The Australian and New Zealand Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

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The Bildungsroman: form and transformations

A conference hosted by the Novel Network at the University of Sydney,
22-25 November 2018

This conference will explore the past and present condition of the Bildungsroman, with its myriad transformations and diversifications not only in the novel proper but also in memoir, film and long-form television. It will bring together exciting work in disciplines often separated by periodising and disciplinary paradigms and gather experts in prose fiction, film and television from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries and from a range of language areas to concentrate on this key narrative form. The novel of the emotional and social development or formation of a young person as they learn to make their way in an often hostile world, the Bildungsroman ­was a key form taken by the European novel from the early 19th century. How has it made its way across transhistorical formations and transgeneric remediations?

Nancy Armstrong, Gilbert, Louis & Edward Lehrman Professor of English, Duke
Joseph Litvak, Professor of English and Chair of Department, Tufts
Katie Trumpener, Emily Sandford Professor of Comparative Literature and English, Yale

We invite proposals for individual papers, panels, roundtables and single text discussion sessions, on the following or other related topics. The panel format will involve pre-submission of the paper to ensure closer audience engagement with its arguments:

  • Theory and the bildungsroman
  • The bildungsroman, the künstlerroman, the erziehungsroman: overlaps and distinctions
  • The origins of the bildungsroman
  • The contemporary bildungsroman
  • The female bildungsroman
  • The queer bildungsroman
  • Gender in the bildungsroman
  • Narrative theory and the bildungsroman
  • Psychology and the bildungsroman
  • The postcolonial bildungsroman
  • The coming of age film as bildungsroman
  • The bildungsroman and television
  • The Bildungsroman and the city
  • Transnationalism and the bildungsroman
  • Memoir and the bildungsroman
  • The anti-bildungsroman
  • The eco-bildungsroman

200 word abstracts should be emailed by June 15 to

CFP ‘Portraits & Poses: Representations of Female Intellectual Authority, Agency and Authorship in Early Modern and Enlightenment Europe’, KU Leuven 21 & 22 March 2019


Annual Conference of the Dutch-Belgian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

This conference seeks to address the various modes and strategies through which female intellectuals (authors, scientists, educators, and others) sought to negotiate and legitimize their authority in Early Modern and Enlightenment Europe (1600-1800).

The 17th and 18th centuries have often been described as a decisive period in terms of professionalization as well as disciplinary formation and/or consolidation in the arts and sciences. In the course of this period, learned women increasingly articulated an awareness of their public image and were actively involved in modelling these representations. There is a growing body of scholarship on such individual women’s (self)representation as intellectuals, that invites us to draw out its implications for early-modern cultural history more broadly.

Multiple questions arise when examining representations of female intellectual authority during the Early Modern period and the Enlightenment: which visual and/or textual strategies (e.g. portraits, paratexts and ego-documents) did women (and their critics) use to construct their persona in the emerging intellectual, scientific and literary fields; to what extent were these homogeneous, complementary or rather conflictual? And how did representations of personal and collective authority interact? For instance, when and why did women resort to their (private/public) contact with other (female) authorities or rather shy away from gendered association and/or collaboration? And to what extent were these legitimizing strategies determined by historical context, geographical boundaries and social position?

We welcome submissions in the form of complete sessions (3 papers + response) or individual papers (20 minutes) preferably in English on the following topics:

  • Text and Image: Textual and visual representations of women as intellectual authorities
  • Networks of Authority: uses of gendered associations (through paratexts, dedications, ego-documents) as strategies to gain authority;
  • Disciplines: inclusion/exclusion strategies of and by women in emerging disciplines
  • Markets and publication strategies: commercial strategies; branding female authority in the “public market”; discourse on fame/reputation and gender;
  • Labels: conceptualizing/classifying female intellectuals and authors in early historiography and accounts of the cultural field.

Potential speakers are invited to submit a title and abstract of 300 words by May 15 2018These, accompanied by a short CV, can be sent to

Notification of acceptance will be given by July 1st 2018. Selected papers will be published in a peer-reviewed edited volume after the conference; authors will be asked to submit revised versions of their conference paper by July 1st, 2019.

