ASECS: "Migrants, Exiles, and the State of Statelessness in the Eighteenth Century"

full name / name of organization: 
Juliet Shields / American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies
contact email: 

In his "Reflections on Exile," Edward Said asked "if true exile is a condition of terminal loss, why has it been transformed so easily into a potent, even enriching, motif of modern culture?" Arguably, this motif emerged in the eighteenth century, as
colonialism and the consolidation of the modern nation-state made more visible the movement--sometimes voluntary and sometimes forced--of peoples across and within political and geographical borders.
This interdisciplinary panel invites papers that address exile, migration, and statelessness in the long eighteenth century.

Papers may focus on historical individuals or populations who experienced migration or exile, or on literary and artisticrepresentations of migrants and exiles. In addition to migrations associated with colonialism, the slave trade, and the removal
of indigenous peoples in the Americas and Indies, papers might consider figures of exile and images of wandering from traveling gypsies and itinerant laborers to hermits and vagabonds.

By bringing together papers from a range of disciplines, we hope to explore the following questions. Under what circumstances were migration and exile understood as sources of personal empowerment or cultural enrichment, and in what
conditions were they depicted as states of "terminal loss?" What did it mean to be stateless in an age before the emergence of participatory democracy? How might attending to the "motif" of exile change our understandings of eighteenth-century social
and aesthetic practices or ask us to revise historical narratives about the rise of the modern nation-state?

Please send abstracts to Juliet Shields ( by Sept. 15.