Bridging the Flodden Gap: Scotland in the Age of James V c.1500-c.1560

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Date / time: 24 September - 25 September, All day

University of St Andrews Institute of Scottish Historical Research

Bridging the Flodden Gap: Scotland in the Age of James V c.1500-c.1560


Call for Papers, deadline – 31 May 2022

Conference – 24 to 25 September 2022

The years between 1500 and 1560 have long constituted a kind of no-man’s land, falling between the mainstream of Medieval and Early Modern historiographical interests. Whilst cultural historians and literary scholars have acknowledged the lively interest of this period, questions of royal authority, institutional development and continuities or discontinuities in the practices and systems of the Scottish ‘state’ have, outwith focused attention to the foundation of the College of Justice, been largely neglected.

By centring debate on these years this conference seeks both to encourage more study of this period for its own sake and to engage in larger debates about periodisation: 1560 might make good sense as a chronological bookmark for a study focused on Scotland’s religious life, does it make the same sense for a study of how the crown managed political violence, for example? Equally, whilst 1513 makes very good sense for a study of the kingship of James IV, is it not fruitful to move beyond this when considering patterns of administrative development driven not by the monarch but by their administrators?

Following an initial workshop in September 2021, we would particularly welcome papers which speak to the following themes in the period c.1500-1560:

  • Political and economic developments
  • Royal administration
  • Intersections between the Church hierarchy and crown activities (e.g. the careers of Gavin Dunbar the younger or John Hamilton, Archbishop of St Andrews and Treasurer)
  • Changes in record-keeping and our source base in this period, and new ways of approaching these sources
  • The role of women in political and economic life in this period
  • Political language and the relationship between renaissance humanism and political practice
  • Phenomena distinct to this period, e.g. the prevalence of renaissance alchemists or magicians at court
  • Papers which propose new chronologies challenging one or both of the period markers 1513 and 1560
  • The wider Gaelic and northern worlds and Scotland’s place within them
  • Papers which draw international comparisons

We welcome abstracts of 250 words for individual papers of 20 minutes and abstracts for panels of three papers consisting of three 250 individual abstracts and 100 words explaining how the panel fits together as a whole. Please give titles for all papers and panels, specify your contact details, and submit these to the conference organisers, Dr Amy Blakeway ( and Professor Michael Brown ( by 31st May 2022.

Ultimately it is intended that a selection of papers will be published in a volume edited by the conference organisers.

The Institute of Scottish Historical Research is committed to welcoming excellent scholars at all career stages, of all backgrounds, and in all circumstances. We have some funding available to support attendance amongst PhD students or unsalaried colleagues – please indicate if you wish to be considered for this in your proposal, noting your career status.

If there is demand, the organisers will be seeking central University of St Andrews funding for a mobile creche to facilitate attendance from colleagues with young children.

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