Call for Papers

Traffic in the Global Eighteenth Century

NEASECS 2020/2021, November 5-7, 2021

Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, New York City

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?


Call for Papers

Abstracts or proposals should be sent directly to session organizers no later than June 25, 2021. Session organizers are reminded that all submissions received up to that deadline MUST be considered. Organizers must submit their finalized panels to ljiang28@fordham.edu by June 30, 2021.

Individual papers not corresponding to one of the panels listed are also welcome for submission. A 200-word abstract should be submitted to ljiang28@fordham.edu by June 25, 2021.

Town Hall: We will also be hosting an open forum or town hall. Please click here to follow the instruction to register.

Registration and Membership: All participants must be members in good standing of NEASECS. Join or renew your NEASECS membership at http://neasecs.org/join4.html. Registration at the full price must be completed by August 20, 2021.

The NEASECS 2020/2021 conference will be held in online mode only.


Proposed Sessions

Updated by June 4, 2021

1. Intersections of Law and Literature

Melissa Bissonette (St. John Fisher College), mbissonette@sjfc.edu

The worlds of law and literature interacted in the early part of the century in myriad ways including, but certainly not limited to, court scenes and representations of lawyers, judges, constables, and prisons in fiction and on stage; the regular attendance at Assize courts of fashionable society; the popularity of dying confession broadsides, and expansion of Ordinary’s Reports to a larger reading audience; authors, actors, and playwrights whose own interactions with law (crim. con., debt, murder) were widely read and in some cases performed; and more. This panel seeks to explore the kinship between these two forms of cultural, social meaning making. 

Please send a 250-word abstract to Melissa Bissonette (mbissonette@sjfc.edu).

2. The Traffic in Images

Kristin O’Rourke (Dartmouth College), kristin.orourke@dartmouth.edu.

This panel seeks papers addressing the traffic in images throughout the long 18th century. The thriving print trade circulated reproductive and original prints circulated around cities (London, for ex) and between cities and lands (from Rome to Europe and the US), bringing scenes of contemporary life, fashion, news, celebrity, and literature to a broad and growing public. On the other hand the elite practice of collecting art during the Grand Tour brought ancient and old master artifacts to northern Europe and the US, filling country houses and spurring on new trends in design throughout the century. Particularly of interest is how such a circulation of objects influenced or reflected taste and art practice, subject matters and styles, political and socio-economic shifts. How did collecting and art dealing intersect within the cities, between major European capitals, and amongst nations? Case studies or larger investigations of the circulation of images are welcome.  

Please send 100-150 word abstracts to Kristin O’Rourke (kristin.orourke@dartmouth.edu).

3. Blocking Traffic: Interdisciplinarity and its Discontents

Daniel Gustafson  (CUNY) and James Horowitz (Sarah Lawrence College), dgustafon@ccny.cuny.edu and jhorowitz@sarahlawrence.edu

In Paper Minds: Literature and the Ecology of Consciousness and in a related essay published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Jonathan Kramnick argues against the dominance of an interdisciplinary paradigm as favoring the corporatization of the university and the subordination of the Humanities to STEM fields. This panel invites reflections on what is gained or lost by moving across the borders of disciplines, methodologies, or traditional sub-fields within eighteenth-century studies. 

Please email brief (250-300 words) abstracts to both Daniel Gustafson (dgustafson@ccny.cuny.edu) and James Horowitz (jhorowitz@sarahlawrence.edu). 

4. Trafficking in the Enlightenment

Al Coppola (John Jay College, CUNY), acoppola@jjay.cuny.edu

In Annelien de Dijn’s 2012 article, “The Politics of Enlightenment,” she traces a long history of contention about what exactly the Enlightenment was and what it should be praised or blamed for. What de Dijn calls the “black legend” of the Enlightenment cropped up as soon as the Revolutionary period, while the “modernization thesis”—that the Enlightenment is the source of our modern liberal democratic institutions—followed close on its heels.  This panel invites papers that explore some aspect of Enlightenment historiography.  How have 19th, 20th and 21st century critics “trafficked” in the Enlightenment?  From Edmund Burke and Augustin Barruel to Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, from Auguste Comte to Ernst Cassirer to Peter Gay to Steven Pinker, how have writers reconstructed/remediated the Enlightenment, and to what purposes have they put it in their own political moment? Please send a 250-word abstract to Al Coppola (acoppola@jjay.cuny.edu). 

