Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Call for Papers: Roots, Routes and Routs: American and British literature in the Long Eighteenth Century

When: July 1st & 2nd 2013
Where: Plymouth University

In recent decades, 18th-century American literary studies has undergone significant transformation: 'especially' since the ground-breaking work of Cathy Davidson's Revolution and Word and, more recently, Laura Doyle's Freedom's Empire, critical approaches to early American literature have been comprehensively re-examined, in ways that have not always been recognised in both scholarly communities. An important feature of this re-examination has been a shift towards the 'routes,' rather than the 'roots,' of early American prose, drama and poetry; accordingly, transnational frameworks of critical discourse have tested the limits of a more discrete national aesthetic.


Eighteenth-century British literary and historical scholars are used to gauging the impact of, for example, the lapse of the Licensing Act in 1695, but how do transatlantic determinants differ, and what can we learn by juxtaposing these experiences?

The purpose of the conference is to examine trends and developments as well as production and dissemination of British and American literature within a framework which tests the possibilities and problems of nation-centred and transnational approaches to literary studies. This conference should appeal to scholars and postgraduate students whose work focuses on transatlantic literary exchange in the long eighteenth century, as well as scholars and postgraduates who have an interest in establishing dialogue with specialists working in similar fields on the opposite side of the Atlantic.


Keynote Speakers: 

  • Professor Elizabeth Fay: Director, Research Center for Urban Cultural History, UMass Boston
  • Dr Leonard von MorzĂ©: Associate Professor of English, UMass Boston

Conference fee (including dinner) £60Non-waged / pg   £30

A limited number of postgraduate bursaries to cover conference fees and accommodation are available. Bursaries will be allocated to successful applicants by May 30th.


Possible topics of interest could include but are not limited to:

  • Theatre and adaptation
  • Travel writing and the natural world
  • Medicine and Science
  • The novel
  • Book history
  • Production of texts,  editions and censorship
  • New markets: physical export and dissemination
  • Copyright and Pirating
  • Periodicals
  • Gender
  • Slave & Captivity Narratives
  • Religion
Our intention is bring a number of papers from the conference together and submit a proposal for an edited collection of essays to the New Urban Atlantic series, Palgrave MacMillan.

Please send a 300-word proposal to kathryn.gray@plymouth.ac.uk by May 17.


If you have any queries, please contact Dr Kathryn Gray or Dr Annika Bautz.

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