Professor Murray Pittock, Bradley Professor and Pro Vice-Principal, University of Glasgow, ‘History and Memory at Culloden’
Additional Speakers TBC
Outlander (Starz, 2014-) is a major US television series based on the historical fantasy novels of Diana Gabaldon, combining time travel with 18th-century Scottish politics and post-war British and American culture. The globally successful series has triggered more interest in Scotland and its history than any other cultural artefact in recent years. Interest continues to grow as Outlander moves into its seventh season, alongside the announcement of the prequel Outlander: Blood of My Blood, which is currently in development.
While hundreds of fan-based gatherings and interest groups around the world promote and encourage Outlander fandom, and thousands of media articles ponder its reach and appeal, there has not yet been an event which takes an academic approach to the series and brings together the multiple areas of expertise involved in its creation. The University of Glasgow plans to do just this: it will host a major international Outlander conference in July 2023 which will offer the chance to discuss the elements that make up this remarkable phenomenon.
Scotland is the main focus of the series, and not just the rural Scotland of tourist brochures with castles, islands, lochs and mountains, but towns and cities also play a part, and none more notably than Glasgow. The Outlander Conference Glasgow 2023 will take place in Scotland’s biggest city that has become a focal point for Outlander and the themes it develops: Glasgow Cathedral, St Andrews in the Square and George Square have all been used as locations for key scenes, while West End streets and Kelvingrove Park stand in for Boston.
The University of Glasgow also has a unique place in Outlander: it doubles as Harvard in the series, and several academics from a range of disciplines have been directly involved in the production as researchers, advisors and even cast members. There is a vast range of research and consultation involved in the making of the series, and an equally diverse array of potential areas for future exploration as we seek to build Outlander Studies as an interdisciplinary field.
Outlander establishes new perspectives on a wide range of topics. As yet, scholarship has focused on literary and screen tourism (Clarke 2015, Herrero-Bas 2018, Cateridge 2018, Potočnik Topler and Špenko 2019, Garrison and Wallace 2021); race, disability, gender, sexuality and sexual violence (Frankel 2016, Donelan 2018, Lagerwey 2018, Nagouse 2019, Byrne and Taddeo 2019, 2022); media distribution, transnationalism and the Scottish diaspora (Shacklock 2016, Noorda 2018); temporality, liminality, medicine and witchcraft (Pagnoni Berns and Acosta Lando 2016, Potter 2019, Greenberg and Fraser 2020, Fogel and Serenity 2022); Culloden, Wounded Knee and colonial-era artefacts (Solis 2016, Rivers Cofield and Schaffer 2019); and fans and fandom (Frankel 2016, Garrison 2020).
The Outlander Conference Glasgow 2023 intends to build on this and be an inclusive showcase of exciting research and diverse contributions from all academic disciplines. We are seeking submissions on all themes relating to Outlander, including the topics presented below:
- Scotland and the world
- Scottish culture, music, clans
- Celtic and Gaelic Studies
- Politics, nationalism, independence
- Jacobitism, unionism and the monarchy
- Empire, colonialism and slavery
- Migration and diaspora
- Franco-Scottish relations
- Native American / First Nation Studies
- Cultural impact and legacy of the series
- Texts, theory and production
- Genre, historical fiction, fantasy, romance and melodrama
- Adaptation, narrative and authorship
- Screen and literary tourism
- Space and time, representations of place, temporalities
- Feminism and women’s studies
- Race, sexuality and disability
- Transnational media flow, production, distribution, creative labour
- Audiences, fandom, convergence culture, readership, fan fiction
- Folklore, storytelling, song, poetry
- Material culture
- Textiles, costumes, fashion
- Investigations into the past
- Ancestry and genealogy
- Memory studies
- 18th-century culture and everyday life
- Medicine, herbalism, nursing, surgery
- Warfare, military history, weaponry, battlefield archaeology, Culloden
- Travel, shipboard narratives, voyages
All sessions will be 1 hour duration and we invite proposals for individual papers, pre-constituted panels and roundtables, alongside more creative approaches that address the themes listed above.
Please send proposals to email@example.com by 15 December 2022.
Individual papers: Please send an abstract (200 words max), short bio and contact information. Co-authored papers are welcome and papers should be 10-12 mins max to allow time for Q&A.
Panels: Panel coordinators should provide a 100 word rationale for the pre-constituted panel along with 200 word abstracts, short bios and contact information for each panel participant (3-4 papers max). We encourage panels that include a diversity of experience levels and affiliations.
Roundtables: Convenors should propose a question (50 words) and solicit brief responses (100 words max) from 5-7 respondents. Please include short bios and contact information for the convenor and each participant.
We cordially invite you to participate in the Outlander Conference Glasgow 2023, which will generate vibrant interdisciplinary discussions around this influential TV production and promises to be a highly popular event.
Professor Willy Maley (English Literature) and Dr Lisa Kelly (Film and TV Studies) on behalf of the Outlander Conference Committee