Who Owned Scotland? Past, Present and Future – deadline 23 April 2021

Date / time
Date(s) - 24 June - 25 June
11:00 am - 4:00 pm


In 2019, a report published by the Scottish Land Commission called for the reform of ‘unhealthy’ land ownership in Scotland. The commission, set up by the government, found that major landowners behaved like monopolies across large areas of rural Scotland, and had too much power over land use, economic investment and local communities. The way we own and use land influences many parts of our lives: the price and availability of housing, our access to greenspace and the natural environment, and our ability to meet climate targets. ‘Who Owned Scotland?’ is a collaborative symposium that aims to explore how land and natural resources have figured in the transformation of Scottish society throughout history.

This is a call for papers that aims to explore issues affecting land ownership in Scotland across space and time, and we welcome research that address these issues across history. We also welcome papers that approach Scotland through a comparative or international perspective. Postgraduate students and early career researchers are particularly encouraged to apply. We welcome abstracts from a variety of disciplines, including (but not limited to): history, law, archaeology, literature and social science. We also invite papers that address the following or related themes in a historical perspective. Themes include (but are not limited to):

• Changing agricultural practices and teind reform.
• Gender inequality in land ownership.
• Land improvement; displacement following Highland Clearances.
• Emotional attachments to land; spatial and landscape ecology.
• Abolishment of heritable jurisdictions and impact on land ownership.
• Changing energy sources and environmental damage.
• Politics of land reform in Scotland today.
• Forms of ownership: private, cooperative, state (local, Scottish, British).

The symposium will be held 24-25 June 2021. Please send a 300-word abstract with a short biography to conferences@eshss.org.uk with ‘Who Owned Scotland’ in the subject line by 23 April 2021.

Follow forthcoming news about the conference on our website at eshss.org.uk and on Twitter @EcSocHistSoc.