Few words are as evocative and intriguing as ‘Celtic’, bringing to mind the intricacies of Bronze Age jewellery, the massive structures of Stonehenge and Newgrange, the legends of Arthur and Cú Chulainn and the Bardic craft of medieval kings and princes. But ‘Celtic’ is also about the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the New World; Romanticism, Revolution and the struggles for survival in modernity of languages, literatures and entire national identities.
This new course from Bangor University gives students the opportunity and ability to sift fact and fiction, and to answer in detail the question:
‘Who were – and who are – the Celts?’
Over a single academic year, modules will be taught by experts in the Schools of Welsh, History, and Music, focusing on literature, archaeology, religion, mythology, antiquarianism, art history and music, to explore the culture and identity of the Celtic peoples from the hillforts of prehistory to the devolved and independent parliaments of today.
Students on the course will also be guided as they perform their own research towards a Master’s thesis on a topic of their choice.
All instruction is available through English or Welsh, and comprehensive ESOL support is available where necessary.
Major issues covered on the MA ‘Y Celtiaid – The Celts’ include:
Do ‘The Celts’ actually exist, and if so, who and what are they? How can we discuss such questions, with what methodology and with what evidence?
How has the word itself (‘Celt’, ‘Keltoi’, etc.) been used through the centuries, from Classical historians to modern pop musicians?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of ‘Celtomania’ and ‘Celtoscepticism’? How has the concept of the ‘Celt’ has been discovered and discarded in various fields such as Literature, Archaeology, Linguistics, Music, Religion?
How did nineteenth-century Continental scholars contribute to the creation of the ‘Celt’?
How do and how did the Celtic-speaking peoples negotiate their own identities? What do the medieval texts (Laws, Legends, Court Poetry, Saints’ Lives) and archaeological findings tell us, and what does recent history have to say?
What are the main sources of evidence for the histories and identities of the ‘Celtic’ peoples (i.e. those speaking Celtic languages in the modern period)? How do we use these sources? Can Arthur and Cú Chulainn tell us anything useful?
How have the ethnic and national identities of the modern ‘Celts’ been represented and negotiated with reference to this concept of the ‘Celtic’?
What has been – and what is – the political and ideological relevance of the ‘Celt’?
With issues such as these in mind, the MA ‘Y Celtiaid – The Celts’ is designed to develop participants’ skills through a scheme of specialist advanced study. An important objective is to provide participants with relevant analytical training, so that they are familiar with the latest theoretical and practical developments relating to Celtic Studies. On completing this course, students will have a solid grounding in the main methods and sources of the discipline, and will also have developed widely-transferrable skills which will be of clear relevance to a broad range of careers.