Restore Scottish Highland heritage to American education at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with the 2018-19 Visiting Lectureship.
We are halfway there. Help make it happen. In 2016, GaelicUSA launched a project to bring a one-year Scottish Gaelic Studies visiting lectureship to a major university in America. Nothing like that had ever been attempted in the United States before!
If accomplished, this visiting lectureship will be a critical first step toward establishing a major university home for a full Scottish Gaelic Studies teaching and research program. The visiting lecturer will also be involved in planning a strategy to make a full program of Scottish Gaelic Studies feasible.
An academic Scottish Highland Home In North Carolina
Following a ton of work and determination, we are thrilled to say that the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – one of the top 30 universities in the U.S. – has accepted our proposal and is willing to offer a one-year visiting lectureship during the 2018-2019 academic year.
That is half the battle won. Now we must address the fact that ground-breaking, visionary visiting lectureships do not happen for free. We must raise the funds necessary to support the visiting lectureship project.
That is what this campaign is about. GaelicUSA has already accomplished necessary ground-work and we are asking the Scottish diaspora in America and even globally to stand up and get behind this huge step forward. Help us raise the $75,000 in project costs and demonstrate that there is demand to realize this long-awaited ambition and to see the Scottish Gaelic voice restored to its place among all of America’s peoples.
The Backstory: Why Scottish Gaelic Studies Is Important
Hundreds of thousands of Scottish Highlanders came to the United States between the 18th and 20th centuries. What few Americans know now is that the native language of these settlers was Scottish Gaelic, not English. Their culture — music, dance, religion, literature, social structure, and so on — was markedly different from that of the English, the Scots-Irish, and even the Lowland Scots.
Many surnames that are common in America — such as Mackenzie, Mackay, MacDonald, MacLeod, MacLean, Cameron, Campbell — are Gaelic surnames inherited from the Scottish Highlands. All across America, you will find towns, lakes, and rivers that also testify to the Scottish Gaels who lived in the area.
Scottish Gaelic voices have been largely neglected in the American story. Accounts of American history, immigration and literature are incomplete when they fail to even mention an important Scottish Gaelic legacy. The scholarly foundation upon which such accounts depend has scarcely been started.
Scottish Gaelic Culture is an Important Missing Piece of American Studies
American universities support the study of a wide range of cultures, from the Caribbean to Latin America, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and Asia, and their immigrant legacies in the U.S.
Scottish Gaelic heritage and history must be restored to our national story. The poetry and prose that Scottish Gaels composed as they described their experiences and gave opinions of their new home — crucial primary sources often written in their native language — have not received attention from historians, linguists, or scholars of comparative literature and cultural studies. They have remained largely uncollected and unstudied because no American university or college offers a program of study that provides scholars with the skills needed to study them.
This visiting lectureship is a critical first step in helping to build an academic infrastructure upon which the fundamental Gaelic element of America’s Scottish Highland heritage can be supported and allowed to thrive. (Read more on this webpage.)
Help UNC Give Scottish Gaelic Studies a Home
The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is the oldest public university in America, and is ranked as one of the top 30 universities and colleges in the United States by U.S. News and World Report and the Wall Street Journal.
The lectureship will be hosted by the department of English and Comparative Literature, with four or five courses allowing students to explore literature, identity, and folklore from a Scottish Highland vantage point (using texts in English translation). Such courses by definition incorporate perspectives on history and culture, ancient and modern, and will relate to both Scotland and North America.
It is particularly fitting for UNC to offer Scottish Gaelic Studies, since Scottish Highlanders were early settlers in the Cape Fear region of the Carolinas and formed a tight-knit Gaelic-speaking community for generations.
A Tremendous Opportunity. You can help make it happen.
. . . And Share, Please!
If you are moved to back this project, we thank you. You are part of a growing, active Scottish Gaelic community. There is one more thing that you can do, and it is so simple!
By sharing the campaign with your friends and family you will not only spread the joy of Gaelic community but you will help us all get to our goal much faster so we can all rejoice in the prospects of giving this story new life. There are literally millions of Americans who can claim a bit of this Scottish Highland ancestral legacy for themselves. For the first time in America, lets reach out to our huge diasporic community as well as our friends and allies so we can work together to make this ground-breaking Scottish Gaelic Studies Visiting Lectureship, and all that it offers, a reality!