5. France in the Americas

Bruno Sagna (International Division of the National Library of France), bruno.sagna@gnf.fr

The proposed panel(s) will constitute the U.S. launch of France in the Americas, a digital library project under the patronage of French President Emmanuel Macron and part of the BnF’s “Shared Heritage” efforts. France in the Americas explores the history of French engagement with North America and the Caribbean by bringing together digital content from libraries and archives across France, Great Britain, North America and the Caribbean, augmented by scholarly essays. The project aims to catalyze research between academic communities and heritage institutions and to make digitized documents available to general audiences, especially within educational contexts.

At NEASECS 2020 we solicit papers to fill one or two panels on topics addressing the exchange of ideas, people, and things between France and the Americas in the long 18th century. Topics should fall into one (or more) of the 6 main categories that structure the project:

  • French exchanges with the First Nations of the Americas
  • France and the production and exchange of knowledge in / of / with the Americas
  • French influences on, or interactions with, politics in the Americas
  • French engagements with social institutions in the Americas
  • France and the economies of the Americas
  • French interactions with / impacts on the cultural life of the Americas

Please send a 250-word abstract to Juliana Broad (jbroad@fordham.edu).

6. Traffic in Medical Knowledge (A Roundtable)

Kathleen Alves and William J. Ryan (CUNY), KAlves@qcc.cuny.edu and WRyan@qcc.cuny.edu

Medical works occupy a multi-dimensional material space in the public sphere. As a discourse with its own classification systems composed in specialized language, scientific writing is equipped with a set of conceptual tools that yield a tenable knowledge of the material world. During the eighteenth-century, the increased circulation of medical texts beyond the libraries and classrooms of learned physicians and into the hands of laypeople produced a kind of “gridlock” in the traffic of medical knowledge. While accessibility provided formal medical knowledge and education to the untrained literate, many physicians expressed anxiety about ceding authority and control over such knowledge.

This roundtable is interested in how medical texts circulated inside and outside reading communities, and the tensions that emerge from the exchange. How does the traffic of medical ideas become protected or guarded within particular communities? What is the impact of the broader circulations and commerce of medical texts in a community of literate individuals? How do medical texts become sites of struggle for authority over and knowledge of particular bodies? And, as signifying practices, how does medical language give meaning to the material object of the body, shape subjectivity, and translate into concrete cultural practices? 

Please send a 250-word abstract to Kathleen Alves (KAlves@qcc.cuny.edu) and William J. Ryan (WRyan@qcc.cuny.edu).

7. Stopping Traffic: Ideologies of Isolation

Adam Kozaczka (Texas A&M International University), adam.kozaczka@tamiu.edu

Edmund Burke’s anti-Revolutionary rhetoric provided a foundation of homegrown British political values for legal, political, and literary-cultural opposition to the movement of Revolutionary ideas across the English Chanel. Called the father of modern conservatism by American conservative ideologue Russel Kirk, Burke’s rejection of foreign ideas and appeal to a constructed sense of tradition forecasts some of our own, early twenty-first century political isolationisms: the reappearance of large-scale tariffs, the building of a border wall in North America, the withdrawal of a great western nation from Europe, populism’s electoral successes in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere. This panel seeks papers on long-eighteenth century topics including isolation, political conservatism, and the desire to ‘stop traffic’ or limit exchange (of ideas, populations, currencies, resources, languages, characters). Submissions are not limited to British topics or to the French Revolution Debate: studies of Continental, American, and Colonial isolationisms are especially welcome. Submissions might also consider isolationism more broadly: resistance against literary genres, modes of dress, or cultural practices articulated as new or foreign.

If you are interested, please submit a roughly 200-word abstract to Adam Kozaczka (adam.kozaczka@tamiu.edu).

