"Violence and Justice in the Age of Enlightenment" (NEASECS, Yale University, Oct. 3-6, 2013)

full name / name of organization: 
Melissa Ganz, Marquette University
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Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Yale University
October 3-6, 2013

Violence and Justice in the Age of Enlightenment

The Enlightenment has long been considered a pivotal period in the history of violence. Historians such as Thomas Haskell and Lynn Hunt trace the origins of humanitarianism to this period, and G.J. Barker-Benfield has probed the reformation of manners that accompanied the eighteenth-century cult of sensibility. In emphasizing writers’ commitment to human rights and concerns about pain and suffering, however, these accounts gloss over the cruelty and bloodshed that continued to permeate eighteenth-century culture. This panel invites papers that examine the nature and role of verbal and physical brutality in works by novelists, playwrights, poets, painters, philosophers, journalists, memoirists, and social observers. Papers might consider depictions of revolutionary violence, colonial violence, sexual violence, capital punishment, torture, and/or slavery, or they might explore the responses of jurists, ethicists, and theologians to violent acts, or examine the ethical and practical challenges of disclaiming—while depicting—brutality. How do such instances speak to contemporary debates about the decline of violence and the growth of humanitarianism during the long eighteenth century?

Please send abstracts to Melissa Ganz (melissa.ganz@marquette.edu) by July 9.

For more information about the conference, visit http://www.yale.edu/neasecs2013.

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