Call for Papers

Traffic in the Global Eighteenth Century

NEASECS 2020, September 25-27

Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, New York City

Click here to register and submit your proposals.


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 43 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?

Anyone who wishes to participate can, and this can be in lieu of a paper. Although if you wish to participate in this session in addition to a panel or roundtable that is also welcome. The two-hour session will have parliamentary style format with lively free interventions from audience members.  All you must do is register. All those who register for this event will be listed as participants in the session in the program.


Proposals for panels and roundtables are due January 30, 2020.

The call for papers will be posted by February 15, 2020.

Submission to panels and roundtables (individual contributions) will be due March 30, 2020.

Early registration at a discounted price must be completed by May 30, 2020.

Registration at the full price must be completed by August 1, 2020.

Please submit your proposals directly to neasecs@gmail.com. Thank you.

Click here to register and submit your proposals.