8. Air Traffic in the Invisible World: Ghosts, Specters, and the Swarm of Spirits

Mira M. Zaman (Borough of Manhattan Community College), mizaman@bmcc.cuny.edu

Early Enlightenment thinkers such Joseph Glanville, Henry More, Richard Baxter, and Richard Boulton fiercely defended the notion that the air around us is swarming with spirits, both good and evil, forming a kind of  invisible “air traffic.” Other writers looked for empirical proof of the spirit world, as Enlightenment culture saw a rise in demonology tracts, spiritual autobiographies, and religious pamphlets containing supposedly eye-witness accounts of invisible specters and spirits. Robinson Crusoe discusses the “invisible intelligence” that he “perhaps cannot account for; but certainly they are proof of the converse of spirits, and a secret communication between those embodied and those unembodied” (Defoe 148-149). In 1711, Joseph Addison, too, claims in The Spectator 12 that he is “apt to join  in Opinion with those who believe that all the Regions of Nature swarm with Spirits; and that we have Multitudes of Spectators on all our Actions, when we think ourselves most alone.”

Writers and artists defending the existence of ghosts, specters, and spirits faced the peculiar challenge of empirical representation: how do novelists depict invisible entities? How does any writer or artist represent the un-representable? And how do these artistic endeavors intersect with and complicate contemporary discourses of scientific empiricism? This panel invites submissions concerning any and all aspects of this “air traffic” and the invisible world as it discussed in eighteenth-century literature, art, and culture. Papers considering issues of empirical representation are especially welcome. 

Please send a 250-word abstract to Mira M. Zaman (mizaman@bmcc.cuny.edu).

9. What Can I Do With This?: Teaching the 18th Century for Understanding the 21st

Kathryn Desplanque (UNC Chapel Hill), kathryn.desp@gmail.com

The perennial question of undergraduate, Masters, and doctoral students in the Humanities: what can I do with this? Often asked by undergraduates hoping to justify to themselves and their parents why they ought to indulge the pursuit of their interests, faculty answer them directly, inventorying the types of jobs one can get with a degree in the Humanities. But is there a question behind this question that we have failed to answer: why is it useful to study history?

2020 and 2021 have provided much for future historians to grapple with and have overwhelmed all of us—the Covid 19 pandemic; vastly different global approaches to public health; global discrepancies in vaccine rollout and a “Vaccine Apartheid;” high rates of illness and death by Covid 19 amongst racialized communities especially Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities; Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd’s killings and the renewal of the Black Lives Matter movement; widespread interest in prison abolition and police defunding; the growth of a She-Cession as women exit the workplace during a global pandemic-induced childcare crisis; unprecedented attention to political governance models for support during crisis… 

From scholarship to social media, reading groups to publishing houses, leaders, activists, scholars, and the public have become extremely attentive to the ramifications of structural adversity. As the public asks, how did we get here and why, scholars of the long eighteenth-century are particularly qualified to answer.

This panel invites scholars to indulge in presentism, if only for an hour or two, to directly address how our teaching has been or can be an instrumental explanatory tool for understanding extremely timely topics of general interest to the public that have resurfaced and snowballed since 2020. How, in our teaching, can we draw attention to and provide context for, for example: the legacies of racial inequalities and slavery, the impact of imperialism on contemporary economies and seats of global power, medicalized racism, attitudes regarding women and their duties, histories of public health and epidemics, and so on.

Please send a 250-word abstract to Kathryn Desplanque (kathryn.desp@gmail.com)

10. Cross-Cultural Traffic in New Netherland

Ann A. Huse (CUNY), ahuse@jjay.cuny.edu

For this conference in the former New Amsterdam, this panel proposes a discussion of cross-cultural currents in the colony of New Netherland that boomed in the 1650s under the management of the Dutch West India Company or West-Indische Compagnie (the WIC). Possible topics about this region stretching from Connecticut to Delaware include tensions and exchanges with the Algonquin tribes, interactions with New Sweden and the New England Settlement, the roles of French-speaking Walloons and Huguenots, and resistance from the Africans the Dutch enslaved. Literary and artistic representations of this traffic are welcomed, as are considerations of the legacy of Nieuw Nederland after the WIC transferred ownership of the colony to the English in 1674.

