B.A., Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
After teaching in various capacities at the universities of Glasgow, St Andrews and Stirling Alastair Mann joined the Division of History and Politics in September 2005.
He is an authority on the early book trade of Scotland. This interest in the book trade developed from an earlier career as a book publisher and managing editor at Penguin Books in London in the 1970s and 1980s, after studying Publishing Studies at Napier University, Edinburgh. Subsequently, when he returned to Scotland for an academic career and did his undergraduate degree and doctoral thesis at the University of Stirling, it made perfect sense to continue that interest in the press and early publishing.
After obtaining his PhD in 1997, Dr Mann became a research fellow in the Scottish Parliament Project based at St Andrews University (1998-2005) which has produced, under the directorship of Professor Keith Brown, the major online resource The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland (rps.ac.uk) now hosted by the National Records of Scotland. This resource is now the premier online database for medieval and early modern Scottish history and is regarded as an international exemplar for such projects. Working chiefly on the period 1660 to 1707 he was co-editor of this project when it went live in 2008 and over the last decade has published widely on parliamentary history and the politics of seventeenth century Scotland, including The History of the Scottish Parliament, volume 2: Parliament and Politics in Scotland, 1567-1707 (2005), for which he is co-editor, and The History of the Scottish Parliament volume 3: Parliament in Context, 1235-1707 (2010), to which he has contributed two major chapters. In the light of his knowledge of the pre-1707 parliament he has advised the BBC on matters of ceremonial for the state openings of the new Scottish Parliament.
Meanwhile, in 2000 his monograph The Scottish Book Trade, 1500 to 1720 (2000) won the Scottish Saltire Prize as research book of the year, and he continues to publish on Scottish book history on subjects such as copyright and censorship, for example ‘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 and judges as well as students of the book and intellectual property. He is also co-editor of the forthcoming History of the Book in Scotland: medieval to 1707 (2017).
In addition, and reflecting his interest in Restoration history, he has published a major biography of James VII and II, the first ever 'life' from a Scottish perspective, entitled James VII and II: duke and king of Scots, 1633-1707 (John Donald, 2014)
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.
Mann A (2017) Ideologies inked in: Scotland’s culture of print in the Union debate of 1706. In: Müller KP, Schwittlinsky I, Walker R (ed.). Inspiring Views from "A' the Airts" on Scottish Literatures, Art & Cinema: The First World Congress of Scottish Literatures in Glasgow 2014. Scottish Studies International - Publications of the Scottish Studies Centre, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz in Germersheim, 41, Frankfurt: Peter Lang AG, pp. 105-126.
Mann A (2016) The anatomy of copyright law in Scotland before 1710. In: Alexander I, Gómez-Arostegui HT (ed.). Research Handbook on the History of Copyright Law. Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property, Cheltenham (UK), Northampton Massachusetts (USA): Edward Elgar, pp. 96-118.
Mann A (2014) The first Jacobite and the Scottish Parliament. In: Macinnes AI, German K, Graham L (ed.). Living with Jacobitism, 1690-1788: The Three Kingdoms and Beyond. Political and Popular Culture in the Early Modern Period, 9, Oxford: Pickering and Chatto, pp. 11-26.
Mann A (2010) Symbolism and Ritual in the Seventeenth-Century Scottish Parliament In: da Cruz Coelho MH, Tavares Ribeiro MM (ed.) Parlamentos: a Lei, a Prática e as representações - Da Idade Média á Actualidade/ Parliaments: The Law, The Practice and The Representations - From the Middle Ages to the Present Day , Lisbon, Portugal: Assembleia da República - Divisão de Edições. 60th conference of The International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions (ICHRPI), 2009, 1.9.2009 - 4.9.2009, Lisbon, Portugal, pp. 479-485.
Mann A (2010) "The Law of the Person": the Scottish Parliament and Social Control. In: Brown KM, MacDonald AR (ed.). The History of the Scottish Parliament, volume 3: Parliament in Context , Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 186-215.
Mann A (2010) House Rules: Parliamentary Procedure. In: Brown KM, MacDonald AR (ed.). The History of the Scottish Parliament, volume 3: Parliament in Context , Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 122-156.
Mann A (2010) ‘A Mongrel of Early Modern Copyright’: Scotland in European Perspective. In: Deazley Ronan, Kretschmer Martin, Bently Lionel (ed.). Privilege and Property: Essays on the History of Copyright, Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, pp. 51-65.
Mann A (2008) The Lives of Scottish Book Traders, 1500-1800. In: Mulhern Mark, Beech John, Thompson Elaine (ed.). Scottish Life and Society: The Working Life of the Scots. A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, Volume 7. Scottish Life and Society: A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, 7, John Donald (an imprint of Birlinn Limited).
Mann A (2007) Book review of: Parliament and dissent, Stephen Taylor & David L Wilkes eds. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2005, vii + 156 pp. ISBN 07486 2195 4, Scottish Historical Review, 86 (2), pp. 344-346.
Mann A (2006) The Scottish Parliaments: the role of ritual and procession in the pre-1707 parliament and the new parliament of 1999. In: Crewe E, Muller MG (ed.). Rituals in Parliaments: Political, Anthropological and Historical Perspectives on Europe and the United States, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, pp. 135-158.
Mann A (2004) 'Some Property is Theft': copyright law and illegal activity in early modern Scotland. In: Myers Robin, Harris Michael, Mandelbrote Giles (ed.). Against the Law: Crime, Sharp Practice and the Control of Print. Publishing Pathways, New Castle: Oak Knoll Press and the British Library, pp. 31-60.