Call for Papers

Borders, Boundaries, and Beyond

University of Sheffield, 21 April 2017

Keynote Speaker: Dr Adam Rounce, University of Nottingham

The aim of this one-day conference is to explore the shifting conceptions of borders and boundaries in the long eighteenth-century (c.1680-1815). Often viewed as a period in which the pre-modern shades into the modern, new material, political, and commercial developments throughout the century offered a series of challenges to understanding the natures of borders and boundaries. The Act of Union in 1707, advances in communication networks ­– in the form of print, commerce, trade, and travel – and the subsequent expansion of Britain’s imperial projects were a few of the many developments that contributed to reconceptions and revaluations of borders, boundaries, and the space in between and beyond. The exploration of borders and thresholds – both metaphorical and literal – was widespread and it is a motif which emerged as crucial for many figures. Identities, nationhood, geographies, language and civil society were all bound up and defined by recognising, negotiating and transgressing borders between. The conference invites papers that investigate how these issues were borne out or engaged with by contemporaries in a variety of forms: literature, print, scholarship, antiquarianism, history, art, material culture, cartography, geography.

This conference provides an interdisciplinary space for postgraduate and early career researchers working in diverse fields – including Literature, History, Archaeology, and Geography – to share their work. We hope this interdisciplinary approach will both yield new insights into this rich field of eighteenth-century research, and also stimulate new ideas and perspectives among speakers and delegates. We invite 300-word proposals for twenty minute papers on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Travel and vagrancy narratives in fiction and non-fiction
  • The impact of commerce and trade on concepts of regional, national and international spaces.
  • Eighteenth-century cartography, planning, and architecture
  • Relations between identity and social, national or gender boundaries
  • The representation of the marginal, peripheral and that beyond Europe
  • Rural, urban and interstitial places and spaces
  • Figurations of the public and private
  • The demarcating or blurring of generic or disciplinary boundaries
  • Political boundaries and national identities
  • Refugees, border-crossing, exile and migration
  • Confinement within and freedom from oppressive boundaries

Please submit your abstract, along with a brief bio, as an attachment to by Friday 20th January 2017.