Please send 150-word abstracts to Ann A. Huse (ahuse@jjay.cuny.edu).

11. Circulation in Eighteenth-Century French Literature and Art

Paul Young (Georgetown University), pjy@georgetown.edu

This panel seeks papers on examining “circulation” (in its broadest sense) as it functions in eighteenth-century French art and texts. Possible elements to consider would include:

  • The circulation of bodies, portraits, or letters in the eighteenth-century novel;
  • Descriptions or theories of the circulation of fluids or “humors” in eighteenth-century bodies;
  • Examinations of “transports” and/or “moyens de transport” in eighteenth-century French texts;
  • Travels, wanderings, exiles, diasporas, kidnappings, and human trafficking in the eighteenth-century;
  • The licit or illicit commerce of books and periodicals;
  • Social ascension or derogation;
  • The movement of characters on a stage;
  • Money and circulation in the long eighteenth-century.

Circulation, defined (in part) in the Encyclopédie as “tout mouvement périodique ou non, qui ne se fait point en ligne droite,” offers a multivalent lens to look at the literary, cultural, and artistic productions of eighteenth-century France. This interdisciplinary panel is open to scholars at any stage in their career (graduate students are encouraged to submit proposals!), and will consider “texts” across every genre. 

Please submit a 250-word proposal to Paul Young (pjy@georgetown.edu).

12. Information Traffic

Thierry Rigogne (Fordham University), rigogne@fordham.edu

This panel will explore the many ways in which information in its many guises circulated, was traded, exchanged, modified, adulterated, or even falsified by all sorts of actors in eighteenth-century societies. In what Robert Darnton has called an “early information society,” ever larger amounts of information were created and disseminated through complex media systems encompassing books, pamphlets, newspapers, manuscripts, letters, oral conversations, songs, etc. At the same time, cities multiplied the number and range of public spaces in which news and information could be shared, from the traditional public gardens, bridges, markets and theaters to the new boulevards, coffeehouses, clubs or Vauxhalls. The stakes in getting access to information, controlling its flow, shaping its content and capitalizing on it became higher as many groups or individuals strove to participate in its production, dissemination and reception.

Individual presentations that focus on any aspect of the traffic in information of any sort in any part of eighteenth-century Europe are welcome.

The panel will consist of 3 papers, which should not exceed 20 minutes each, followed by an open discussion.

Please submit the title of your proposed presentation, an abstract (350 words max.), a short CV, along with your institutional information and email address to Thierry Rigogn (rigogne@fordham.edu).

13. Trafficking in Early Neurology

Frank Boyle (Fordham University), ftboyle@fordham.edu

Neurology came by its name and much of its early form via Thomas Willis’s Cerebri anatome (1664). We have the notes of the lectures that led to this book in John Locke’s hand, and Julien Offray de La Mettrie is still repeatedly citing the work as current biological evidence in L’homme Machine in 1747. Mary Astell, sometimes called England’s first feminist, cites the evidence from physicians and anatomists that “there is no difference in the Organization” of the brain and other parts related to minds in men and women.  And Joseph Addison’s aesthetic theory turns in important ways on a discussion of ideas as “a set of traces belonging to them in the brain, bordering very near upon one another.” This panel is interested in papers on Willis and his research team, including Christopher Wren and Richard Lower, as well as papers on ways the new neurology laid its traces or tracks through the history, philosophy, religion, literature and other arts of the long eighteenth century. 

Please send a 250-word abstract to Frank Boyle (ftboyle@fordham.edu).

14. Travel, Movement, and Migration

Julie Kim (Fordham University), jukim@fordham.edu

How did travel define the eighteenth century? What forms of movement predominated, and what paths of migration did people, plants, animals, and things take? It is well known, of course, that the eighteenth century was a century of imperial expansion and that projects of commerce and colonization produced new forms of circulation. This panel seeks papers dealing with the networks created by empires and nations. At the same time, it also seeks papers that track the moves of subjects, objects, and agents working at cross-purposes to state structures. To what extent can we map “outsides” to the state or realms of difference within them? How did the state control the migration of populations, and how did it simultaneously fail to control mobility?

