Memories are constructed and reconstructed not simply by the lapse of time and the onset of old age, but by the political, cultural and personal context in which recollections are invoked and interpreted. Memories also shape - and are shaped by - perceptions of identity.
Scotland cannot be separated from the saga of its diaspora: the millions of emigrants who in various ways implanted aspects of their Scottish identity in the lands where they settled or sojourned.
Marjory Harper explores the motives and experiences of migrants, settlers and returners by focusing on the personal testimonies of a handful of the two million men, women and children who left Scotland in the 20th century. These testimonies show how oral tellings can create a relationship between the events of the past and the modern reader through the examination of the migrants' choice to leave,
their arrival in a new land and, for some, the transition of returning home.
MARJORY HARPER is Professor of History at the University of Aberdeen, and Visiting Professor at the Centre for History, University of the Highlands and Islands. Her book Adventurers and Exiles won the Saltire Society Award for the Scottish History Book of the Year in 2004, and Scotland No More? was shortlisted for the same Saltire Society Award and won the University of Guelph's Frank Watson Prize. Her current teaching responsibilities focus on directing the University of Aberdeen's innovative online Masters Programme in Scottish Heritage, which was launched in September 2017, and she is involved in an ongoing oral history research project, as well as research into health and migration.