Ethnology is the discipline that studies the traditional and popular cultures of a community, region or nation. While related in some respects to both anthropology and cultural history, ethnology is now well established in its own right as an important contributor to the humanities and social sciences throughout Europe and beyond. Through close study of such cultural forms as folklore, music, song, oral narrative, custom and belief, this programme examines the development of cultural systems through time. The University of Edinburgh is the only institution in Scotland to offer an undergraduate degree in this discipline. The Scottish Ethnology programme aims to develop the analytic, critical, communication and creative skills of students by engaging with a broad range of cultural forms and ethnographic materials relating primarily, although by no means exclusively, to Scotland.
The programme offers a comprehensively broad and challengingly deep training in the academic study of the English language. It aims to develop serious academic interest in and specialist knowledge of all well-understood aspects of the English language both historically and currently, and at all relevant levels of structure and analysis. In so doing, it offers opportunities to develop intellectual and methodological capacities in rigorous, exact and strongly-theorised analysis.
In so doing, it offers opportunities to develop intellectual and methodological capacities in rigorous, exact and strongly-theorised analysis. English language is a subject which is both historical and descriptive, and both text-focused and theoretical. In these several respects, the subject can be seen as encompassing and reflecting the traditions of both philology and linguistic theory. The University of Edinburgh’s linguistics and phonetics equipment, for use experimentally and in fieldwork, is among the best in the world. Students can also study Scots language which has its own rich linguistic and literary tradition.
As well as the wealth of resources in the main University Library, the National Library of Scotland, one of the finest bibliographical collections in Europe, is only five minutes’ walk from both departments. The Archives of the School of Scottish Studies are an outstanding research resource offering material from both the Gaelic and the Scots tradition collected over a period of over sixty years.
The Scottish Ethnology and English Language programme is designed to:
- Develop students’ understanding of the historical and ongoing development of the discipline of ethnology in its international context.
- Engage students in theoretical debates relating to the key issues and concepts of ethnology.
- Encourage students to critically deconstruct and evaluate cultural forms and processes.
- Engage students in the theoretical debates about language and literature in order to encourage critical engagement with texts.
- Understand developments at the forefront of both subjects and to participate in research-led study.
- Develop the independent critical, analytic and communicative skills which will fit students for a wide range of employment, further training and life-long learning.
- The relevance of linguistic theoretical concepts and methods to the study of
knowledge and skills but also gives them a specialist understanding of, and interest in, their native language historically and currently.
- Knowledge of all aspects of the linguistic history and structure of English.
- Skills in interpretation and judgement when presented with primary textual data.
- Understanding of the formal, analytic and symbolic procedures appropriate to the linguistic analysis of English.
- Awareness of variation and variety in English both in time and space, and in society at large.