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Scotland and Arbroath 1320 – 2020

700 Years of Fighting for Freedom, Sovereignty, and Independence


Edited By Klaus Peter Müller

700 years of people in Scotland, England, Europe, and the world fighting for freedom, sovereignty, independence and justice are investigated in the essential periods and cultures since the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath: the Middle Ages, the Reformation and Early Modern Age, the English Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Cultural, media, political, and social studies, history, the law, art, philosophy, and literature are used for an analysis of the evolution of human rights, democracy, freedom, individual as well as national independence and justice in connection with past and present threats to them. Threats from politics, the economy, digitalisation, artificial intelligence, people's ignorance.


With contributions by Alasdair Allan MSP, Christopher J. Berry, Neil Blain, Alexander Broadie FRSE, Dauvit Broun, Mark P. Bruce, Ewen A. Cameron, Robert Crawford, Ian Duncan, Richard J. Finlay, David Forrest, Edouard Gaudot, Marjory Harper, Sarah Longlands, Ben McConville, David McCrone, Aileen McHarg, John Morrison, Klaus Peter Müller, Hugh O’Donnell, Murray Pittock, Anthony Salamone, David R. Sorensen, Silke Stroh, Christopher A. Whatley and Ben Wray.

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(Post)Colonial Contexts of the Declaration: Conquest, Resistance and the Ambiguities of Writing Back (Silke Stroh (Münster))


Silke Stroh (Münster)

(Post)Colonial Contexts of the Declaration: Conquest, Resistance and the Ambiguities of Writing Back

Abstract: The centrality of national independence and democracy in the reception of the Declaration of Arbroath begs the question whether it anticipates modern postcolonialism. This issue is investigated by situating the document in the context of a writing back to English colonial discourse that also involves Geoffrey of Monmouth, Edward I’s letter to the pope, and the Scottish “Instructiones” and “Processus”. This also facilitates discussion of some general problems in Postcolonial Medieval and Scottish Studies.

Keywords: (Post)Colonialism; Geoffrey of Monmouth; Instructiones; Processus; history; Arbroath; writing back; autonomy; resistance; sovereignty; freedom; democracy; propaganda; England; Scotland; Scotichronicon; emancipation

As is well known (and as the present volume also testifies), themes of freedom and independence have been a key factor in the reception of the Declaration of Arbroath. For instance, the document has been celebrated as a precursor of modern discourses on the right to national autonomy, and of the democratic ideal of limiting the power of sovereigns by giving their subjects at least a moderate role in choosing and controlling their leaders. This also begs the question whether the Declaration can be read as a precursor to a specific sub-group of modern discourses on freedom and democracy, namely anti- and post-colonial discourse. Here as well, the advocacy of national self-determination and democratic rights has always played an important part. The general idea that postcolonial approaches...

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