ISECS Seminar, Bloomington (USA) - 2-7 Juli 2012

Enlightenment Liberties

ISECS International Seminar for early-career researchers

Indiana University, Bloomington (USA), 2-7 July 2012

With the patronage of the
Société Française d’Etude du XVIIIe siècle (SFEDS) and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS)

Organisers : Guillaume Ansart (IUB), Catriona Seth (Nancy Université)

« Liberty or death », « Liberty, equality, fraternity », many revolutionary slogans put the conquest of liberty at the top of the list of citizens’ vindications. This was the culmination of a trend under way throughout the century and which sought for freedom in various fields. Free mores, freedom to worship, liberty of expression – « Without the liberty to condemn, there is no flattering praise », as Figaro stated –, Liberty of conscience, Freedom of Spirit, Free trade, Free circulation, but also poetic licenses, franchises and immunities are some of the liberties which were debated during the Enlightenment. Questions were raised regarding the confinement of prisoners, as well as of the sick or the insane, but also concerning the imprisonment of women in often arranged or even forced marriages. The value of moral, ecclesiastical or civil censorship was debated. European lives and those of the people of America, Africa, Asia or Oceania were considered in parallel to try and determine who was actually free: natural man or the citizen whose actions were protected by an enlightened regime. We invite proposals regarding all these approaches to enlightenment liberties, without excluding any field or method.

The International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS) invites applications from scholars in all fields of eighteenth-century studies within the context of this one-week residential seminar. The seminar is limited to 15 participants. The proposals (approx. 2 pages, single-spaced) should be based on an original research project (e.g. a doctoral dissertation) that deals with an aspect of the theme mentioned above. Because this is a seminar rather than a conference, each participant will be given approximately one hour to present the texts and questions which will then form the basis of a group discussion.

Preference will be given to scholars who are at the beginning of their academic career (PhD or equivalent obtained after 2006). The official languages are French and English.

Applications should include the following information:

  • a brief curriculum vitae with date of PhD (or equivalent) and indication of the candidate’s proficiency in foreign languages.
  • a list of principal publications and scholarly presentations.
  • a brief description of the proposed paper (approx. 2 pages, single-spaced).

We invite submission of proposals; the deadline is February 1st 2012. Applications should be emailed to both organizers ( and
Candidates must also arrange for a letter of recommendation by a tenured colleague who knows their work to be emailed directly to both organizers ( and

Travel and Accommodation
Board and lodging will be provided by the organizers. According to funding, it may be possible to contribute to travel expenses for colleagues who are not financed by their home institutions.

As is the case each year, the proceedings of the seminar will be published.

Download as PDF and in French!