For more information: see:

Organising committee

Dr. Beatrijs Vanacker
Prof. Dr. Alicia C. Montoya
Dr. Lieke van Deinsen

Cosmopolitan Endeavours: Women’s Writing (deadline 20 Dec)

womens writing edited

Call for Papers: Cosmopolitan Endeavours

This special issue invites articles on works by women writers of the long eighteenth century that reflect cosmopolitan values, strategies, and futures. In the long eighteenth century, the cosmopolitan ethos is manifold: it informs historiographic and philosophical articulations of an “enlightened moral love of mankind”, as Mary Wollstonecraft puts it in A View of the French Revolution (1795), practices that transcend the boundaries of national literature such as travel writing, translation, and salon culture, depictions of cosmopolitan communities in utopian literature as well as of environment and scientific progress. Such wide-ranging proliferations have rightly been celebrated in recent criticism as evidences for a cosmopolitan counter-narrative to the rise of nationalism. However, this celebration has obfuscated the difficulties a cosmopolitan position faces, perhaps best captured in Amelia Opie’s Adeline Mowbray (1804), where the mother of the protagonist, “while professing her unbounded love for the great family of the world, suffered her own family to pine under the consciousness of her neglect”. Rather than couching an un-cosmopolitan impulse, this critique raises the stakes of what cosmopolitan ethos must accomplish. For critics, it imposes the need for further explorations of the cosmopolitan position in the long eighteenth century with a special focus on gender and on the process in which cosmopolitanism becomes its own critique, thus, distinguishing itself from the merely international, transnational and multicultural. This special issue seeks to refine insights put forward by literary critics such as Thomas Schlereth, Karen O’Brien, Galin Tihanov, Esther Wohlgemut and Anne Mellor, reflecting and expanding on the renewed interest in cosmopolitan thought and practices.

Topics may include, but are not limited to, explorations of cosmopolitanism in travel writing; educational, abolitionist and children’s literature; translations and adaptations; salon culture; scientific advancement and eco-systems; utopian literature; the concept of hope; representations of cosmopolitans.

We invite essays of 5000-7000 words (including notes).

Please submit abstracts of 400 words to Dr Enit Steiner (University of Lausanne) by 20 December 2017. Completed essays are due 31 August 2018.

Please prepare your essays according to MLA style and in accordance with the journal’s author guidelines and style sheet (to be accessed on this page:

“Deviant Thinking: Early Modern Philosophy and the Enlightenment” Conference Program Announced


François Boucher, French, Blond Odalisque, 1752, Oil on canvas, 23.2 x 28.7

15-17 November 2017
University of Sydney

Free and open to all.

Registration is now open.

What the Enlightenment stands for has been subject to much discussion in recent years, and many valuable contributions have been made that help us to understand better the significance of this period. This conference takes this discussion further by connecting up the Enlightenment with the early modern period and the “rebellious” ideas that were already formulated and passed around during this time. The papers of this conference bring into focus the many challenges philosophers of the 17th and 18th century posed to established intellectual, political, religious and social norms. These challenges touch on a diverse range of topics, spanning from fundamental questions concerning the status of the human being in the natural world, and the prospect of gaining knowledge of that world, to the redefinition of sentiment and affect as defining features of the moral potential of humanity. Reflections on the foundations of the state, self-governance and the rights of individuals and groups often followed on from these questions and thereby led to a novel engagement with the conditions that structure and shape human life.

SIHN’s Enlightenment Thinking Project will be hosting this conference, a central aim of which is to use the wider discussion of 17th- and 18th-century thought to launch a new series, the Australasian Seminar in Early Modern in Philosophy (ASEMP). Our speakers have backgrounds in philosophy, intellectual history, history and philosophy and science and art history and will address questions about the relevance of deviant thinking from a range of different methodological angels. In addition to encouraging interdisciplinary discourse, the conference seeks to support the work of early career researchers through our Young Scholar Panel and an accompanying mentoring programme on the third day.

The conference will take place in the Veterinarian Science Conference Centre.

The conference program has now been released and you can view that here. 

Registration is now open.  The conference is free and open to all.

Call for Papers. George Rudé Seminar in French History and Civilisation.

rude 1

Australian National University 4 to 7 July 2018

(Version française ci-dessous)

We are pleased to announce the 21st George Rudé Seminar in French History and Civilisation, which will be hosted by The Australian National University in Canberra from 4 to 7 July 2018.

The George Rudé Seminar in French History and Civilisation is the premier conference in French historical and cultural studies in the southern hemisphere. This biennial event recognises the contribution of George Rudé to the study of French history and culture in Australasia and internationally. Each conference produces a peer-reviewed collection in the journal French History and Civilisation, published through H-France.

The Rudé Seminar welcomes twenty-minute papers, in English or in French, on all aspects of French and Francophone history, from the Middle Ages to the present, for inclusion in the general program.  Proposals for both individual papers and group panels will be accepted.

As the capital city of Australia, Canberra is home to many cultural and research institutions. The region is also known for its vineyards, bushwalking, and close proximity to the ski resorts of the Australian alps.

Confirmed keynote speakers for the 21st George Rudé Seminar include:

Alice Conklin (Professor of History, Ohio State University), author of In the Museum of Man: Race, Anthropology and Empire in France, 1850-1950 (Cornell, 2013) and A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930 (Stanford University Press, 1997).


