Spotlight: Jacobites - new History Scotland column


22 October 2020
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A new magazine and online column, Spotlight: Jacobites, will feature short case studies that offer fresh perspectives on the Jacobite era.

Starting in early 2021, the magazine and web series will be written by Dr Darren Layne, with guest content from other Jacobite scholars.

The column is an exciting new public space where emerging scholars in the field of Jacobite studies have a chance to engage with a significant readership.

The essays will generally deal with ‘experiential’ Jacobitism from the perspective of ‘ordinary’ people involved with – and against – the risings, all based upon archival, primary-source research and offering pointers for readers who want to follow the paper trail further.

Fresh perspectives on the Jacobite century

Dr Layne explained more about how the series will develop: 'My vision for Spotlight: Jacobites is to create a public space in which we can present fresh perspectives on the entire Jacobite century (1688-1788) based upon archival research and a modern reassessment of primary sources.

'When we think of the broad ‘Jacobite cause’ or the military risings that manifested from its aims, the things that many remember most vividly are often shrouded in mythology and romance. This is the natural way of history as tradition and how it passes through our collective memory. Indeed, history is less of a single, static timeline and much more of a set of parallel experiences, and it is here that the historian’s craft comes into focus to offer valuable context.

'While a significant part of the Jacobite era’s appeal is that romantic narrative, its tales of noble savagery and the fateful doom of exiled kings and gallant Highlanders, that is only a small part of the much larger story.

'The essays in Spotlight: Jacobites, then, will take on some of these myths by examining the experiences of the people who actually lived during the long 18th century through the archival sources they have left behind.

As the focus of my research deals with the "ordinary" folk during the later phase of Jacobite activity (1740-1759), I am most interested in taking a closer look at plebeian activity and how the political, regional, and confessional layers of the Jacobite movement were influenced by the British populace, as well as how that movement affected their individual and collective lives.'

About the author

Darren S. Layne received his PhD from the University of St Andrews and is creator and curator of the Jacobite Database of 1745, a wide-ranging prosopographical study of people who were involved in the last rising. His historical interests are focused on the protean nature of popular Jacobitism and how the movement was expressed through its plebeian adherents. He is a passionate advocate of the digital humanities, data and metadata cogency, and accessible research.

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