Traffic in the Global Eighteenth Century

NEASECS 2020/2021 in NYC postponed to November 5-7, 2021

Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, New York City

Thank you to all of you who submitted panels or papers to the conference for this fall. All accepted papers and panels will be automatically accepted and included in the program for the fall 2021 conference.

As of April 2021, the NEASECS 2020/2021 conference will be held in synchronous hybrid mode (both in-person and online). Fordham has announced it will be returning in person in the fall, which thus should allow for the in-person conference. There will be different registration fees depending on whether you are attending the conference in person or virtually since the in-person conference will include cocktails, food, social gatherings, etc. We are mindful, however, that academic travel budgets have been cut and will do our best to keep the registration fees as low as possible for everyone. More information about registration will be coming in early June.

In the meantime if you would like to proposal a new panel for that call, please send it to ljiang28@fordham.edu and we will make sure it is included.

We are still accepting more panel proposals by April 21, 2021.

Panel Proposal Due Date: April 21, 2021

Notification of Panel Acceptance: April 22. 2021

Paper Proposal Due Date: May 20. 2021

Notification of Paper Acceptance: May 25, 2021

See Call for Papers here.


Conference Description

It would be difficult to imagine New York City without traffic, but traffic should not be understood merely as the noisy polluting congestion of its highly frequented streets and waterways, an issue already present in New Amsterdam. Traffic also refers to broader patterns of circulation and commerce, describing, as the Encyclopédie’s “Trafiqué” underlines, the passage, both legal and illicit, of goods, bodies, books, artworks, monies, services, and ideas through multiple hands. Even its etymology cited above points to the linguistic convergence of many languages and cultures. Traffic in this sense is as central to New York City today as it was to the global eighteenth century.

For this 43rd meeting of NEASECS, we invite panels, papers, and other interventions on the topic of traffic in the global eighteenth century: the circulation of goods and people; the traffic of ideas as well as objects of knowledge and aesthetic beauty (art objects, fashion, curiosities…); the smuggling of books, arms, drugs, commodities; the Atlantic slave trade and other forms of human trafficking; currency conversions and money traders; the effects and affects of traffic/trafficking including the sonic (noise, music, etc.) the infrastructure (or lack thereof) that shaped local, transnational and colonial circuits of exchange and, finally, modes of transport and the material forms of gridlock in congested urban areas. All disciplines from the history of science, history of the book, history of religion, architecture, art history, music history, and history, to literary studies, anthropology, and sociology are encouraged to participate. Roundtables are also highly encouraged.

Of course, in the long tradition of NEASECS, panels on topics different from the theme of the conference are also welcome. Panels will be 1 hour and 30 minutes. Panels should not have more than 4 presenters and should allow for at least 20 minutes of discussion.

For the very first time, and perhaps inspired by the controlled chaos of traffic itself and the vibrant, diverse democracy of New York City, we will also be hosting an open forum or town hall. The subject will focus on the sense of traffic as the “dealing or bargaining which should not be made the subject of trade” (OED): Where ought the thresholds for commercial incursions be? What was okay to sell or not in the eighteenth century? And what can the eighteenth century teach us if anything about how we should make the determinations today?