Mary D. Lewis (Robert Walton Goelet Professor of French History at Harvard University), author of Divided Rule: Sovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia, 1881-1938 (University of California Press, 2013) and The Boundaries of the Republic: Migrant Rights and the Limits of Universalism in France (Stanford University Press, 2007).


Antoine Lilti (Director of Studies, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales), author of The Invention of Celebrity: 1750-1850 (Polity Press, 2017) and The World of the Salons: Sociability and Worldliness in Eighteenth-century Paris (Oxford University Press, 2015).


Pierre Serna (Director of the Institut d’Histoire de la Révolution Française, Professeur d’histoire de la Révolution française et de l’Empire à l’Université de Paris 1 PanthéonSorbonne), author of La Révolution des animaux 1760-1820 (Fayard, 2016) and La République des Girouettes – 1795-1815 et au delà. Une anomalie politique : la France de l’extrême centre (Champ Vallon, 2005).

Abstracts of  up to 300 words per presenter should be sent to   together with a 100-word profile of each speaker giving name, professional title and affiliation, by Friday 1 December 2017. General inquiries can be made to the same address.

Organising Committee of the George Rudé Seminar 2018

Dr Gemma Betros

Dr Alexander Cook

Dr Ben Mercer


The Seminar is being organised by the School of History, with the support of the College of Arts and Social Sciences, the Humanities Research Centre, the Power Institute and the French Research Cluster.


The ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences.

The Humanities Research Centre ANU.

The ANU School of History.

The Embassy of France in Australia.

The Power Institute

The Alliance Française Canberra.

The French Research Cluster, ANU.

Alison Patrick Memorial Scholarship, George Rudé Seminar

Applications are invited for a scholarship in memory of Alison Patrick, to enable

(post)graduate students to attend the George Rudé Seminar in French History and

Civilization.  The Scholarship provides up to $2000 (AUD) towards travel and expenses.

Alison Patrick was Reader in History at the University of Melbourne.   She had a lifelong interest in the scholarship of the French Revolution, and a strong commitment to students.  She was one of the founders of the Rudé seminar and presented papers over many years.


The Scholarship is open to students undertaking full- or part-time doctoral study in French history (or a related field) at a recognised university anywhere in the world.


Applications for the Scholarship to attend the 2018 George Rudé Seminar at the Australian National University, Canberra, should be sent to the following email address:

Applicants should send a CV, a 500-word paper proposal, and provide the names of two referees. The email application must be clearly marked ‘Alison Patrick Memorial Scholarship Application’ in the subject line.

Closing Date: 1 December 2017


The recipient/s is expected to attend and to present a paper at the Rudé Seminar.  He/she will also be expected to offer the paper as an article for publication in French History and Civilization. Papers from the George Rudé Seminar, published on H-France. The published article will carry an acknowledgement of the Scholarship.

Costs incurred will be reimbursed upon presentation of receipts.  In certain cases, fares may be paid directly by the Scholarship fund.

Part scholarships may be offered to more than one applicant.  The Scholarship will not be awarded to the same person twice.  If numerous applications are received, preference may be given to papers on the French Revolution, Alison Patrick’s primary area of interest.


                                                      Appel à contribution

                         George Rudé Seminar in French History and Civilisation  

                                       Australian National University

                                                    4-7 juillet 2018


Nous avons le plaisir d’annoncer que le 21ème George Rudé Seminar in French History and Civilisation se tiendra entre les 4 et 7 juillet 2018 à l’Australian National University à Canberra.

Le George Rudé Seminar in French History and Civilisation est le colloque majeur de l’hémisphère sud consacré à l’histoire et à la culture française. Cet évènement biannuel est dédié à la contribution de George Rudé à l’étude de la culture et de l’histoire française en Australasie et de manière internationale. Une collection d’articles issus du colloque et évalués par les pairs sera publiée dans la revue French History and Civilisation, à travers H-France.

Le Rudé Seminar invite des propositions de communications de vingt minutes, en français ou en anglais, sur tout aspect de l’histoire française et francophone, du Moyen Âge à nos jours, pour le programme général. Nous acceptons des propositions pour des communications individuelles, ainsi que pour des tables rondes.

La capitale de l’Australie, Canberra abrite de nombreuses institutions de recherches et de culture. La région qui l’entoure est également réputée pour ses vignobles, ses randonnées, ainsi que sa proximité aux stations de ski des Alpes australiennes.

Les conférenciers principaux du 21ème George Rudé Seminar comprennent :

Alice Conklin (Professeur d’histoire, Ohio State University), auteur de In the Museum of Man: Race, Anthropology and Empire in France, 1850-1950 (Cornell, 2013), et A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930 (Stanford University Press, 1997).


Mary D. Lewis (Robert Walton Goelet Professor d’histoire française, Harvard University), auteur de Divided Rule: Sovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia, 1881-1938 (University of California Press, 2013), et The Boundaries of the Republic: Migrant Rights and the Limits of Universalism in France (Stanford University Press, 2007).