Please send a 250-word abstract to Julie Kim (jukim@fordham.edu).

15. The Slave Trade and the Early Black Atlantic World

NEASECS, neasecs@gmail.com

This panel seeks papers on the slave trade and the early black Atlantic world. How did the slave trade connect various parts of the Atlantic world and come to form its central infrastructure? How did this infrastructure permeate and transform the Americas, Africa, and Europe? What were the responses of enslaved and formerly enslaved peoples to the slave trade? How did they both become subject to the slave trade and resist subjugation?

Please send a 250-word abstract to NEASECS (neasecs@gmail.com).

16. Indigenous Negotiations

NEASECS, neasecs@gmail.com

This panel seeks papers that conceive of the eighteenth century and its economic, political, and cultural developments from indigenous perspectives. What did indigenous peoples think of the forms of commerce that came to their shores with expanding waves of colonization and conquest? How did they shape these forms of commerce to fit into the pre-existing systems of trade and exchange that they had already created in the Americas? What were some of the other ways in which indigenous individuals and peoples negotiated and contested settler colonialism and empire?

Please send a 250-word abstract to NEASECS (neasecs@gmail.com)

17. “Pedlar in Divinity”–George Whitefield’s “Great Awakening”

Judith Stuchiner (Fordham University), judystuchiner@gmail.com

Methodist George Whitefield (1736-1770), is an unlikely bridge between the sober Puritanism of his forbears and the mid eighteenth-century consumer revolution. Unlike John Wesley who was satisfied to merely move beyond the local parish of the Anglican Church and to preach outside the physical Church–in the open air, Whitefield, a “pedlar in divinity,” took religion to the marketplace and hugely expanded his coverage. Using the same strategies as the growing business sector, whose values he so deplored, Whitefield increased his audience to global proportions. A believer in advance publicity, he placed advertisements for upcoming sermons in newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic; a utilizer of pamphlets, evangelical magazines, and secular newsprint, he brought religion to the public sphere; a savvy entrepreneur, he published his “private” journal in pocket size installments for which he provided discount incentives such as prepayment and home delivery. Though Whitefield certainly had his detractors, the Great Itinerant’s particular brand of commercialized religion continued to soar. This panel seeks papers on the global eighteenth century as fertile ground for “evangelical networks.” These networks attracted ministers and merchants, printers and politicians. How and why did the eighteenth century give rise to these “evangelical networks” which combined the spiritualism of a Jonathan Edwards and the pragmatism of a Benjamin Franklin? 

Please send a 250-word abstract to Judith Stuchiner (judystuchiner@gmail.com).

18. Women in London:Traffic and Transit

Elizabeth Porter (CUNY), eporter@hostos.cuny.edu

The famous example of Hogarth’s A Harlot’s Progress (1732) presents a narrative where a young, working class woman is immediately trafficked into the life of sex work upon her arrival in London, which leads to disease and death. This panel seeks papers exploring wide-ranging representations of fictional and nonfictional women who move and are moved through London during the eighteenth century. As this framing suggests, the degree to which women actively navigated urban space, whether as servants, vendors, sex workers, or genteel women enjoying the London Season, or to which they are passively “trafficked” into various roles under conditions of surveillance and objectification, can be contested and further nuanced. In addition to considerations of physical “transit” throughout London, this panel is also interested in investigating metaphorical transits that happen in urban space. How do women adjust to new roles and how might they assume new identities in urban space? Of particular interest to this panel are non-canonical texts and considerations of women of color and queer women in London. 

Please send a 250-word abstract to Elizabeth Porter (eporter@hostos.cuny.edu).

