Home research cultural Centre for History Staff Dr Jim MacPherson

Dr Jim MacPherson



Programme Leader for MLitt British Studies

Postgraduate Research Co-Ordinator

Lecturer in History


Tel: (01847) 889 623

I am a social and cultural historian of modern Britain and my research focuses in particular on migration, diaspora and the British Empire.

I arrived at UHI's Centre for History in November 2011, following academic posts at University College Dublin, the University of Bristol, Leeds Trinity and All Saints College and the University of Sunderland. I completed my PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London in 2004 (supervised by Professor Joanna Bourke), where I researched women’s contribution to debate about Irish identity through print and associational culture at the beginning of the twentieth century.

I work closely with heritage bodies and local communities through our research network, The Hub for the Study of British Identities.


I have recently completed a major research project on Irish female associational culture in the diaspora, which focuses on women’s membership of the Orange Order in Scotland, England and Canada. Women and the Orange Order was published as a book by Manchester University press in 2016.

My new research on 'Highland Homecomings and the British Empire' will examine how key figures such as John Diefenbaker (Canadian Prime Minister, 1957-1963) and Peter Fraser (New Zealand Prime Minister, 1940-1949) returned to their roots in the far north of Scotland and what this tells us about the region's connection to the British Empire and the wider world. Future plans for research include investigating the role of Irish migrants in the early days of cricket in Australia; Learie Constantine, cricket and the politics of West Indian self-government; Land reform, popular protest and song in the Highlands; and the impact of nuclear power on northern Scotland.

I welcome research proposals from students interested in any aspect of modern British, Irish and Scottish social and cultural history, including gender, migration, diaspora, empire, associational culture, cricket and British identities.

Completed PhD Students

Clive Abbott, 'The Irish Boundary Commission Episode: Northern Nationalist Narratives and Political Culture, 1924-1939' (University of Bristol, 2013).

Deborah Butcher, 'Ladies of the Lodge: A History of Scottish Orangewomen, c. 1909-2013' (London Metropolitan University, 2014).

Current Research Students

Linda Ross, 'The Dounreay Nuclear Establishment and its impact on the Northern Highlands of Scotland' (PhD) - AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership studentship, with Historic Environment Scotland.

Mary Souter, 'Public Health in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 1845-1912' (PhD).

Maureen Hammond, 'Badenoch Textiles: Economy, Innovation and Identity in the Eighteenth Century' (PhD) - AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, with High Life Highland and the Highland Folk Museum.

Mel Manwaring-McKay, 'Curating the Highlands: Charles Fraser Mackintosh and Victorian Book Collecting' (MLitt by Research).




Women and the Irish Nation: Gender, Culture and Irish Identity, 1890-1914 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

(Co-edited with Mary J. Hickman) Women and Irish Diaspora Identities: Theories, Concepts and New Perspectives (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014).

Women and the Orange Order: Female Activism, Diaspora and Empire in the British World, 1850-1940 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016).


‘The Emergence of Women’s Orange Lodges in Scotland: Gender, Ethnicity and Women’s Activism, 1909-1940’, Women’s History Review, 22:1 (2013), pp. 51-74.

‘Migration and the Female Orange Order: Irish Protestant Identity, Diaspora and Empire in Scotland, 1909-1940’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 40:4 (2012), pp. 619-42.

Personal narratives of family and ethnic identity: Orangewomen in Scotland and England, c. 1940-2010’, Immigrants and Minorities, 32:1 (2014, online early 2013), pp. 90-114.

‘The myriad-minded woman: public and private worlds in the journalism of Susan L. Mitchell’, The Irish Review, 42 (2010), pp. 15-26.

(with Donald M. MacRaild) ‘Sisters of the brotherhood: female Orangeism on Tyneside in the late 19th and early 20th centuries’, Irish Historical Studies, 137 (2006), pp. 40-60.

‘"Ireland begins in the home": women, Irish national identity and the domestic sphere in the Irish Homestead 1896-1912’, Éire-Ireland, 36, 3-4 (2001), pp. 131-52.

Essays in Edited Collections

'Irish Protestant Masculinities and Orangewomen in Scotland, Canada and England, 1890-1918', in Rebecca Barr, Sean Brady and Jane McGaughey (eds), Ireland and Masculinities in History: From the Sixteenth Century to the Present (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2016).

'Cultural Transmission, Irish Associational Culture and the "Marching' Tradition", in Eugenio Biagini and Mary Daly (eds), The Cambridge Social History of Modern Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2016).

‘Irish Protestant women and diaspora: Orangewomen in Canada during the twentieth century’, in D. A. J. MacPherson and Mary J. Hickman (eds), Women and Irish Diaspora Identities: Theories, Concepts and New Perspectives (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014).

‘The Fifteen Streets: representations of Irish identity in Catherine Cookson’s novels’, in Julie Taddeo (ed.), Catherine Cookson Country: On the Borders of Legitimacy, Fiction, and History (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 158-74.

‘“Exploited with fury on a thousand platforms”: women, unionism and the Ne Temere decree in Ireland, 1908-1913’, in Joan Allen and Richard Allen (eds), Faith of our Fathers. Six Centuries of Popular Belief in England, Ireland and Wales (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009), pp. 157-75.

'Domesticity and Irishness abroad: Irish women’s associational life in the north east, 1880-1914', in Shane Alcobia-Murphy (ed.), What rough beasts? Irish and Scottish Studies in the new millennium (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008), pp. 102-20.

(with David Renton), ‘Immigrant politics and north-east identity, 1907-1973’, in Adrian Green and A.F. Pollard (eds), Regional identities in north-east England, 1300-2000 (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2007), pp. 161-79.

'Mary Butler, domesticity, housewifery and identity in Ireland, 1899-1912', in C. J. Litzenberger and Eileen Groth Lyon (eds), The Human Tradition in Modern Britain (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006), pp. 171-86.

'The United Irishwomen and the advanced nationalist press', in R. Gillespie (ed.), The Remaking of Modern Ireland, 1750-1950 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2003), pp. 201-22.


I am Module Leader for the following courses, many of which have been developed from my research interests:

  • People, Protest and Power: Themes in Modern British History (1st year)
  • Travelling Cultures, Global Diasporas (2nd year)
  • Scotland and Ireland, 1800-1939 (3rd year)
  • Migration and Mobility in Modern Britain (3rd year)
  • Britain's Empire: Colonies and Consequences (4th year)
  • The Troubles: Politics, Culture and Conflict in Northern Ireland, 1965-2010 (4th year)
  • Global Scots: Places, Spaces and Peoples of the Scottish and Highland Diasporas (Masters)
  • The British Empire (Masters)
  • Britishness and Sport (Masters)
  • British Identities (Masters)

Additional Activities