Antoine Lilti (Directeur d’études, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales), auteur de The Invention of Celebrity: 1750-1850 (Polity Press, 2017), et The World of the Salons: Sociability and Worldliness in Eighteenth-century Paris (Oxford University Press, 2015).


Pierre Serna (Directeur de l’Institut d’Histoire de la Révolution Française, Professeur d’histoire de la Révolution française et de l’Empire à l’Université de Paris 1 PanthéonSorbonne), auteur de La Révolution des animaux 1760-1820 (Fayard, 2016), et La République des Girouettes – 1795-1815 et au-delà. Une anomalie politique : la France de l’extrême centre (Champ Vallon, 2005).

Des propositions de communications de 300 mots par communicant, accompagnées d’un profil biographique de 100 mots, comprenant le nom, l’institution et l’intitulé de poste, sont à envoyer à avant le 1 décembre 2017. Pour toute autre question générale, veuillez contacter la même adresse.

Le comité d’organisation du George Rudé Seminar 2018

Dr Gemma Betros

Dr Alexander Cook

Dr Ben Mercer


Le Seminar sera organisé par la School of History, avec le soutien du College of Arts and Social Sciences, le Humanities Research Centre, le Power Institute, ainsi que le French Research Cluster.


Le College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU.

Le Humanities Research Centre, ANU.

La School of History, ANU.

L’Ambassade de France en Australie.

L’Alliance Française de Canberra.

Le Power Institute

Le French Research Cluster, ANU.


Bourse dédiée à la mémoire d’Alison Patrick, George Rudé Seminar

Les doctorants voulant assister au colloque sont invités à solliciter la bourse dédiée à la mémoire d’Alison Patrick (Alison Patrick Memorial Scholarship). La bourse, d’une valeur de $2000 (AUD), est destinée à couvrir les frais de voyages et autres dépenses.

Alison Patrick fut maître de conférences à l’Université de Melbourne. Elle eut un intérêt durable dans l’étude de la Révolution française, ainsi qu’un engagement conséquent envers les étudiants. Elle fut l’une des fondatrices du Rudé Seminar et elle y participa pendant de nombreuses années.

Éligibilité :

La bourse est ouverte aux candidats étudiant l’histoire française (ou une discipline annexe), à plein ou à mi-temps, dans une université reconnue, de tout pays du monde.

Demandes de bourse :

Les demandes de bourses pour participer au George Rudé Seminar qui se déroulera en 2018 à l’Australian National University, à Canberra, sont à envoyer à l’adresse suivante :

Les candidats devront envoyer un CV, une proposition de communication de 500 mots, ainsi que les noms de deux références. Il faudra clairement stipuler ‘Alison Patrick Memorial Scholarship Application’ dans le titre de l’email.

Date limite : 1 décembre 2017

Conditions :

Le(s) bénéficiaire(s) de la bourse devront assister au Rudé Seminar et y présenter une communication. Il/elle sera tenu de soumettre cette communication, en forme d’article, à French History and Civilization. Papers from the George Rudé Seminar, publié sur H-France. Le travail fini devra faire mention de la bourse Alison Patrick.

Les dépenses seront remboursées sur présentation des reçus. Dans certains cas, les frais en question seront payés directement par les fonds de la bourse.

Il se peut que la bourse soit divisée et attribuée à plusieurs candidats. Un étudiant ne peut être attribué la bourse qu’une seule fois. Si plusieurs dossiers de demande sont reçus, priorité peut être donnée aux communications portant sur la Révolution française, le champ d’intérêt principal d’Alison Patrick.


Nature or Artifice? Ballet and the Body in Literature.

Lancret cropped

Long Eighteenth Century Reading Group Seminar.

Led by: Mia Tsikrikas

Date: Friday, 13th October 2017

Time: 3-5pm

Location: Rogers Room, John Woolley Building, The University of Sydney

Free and open to all.


Image: Nicolas Lancret, Mlle Camargo Dancing, oil on canvas, The Hermitage museum


Cancelled – Towards a Digital History of Print Culture: From FBTEE to Global Book Trade Project

FBT book trade

Presenter: Simon Burrows, Western Sydney University

This talk has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. It will be rescheduled for the beginning of 2018.

This paper has twin aims. First, it discusses how the French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe (FBTEE) database project at Western Sydney has been taking a big data approach to challenge accepted views of the enlightenment and eighteenth-century culture. Second, it will explore how the project is working towards developing a linked data ecosystem for studying the reception of books and ideas between and across historical periods, and some of the challenges and opportunities involved in taking such an approach remain considerable. Marrying together, curation and online presentation of multiple bibliometric datasets produced using different sources, by different teams, at different times, using differing disciplinary norms and for different end purposes presents formidable practical and conceptual obstacles. The resources that result are likely to be complex and require highly refined analytical tools to interpret them. But since our technologies are agnostic to historical context, the FBTEE project and allied projects are now beginning to apply them to further times and places including projects on the C18 British Atlantic world and C20 Australia.