19. Trafficking in the Experimental Imagination

Eve Keller and Vivian Papp (Fordham University), ekeller@fordham.edu and vpapp@fordham.edu

Tita Chico’s The Experimental Imagination, Frederique Aït-Touati’s Fictions of the Cosmos and many other recent works have explored the traffic between empiricist and artistic discourses in the early modern period and the eighteenth century. This panel invites further investigations of the theories and historical bases of these approaches as well as new material for consideration from the period. Papers on how the imagination works and is represented in scientific texts, in novels and poetry, in illustration and the fine arts are all welcome.

Please send a 250-word abstract to Eve Keller (ekeller@fordham.edu) and Vivian Papp (vpapp@fordham.edu).

20. Multi-Centered Global Trade

Lina Jiang (Fordham University), ljiang28@fordham.edu

Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations depicts a multi-centered global trade in the eighteenth century: the market is “not confined to the countries in the neighbourhood of the mine, but extends to the whole world,” in which “the copper of Japan makes an article of commerce in Europe; the iron of Spain in that of Chili and Peru. The silver of Peru finds its way, not only to Europe, but from Europe to China.” What new forms of culture arose because of global economic networks? How can paying attention to global trade help us rethink texts within transnational contexts? To what extent does global trade demand that we study several locations in conjunction, versus one or two in isolation? This panel seeks papers on Europe, Asia, the Americas, and other sites in connection and comparison. 

Please send a 250-word abstract to Lina Jiang (ljiang28@fordham.edu).

21. Trafficking Worlds: Circulations of Indigenous Cosmologies

Ami Yoon (Columbia University), ay2382@columbia.edu

This panel seeks to investigate how indigenous cosmological orientations or traditions moved across material and representational contexts, as circulations of bodies and knowledge across the eighteenth-century Atlantic world brought colonial subjects into contact with the alternative cosmologies of indigenous communities in the New World. How did indigenous ways of making sense of the world travel across cultural, linguistic, or geographical distances? In what forms were indigenous cosmologies and ritual practices depicted or disseminated? How did encounters with indigenous conceptualizations of materiality and the environment shape colonial responses to knowing the world? How do we read archives for such alternative knowledges of the world? Papers that approach the topic from non-literary perspectives are welcome. 

Please send a 250-word abstract to Ami Yoon (ay2382@columbia.edu).

22. Anti-Racist Pedagogy, Jane Austen, and the Long 18C

Susan Greenfield (Fordham University), greenfield@fordham.edu

This panel invites papers that consider anti-racist approaches to teaching Jane Austen as well as more general discussions of anti-racist pedagogy and the long 18C. As long as the paper addresses anti-racist pedagogy, the range of acceptable topics is very flexible. Whether you have revamped an entire Austen course, are working on new ways to teach an individual Austen novel, or have questions and concerns about how to change your teaching of her work, feel free to apply. I will also consider more general papers about anti-racist pedagogical approaches to the long 18C. 

Please send a 250-word abstract to Susan Greenfield (greenfield@fordham.edu).

23. Diderot

Andrew H. Clark (Fordham University), anclark@fordham.edu

This panel invites new work on Diderot. Ideally, submissions should intersect with the conference’s theme of traffic. 

Please send a 250-word abstract to Andrew H. Clark (anclark@fordham.edu).

24. Oceanic Currents

Stephen Fragano (Fordham University), sfragano@fordham.edu

Prevailing wind patterns and oceanic currents often determined the direction, frequency, and plausibility of maritime voyages in the eighteenth century. This panel seeks to explore the effects of oceanic and geographic phenomena on the development of eighteenth-century literary and political cultures as well. How did trade winds, seas, and oceanic movement determine which places were colonized by Europeans first? What arts of the sea—or arts about the sea—developed in maritime communities, whether in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, the Pacific, or beyond? How did texts and material culture depict the oceans and seas as permeable or impermeable boundaries of communication? What happened in places that were outside the main routes of imperial, maritime commerce? How did pirates, maroons, and others occupy alternative watery spaces (secluded bays, swamps, rivers, etc.) and create their own, anti-imperial maps of the ocean?

Please send a 250-word abstract to Stephen Fragano (sfragano@fordham.edu).

