A Short Case Study in Cultural Memory

Jun 18th, 2015
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In reading Jan Assmann’s, “Cultural Memory and Early Civilization” my interest was heightened by his reference to the Scottish invention of tartan. Even members of my immediate family, including my Father who is no slouch when it comes to knowledge of Scottish history (a point I will return to in due course), have questioned this assertion whenever I have put it to them. It was therefore rather re-assuring for me to read this point in an academic text because it was consistent with what I discovered in my own studies of the subject. However, because I am rather well-versed in this particular aspect of Scottish history, I also found cause to question Assmann’s version of the events and the related reasons for tartan being so readily accepted as a distinctive part of Scottish culture. It was this, and the related history of Clan Donald – the extended family of which I am a part – that gave me to the idea to adopt it as a case study for this paper.

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A Short Case Study in Cultural Memory: The Roots, Traditions and Events that Define Clan Donald in Scottish Culture and Society IntroductionIn reading Jan Assmanns, Cultural Memory and Early Civilization my interest was heightened by his reference to the Scottish invention of tartan. Even members of my immediate family, including my Father who is no slouch when it comes to knowledge of Scottish history (a point I will return to in due course), have questioned this assertion whenever I have put it to them. It was therefore rather re-assuring for me to read this point in an academic text because it was consistent with what I discovered in my own studies of the subject. However, because I am rather well-versed in this particular aspect of Scottish history, I also found cause to question Assmanns version of the events and the related reasons for tartan being so readily accepted as a distinctive part of Scottish culture. It was this, and the related history of Clan Donald the extended family of which I am a part that gave me to the idea to adopt it as a case study for this paper.Clan Donald is the largest clan in Scotland and the largest in the world, when one adds the descendants of thousands of MacDonalds who emigrated to the USA, Canada, Australia and other countries. One estimate places the number of MacDonalds worldwide at over 2 million. The Clan history extends back to the 6th Century and to the legendary Irish King, Conn of

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