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Representations of 'Europeanness' in the Long Eighteenth Century

May 17, 2018 - May 18, 2018
Department of History, Queen Mary University of London

ArtsTwo, Room 2.17
Mile End Road
London E1 4NS
United Kingdom

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Representations of 'Europeanness' in the Long Eighteenth Century 17-18 May 2018, Queen Mary University of London  
Key note speaker: Professor Kathleen Wilson (Stony Brook University)

Recent enquiries into European history have emphasised the extent to which Europe was made through its encounters with Otherness. From this perspective, the long eighteenth century, which witnessed a radical expansion of the European imperial project, offers a perfect vantage point for the observation of historical change in conceptualisations of European identity as a national, racial, political, cultural, and geographical construct. European colonies overseas constituted an ‘imaginary and physical space’ in which the inclusions and exclusions built into the notions of European identity were worked out. Therefore, the meanings of ‘Europeanness’ in its various contexts cannot be adequately assessed without an examination of the complex relationship between metropole and colony and its contribution to developing notions of difference.

This two-day symposium examines the construction of Europeanness as a national, cultural, and racial category within a colonial context. Presented papers will consider both specific national identities (e.g. Britishness, Frenchness) and the construct of Europe as a shared identity through the creation of scientific ‘knowledge’, political and economic privilege, as well as cultural and material practices. Representations of Europeanness took place on various platforms from political rhetoric to individual bodies, and encyclopedias to house interiors. Such variables as, for example, legal status, national origin, gender, skin colour, religion, family connection, reputation, and geography all contributed to the fashioning of European identity through defining human difference.

The interdisciplinary symposium will bring together established scholars, early career researchers, and postgraduate researchers examining the topic from a variety of cultural and intellectual history, literature, and historical geography perspectives. The symposium is organised in collaboration with the Queen Mary Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies (QMCECS). The key note lecture will be given by Professor Kathleen Wilson (Stony Brook University), whose books include The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture and Imperialism in England, 1715–1785 (1995) and The Island Race: Englishness Empire and Gender in the Eighteenth Century (2003).

For more information, visit the conference website:

Free registration:  

Conference organizer: Dr Soile Ylivuori, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow
School of History, Queen Mary University of London

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May 16, 2018, 11:30pm BST

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