2014 Annual Conference
Revolutions in Eighteenth-Century Sociability

15–18 October 2014
Hotel Delta Montreal
Montreal, Quebec


Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society

Call for papers

Revolutions in Eighteenth-Century Sociability

Social cohesion and harmony are based largely on sociability, a form of ‘soft’ policing that allows individuals to interact, communicate, and live together without the ongoing intervention of a coercive power. Sociability therefore pertains to the multiple ways that individuals come into contact with others: in person, through clubs, salons, societies or other associations, or at a distance, through correspondence, publication and debate.

This conference examined the evolution of sociability in the long eighteenth century 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. We invited papers that considered the full range of topics linked to this subject, notably philosophical debates on and literary representations of human nature and social relations; exploration of social networks and the institutions which sustained them; and the examination of forces which tended to transform or disturb the forms and practices of sociability.

The program included 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.