Contemporary image of the ceremonial opening of Scottish Parliament in 1707.
Emile Lousse Prize, 2015
Awarded annually for the best article published in the journal Parliaments, Estates and Representation by a scholar under the age of 40.
Dr Allan Kennedy is joint winner of the prize for his article ‘Representing the Periphery: Highland Commissioners in the Seventeenth-Century Scottish Parliament, c.1612-1702’ (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02606755.2015.1022343?journalCode=rper20#.VcDUAPlViko)
What inspired you to write this article?
This article examines the activities of Highland representatives (known as ‘commissioners’) in the Scottish Parliament of the seventeenth century. I was drawn to this topic because it addresses two major gaps in the historiography of early modern Scotland. Firstly, although research into the pre-1707 Scottish Parliaments has been extremely lively over the last twenty years, much of this has addressed matters of procedure or high politics, with comparatively little attention being given to the relationship between Parliament and the various constituencies represented within it. Secondly, many historians continue to assume that the Scottish Highlands played little or no role in national affairs in the early modern period – a conclusion which my PhD research very much called into question. This essay, which argues that Highlanders were increasingly savvy and enthusiastic in their engagement with Parliament, was therefore a means of addressing a big gap in our knowledge and engaging with issues surrounding political engagement and parliamentary representation which remain poorly understood.