Simon Burrows is Professor of Digital Humanities and Professor of History at Western Sydney University, Australia. He holds his DPhil from Oxford and has also worked at the Universities of Waikato (NZ) and Leeds (UK). He is best known for his path-breaking digital project on ‘The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe’ and is now lead investigator on its successor project, the ARC funded ‘Mapping Print, Charting Enlightenment’ project. He is also an investigator on Jason Ensor’s sister project, ARCHivER, an Australian National Data Service funded linked data project on the Angus and Robertson Archive. Simon Burrows is author of French Exile Journalism and European Politics, 1792-1814 (2000); Blackmail, Scandal and Revolution: London’s French Libellistes, 1758-1792 (2006) and A King’s Ransom: The Life of Charles Théveneau de Morande, Blackmailer, Scandalmonger and Master-Spy (2010). He has co-edited important collections on Press Politics and the Public Sphere (2002); Cultural Transfers (2010); and The Chevalier d’Eon and his Worlds (2010). A further monograph entitled Enlightenment Bestsellers is scheduled for publication in early 2018 and a co-edited collection on Digitizing Enlightenment for 2019. He can be contacted

For further information please see the Sydney Digital Humanities Research Group page or contact the Research Group Leader Francesco Borghesi

Peace and Concord from Plato to Lessing

allegory of peace smaller fragment

Fragment of Louis Jean François Lagrenée, Mars and Venus, Allegory of Peace, 1770, Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Date: 18-19 September 2017
Location: SLC Common Room 536, level 5, Brennan MacCallum Building A18, The University of Sydney

Price: Free and open to all

Organisers: Andrew Benjamin and Francesco Borghesi

For further information please contact Francesco Borghesi and Andrew Benjamin

‘Peace’ and ‘concord’ as organizing terms within both the history of philosophy and the history of religion mark specific modes of relationality. Each one is articulated within shared or opposing metaphysical schema. In the context of the workshop the issues of ‘peace’ and ‘concord’ and their philosophical developments between Greek Antiquity and the European Enlightenment will be addressed by analyzing the political and religious connotation of these ideas. In each instance what will be of central importance are the ways differing conception of ‘peace’ or ‘concord’ come to be formulated.
As a beginning it should be noted that Greek conceptions of homonoia (ὁμόνοια) and harmonia (ἁρμονίᾳ) both play a structuring force within the later Latin conception of concordia in the sense of political friendship and also common good. There is an affinity here with the presence of ‘peace’ in Nicholas of Cusa’s De pace fidei. The later grounds the possible sense of commonality between the divergent religions with religion itself and not in the ways in which the administration of religion occurs. Underpinning this claim is a metaphysical argument in which a sense of unity always preceded multiplicity. While there will be differences between the metaphysical systems of Spinoza and Kant in both peace has to be though in terms of morality. For Kant ‘all politics must bend the knee before right’. Hence a state of peace involves a break with nature and thus peace becomes an agreement between republican states. In Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise peace thought in relation to concord it also, and here, if only initially, is the affinity with Kant, it has to be thought in its separation from war. Hence Spinoza’s famous formulation: ‘pax enim non belli privatio, sed virtus est’. Peace became a ‘virtue’. The important point to note however is that despite the initial affinity the metaphysical differences between Spinoza and Kant demonstrate that undoing a definition of peace in terms of either the absences of war of the ‘suspension of hostilities’ can occur in fundamentally different ways.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Morning Session (9:00am-12:30pm: 45mins paper and 15 Q&A, plus 30 mins final discussion)

9-10 Jennifer Mensch, From Politics to Morality in Kant’s Perpetual Peace
10-11 Cat Moir, Faith, Reason, and Peace in Lessing’s Nathan the Wise and The Education of the Human Race
11-12 Moira Gatens, The Absence of War is Not the Same as Peace

Afternoon Session (1:30-5:00pm)

13:30-14:30 Jennifer Milam, Representing Peace during the Enlightenment
14:30-15:30 Francesco Borghesi, Pico della Mirandola, Common Good, and Concordia
15:30-16:30 Andrew Benjamin, Who Were the Faithful? Notes on Nicholas of Cusa’s De Pace Fidei

19 September 2017

Morning Session (9:00am-12:30pm)

9:00-10:00 Rick Benitez, Peace and Concord in the Dialogues of Plato
10:00-11:00 Graeme Miles, Proclus and Damascius on Harmony, Soul and Society
11:00-12:30 General discussion

