Release date: Feb. 15, 2001
Contact: Deb Hammacher, Assistant Director, 404-727-0644, or email@example.com
Emory Hosts Conference And Concert On Scots-Irish
History And Relation To The American South
The Scots-Irish have been one of the largest and most influential
ethnic groups in the American South, but few Americans know much, if
anything, about that heritage. "Ulster Roots/Southern Branches"
is a day-long symposium at Emory University on Saturday, March 3 featuring
scholars and performers from around the world that will examine the
cultural, religious and political aspects of the Scots-Irish that have
left an indelible stamp on the distinctive character of the South.
The cost of the symposium is $15. Admission is free for students who
register in advance. For more information or to register, call 404-727-6180.
The Ulster Scots are the descendants of mostly Protestant Scottish people
enticed by King James I to settle in the north of Ireland during the
Ulster Plantation period starting in the early 1600s, sparking centuries
of conflict with the displaced Catholic native Irish. Beginning in the
early 1800s, hundreds of thousands of the Ulster Scots progeny
immigrated to America, where they are known as the Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish.
The current peace process in Northern Ireland has led to a re-examination
of the Scots-Irish heritage and the underlying reasons for the strife.
The symposium speakers hope to add fresh perspective on the situation,
contribute to a better understanding of the Scots-Irish heritage in
Ireland and the American South, and to advance the process of reconciliation
underway in Northern Ireland.
The symposium will be broken into five sessions that cover politics,
religion, culture and the arts:
9-10:30 a.m.: Ulster Roots, Encompassing the First 200 Years of the
Scots-Irish in Ulster
This panel looks at the history of the Scots-Irish.
10:30-noon: Ulster Scots and the Unionist/Nationalist Division
- Moderator Tony McAuley, producer for the British Broadcasting Corporation
specializing in Irish history;
- Presenter Owen Dudley Edwards, history professor at the University
of Edinburgh and author of many studies on the Scots-Irish in America;
- Responder Kerby Miller, professor of history at the University of
Missouri-Columbia and senior research fellow at Queens University (Belfast)
and author of the award-winning book "Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland
and the Irish Exodus to North America."
This panel looks at the political and religious roots to the ongoing division
in Northern Ireland, how the arts became politicized in the process, and
what efforts are being made to reconcile the two communities now.
- Moderator James Flannery, Emory professor of performing arts and director
of the W.B. Yeats Foundation;
- Presenter Anne McCartney, associate director of the Centre for Irish
Literature and Bibliography at the University of Ulster (Coleraine)
and British academy research fellow in the history of the Irish book;
- Responder Michael Montgomery, emeritus professor of English and
linguistics at the University of South Carolina, considered the international
authority on the linguistic relation between the 18th-century Ulster
tongue and the mountain speech of the American South.
1:30-3 p.m.: Scots-Irish Presbyterianism in Scotland, Ulster and the
What role did early Presbyterianism play in developing the distinctive
character of the Lowland Scots and what happened to that faith group
in the southern United States relative to other Protestant traditions
are two of the questions that will be addressed during this session.
3-4:30 p.m.: Scots-Irish Intellectual, Political, Social and Economic
Contributions to America
- Moderator Brooks Holifield, Candler Professor of American Church History
at Emorys Candler School of Theology;
- Presenter Katharine Brown, adjunct professor of history and art at
Mary Baldwin College who researches the Scots-Irish in Virginia; and
- Responder Erskine Clarke, professor of church history at Columbia
Presbyterian Seminary (Decatur, Ga.) and noted authority on Presbyterians
in the antebellum South.
The panelists will discuss the role of Scots-Irish immigrants and their
heirs on elements of American history, including the Declaration of
Independence, the ideals of Jefferson and Adams, the Revolutionary War,
the development of slavery in the South, and the philosophy of Andrew
Jackson, among others.
4:30-6 p.m.: Scots-Irish Cultural Contributions to the American South
- Moderator Chris Moser, a writer and producer of arts and humanities
documentaries and a partner with Tony McAuley in a forthcoming television
documentary on the Scots-Irish history;
- Presenter Richard MacMaster, professor of history at Elizabethtown
College (Pennsylvania) and president of the Scotch-Irish Society of
- Presenter Jim Doan, professor of the liberal arts at Nova University
(Fort Lauderdale) who has written extensively on Celtic mythology, Irish
history and the role of Scots-Irish in American history; and
- Presenter Erskine Clarke.
This panel will cover such areas as the Scots-Irish influence on Southern
speech patterns, folklore, literature and music; why American descendents
know so little about their heritage; why their cultural traditions came
to be stigmatized under the label "hillbilly"; and what relationship
currently exists between Scots-Irish descendents in the South and those
The symposium will be capped by a concert, "Roots and Branches:
The Scots-Irish Heritage in Music, Song and Dance," that will
bring together the most noted musicians in Northern Irelands Ulster
Scots tradition to share the stage with some of Georgias finest
traditional performers at 8:15 p.m. in Cannon Chapel, 515 Kilgo Circle,
Emory. The concert will illustrate the symposiums theme of indigenous
cultural continuity between Ulster and the American South. Featured artists
include the Georgia Mudcats, Nonesuch, fiddler Maggie Holtzberg and members
of the Ulster Scots Folk Orchestra.
- Moderator Allen Tullos, professor in Emorys Graduate Institute
of the Liberal Arts, whose courses and research cover the folklore and
music of the South;
- Presenter Tyler Blethen, director of the Mountain Heritage Center
at Western Carolina University (Cullowhee, N.C.) and an expert in the
Scots-Irish history and culture in the Southern highlands;
- Presenter Maggie Holtzberg, folk and traditional arts coordinator
for the Massachusetts Cultural Council and an acclaimed traditional
- Presenters Tony McAuley and Michael Montgomery.
Tickets are $12.50 general admission in advance, $15 at door, $5 for symposium
registrants and students with i.d. Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 16
at the Emory box office. For information or to order tickets, call 404-727-5050.
The program receives financial support from Emory University, the Georgia
Humanities Council, the Northern Ireland Bureau and the Ulster-Scots Agency.
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