25. Affect and Archives: Locating Emotions in 18th-Century Sources 

Jeffrey Freedman (Yeshiva University), freedman@yu.edu

Recent decades have seen a surge of interest in the meanings, expressive norms, and political uses of emotions in eighteenth-century culture. But this “affective turn” has not as yet been accompanied by a corresponding reflection on questions related to sources. Among the questions that papers in this panel may wish to address are the following: What kind of texts or images do scholars privilege when searching for evidence of emotional states? Are there elective affinities between particular kinds of sources—e.g. personal letters or epistolary novels—and the kinds of emotions that are represented? Which archival sources are valuable for studying emotions? What methods and conceptual framings can help us interpret ‘traces’ of emotional experience?  

Please send a 250-word abstract to Jeffrey Freedman (freedman@yu.edu).

26. Crossflows and “Trafic” during the French Revolution (Fully formed panel)

Masano Yamashita (Masano.Yamashita@colorado.edu)

This panels traces the crossflows of people, property, wealth, and ideas during the period of the French Revolution.  Adopting a wide-angle lens, our panel will explore the fluidity found in French race and citizenship debates; the distinctions and similarities between servants and the enslaved in diasporic émigré fiction, the significance of trafficking amongst le petit peuple, and semantic discussions of the French Revolutionary language of flow and transformation. While rooted in the culture and literature of the French revolutionary period, our panel will pay special attention to the dynamic crossflows of ideas between Metropolitan France and its colonies.  

Proposed Speakers: 

  • Masano Yamashita, University of Colorado, Boulder, paper title, ” From Paris to Altendorf to Martinique: Diasporas, Servants and Service in the Emigré world of Isabelle de Charrière”
  • Scott Sanders,Dartmouth College, paper title, “Identities of Color in Revolutionary Bordeaux” 
  • Lucien Nouis, New York University, paper title, “Moralités du petit trafic : l’économie interstitielle chez L.-S. Mercier” 
  • Fayçal Falaky, Tulane University, paper title, “Unfettering the Body Politic”

27. Archives of Movement: Remix and Recovery with the Early Caribbean Digital Archive (A Roundtable)

Nicole Aljoe (n.aljoe@northeastern.edu) and Alanna Prince (prince.a@husky.neu.edu)

This round table will offer a range of perspectives on travel and movement in the 18th-century Caribbean drawing on the resources of the Early Caribbean Digital Archive. Digital tools and methodologies such as those associated with ECDA can make movement in the Caribbean more apparent—whether that is through mapping tools, digitized periodicals and travel narratives, or metadata. The data collected from these tools show how travel and movement in the early Caribbean is both widespread and involves multiple, intersecting networks of a variety of people—free, enslaved, and native—across plantations, class boundaries, and countries. More specifically, roundtable participants will illuminate not only the movement of people and goods, but also the transference of information and beliefs that had material impacts on all people living in (and traveling to and from) the many parts of the Colonial
Caribbean. Moving beyond the misconception of the Caribbean as a static destination, and instead explores it as a place in which movement was constant—both across the Atlantic and within Caribbean ports and islands. We consider “micromovements,” or movement between Caribbean islands, in order to break away from the idea of the Caribbean as a monolith and make more apparent the ways in which both free and enslaved Black people traveled across and within islands, and what they might have brought and taken from the different places they visited.

Proposed Speakers: 

  • Alanna Prince: “Metadata and the Mapping of the Early Caribbean”
  • Avery Blankenship: “Networks of the Runaway Slave: Runaway Slaves Ads in The
    Barbados Mercury .”
  • Savita Maharaj: “Tracking the Roots/Routes of Carnival: Race, Religion, and Celebration in the Caribbean”
  • Tieanna Graphenreed: “Voice, Narrative, and Movement in the Archive”
  • Nicole N. Aljoe: “Making the Early Caribbean Accessible: Teaching the Early Caribbean
    Across Borders and Institutions”

28. Economics and Ecology (A Roundtable)

Chi-ming Yang (cmyang@english.upenn.edu) and Suvir Kaul (kaul@english.upenn.edu)

