The Stirling Centre for Scottish Studies was established in 1996 under Emeritus Professor Rory Watson of the Division of Literature and Languages. The SCSS aims to promote research, publication and postgraduate recruitment in Scottish Studies, arising from established strengths and academic interests in Stirling within and especially across the boundaries of literature, art, music, history, media, philosophy, politics, social issues and cultural theory.
The Centre aims to make interdisciplinary contacts and developments within the University and also outwith Stirling in the field of Scottish Studies. It will pursue specifically cross-disciplinary themes or projects, each over a set period of time, leading to a conference, a symposium, and/or publication at the end of that period of study. To that end, the Centre welcomes approaches from projects on all Scottish themes.
The Centre supports the Scottish Political Archive project, a repository for the personal and political papers of contemporary Scottish politicians. This involves collaboration between colleagues in the School of History and Politics, Professor Keith Dixon of the Université Lumiere de Lyon 2, and the forthcoming new Special Collections section of the refurbished University Library at Stirling.
The Centre also supports Lest Scotland Forgets: Recording Scotland’s Great War Memorials, a History project designed to catalogue, map and analyse the choice and design all of Scotland’s Great War memorials – not just parish monuments but all forms of commemoration, from public buildings to charitable funds – as well as to engage schools and other local groups in the historical investigation of the individual stories of those whose names are recorded on World War One memorials. A key aim of the project is to create (by 2018) a digital catalogue of all forms of memorialisation of Scotland’s contribution to the Great War (1914-8).
In August 2011 the Centre supported a conference on Monumentality: Monuments and Commemoration in Later Medieval and Early Modern Europe.
In July 2010, Stirling hosted the fifth biennial Conference on Robert Louis Stevenson, with published procedings to follow.
In 2007, the Centre contributed to the University’s 40th anniversary celebrations through the conference Buildings, Landscape and Environment.
In 2006 a major cross-disciplinary conference was held on The Lie of the Land: Scottish Landscape and Culture to explore the representation and interpretation of landscape in Scottish cultural production. While many of the papers were on literature and the visual arts, speakers also include historians, art historians, representatives from environmental agencies, as well as ethnologists, archaeologists and researchers from Stirling's own AHRC Centre for Environmental History.
In July 2004 the Centre launched the Journal of Stevenson Studies, a refereed journal published from Stirling with an editorial board of internationally distinguished Stevenson scholars. The first of what was to become a biennial series of Stevenson conferences was held in Stirling in 2000. Since then these conferences have been held in Gargnano, Italy; Edinburgh and Saranac Lake, USA with a number of papers published in the eponymous journal.
In 2002 the SCSS supported a conference, The Thistle and the Rose: the Anglo-Scottish Treaty of Perpetual Peace of 1502, with part of the proceedings published in The Forth Naturalist and Historian (2003). In 2002 and 2003 a series of five seminars and then a conference were held on Reputations in Scottish History, exploring the mechanisms by which yesterday's heroes and heroines have come to be remembered, or indeed forgotten today: the proceedings of these events were published in Études Eçossaises, 10 (2005), edited by L. Gourievides, M. Penman and J. Smyth. In 2006, in conjunction with the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the Project team also commissioned a MORE poll of Scottish public opinion about Scottish historical figures: this contributed to a SNPG exhibition, ‘Great Scot!’ [Spring 2006].
In November 2000, a symposium was held on Celtic Modernism: J.D. Fergusson and the Writers, in which ten distinguished scholars explored the concept of 'Celtic modernism' and the influence of Bergsonian theory in the work of the painter J.D. Fergusson and contemporary writers and thinkers in Scotland England, Europe and further afield.