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Memory and (Un)remembrance

The International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS) is pleased to announce the 2020 International Seminar for Early-Career Eighteenth-Century Scholars.


Researchers from all fields of eighteenth-century studies are invited to submit an application for this weeklong event.
Formerly called the East-West Seminar, this event brings together young researchers from a number of countries each year. The 2020 meeting will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland, and will be organized by the University of Lausanne, the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), the Groupe de recherche en histoire des sociabilités (GRHS), the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la première modernité, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle (CIREM 16-18), and ISECS.
The Seminar will be held from Monday, May 25 to Friday, May 29, 2020, under the direction of Pascal Bastien (History, UQAM), Marc André Bernier (Literature, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières), Bela Kapossy (College of Humanities, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Dave Lüthi (Art History, SHC UniL) and Danièle Tosato-Rigo (History, SHC UniL) and Simone Zurbuchen (Philosophy, Literature UniL).


This year, the International Seminar for Early Career Eighteenth-Century Scholars will explore the practices of collective and individual memory in all aspects of Enlightenment society, such as distortion, distantiation of the contemporary from the past, and even Damnatio memoriae.
The past was a source of fierce debate among the Ancients and the Moderns. It served as a constant frame of reference in matters of morality, arts and literature, politics, law and religion, and largely determined social identity, through right of heritage.
But the past was not a static entity. It morphed, was contemporized and continuously (re)invented in the various chronicles, personal or prescriptive writings, songs, folklore, sermons, images, as well as in all manner of rituals (such as oathtaking or annual processions).

From writing to nutrition, landscape, architecture, or the decorative arts, what markers of the past did the men and women of the eighteenth century embrace? What was discarded, consciously or not? How did the partisans of reform, in radically transforming it, articulate their stance toward the past? And in which circumstances did an event, person or group imprint itself on collective memory, while others faded into obscurity?
Memory, and consequently what is forgotten, is constructed out of discourse, representation and practice. It is the fundamental premise on which archeology, the invention of tradition, the processes of prescribed repression of memory, the “loi du silence”, the perpetuation of archaisms and anachronisms, narration, interpretation, and the material means of remembering, are all founded. In this seminar we therefore invite to interrogate and reflect upon such devotion to – or dependence on – the past, both by the individual and the collective.
A detailed description of this theme is available on line at the following address:

The proposals should be based on original research (e.g. a doctoral dissertation) which addresses one of the aspects mentioned above. Because this is a seminar rather than a conference, each participant will be given approximately one hour to present their research, followed by a group discussion. The official languages of the Seminar are French and English.
Preference will be given to scholars who are at the beginning of their academic career (PhD or equivalent of fewer than six years). The Seminar is limited to 15 participants.
Applications should include the following information:
_ a brief curriculum vitae mentioning the date PhD (or equivalent) was obtained; _ a list of principal publications and scholarly presentations from the last three years; _ a brief description of the proposed paper (approx. 2 pages, single-spaced); _ one letter of recommendation.
Scholars who have participated in a previous seminar are not eligible to reapply.
Travel and Accommodations Hotel accommodation will be fully covered and booked by the organizers. However, participants must cover their own travel costs.
Proceedings As it is the case each year, the proceedings of the seminar will be published by Honoré Champion (Paris) in the “Lumières internationales” series.
Deadlines: Applications must be submitted by January 10, 2020. Please email proposals to the principal organizers of the Seminar, Pascal Bastien ( and Danièle Tosato-Rigo (



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