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Alastair McIntosh on Intergenerational Trauma


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Working with Intergenerational Trauma: Scottish Land Clearances and Donald Trump

The Scottish scholar, author and environmental activist Alastair McIntosh was raised on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, just eight miles from the birthplace of Mary Anne Macleod, the mother of President Trump. What was it that led so many of her generation to emigrate from the island when she did, in the 1930s? What aspects of culture and religion might have been passed on in her son, Donald John? And what can go wrong in the psyche of a human being when the human qualities of small island culture become displaced from being held within the basket of a living community? Through the lens of his latest book, Poacher’s Pilgrimage: an Island Journey(newly released in the US by Cascade), Alastair will explore the Highland Clearances, their impact on Trump’s maternal ancestors, the intergenerational effects of such trauma, and where the Scots today are finding hope in healing their relationship with both soil and soul. This is a story that might speak to many of us – to people of color, and to Native Americans – as well as those whose ancestry was European.

Alastair McIntosh (Scotland) has been described by BBC TV as “one of the world’s leading environmental campaigners.” A pioneer of modern land reform in Scotland, he helped bring the Isle of Eigg into community ownership. On the Isle of Harris he negotiated withdrawal of the world’s biggest cement company (Lafarge) from a devastating “superquarry” plan, then agreed to serve (unpaid) on that company’s Sustainability Stakeholders Panel for 10 years. Alastair guest lectures at military staff colleges, most notably the UK Defence Academy, on nonviolence. His books include Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power (Aurum), Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition (Birlinn), Rekindling Community (Green Books) and Spiritual Activism: Leadership as Service (Green Books). His most recent major work is Poacher’s Pilgrimage: an Island Journey (Birlinn 2016, due in USA from Cascade 2018). He is a fellow of the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh and a visiting professor at the College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow. His website is www.AlastairMcIntosh.com and Twitter @alastairmci.

This event is co-sponsored by the School of Divinity's Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program, and Wake Forest partners, including the Humanities Institute, Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, and the Environmental Program