CFP: Revolutions in Eighteenth-Century Sociability

Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (CSECS) &  Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society (ECSSS)

15-18 October 2014

Hôtel Delta Montreal, 475 President-Kennedy Avenue

Montreal, Quebec

Social cohesion and harmony are based largely on sociability, a form of ‘soft’ police referring to the capacity of individuals to interact, communicate, and live together without the ongoing intervention of a coercive power. Sociability therefore pertains to the multiple ways individuals have of coming into contact with friends or strangers, be it in person, through clubs, salons, societies or other associations, or at a distance, through correspondence, publication and debate.

This conference sets out to examine the evolution of sociability in the long eighteenth century and to do so through the prism of the numerous revolutions — political, commercial, industrial, scientific, literary and artistic — which helped to redefine sociability’s forms and to redirect its practices. It will accordingly be possible to consider the full range of topics linked to this subject, notably philosophical debates and literary representations on the theme of human nature and social relations, exploration of social networks and the institutions which sustained them, as well as the examination of forces which tended to transform or disturb the forms and practices of sociability. Authors of the Scottish Enlightenment such as Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, Adam Smith, James Boswell and Robert Burns were key figures in debates on sociability during the eighteenth century, and proposals dedicated to them will be welcome.

The organising committee invites the submission of panels or other presentations both on the conference’s general theme and on all other subjects relating to the eighteenth century. Individual proposals are welcome and the committee will seek to group these into panels on consistent themes. However, participants are also invited to submit proposals for complete panels, including two or (ideally) three speakers together with the names of a chair and a commentator.

Proposals for roundatables or all other kinds of contribution will also be positively received.

Proposals for panels or papers might include the following themes, although this is not an exhaustive list :

– Spaces of sociability
– Police, surveillance and espionnage
– Science and the Republic of Letters
– Freemasonry
– Urban space and land use
– Writing as a social act
– The figure of the hermit
– Sociability and political revolutions
– Perspectives on the crowd
– Sensibility and social distinction
– Communication networks
– Friendship
– Schooling, education and the transmission of knowledge Celebrity, notoriety, and public space Moral and Sociality Etc.

The keynote speakers for this conference will be Pierre Serna, professor at the University of Paris-I Panthéon-Sorbonne, director of the Institut d’histoire de la Révolution française, and vice-president of the Commission internationale d’histoire de la Révolution française; and James Moore, emeritus professor at Concordia University.

Proposals (in French or in English) should be submitted in electronic form and sent to the conference organiser, Pascal Bastien, at the following address: They should contain a title, a summary (of no more than one page) for presentations of 20 minutes or for panels of three papers, and a short CV (of no more than one page) for each participant.

Deadline for the submission of proposals: April 1st, 2014.

The organizing committee will receive tentative proposals for the conference through summer and fall of 2013: those interested are invited to submit a provisional paper or session title and sign up for the conference info-letter.  The info-letter will remind participants of deadlines and provide information on various conference activities and funding possibilities.  Future participants will still be required to submit official proposals and CVs in due form, on or before the April 1, 2014 deadline.

Organizing Committee:  Julie Allard (Bishop’s University), Pascal Bastien (UQAM), Simon Dagenais (UQAM)), Lucie Desjardins (UQAM), Marie-Claude Felton (McGill), Geneviève Lafrance (UQAM), Simon Macdonald (McGill).

Scientific Committee:  Brian Cowan (McGill), Susan Dalton (Université de Montréal), Peggy Davis (UQAM), Deidre Dawson (Michigan State University), Nicholas Dew (McGill), Ugo Dionne (Université de Montréal), Jean-François Gauvin (Harvard), Matthew Hunter (McGill), Neven Brady Leddy (Bishop’s University), Ted McCormick (Concordia), Benoît Melançon (Université de Montréal), Dario Perinetti (UQAM), Peter Sabor (McGill), Jonathan Sachs (Concordia), Richard Sher (New Jersey Institute of Technology), Mark Spencer (Brock University), Laurent Turcot (UQTR).