Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies​


Congress 2023

Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (CSECS)

Sheraton Center Montreal
18-21 October 2023

Organizing Committee

Marcie Frank, Concordia University

Heather Meek, Université de Montréal

Sandrine Roux, Université du Québec à Montréal


Helianthus Annuus (Great Sun-flower), 1772–1782 by Mary Delany

“Matters and Materials of Life, 1660-1820”

As we face fundamental shifts in our own understandings of climate, politics, selfhood, and communication, what resources can eighteenth-century treatments of bios provide?

How was life conceptualized, investigated, lived, and represented in the long eighteenth century? Whose lives mattered and what materials were assembled to foster, protect, dissect, terminate, immortalize, and theorize them? What did the discovery or invention of new materials in the long eighteenth century contribute to the ways questions of life were framed or represented? Conversely, in what ways did the conceptualization of life contribute to the discovery or invention of these materials? How were developments of the long eighteenth century shaped by materialism as a philosophical program and how, in turn, did they contribute to reshaping it?

We purposely cast a wide net, welcoming papers from across the disciplines that investigate the period’s various ideas of health, care, work, power, violence, pleasure, society, and the environment.

Life-writing; Biography; Autobiography; The lives and afterlives of fiction

Disability; Illness; Disease; Epidemics; Pathologies

Birth and death; Generation; Reproduction; Fertility; Sex; Grief and mourning

Climate; The environment; The natural world; The weather;

Apocalypse; Utopia/dystopia

Non-human life; Plants; Animals; The earth; The ocean; The planets; The cosmos

Artificial forms of life

The relationship between body and mind; Mechanism; Nerve theory; Vitalism; Humoural theory

The good life; The conditions of happiness

The lives of women; Marriage; Women’s work

The desecration of lives and bodies; Colonialism; Eurocentrism; Ethnocentrism; Xenophobia; Orientalism; Treaties and land rights

Working lives and bodies; Labor; Hunger; Poverty; Human-rights

Queer lives

The lives of artists; The materials and subjects of art

Life-work balance; Student lives; Pedagogy; Activism in the academy

While we encourage panel and paper proposals that address the conference theme, papers on any topic related to the long eighteenth century are welcome. 

Deadline for submission of panel proposals is February 15, 2023.
Deadline for submission of paper proposals is March 15, 2023.

All those presenting at the conference must be members in good standing with CSECS.

Paper proposals should include a title, a 150-word summary, and a brief biographical note indicating the presenter’s name, email, academic status, and institutional affiliation.

Participants may present papers in English or French and will be invited to submit articles based on their papers in either language to Lumen, the official journal of CSECS, for publication.

Cyclamen Europaeum, 1777. by Mary Delany


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