In a discussion of “Ideas of Nature,” Raymond Williams invites us to consider ourselves part of the physical world rather than separate from it; out of this intermixture, he argues, we have produced an “altered natural order” as well as increasing alienation between humans and nonhumans. We are not only producers, we are products of our environments. We not only produce cars, but also pollution and traffic jams, he writes. Furthermore, we are these things, in the sense that we exist in relation to them. What are the relationships between “all our products and activities”? As part of his enquiry, Williams argues that “it will be ironic if one of the last forms of the separation between abstracted Man and abstracted Nature is an intellectual separation between economics and ecology.” This panel is designed to explore the idea that literary texts refuse such separation—either between “abstracted Man” and “abstracted Nature” or between economics and ecology—and that a historically sensitive literary criticism allows us to map such vital relationships. A classic instance of such a text might be Oliver Goldsmith’s “The Deserted Village.” We invite panelists to identify other such work that details the vivid interconnections between economics and ecology. Interconnections in the areas of indigenous knowledge and labor, counter-hegemony, and colonial exchange are especially welcome.

Proposed Speakers:

  • Charlotte Sussman, Department of English, Duke University “’No Rest’: Ecology, Slavery, and Infrastructure on Mary Prince’s Turk’s Island”
  • Greta Lafleur, Department of American Studies, Yale University, “The Nature of Violence in British North America”
  • Jill H. Casid, Deparments of Art History and Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Plant Being and the Landscape Inside: Revisiting Materialism”
  • Julie Chun Kim, Department of English, Fordham University, “Gardens, Residues, Emergences”
  • Betty Joseph, Department of English, Rice University, “Reading Marx’s German Ideology for a History of Nature”

29. Fiction, Philosophy, and Their Traffic

Jess Keiser (Tufts University), jess.keiser@gmail.com.

It’s long be evident to scholars of the eighteenth-century that the novel bears a kinship with philosophy. We’re just as likely to discover debates about free will, the ideal society, and the nature of reality in the pages of various “lives,” “tales,” and “adventures” as we are in “essays,” “treatises,” and “discourses.” But if novels sometimes read like philosophy, then what makes these fictions different from their doppelgangers? This panel considers some ways novels tackle various philosophical problems by developing, through the resources of literary form, a unique idiom. We will consider the representation of legal personhood in The Female Quixote, the displaced sense of historical time in The Recess, and the question of mimesis and imagination in Tristram Shandy

Proposed Speakers:

  • Anastasia Eccles, Yale University, “Latent Form in the Early Historical Novel”
  • Stephanie Hershinow, Baruch College, CUNY, “’The Character of a Reasonable Person’: Irrational Knowledge in The Female Quixote”
  • Jess Keiser, Tufts University, “Another Meditation on a Hobby Horse: Sterne, Walton, Mimesis, and Make-Believe”

30. Revisions and Adaptations

Elizabeth Bolger (Fordham University), ebolger2@fordham.edu.

Revisions and adaptations of texts, histories and ideas can be seen as a kind of traffic between one form of representation and another.  This panel is open to papers that address any variation on that theme with respect to the long eighteenth century. Topics can range widely—from, for instance, a paper that considers a single eighteenth-century author’s revision or adaptation of her own work, to one that analyzes recent or current revisions and adaptations of eighteenth-century texts, history or ideas on social media. Papers on parodies, cross-cultural, cross-national and/or linguistic adaptations or appropriations, debates about how to frame the very idea of eighteenth-century history—or anything beyond or in between—will all be considered.

Please send a 250-word abstract to Elizabeth Bolger (ebolger2@fordham.edu).



Proposals for panels and roundtables are due April 21, 2021.

Notification of the acceptance of your panel will be made no later than April 22, 2021.

Abstracts or proposals should be sent directly to session organizers no later than June 25, 2021.

Notification of paper acceptance is due on June 30, 2021.

Individual papers not corresponding to one of the panels listed are also welcome for submission. A 200-word abstract should be submitted to ljiang28@fordham.edu by June 25, 2021.

Organizers must submit their finalized panels to ljiang28@fordham.edu by June 30, 2021.

Registration at the full price must be completed by August 20, 2021.

Click here to register and submit your proposals.