Speakers and papers

Rick Benitez, University of Sydney
Peace and Concord in the Dialogues of Plato
This presentation will examine some of the ways in which Plato conveys a concern with peace and what sort of conception of peace he has a concern with. I begin by considering Plato’s antipathy to war and faction, with particular emphasis on stasis, or internal conflict, which Plato considers by far the worst kind of conflict. Afterwards I examine some of the conditions in which Plato thinks internal conflict is resolved, including homonoia (same-mindedness), harmonia (concord), hesuchia (quietude), sunousia (togetherness), and euetheia (simplicity). I suggest that the Platonic conception of peace is first and foremost a psychological conception, founded on the unity and integrity of individual personality. Only when individuals are at peace within themselves, thinks Plato, can peace within society be achieved. I will close with some reflections about the kind of peace imagined by Plato. In particular, I will address the question whether the condition is valued over the quality or not.

Andrew Benjamin, Monash University/Kingston University
Who Were the Faithful? Notes on Nicholas of Cusa’s De Pace Fidei
Early in the De Pace Fidei unity, as a philosophical topic, is introduced. It is announced in the claim that ‘oneness is prior to all plurality.’ This is of course the condition in terms of which peace is possible. There is in Cusanus a genuine metaphysics of peace which is a certain thinking of difference. Difference is tolerable precisely because it is a conception of plurality that is premised on ‘oneness.’ Harmony (concordia) as an end state – and the text both begins and ends with ‘harmony’ – could then be read in terms of an act that was staged without being intended. God could be praised by the non-Christian, even though the ‘prince of darkness’ may have caused the one praising not to understand that in so doing it is the ‘one’ behind the plurality who is in fact the object of praise. The aim of this paper will be to sketch the limits of Cusanus’ metaphysics of peace and thus the conception of harmony (concordia) that it envisages.

Francesco Borghesi, University of Sydney
Pico della Mirandola, Common Good, and Concordia
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494) is not often perceived as a philosopher concerned with the society of his times or politics in general. However, his notion of ‘concord,’ interpreted as a tendency to strive to reconcile different opinions, leaves room for speculation on its relation to the idea of ‘common good.’ This paper analyses Giovanni Pico’s philosophical and, possibly, political aims at the end of the Quattrocento in the context of the rhetorical traditions of both bene comune and concordia throughout Trecento and Quattrocento Italy.

Moira Gatens, University of Sydney
The Absence of War is not the Same as Peace
In the Tractatus Politicus Spinoza remarks that peace does not amount to the absence of war but rather is ‘a virtue that arises from strength of mind’. In the context of drawing a contrast between those who willingly obey law for rationally endorsed reasons, as opposed to those who comply with law through fear, and are led ‘like sheep and slaves’ (TP, 5.4), Spinoza alludes to Tacitus’s well known phrase: ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant (they make a desert and call it peace). For Spinoza, a peaceful commonwealth is one where there is a harmony or concord of minds. On his view a virtuous commonwealth, just like a virtuous person, is not simply free of vice but actively possesses and exercises virtue. Power, virtue, and peace are all conceptions that are understood to be active affirmations and not just the opposite of passivity, vice, or war. Explicating this view, which contrasts with the better-known Hobbesian view, will be the task of my presentation.

Jennifer Mensch, Western Sydney University
From Politics to Morality in Kant’s Perpetual Peace
Kant’s efforts to establish grounds for long-term global peace have long been hailed for their providing grounds for the kind of cosmopolitan outlook at work in international relations today. In recent discussion, however, as globalism has taken on the appearance of a failed worldview, and attention has shifted to Postcolonial critique, Kant’s own proposals have undergone reassessment. In particular, Kant’s central solution to the problem of humankind’s native tendency to war, has been criticized so far as it depends upon the global financial interdependence of nation states, and Kant’s corresponding demand for “hospitality” in face of commercial advances. While there are certainly grounds for such criticism, Kant dedicates much of his discussion in Perpetual Peace to thinking through the central tasks facing any society: the distinction between prudential and moral politics, the transition from a political society to a moral whole, and the political grounds upon which a just constitution can be established so far as it is only in the wake of this that a people can finally be moralised. Since the current critique of Kant’s proposals for peace effectively view them to be merely prudential, it is worth considering whether and how Kant might have thought them to be moral as well.

Jennifer Milam, University of Sydney
Representing Peace during the Enlightenment
In 1783, Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun submitted her morceau de reception to the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. The subject of her painting was Peace Bringing Back Abundance, a choice which demonstrated her education, training, and ambitions as a learned history painter. Thematically, the work responded to contemporary events. It was executed in 1780, while France was engaged in the American War of Independence, but exhibited in 1783 at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Although Vigée-Lebrun’s allegorical treatment of the subject followed established conventions of pictorial representation, the connection with the political present was foregrounded by certain writers. In the Memoirs Secrets, for example, the figure of Peace is described as “noble, decent, modest like the peace that France has just concluded.” Other critics, however, judged her work as derivative and “nothing more than a copy” beholden to the examples of seventeenth-century masters. This paper explores the diverse artistic and critical reactions to the theme of peace in painting to consider how visual representation of this subject matter involved a response to history and the role of men and women in its making.

