here being engineered, of course, by the aristocratic family. So, I was interested in that, in the, in that particular context, but then I was widening it out a bit more because I'm interested in the whole general problem of why rural people have been leaving the rural world over the last two centuries, into urbanisation, into the modern world, and what are the dynamics of that.'<br /> <br /> <br /> BIOGRAPHY<br /> <br /> Eric Richards is Professor of History at Flinders University, Adelaide, having previously taught at Stirling and Adelaide Universities. His specialist subject is the Highland Clearances and his acclaimed biography of Patrick Sellar was awarded the prize for Scottish History Book of the Year (1999). His most recent books are 'Britiannia's Children. Emigration from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland since 1600', (London and New York, Hambledon and London, 2004); 'Debating the Highland Clearances' (Edinburgh University Press 2007) and 'Destination Australia: Migration since 1901' (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press 2008).<br /> <br /> Image copyright: Susy Macaulay