East Meets West in the Long 18th Century - February 25-27 2016

full name / name of organization: 
South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
contact email: 

In the exact center of the U.S., where the west meets the east at the "Crossroads of America," we will hold this year's South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies meeting in Oklahoma City, February 25-27 2016. We invite you to join us.

SCSECS conferences focus on any aspect of the "long" eighteenth century, which we define for practical purposes as the period between 1660 and 1830.

As an interdisciplinary organization, always interested in the cross-pollination of ideas, we mean for our conference theme to be taken at its broadest: one might think of westward expansion, multicultural competition and collaboration as fostered by Britain's Royal Society and France's Académie des sciences, politics and the East India Companies, the rise of Orientalism and chinoiserie in art, or the rise of the Grub Street authors of East London to overtake their aristocratic counterparts on the West side of town.

The theme is meant to be evocative rather than exclusionary, so if you've got an idea for a paper or panel that doesn't quite fit with the east/west theme... Send it in anyway!

Our conference hotel will be the elegant and historic Skirvin Hilton in downtown Oklahoma City. Centrally located amidst art deco style buildings with restaurants, shopping, and the city's major tourist attractions within walking distance, the hotel is over 100 years old. It was built originally for oil and cattle barons, and the lush decor, beautifully restored in 2007, reflects its heritage. As an added bonus, it's haunted, too! According to legend, a lascivious ghost named Effie occasionally makes assaults on male guests in the middle of the night--so if you catch a glimpse of Effie heading eastward, you'd better go west, young man.

We have been able to secure an incredibly low conference rate on sleeping rooms at the hotel: $119/night (plus local and bed taxes for a total of 13.875% as mandated by law).

A year's membership in SCSECS, a Thursday evening reception, a plenary luncheon, and a farewell dinner on Saturday evening will be included in the price of registration, which we estimate will be in the region of $200.

The SCSECS website can be found at http://www.scsecs.net/

Proposals for panel or paper topics should be sent to

    Susan Spencer
    Professor of English
    University of Central Oklahoma

    100 N. University Dr., Box 184
    Edmond, OK 73034

The deadline for panel proposals is August 30, 2016. For paper proposals, the deadline is October 30, 2016 (please send the title of the paper and a brief abstract).

For full panels--a panel of three or four papers that is completely assembled in advance--the deadline is October 30, 2016. If you have a partially full panel, not quite three or four people, contact the organizer, who may have received a related single paper proposal.

Conference Bonus:
The University of Central Oklahoma will host an Asian Studies Development Program workshop, to be held at the Skirvin Hilton all day on Thursday, February 25, and a follow-up series of panel discussions on various aspects of Asian culture, politics, and history on the following day. The sponsors have invited SCSECS members to attend any one of these talks on either day, so if you want to come a bit early or do some "corridor crossing" during our concurrent panels on Thursday or Friday, this might be a chance to increase your knowledge of Confucian philosophy, traditional music, or Chinese sitcoms.

Both the ASDP group and SCSECS will enjoy a plenary luncheon at the Oklahoma City Petroleum Club, located directly across the plaza from the Skirvin Hilton: http://www.petroleumclubokc.com/ . The luncheon will feature a presentation by Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak of the University of Hawai'i. Professor Wichmann-Walczak is a leading expert in the United States on Jingjù, or "Beijing opera," which got its start in the reign of Emperor Quianlong (1711-1799), sixth emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

After the presentation we are planning a live east/west face-off between Beijing-style and western-style opera singers, which is bound to be an unforgettable event. The Petroleum Club itself--a private club for Oklahoma City's oil and gas executives, located at the penthouse of the second-highest building in the city with sweeping views of the capital building and other local landmarks--would be well worth the trip in itself.

We hope to see you there!