Explanation of seminars:

Seminars are designed to give you the opportunity to engage more fully with the critical material that we read and to integrate the critical material with the primary reading.  Students will present TWO seminars during the course.  Please feel free to contact me to discuss your ideas beforehand. 


  1. Read over the article several times until you are clear on the thesis and the shape of the argument.
  2. Write a brief (250 words) summary of the argument.
  3. Write a short paper (750 words) in which you suggest ways in which the critical article illuminates the primary reading of the week and/or suggest ways in which to extend and/or critique the author’s argument. 
  4. Devise three questions for discussion. The questions should involve the primary reading, not just the critical reading that you were assigned. Please circulate these by email at least twenty-four hours before the beginning of the class. 
  5. During the class, present your findings informally to the members of the class.  You may use notes, but DO NOT read your paper out.  After you present your material, lead a focused discussion on your questions. 
  6. Hand in your summary and completed paper to the instructor one week after your presentation. 

Each written portion of this assignment is worth 10% of your grade.  Each oral presentation is worth 5%. 

NOTE: It is possible to choose one of the two articles scheduled for January 21 when I am away.  In this case, you would submit your summary, paper and questions to the class online and conduct the discussion online. 


The following is a list of all the possible seminars:


Week Two: Sunday, January 11:

Kerry: Mel Kersey, “Ballads, Britishness and Hardyknute, 1719-1859,” Scottish Studies Review 5 (2005); pp. 40-56 (available through Google Scholar)


Week Three: January 21

Instructor away: seminar to be conducted online

Rupa: Ruth Perry, "’The Finest Ballads’: Women's Oral Traditions in Eighteenth-Century Scotland,” 32:2 (Spring 2008); pp. 81-97  (available through Google Scholar)


Beth: Paula McDowell, "The Manufacture and Lingua-facture of Ballad-Making": Broadside Ballads in Long Eighteenth-Century Ballad Discourse,” The Eighteenth Century 47:2/3 (2006); 151-178 (available through Google Scholar)


Week Four: January 28

Patrik: Suzanne Aspden, “Ballads and Britons: Imagined Community and the Continuity of 'English' Opera,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 122, No. 1 (1997), pp. 24-51 (available through Google Scholar)


Week Five: Feb. 4

Elizabeth: Steve Newman,  “The Scots Songs of Allan Ramsay: 'Lyrick' Transformation, Popular Culture, and the Boundaries of the Scottish Enlightenment,” Modern Language Quarterly: A Journal of Literary History 63:3 (2002), pp. 277-314 (available through Google Scholar)  


Mimosa: Murray Pittock, “Allan Ramsay and the Decolonisation of Genre,” The Review of English Studies 58: 235 (2007), pp. 316-337 (available through Google Scholar)


Week Six: Feb. 11

Beverly: James Porter, “'Bring Me the Head of James Macpherson' The Execution of Ossian and the Wellspring of Folkloristic Discourse,” Journal of American Folklore 114:454 (2001),  pp. 396-435 (available through Google Scholar)


Week Seven: Feb. 18

Petra: Janet Sorensen, “Orality's Silence: The Other Ballad Revival” available at:



Rupa: Maureen McLane “Dating Orality, Thinking Balladry: Of Milkmaids and Minstrels in 1771,” The Eighteenth Century 47:2 (2006), 131-49 (available through Google Scholar)


Week Nine: March 4

Petra: Robert Crawford, “British Burns” from Devolving English Literature (PDF)


Kerry: Jeremy Smith, “Copia Verborum: The Linguistic Choices of Robert Burns,” Review of English Studies 58:233 (2007), pp. 73-88 (available through Google Scholar)


Week Ten: March 11

 Beth: Kirsteen McCue, “Burns, Women and Song,” in Robert Burns and Cultural Authority, ed. Robert Crawford (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1997), pp. 40-57 (PDF) 


Week Eleven: March 18

 Elizabeth: Murray Pittock, “Robert Burns” from Scottish and Irish Romanticism (PDF)


Mimosa: Liam McIlvanney, “’The Democracy of Sex’: Burns’s Bawdry” from Burns the Radical: Poetry and Politics in Late Eighteenth-Century Scotland (PDF)


Week Twelve: March 25

Patrik: Carol McGuirk, “Haunted by Authority: Nineteenth-century American constructions of Robert Burns,” in Robert Burns and Cultural Authority (PDF)


Beverly: Ann Rigney, “Plenitude, Scarcity and the Circulation of Cultural Memory,” Journal of European Studies 35:1 (2005), 11-28 (available through Google Scholar)