Graeme Miles, University of Tasmania
Proclus and Damascius on Harmony, Soul and Society
It is well known that Plato establishes an ideal of the harmony of parts of the soul in individuals which is to correspond to a harmony between the parts of the state. In the Republic Socrates outlines an ideal of harmonious relations within and between individuals, and in the Timaeus the eponymous speaker describes the soul as a kind of harmony. In the Phaedo, by contrast, the Pythagorean argument that the soul is a harmony of the body was rejected. Plato’s thoughts on music, harmony, soul and society were substantially adapted and extended by late-antique Platonists. Proclus’ Commentary on the Republic and Commentary on the Timaeus offer some important discussions. In Essay Five of the former work, for instance, Proclus discusses types of music (mousikê) and their effects on individuals and their societies, taking his cue from Plato’s Socrates to develop a detailed theory of the effect of particular rhythms on the harmonic and rhythmic nature of the soul. After Proclus, and at the very end of the Athenian Platonic school, Damascius, with his characteristic subtlety, offers criticisms of Proclus’ views on music and the soul, in the process closely interrogating, and partly rehabilitating, the rejected theory of the soul as a harmony of the body in Plato’s Phaedo.

Cat Moir, University of Sydney
Faith, Reason, and Peace in Lessing’s Nathan the Wise and The Education of the Human Race
During the eighteenth century, the struggle between faith and reason was often the source of intense intellectual and political conflict. The German philosopher, essayist, and playwright Gotthold Ephraim Lessing became embroiled in this conflict in the 1770s when, after publicly criticising Lutheran orthodoxy, he was subjected to royal censorship. In the works he produced after this incident, Lessing explicitly tries to square revealed faith and autonomous reason as both necessary aspects of the pursuit of peace. This paper explores the relation between faith, reason, and peace in two of Lessing’s works, his 1779 play Nathan the Wise and his 1780 essay The Education of the Human Race. The ring parable in Nathan provides a powerful image of how the exercise of autonomous reason in the interest of a common good is the necessary condition of peaceful competition between established religions. Since there is no objective proof as to the truth of any specific revealed religion for the time being, the faithful are called upon to deliver such proof by acting morally and harmoniously until the end of time. Meanwhile, in The Education of the Human Race, Lessing argues that religious revelation is to the human race what moral education is to the individual human being. In order to achieve peace, however, he argues that human cultures must overcome the specificities of revealed faith to do good for its own sake. Lessing’s works are thus read here as offering a model of how the conflict between faith and reason can be a source of eventual peace.

Translating Science Popularization in the Eighteenth Century: The Role of Women in the Transmission of Scientific Knowledge

HRC Seminar 

Presenter: Mirella Agorni

Date: Thursday 17 August

Time: 4.30pm

Location: Sir Roland Wilson Building, Lady Wilson Seminar Room

Australian National University


The subject of this paper is women’s popularisation of scientific texts in the eighteenth century. Starting from an analysis of the remarkable surge in female writing in Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century, the article attempts to draw a partial or metonymical picture of this phenomenon by means of two case studies which take us beyond the borders of the British Isles.  The former concerns Giuseppa Eleonora Barbapiccola’s Italian translation of Descartes’ Principles of Philosophy (1722). The latter illustrates Elizabeth Carter’s English translation of an Italian treatise on Newton’s optics, Algarotti’s Newtonianismo per le Dame(1737), which became in fact a handbook for women as a result of the translator’s intervention. Both examples illustrate the fundamental role of women in the dissemination of scientific knowledge.


Mirella Agorni is Associate Professor in English and Translation at the Catholic University of Milan, and also teaches at Ca’ Foscari Venice.  Her recent books include Translating Italy for the Eighteenth Century: British Women, Traslation and Travel Writing 1739-1797 (2002, 2014); Translating for Progress, with Costanza Peverati (2016); Memoria, Lingua, Traduzione (2014); Prospettive linguistiche e traduttologiche negli studi sul turismo (2012). She has also authored numerous articles in the fields of translation (history, theory and pedagogy) and tourism discourse.



DNS Conference – Natures and Spaces of Enlightenment: CFP Extended to 1 September 2017.


The Sixteenth David Nichol Smith Seminar in Eighteenth-Century Studies /

The Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Griffith University and the University of Queensland

Brisbane, Queensland, 13-15 December 2017

There has been a strong response to the CFP for the sixteenth David Nichol Smith Seminar, or ANZSECS conference, Natures and Spaces of Enlightenment.  It promises to be an exciting event.  To ensure that people do not miss out, we have extended the deadline for the CFP to Friday 1st September.

