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15.11.2020 14:41 Alter: 11 days

The World in the Village

Call for Papers

Theme: The World in the Village
Subtitle: 18th-century Encounters with the 'Strange', 'Foreign' and
'Exotic' Beyond the Centres of Globalization
Type: 2021 Annual Conference
Institution: German Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Location: Wolfenbüttel (Germany)
Date: 9.–10.9.2021
Deadline: 18.12.2020

The 2021 Annual Conference of the German Society for
Eighteenth-Century Studies (Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Erforschung
des 18. Jahrhunderts, DGEJ) in Wolfenbüttel addresses the question,
if and to what extent a growing presence of ideas, things and people
considered ‘foreign’, ‘strange’ or ‘exotic’ define the eighteenth
century as a period. Instead of focussing on the centres of early
globalization, such as port cities, courts or trading companies,
which are already quite well-researched, the annual meeting turns to
the presence of the ‘strange’, ‘foreign’ and ‘exotic’ in seemingly
peripheral areas between established “centres of
calculation” (Latour) and large urban hubs such as Amsterdam, London
or Rome. ‘The village’, thus, features less as a specific
geographical unit. It is treated as a cipher for the secondary and
tertiary spaces in which globalization was received. The conference’s
approach will broaden horizons beyond traditional loci of global

With this thematic focus, the conference intends to follow the
pathways of distribution of the ‘foreign’ (1), the local forms of its
appropriation (2), as well as the often unintended consequences of
its presence (3) with a focus on those regions of central Europe,
which are otherwise often considered backwaters of globalization.
What, specifically, denotes or merits the term ‘backwater’ or
‘hinterland’ and how its contacts with ‘centers’ took shape, should
and can be specified in the individual contributions.

The organizers hope that infrastructures of distribution, the
specific contexts in which people, objects, and ideas reached a local
context, each with their specific rhythms, delays, and disruptions
are going to become visible. Moreover, we wish to ask if the presence
of ‘the world’ did not, in turn, lead to a more intimate
consideration of one’s own surroundings: Some years ago, Alix Cooper
introduced the hypothesis of an “invention of the indigenous”
denoting a growing turn to the local. If and to what extent this
‘turn’ resulted in a deeper integration of secondary spaces of
reception into the unfolding globalization has rarely been analysed,
however. Overall the meeting aims to extend research into the global
integration of Europe beyond its ‘hot’ centres and to raise the
question about the reach of global integration.

All disciplines dealing with the long 18th century are invited to
contribute. Even though we put special emphasis on the Holy Roman
Empire and its adjacent regions, we also welcome proposals concerning
other regions. The conference will take place Sep 9-10, 2021 at the
Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel. Pending decision on
external funding, the organizers cover expenses for travel and

From a set of question, the following may serve as examples:

- By what avenues did ‘exotica’ reach the periphery? What forms of
 secondary, tertiary, pp. appropriation existed?

- What role did ‘exotica’ play in popular Enlightenment and reform

- By what means and media did knowledge about the ‘foreign’ circulate?

- How did people come to terms with the presence of the unknown that
 were not confronted with it on a daily basis? What traces did
 ‘exotica’ leave that were only passing through?

Please adress all additional questions about the conference and
submit abstracts of potential presentations (c. 500 words) and a
short CV by 18 Dec, 2020 to Prof. Markus Friedrich.


Prof. Markus Friedrich
Hamburg University