Morton, Graeme


1994 …2023

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Personal profile


Graeme Morton is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Centre for Scottish Culture at the University of Dundee. He previously held the inaugural Scottish Studies Foundation Chair - the first privately endowed Chair in Scottish Studies in North America - at the University of Guelph (2004-2013). There he was Director of the Centre for Scottish Studies and remains Adjunct Professor of History.

Best known for his conceptualisation of Unionist Nationalism, Graeme Morton's research interests focus on national identity, civil society, migration, diasporic studies and historical meteorology.

His publications include William Wallace: A National Tale (Edinburgh, 2014), The Scottish Diaspora (with T. Bueltmann and A. Hinson, Edinburgh, 2013), Ourselves and Others: Scotland 1832-1914 (Edinburgh, 2012), William Wallace: Man & Myth (Stoud, 2001), and Unionist-Nationalism (East Linton, 1999) He co-edited Irish and Scottish Encounters with Indigenous Peoples (Montreal, 2013) and Ties of Bluid, Kin and Countrie: Scottish Associational Culture in the Diaspora (Guelph, 2009). Professor Morton has edited the International Review of Scottish Studies (2004-2013) and The Scottish Historical Review (2014-2018).

His current research on the Scottish diaspora is focused around migration and meteorological variation: ‘Extreme Weather and Patterns of Emigration: Scotland, 1770-1988’ (SSHRC 430220; 2013-15). This work underpinned his monograph: Weather, Migration and the Scottish Diaspora: leaving the Cold Country (Routledge, 2020).

In this book, Morton examines why large numbers of Scots chose to leave a temperate climate to live permanently in parts of the world where greater temperature extreme was the norm?  He finds that nineteenth-century meteorologists turned to the concept of environmental determinism to explain the persistence of agricultural shortage and to identify the atmospheric conditions that exacerbated the incidence of death and disease in the towns. In these cases, Morton shows, the logic of emigration and the benefits of an alternative climate were compelling. By building on the work of historical climatologists, and the availability of long-run climate data, the emigration history of Scotland is examined through the lens of the nation’s climate.

The transatlantic dimension is core to his research into the movement of people. In collaboration with Kris Inwood and John Cranfield (University of Guelph), he has received funding in excess of CAN$1m to create research infrastructue from the Scottish and Canadian Victorian censuses. 'People in Motion: Historical Data Infrastructure for Longitudinal Research', CFI/MRI 26587 (2011-15); and 'Public use microdata samples of the 1871 census of Canada and the 1871 Census of Scotland', CFI/MRI 12603 (2007-11).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1993

Master of Arts, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1989

External positions

Editor, Scottish Historical Review



  • JN1187 Scotland
  • Unionist Nationalism
  • Diaspora
  • Nationalism


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