Empire in the English-speaking world, 17th-18th centuries
An International Conference hosted by SEAA XVII-XVIII (Société d’Etudes Anglo-Américaines des XVIIème et XVIIIème siècles)
20-21 January 2017, Maison de la Recherche, Université de la Sorbonne, Paris
‘Empire’ is a useful, though controversial, point of entry for studying the historical process leading to the formation of our modern, globalized world. Along with mercantile capitalism and colonialism, European imperialism has largely contributed to shaping the world as we know it, fashioning many of its political borders, cultural practices and economic networks. Starting to take form in the early seventeenth century, the British empire began with the English settlement of North America and several islands in the Caribbean, and gradually asserted itself as a major world power with the establishment of private companies – chief among which the East India Company – to administer its colonies and overseas trade. Through their empire, the British disseminated their institutions, culture, and language, so that even the nations that emerged out of the empire had to define themselves through their attitudes to that concept. Such was the case for the United States, conceiving itself from the start as an ‘empire of liberty’, while for many British people the empire was, and still is to some extent, an essential part of their Britishness.
The goal of our conference is to take stock of current research on ‘empire’ in history, as well as in literature and art, and to highlight new avenues for research by adopting an interdisciplinary perspective. Suggested areas of reflection could include (but are not limited to) the following : Continue reading