Liverpool Eighteenth-Century Worlds Workshop, 16th May 2016
‘I will acquaint you with the character of this strange people.’ Writing about nations in the long eighteenth century.
The University of Liverpool’s Eighteenth-Century Worlds Research Centre and the University of Oxford’s Voltaire Foundation are pleased to publish this Call for Papers for the upcoming one-day workshop to address themes of intercultural exchange, writing about foreign peoples, trade and the purported civilizing forces of commerce in the long eighteenth century. When Voltaire set sail for what was to be a two-year stay in England in 1726, he told friends that going to England, the home of liberty, that it would be an opportunity for the poet to ‘learn to think freely’. His Letters Concerning the English Nation (1733), published amid great scandal, drew comparisons between England and France, very much to the detriment of the latter. In effect, Voltaire often uses the English examples to show the faults of his native France. The French literary historian Lanson famously labelled Voltaire’s text as the ‘first bomb thrown against the ancien régime’. One of Voltaire’s focal points was the impact of trade and commerce on social progress and the pursuit of liberty. This workshop seeks to examine various ways in which writing about foreign peoples, cultures and political and social systems was used to furnish cultural critiques, whether dissimulated or otherwise. We invite proposals which address any aspect of the dynamics of writing about foreign nations, with a particular focus on writings which use foreign nations in order to influence home cultures. Talks may wish to address the following aspects of eighteenth-century culture:
Learning lessons from neighbours
Trade and commerce as civilizing forces
Comparing trade relations
Literary forms of exchange
Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers are particularly encouraged to submit proposals.
Professor Nicholas Cronk is the invited keynote speaker.
Date: Monday 16th May 2016 Location: University of Liverpool
Please send proposals (200 words) by 12 February 2016 to Nick Treuherz: firstname.lastname@example.org