Alastair Mann researches widely in the fields of book and parliamentary history. In the former, work progresses on articles for The History of the Book in Scotland: medieval to 1707 (Edinburgh University Press, 2017) for which he is co-editor with Professor Sally Mapstone, formerly of Oxford and now St Andrews, and under the general editorship of Professor Bill Bell of Cardiff University, formerly director of the Centre for the History of the Book at Edinburgh University. These articles include pieces on Anglo-Scottish print rivalry, c.1580-1660; Edinburgh's post-Restoration press expansion; trade regulation, copyright and censorship; paper-making and importation; bookselling and distribution 1560 to 1707; news and information publishing, literacy, and profiles of the printers Agnes Campbell and Andro Hart.
As part of his ongoing interest in copyright law he contributed a paper at the AHRC Primary Sources in Copyright Conference (2008) entitled ‘A Mongrel of Early Modern Copyright': Scotland in European Perspective' then published in Privilege and Property: Essay on the History of Copyright (OpenBook, 2010) and subsequently ‘The anatomy of copyright law in Scotland before 1710' in Alexander and Gómez-Arostegui (eds.), Research Handbook on the History of Copyright Law (Edward Edgar, 2016), a book intended for practising lawyers as well as students of the book. He also continues to show interest in researching social history as in ‘The Lives of Scottish Book Traders, 1500-1800', in Scottish Life and Society: The Working Life of the Scots: a Compendium of Scottish Ethnology (John Donald, 2008) Research on the history of the Scottish Parliament continues in collaboration with academics at the universities of St Andrews (former home of the Scottish Parliament Project), Manchester, Dundee and Strathclyde. In 2010 two essays appeared in The History of the Scottish Parliament volume 3: Parliament in Context, 1235-1707 (2010) edited by Keith Brown (Manchester) and Alan MacDonald (Dundee, ex Parliament Project); one ‘House Rules: Parliamentary Procedure' explores the evolution of procedures since the thirteenth century, and the other ‘The Law of the Person: Parliament and Social Control' investigates the interaction between the parliament and the experiences of the people of medieval and early modern Scotland. In parliamentary history, he is UK leader for the European network ‘Political representation: communities, ideas and institutions in Europe (c. 1200-c. 1650) funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO); partners with Stirling being the Huygens Institute of Netherlands History, The Hague, universities of Amsterdam, Leiden, Antwerp and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. After three workshop conferences in The Hague, Stirling and Leuven (2012-14), and a panel at the 66th conference of the International Commission for the History of Parliamentary and Representative Institutions 2015 (‘Magna Carta', Kings College London/Parliament Trust) he will be co-editor with Mario Damen and Jelle Haemers of network book Political representation: communities, ideas and institutions in Europe (c. 1200 - c. 1650) (Brill, 2017) contributing the chapter ‘Officers of state and representation in the pre-modern Scottish Parliament' . In addition, some of this network joined with the Royal Society of Edinburgh Scone Network in making a HERA grant application and out of the main conference from the Scone group Dr Mann has written chapter for a conference book, entitled ‘The Scottish Coronation of Charles II: an exercise in compromise and radicalism'
His most important current and future research and impact project remains The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland [RPS] of which Dr Mann is co-editor. It is the most consulted web resource for Scottish History and was the foundation for a commended REF 2013/14 Case study. In July 2014 the website was transferred from St Andrews University to the National Records of Scotland [NRS] but the content is under the control of the editorial committee which meets regularly. Discussions are ongoing and preparations in hand for the launch of RPS 2 as an integrated part of a re-branded Scotland's People from NRS.
Blending parliamentary history and his interest ion James VII and II and the Restoration period the essay ‘James VII as unionist and nationalist: a monarch's view of the Scottish Parliament as revealed through his writings' in the journal Parliaments Estates and Representation, vol. 33, 101-19 (November, 2013) has appeared along with the chapter ‘The Scottish Parliamentandthe first Jacobite', in A.I. Macinnes, K. German and L. Graham (eds.), Living with Jacobitism, 1690-1788: The Three Kingdoms and Beyond (Pickering & Chatto, 2014). In addition to thiis the a major biograghy of James VII and II as king of Scots, James VII: Duke and King of Scots, 1633-1701 (John Donald, 2014) has been published
Three additional projects are in the formative stages:
Firstly, Dr Mann is in the initial stages of a project to produce an online, edited edition of the Scottish trials for treason and sedition in the 1790s with Dr Emma Macleod, also of History and Politics, following a planned volume of essays.
Secondly, discussions are ongoing with institutional partners to secure funding to prepare an online edition of the Records of the Privy Council of Scotland from 1691 to 1708, the period not covered by existing printed editions. This would be a major research resource 'templated' on the approach taken for the Records of the Parliaments of Scotland.
Also, work has started on a history of censorship to be entitled Pretenders to Liberty and Authority: The History of Press Censorship in Scotland, c.1500 to c.2000. (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), and the plan is to link this to database production, as well as a level 10 teaching module.