You are here: Home Persons Scholarship Holders Postdocs Dr. Sharon Adams (01.07.2011-31.05.2013)
Document Actions

Dr. Sharon Adams (01.07.2011-31.05.2013)

Credit and friendship in early modern Scotland



Sharon Adams





2007 LLB (with distinction), University of Edinburgh [second degree in law].


2002 Ph.D, University of Edinburgh. ‘A Regional Road to Revolution: Religion, Politics and Society in South-West Scotland, 1600-50’.


1992 M.A. (Hons) First Class, Scottish Historical Studies, University of Edinburgh [first degree in history].





2002-2011 Teaching Fellowship/Associate in History/Postdoctoral Fellow,School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh.


2003-2005 Graduate Teaching Assistant, Early Modern European History, Department of History, University of Glasgow.


2002-2004 Learning Strategist and Course Organiser for History and Archaeology, Office of Lifelong Learning, University of Edinburgh.


2000-2002 Academic Liaison Officer, Faculty of Arts, University of Edinburgh.





  • 'The Making of the Radical South West: Charles I and his Scottish Kingdom, 1625-1649' in J. Young (ed.), The Celtic Dimensions of the British Civil Wars (Edinburgh, 1997).

  • 'James VI and the Politics of South-West Scotland, 1603-25' in J. Goodare & M. Lynch (eds), James VI: Court and Kingship (East Linton, 2000).
  • ‘The Conference at Leith: Ecclesiastical Finance and Politics in the 1570s’ in J. Goodare and A. MacDonald (eds), Sixteenth Century Scotland (Brill, 2008).
  • Sixteen articles of between 500 and 2,000 words for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography on a range of sixteenth- and seventeenth- century entrants.


In Progress


  •  In search of the Scottish Republic’, in S. Adams and J. Goodare (eds), Scotland in the Age of Two Revolutions (forthcoming).
  • South-West Scotland and the Scottish Revolution (forthcoming).

Former Research Project


 Credit and friendship in early modern Scotland.


The terms ‘friend’ and ‘friendship’ were in common currency in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Scotland. This research project aims to explore these terms and ascertain how early modern Scots understood them, used them and reacted to them between c. 1550 and 1690. A particular aim of this project is to evaluate to what extent and why the meaning and conceptualisation of friendship changed in this period. Friendship was often linked with the concept of ‘credit’, in the sense of derived value, esteem or benefit. Friendship, especially in terms of the extent to which it offered social or political advantages, obviously cannot be divorced from other early modern social relationships. Indeed Scottish historians have long recognised the importance of family and patronage to Scottish society. This project will not, however, focus on kinship, client-patron relations and relations predicated on superiority and dependency, but on the horizontal relationships between early modern Scots which were not governed by family relationships or patronage, i.e. the types of relationship which early modern Scots captured by the terms ‘friend’ and ‘friendship’.


The first part of this research project explores the meaning of friendship in early modern Scotland. My initial task is to analyse and explain what was meant by and understood by the concept of ‘friendship’ in the various contexts in which it was used in early modern Scotland. What did early modern Scots mean when they used the words ‘friend’ or ‘friendship’? What different levels of relationship does this represent? What was the role of personal or ‘genuine’ friendship? This section of the research project will then explore attitudes to friendship in early modern Scotland. Was it seen as a positive or negative social force? Did it create interest groups paralleling those created by kinship and patronage? Was it seen as socially cohesive or divisive? Did friendship give rise to partiality in the same ways as kinship and patronage? To what extent did the fact that friendship was not a concrete and definable relationship and was not always readily identifiable from outside the relationship impact on how it was perceived? How was it viewed in legal discourse? How did the presbyterian church in Scotland view friendship? This theoretical, foundational section of the research will then be built on and complemented by more focused studies of friendship in early modern Scotland. These case studies will consider friendship within the framework of social networks or communities e.g. spiritual friendships (including male/female friendship), networks of friendship within a specific local community and professional friendships in the legal profession.

  • Postadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    c/o Historisches Seminar
    Rempartstr. 15 - KG IV
    79085 Freiburg 
  • Besuchsadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    Erbprinzenstraße 13
    79098 Freiburg
Personal tools