The International Congress on the Enlightenment is the quadrennial meeting of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS) and the world’s largest meeting of specialists on all aspects of the eighteenth century. Recent ISECS congresses have been held in Los Angeles (2003), Montpellier (2007), Graz (2011), and Rotterdam (2015). The 15th ISECS Congress will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, from Sunday 14 July to Friday 19 July 2019. It is organized by the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS) and the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society (ECSSS), and hosted by the University of Edinburgh.


Enlightenment Identities

While proposals for papers, panels, and roundtables on any topic relevant to the long eighteenth century are welcome, we particularly invite contributions that address the theme of ‘Enlightenment Identities’. The question of ‘identity’ was much disputed in the eighteenth century, in ways ranging from the local, regional, colonial, national, federal, imperial, to the global. Identities are complex. They are forged by factors ranging from the personal to wider political, military, religious, intellectual, techno-scientific, cultural, ethnic, social, sexual, economic, class/caste, geographical, and historical contexts. The idea of Enlightenment was itself much debated. Given these interlocking complexities, ‘Enlightenment Identities’ constitutes an important theme for an international gathering in the Enlightenment city of Edinburgh, whose eighteenth-century denizens, like Adam Smith, were at once Scottish, British, and ‘citizens of the world’.


Call for Papers, Panels and Roundtables

Proposals are invited for individual papers, preformed panels of three or four papers, and roundtables of between four and six participants. Proposals may be in English or French. The final deadline for submission of papers and panel proposals is Friday 1 February 2019.

Submit a proposal



ISECS is delighted to offer bursaries for Edinburgh Congress participants to cover (partly or totally) the costs of travel, accommodation, and meals. Priority will be given to doctoral students, early career scholars, and scholars from countries with weak currencies. Applicants must be intending to give papers.

  • Applications must be submitted to the email address on the official form, with a separate letter of recommendation from someone well known to the applicant.
  • The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2019 GMT.

Applications will be reviewed by a selection sub-committee. In early March, results will be announced to applicants, who have until 1 April 2019 to accept or decline.



Download a PDF version of the conference poster

Download a JPEG version of the conference poster

Download a PDF version of this call for papers

Download a JPEG version of this call for papers

Follow us on Twitter: @BSECS  #ISECS2019

For any other queries, please email the organisers.

We look forward to welcoming you to Edinburgh in 2019!


Frequently Asked Questions

How many papers can I give?
You may give only one paper. You may in addition appear on roundtables, act as a panel respondent, and chair a panel. There is no limit to the number of panels you can organise,  chair, or respond to, and no limit to the number of roundtables on which you may appear.

May I chair the panel in which I give my paper?
No. we ask that each panel has a chair who is not themselves giving a paper on that panel.

Do you need volunteers to chair panels?
Yes please! Contact the organisers if you would like to volunteer to chair a panel, giving your approximate area of interest.

I have tried to submit my paper or panel online, but it is not working.
There is an issue that affects a very small number of people. If you are one of them, please clear your browser cache, close and restart your browser, and try again. This usually solves the problem.

Is it possible to specify a date or time on which to give my paper?
No. We are sorry but, with over a thousand papers to schedule, we cannot guarantee a specific time or date. We will publish the draft timetable as early as we can.


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