South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Call for Papers

The Speedy Enlightenment: Moving, Racing, Quickening, and Otherwise Accelerating the Long Eighteenth Century

February 7-8, 2020

Please see our list of proposed panels, or suggest a topic of your own!

Are you the kind of adventurous, highly organized, and inquisitive scholar who plans ahead while combing the beaches of the imagination? If so, then the scholarly conference for you is the next annual meeting of SCSECS, the South-Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (SCSECS). That much-anticipated conference is scheduled for February 7th and 8th of a year, 2020, that eponymously recalls clarity of vision.

St. Augustine by day: A dazzling display of possibilities, from viewing eclectic historical architecture to exploring 18th-century Fort Matanzas to sailing over the bounding main to soaking up the sun! First, let’s talk about the venue, which qualifies not only as a “destination” city, but two destinations in one. First, there is the magnificent city of St. Augustine, the oldest continuously inhabited city in north America (even older than Jamestown or the Massachusetts Bay Colony). Alternately under the influence of Spain, Britain, the United States, and indigenous cultures, St. Augustine abounds with historical structures, eclectic architecture, and nearly five centuries of western cultural remnants, all layered atop the legacies of an assortment of local cultures. All the pieces in the American puzzle are present, yet the moving picture of modern life is still resolving!

But St. Augustine is not only a venue for art-historical or cultural studies lecturing and data gathering. It’s the preeminent beach, sun-and-fun venue of northeastern Florida. Acres upon acres of deep, groomed, sandy beaches invite visitors—SCSECS conventioneers!—to frolic in brisk Atlantic waves. Our brand-new conference hotel nestles in a sheltered nook of expansive St. Augustine Beach where salt, spray, sand, and scintillation aspire to stimulate scholarship. Just outside, we can sink our gaze gaze directly into the same bounding main that buoyed up eighteenth-century ships and indeed that rinsed Ponce de Leon after his first bath in the Fountain of Youth!

Over the centuries, St. Augustine has offered refuge to many endangered peoples, whether Huguenots, French, Spanish, British, the enslaved, or the itinerant. Deep south venues sometimes raise understandable scruples. Our history is not without its troubled moments. Fortunately, the deep history of St. Augustine yields plenty of good memories. Over its dozens upon dozens of decades, St. Augustine has offered refuge to many persecuted and endangered peoples. Today it is second only to Miami when it comes to festive and friendly interculturalism.

St. Augustine and St. Augustine beach definitely qualify as 24/7, around-the-clock venues. During the day, its radiance shines from its countless historical monuments (including mighty Fort Matanzas, a national historical park). Clear views of evolving colonial architecture mix with recreational opportunities to open panorama after panorama of edifying adventure. Hurricane Dorian left St. Augustine in tip-top shape after having taken an eastward turn; or venue and its surroundings are as pristine, pleasant, and perfect as ever.

You can reserve your hotel room now and beat the crowds through our personalized link.

The other half of that 24/7 St. Augustine mode-de-vie is its sizzling, scintillating night life. Abounding in locally owned restaurants, cafes, shops, museums, and attractions, St. Augustine is the Mecca of mixology, the Oz of artistry, the Taj Mahal of tunefulness, and the ultimate forum for fun! Bustling streets bounce with busyness around the clock. Bring your best case of insomnia, for there is a lot to do under the moonlight!
St. Augustine by Night:

Our Seaside Venue:
The Fabulous Embassy Suites of St. Augustine Beach And what about our venue and our conference environment? SCSECS 2020 will take place in a brand new hotel: the fabulous Embassy Suites, freshly opened for business in December 2018 and ready for a ravishing future filled with happy conferees! This glorious establishment extends its broad and welcoming arms onto an expansive poolside environment and a lovely beach!

“Freshness” is the watchword for everything at the Embassy Suites, whether the constellated reception hall, with its dazzling modern sculptures and fixtures, the artisanally designed rooms and suites, or the unique arc pool that seems to bend into the Atlantic foam!

As wondrous as our hotel venue may be, it could not outshine the supernova of innovation that is SCSECS! Just take a look at some of the features that are already in place—whether special-feature panels or forums on the scholarly life cycle or lavish meals or a still super-secret plenary speaker who may even be moving in the halls of the Dallas meeting!

After seeing how any wonders will grace the SCSECS 2020 meeting, everyone will surely want to submit proposals soon!

“Soon” is definitely a keyword in this search for excellence. In keeping with SCSECS tradition, another innovative theme will guide our meeting: “The Speedy Enlightenment: Moving, Racing, Quickening, and Otherwise Accelerating the Long Eighteenth Century.” Of course, SCSECS is quick in every way, including being quick to accept papers on every stimulating topic. But maybe you have something about speed just itching to jump out of your sleeve?

Don't miss these extras!


Now is the time to start thinking about SCSECS 2020! Everyone will be racing to this best of all possible conferences.

Would you like to propose a panel or paper? Write to conference organizer Kevin Cope at You’ll get a speedy reply—and acceptance! We’re looking forward to a wonderful learning and delighting event, and you are our favorite guest!


Historic Fort Matanzas


  • A special feature event on deleted and discarded scholarship!
  • An ingenious bivalent feature panel on youthful and retiring scholars!
  • A secret super plenary speaker to be announced!
  • A pre-conference warming reception!
  • An outdoor, al fresco plenary luncheon bash!
  • A signature SCSECS social, cultural, and culinary closing event!
And much, much more to be announced!


SCSECS home page