The conference will be co-hosted by Griffith University and the University of Queensland on the 13th-15th December 2017.  It will feature the following keynote speakers:

Deidre Lynch (Harvard University)

Jan Golinski (University of New Hampshire)

Georgia Cowart (Case Western Reserve University)

Sujit Sivasundaram (University of Cambridge)


The Call for Papers is available to view on the ANZSECS website:

We welcome proposals on any aspect of the long eighteenth century related to the conference theme.

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact one of the organisers:

Peter Denney ( or Lisa O’Connell (

John M. Ward Memorial Lecture. The Female World of Love and Empire: Women, Family and Eighteenth-century East India Company Politics.

Professor Margot Finn's lecture image

Professor Margot Finn

This paper examines the daily life of an English spinster who lived in late 18th-century Bloomsbury, an area of London now best known for its bohemian literary and sexual cultures.  In contrast to present-day images of radical women and men, it presents an image of Bloomsbury as a hub of British imperialism.  Here wealth extracted from the slave societies of the colonial Caribbean and Britain’s growing empire on the Indian subcontinent were interwoven.  What role did women and children play in the colonial contact zone in London?  A rich archive of letters and diaries written by or to ‘Mrs Chitty’ suggests the key roles played by British family relations—and female family members—in  translating imperial ventures into power, status and wealth, decades before historians conventionally view them as active agents of empire on the Indian subcontinent.

Margot Finn holds the chair in modern British history at University College London and the current President of the Royal Historical Society. Professor Finn is one of the leading historians of Britain since the eighteenth century. She edited the Journal of British Studies for a number of years and is the author of two major books, After Chartism and The Character of Credit. After Chartism is a broad-based study in political history; The Character of Credit is an exceptional and original piece of scholarship combining extensive archival research in probate and tax records with literary interpretation to reconstruct the complex relationship between debt, creditworthiness, and character in Britain across two centuries.

About the J.M. Ward Memorial Lecture
The Ward Lecture honors the late John Manning Ward AO. Professor Ward was a distinguished historian, serving as Challis Professor of History from 1948 to 1979. He steered the History Department through a period of scarce resources into an era of expansion. Professor Ward took office as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney in 1981 and retired from that position on 31 January 1990.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

5:00 p.m. for 6:00 p.m. start

Reception from 5:00 p.m. in the Nicholson Museum followed by the lecture at 6:00 p.m. in the General Lecture Theatre, Quadrangle, University Place, The University of Sydney.


RSVP to au  and please indicate any dietary or mobility requirements.

PhD Scholarship in Early Modern English History of Law and Emotions at The University of Adelaide

Full details available at:

Applications close: Monday 31 October 2016.

Applications are invited for a scholarship leading to the degree of PhD in the School of Humanities (History), The University of Adelaide.

The scholarship is supported by the Faculty of Arts (Divisional Scholarship), and is part of an Australian Research Council Discovery Project, DP160100265: ‘A New History of Law in Post-Revolutionary England, 1689 1760’ (Chief Investigators: Emeritus Prof. Wilfrid Prest and Prof. David Lemmings, The University of Adelaide, and Dr Mike Macnair, University of Oxford). The appointee will also be affiliated with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.

Prof. David Lemmings, who will supervise the successful candidate’s research, is interested in the social and cultural history of law and lawyers, 1690-1760, with a special emphasis on the history of emotions. The student may wish to undertake a comparative study of a group of judges from the period, with the aim of testing, further refining and extending both some of the generalisations advanced in previous research on the early Hanoverian judiciary, and of considering the representation of judges in the emerging print media. Candidates are encouraged to outline (in no more than 250 words) any proposal they may have for a specific thesis topic related to the overall field of study.

Eligibility: Applicants will have a minimum of Honours 2A result or equivalent in History or equivalent discipline, and must be citizens or permanent residents of Australia, or citizens of New Zealand, by the closing date.

Stipend:  The scholarship will be for three years’ full-time study, with a stipend of $26,288 per annum (2016 rate) tax free for up to three years (indexed annually). It is likely to be tax exempt, subject to Taxation Office approval. The successful candidate will be eligible to apply for a top-up scholarship from the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions to the value of $5,000 p.a. stipend and $4,500 p.a. to assist with travel and research expenses.

Enquiries: Prof. David Lemmings, School of Humanities, Discipline of History, The University of Adelaide. Tel +61 (8) 8313 5614; Fax (08) 8313 3443 or Email:

Applying: Application for Admission must be submitted using the Online Application Form available at:

Please email a summary of your application for admission to Dr Helen Payne ( with ‘Application for Judges and English Law. PhD Scholarship’ in the subject heading.

You can request a copy of your application summary by emailing with the subject heading ‘Request for application summary’.

Closing date: 31 October 2016.

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