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Centre for Scottish Studies, Simon Fraser University

Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council of Canada

Vancouver Burns Club

Centre for Scottish Studies,
Simon Fraser University

English Department,
Simon Fraser University

Vice-President, Academic,
Simon Fraser University

Dean of the Faculty of
Arts and Social Sciences,
Simon Fraser University

Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Trinity Western University

Whitman College

© 2009 Simon Fraser University,
Leith Davis



Robert Burns in a Transatlantic Context  --  April 7- 9, 2009
Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre

   2009 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. Recognizing Burns’s global importance and hoping to attract members of the diaspora back to Scotland to celebrate his birthday, the Scottish government has also declared 2009 to be the year of Homecoming; Burns is, after all, worth 157 million pounds a year to the Scottish economy.  The Centre for Scottish Studies is celebrating Burns this year by hosting a series of public events and an academic workshop on Robert Burns in a Transatlantic Context which will highlight Burns in the Americas, where he has had arguably his greatest impact.


Public Events:       


Robert Burns in a Transatlantic Context will feature a number of public events: a musical celebration of Burns in North America featuring Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat, Kirsteen McCue and David Hamilton and a special mini-Gung Haggis Fat Choy celebration; a lecture by Dr. Robert Crawford on his new biography of Burns, The Bard; a panel on “Connecting Diasporas: Scotland, Asia and the Caribbean”; and a Community Research Forum on “Burns in BC.”

academic workshop will respond to the recent surge of interest in transatlantic studies, seeking to employ emergent concepts from this new field in order to analyze Burn’s uses in the Americas. The Robert Burns in a Transatlantic Context workshop represents a transatlantic process in its own right, as it draws recognized scholars from Scotland, the United States and Canada together to reflect on the phenomenon of Robert Burns in transatlantic culture.

   The objectives of the Robert Burns in a Transatlantic Context workshop are: to advance the fields of late eighteenth-century and Scottish studies by focusing on Burns from the perspective of the new field of transatlantic studies; and to publish the first collection of essays to consider the subject of Burns’s dissemination and reception in the Americas both historically and up to the present.
   The workshop will focus on five research issues in regard to Burns and transatlanticism:

       a. Burns’s involvement in the eighteenth-century transatlantic exchange of ideas;
       b. The publication and circulation of Burns’s work in the Americas;
       c. The impact of Burns in Canada, the United States, and Central and South America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries;
       d. The cultural uses made of Burns today (in the form of Burns Clubs, Burns Suppers, Tartan Days, etc);
       e. the relationship between the culture of the Scottish diaspora and that of other diasporas