Neil Davidson was Scotland’s leading Marxist historian and sociologist, whose intellectual contribution spanned across the globe. Born in 1957, Neil died tragically early in 2020.
Neil’s tragically early death has left behind a great intellectual and political legacy. The Neil Davidson library project is seeking £10,000 to build on that legacy by providing an infrastructure to house Neil’s collection of books, periodicals and other materials and a space for working-class and socialist movements in Scotland. Neil’s library contains a huge number of books and much rare material that would be of great use to scholars and activists alike, in Scotland and further afield.
Neil’s seminal works The Origins of Scottish Nationhood and Discovering the Scottish Revolution showed Scotland to have been one the first countries to experience the ‘uneven and combined development’ of capitalism and a ‘revolution from above’ in the late 18th century. Neil extended his work to the historical and conceptual status of bourgeois revolutions, the relationship between nation-states and capital, and the uneven and combined development of modernism. His 2012 book How Revolutionary were the Bourgeois Revolutions? comprehensively argued for the reinstatement of the concept of the ‘bourgeois revolutions’ for the understanding of global modernity. These were among nearly one hundred academic articles and political interventions as well as four collections of essays Neil published during his lifetime. His work was translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin and he was a frequent fixture at conferences in Europe, North American and Brazil.
Neil was not just a scholar but a formidable socialist activist. From his early days as a trade union militant in the NALGO and PCS unions to his central role in the Radical Independence Campaign in the Scottish independence referendum of 2014 Neil remained committed to the cause of the self-emancipation of the working class and the creation of a socialist society. Neil inspired younger working-class activists to take up intellectual work, mentoring them with a generosity of spirit that belied his global renown.
The purpose of the Neil Davidson library project would be to make these invaluable resources available in one place and thereby build upon the political and intellectual legacy Neil left behind.
Contributors names will be published and visible in the library.
Contribution levels will be: