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Extended deadline: CSECS Congress 2023 CFP

The deadline to submit your paper proposal for CSECS/SCEDHS 2023, “Matters and Materials of Life, 1660-1820 | Vies et formes de vies, 1660-1820”, has been extended until March 30th.

As a reminder, the conference is to be held October 18-21 in Montreal. Individual paper proposals are welcome. Please also consider submitting to one of the following panels. Submit directly to the panel organizer where email has been provided. Otherwise, please send your 150-word abstract with a short biographical note and contact email to

Please note that you must be a member of CSECS/SCEDHS in order to participate in the conference. More information about the conference can be found on the website:

Roundtable - Teaching 18th-Century Literature in the Age of AI

Panel organizers: Erin Keating (University of Manitoba) and Tiffany Potter (University of British Columbia)

With the easy availability of AI essay writing programs like ChatGPT, many of us are questioning how we teach and assess the students in our classrooms. While certainly not new topics, questions about non-traditional assignment and assessment design have become all the more urgent with the existence of AI programs able to imitate traditional forms like the five-paragraph essay or the thematic take-home exam style question. To help us think through these challenges together, the conveners of this roundtable invite proposals for short presentations on ways of dealing with these new technologies that are based in innovative pedagogical strategies rather than increased surveillance and punitive measures. We particularly invite proposals on innovative assignment design, including assignments that directly engage with new technologies and that force us to rethink traditional essay forms, and ungrading and other innovative assessment strategies.

Please send a 150-word proposal along with a brief biographical note to Erin Keating ( by Friday, March 10th.

Stage Comedy

Panel organizer: Brian Corman, University of Toronto, Department of English.

Please send a 150-word paper proposal and a brief biographical note to by March 15


Panel organized by conference organizers

Please send a 150-word paper proposal and a brief biographical note to by March 15

Disability raises the possibility that questions of form and style can allow us to comprehend different modes of embodied living beyond the norms and conventions of identity and social relations. This panel seeks papers that explore these questions by thinking about disability and voice. This specific avenue of enquiry all but demands a consideration of the materiality of communication and thus form would seem to be a crucial matter of concern. Whether formal matters be considered from the inside or the outside as it were, the overall objective of the panel is to examine how formal innovation and/or regulation opens onto different modes or genres of embodied life.

Make Live and Let Die: Empire, Colonialism, and Biopolitics

Panel organized by Daniel O’Quinn, University of Guelph, School of English and Theater Studies

Please send a 150-word paper proposal and a brief biographical note to by March 15

Michel Foucault’s writings and seminars on biopolitics are derived from extensive readings in the long eighteenth-century. This work has generated a wide array of theoretical modifications and historical corrections. One thing is certain: biopolitical tactics were a fundamental part of European colonial policy and the larger strategies devised for maximizing life were crucial to modulations in imperial politics. This panel seeks papers that explore either the more local tactics of biopolitical regulation or the more broad implications of biopolitical strategy for the theorization of empire and the practice of colonialism across the eighteenth century.

Liveness and the Eighteenth-Century Stage

Panel organized by Daniel O’Quinn, University of Guelph, School of English and Theater Studies

Please send a 150-word paper proposal and a brief biographical note to by March 15

The publication of Peggy Phelan’s Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (1993) and Philip Auslander’s Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture (1998) set the terms for debates about liveness and performance and these arguments continue to have immense influence in theatre studies. What are we to make of these debates now, in light of recent work on eighteenth-century performance cultures on the one hand and eighteenth-century media on the other? The ostensible distinction between lived and mediatized looks very different from an eighteenth-century perspective. This panel seeks papers that address the problem of liveness from at least two related directions. Is it possible to reconstruct what eighteenth-century audiences and practitioners would have understood as liveness? How do emergent forms of remediation—theatrical intelligence, celebrity memoirs, the mass market for theatrical portraits, toy theatres—impinge on how we understand live performance in the period? We would also welcome papers that attempt to think through how the shifting experience of liveness and remediation have become manifest in contemporary attempts to stage plays from the eighteenth-century repertoire.

Celebrity Lives

Panel organized by Fiona Ritchie, McGill University, English Department

Please send a 150-word paper proposal and a brief biographical note to by March 15

Numerous scholars over the last twenty years have explored the emergence of the celebrity life as an eighteenth-century cultural phenomenon. Important work by Joseph Roach, Shearer West, Sandra Macpherson, and others have provided both the examples and the methodologies needed to comprehend this new form of “life.” Is celebrity a form of heightened life? What does celebrity tell us about the relationship between fiction and exemplarity? How does an exemplary public life provide the contours of a style of living? Does celebrity allow for interventions in the norms and codes that structure social life more generally? These and a host of other questions are bound up with the electric interface between public and private in which celebrity lives and dies. This panel is interested in addressing these questions as widely as possible in any number of media. It is our hope that interdisciplinary discussion of these issues will open new avenues of research.

Living Forms: Affect and the Question of History

Panel organized by conference organizers

Please send a 150-word paper proposal and a brief biographical note to by March 15

Manners, conduct, and other forms of behaviour that codified affect themselves took various forms in the eighteenth century as they appeared across the discourses of law, science, rhetoric, and pedagogy. These matters could be delivered in print, portraiture, or performance and they inflected or were inflected by aesthetic norms. This panel asks what the specific forms taken to delineate, express, or control affect in the eighteenth century contribute to the question of affect’s history. Conversely, what can these expressions of affect add to our understanding of eighteenth-century life?

The Exploited Eighteenth Century

Panel organized by Ashley L. Cohen, University of Southern California, English Department

Please send a 150-word abstract and a brief biographical note to by March 15, 2023

Dispossession has emerged in recent years as a linchpin for critical discussions of colonialism, racial capitalism, and primitive accumulation in a range of fields and disciplines. The idea of a “Dispossessed Eighteenth Century” has helpfully provided a big-tent category for discussions of two related but distinct processes: primitive accumulation via colonial conquest overseas, and the expropriation of the peasantry from agricultural land via enclosure in England. However, like any critical analytic, dispossession has its limitations. In Theft is Property! Dispossession and Critical Theory (2019), Robert Nichols suggests that dispossession has become too ubiquitous, edging out an equally important but comparatively underused keyword: exploitation. Whereas dispossession belongs to a set of processes known as “primitive accumulation”—“primitive” in the sense that they are prior to capitalism, and pave the way for it— exploitation is a feature of the capitalist mode of production, where it involves the compulsory transfer of benefit (in the form of “surplus value”) from hierarchical subordinates to those who enjoy power over them. What makes capitalist exploitation unique vis-à-vis other forms of exploitation (such as serfdom or enslavement) is that it takes place under conditions of “formal” or “abstract” freedom. The so-called “free laborer” enjoys “the freedom to choose within a range of exploitative relationships, even while they cannot reject the background structuring condition of exploitation as such” (Nichols 56).

This panel invites papers on all aspects of “The Exploited Eighteenth Century,” with the goal of exploring how “exploitation” might complement “dispossession” as a keyword in our field. How is exploitation conceptualized in eighteenth-century sources? How is it contested? Topics might include liberalism, radicalism, crime and criminality, policing, vagrancy, religion, the Church, race, and gender.

Montréal in/and the Indigenous Eighteenth Century

Panel organized by conference organizers

Please send a 150-word proposal and a brief biographical note to

Paper proposals accepted in English or French

On the occasion of meeting in Montreal, this panel invites papers from any disciplinary perspective that reflect on the role of the city in Indigenous history. Topics could include the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701, the impact of the Seven Years War and the Royal Proclamation, the emergence of the Montreal-New York-Detroit base of the fur trade economy, the demise of the Jesuit order, the treasures of the McCord Museum, and its connections to the Indigenous communities/knowledge keepers of the St. Lawrence Valley region.

Roundtable: Next Steps to Diversifying Eighteenth-century Studies in Canada

Panel organized by conference organizers

Paper proposals accepted in English or French

Please send a 150-word proposal and a brief biographical note to

What are the next steps eighteenth-century scholarship can take to diversify? Methodological, institutional, and comparative approaches especially welcome.

Créatures monstrueuses à l’épreuve des Lumières/ Monstrous creatures as a challenge to Enlightenment thought"

Panel organized by Guy Spielmann, Georgetown University (Washington, DC)

Please send a 150-word proposal and a brief biographical note by March 15 to

Paper proposals accepted in English and French

Lorsque le « long XVIIIe siècle » se termine vers 1820, Étienne et Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire fondent une nouvelle discipline, la tératologie—la science du monstrueux, où se conjoignent l'embryologie, la biologie la psychologie sociale. On pourrait croire que le monstre échappe alors à l'emprise des peurs ancestrales fondées sur la superstition pour devenir un objet scientifique comme un autre. Or, c'est très précisément à cette période que paraissent deux courts romans anglais qui vont puissamment contribuer à livrer le monstre à l'imagination créative : Frankenstein, de Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley et The Vampyre de John William Polidori. Plutôt que de considérer chacune de ces œuvres comme un terminus ad quem, ainsi qu'on le fait souvent, je propose de les envisager plutôt comme un terminus a quo, c'est-à-dire de réfléchir sur les manières dont l'époque a envisagé des créatures très diverses mais dont le point commun est de défier les lois du vivant telles qu'on les connaissait alors. Si en effet ces êtres insolites ont presque toujours fini par faire l'objet de fictions, ils marquèrent d'abord les esprits par la difficulté qu'on avait de les rejeter formellement dans le champ légendaire. Des vampires de Serbie à la bête du Gévaudan, des automates aux animaux exotiques dont on avait pu douter qu'ils existent, et même aux « sauvages » que les Européens avaient parfois du mal à envisager comme des êtres humains, on s'interrogera sur la manière dont la pensée des Lumières a tenté, avec plus ou moins de bonheur, de faire sens des créatures qui résistaient au simple usage de la raison.


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