This year, the Annual Meeting of the South Central Society for Eighteenth Century Studies will be held in one of the most thought-provoking cities in contemporary America: Portland, Oregon. The meeting will be held on Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, 2024. While papers on all aspects of the long eighteenth century are welcome, the theme of the conference will be "The Book and the City."
Portland has long attracted readers and writers, and two of its most iconic establishments pay respect to that heritage. Powell's City of Books, an independent bookstore opened in 1971 and occupying an entire city block in Downtown Portland, features roughly two million used and new books, at very good prices. (Consistent with the hopes of many who make pilgrimages to Powell's, the store ships any number of books to anywhere in the continental United States for just under $15!) The site of our conference, The Heathman Hotel, has long been the out-of-town residence for visiting authors. The Heathman calls its lobby a library for good reason: the walls are adorned with shelves full of signed first editions written by the hundreds of authors who have stayed at the Heathman. From the moment of arrival, books and biblophilia will surround all conference attendees. And although a "boutique" hotel, the Heathman offers a special rate for conferees: $149 per night for single and $169 for double. (Shoulder dates with the same rates both before and after the conference are available for those who wish to extend their trip to the Pacific Northwest.)
The theme of our conference, "The Book and the City," suggests a number of possible starting points for panels and papers. London authors and their libraries; John Gay's Trivia; policing and crime in fact and fiction; lexicography and lexicographers; Swift and the city; Bernard Lintot and Edmund Curll; Shakespeare editions; law and literature; literary fraud and piracy. Obviously, this list, drawn mainly from topics relating to British literary culture, is only a beginning. True to its past practice, SCSECS welcomes panels and papers on all subjects relating to the long eighteenth century, focusing on any region of the globe. We aspire to present at our conference a variety of methods of understanding. Whether your topic arises from your interests in music, politics, history, linguistics, painting, portrait busts, prosody, cartography, geology, economics, neuroscience; etc.; and whether it addresses sources or issues most directly concerning French, German, British, American, African, Caribbean, Chinese, "Atlantic," or international nautical culture, your panel proposal or paper proposal is welcome!
If you have an idea for a panel, send along a proposal to the Chair of the conference, John Scanlan at email@example.com, and we'll get it up on the web site where it will attract possible speakers.
If you have an idea for a paper, send the paper proposal along to Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While much of our time will be occupied with the conference, there will be plenty of time in the late afternoons to explore Powell's, the restaurants, the sites of recent protests (which feature in some cases statueless pedestals), and nearby Washington Park, home of the Rose Gardens and the Oregon Zoo. Students of the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt will note that one of the world's great collections of Humboldtian penguins is housed at the Oregon Zoo!
Check back shortly for a list of panels and updates on SCSECS 2024 in Portland! For now, mark your calendars--March 1-2, 2024--and forward any questions to John Scanlan at email@example.com.
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