ECSSS Conference

‌31st Annual Conference of the


Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society




University of Glasgow


17 – 21 July 2018



ECSSS returns to the city of Glasgow after twenty-eight years to hold its first-ever conference at Glasgow University—one of the central sites of the Scottish Enlightenment.

The theme of this conference—“Networks of Enlightenment”—is broadly conceived to capture areas of interdisciplinary interest in eighteenth-century Scottish life, including but not limited to:


  • philosophical and literary networks
  • science and medicine
  • clubs and societies
  • religion
  • publishing
  • correspondence
  • collecting
  • social and political networks
  • English, Continental, and transatlantic connections.

The conference will commemorate the tercentenary of the births of two major Scottish Enlightenment figures, whose medical, literary, ecclesiastical, antiquarian, and other networks were extensive: the Glasgow-educated anatomist and collector Dr. William Hunter (1718–83) and Hugh Blair (1718–1800), the eminent preacher and professor of rhetoric and belles lettres at the University of Edinburgh.


The conference will take place in the newly remodeled Kelvin Hall, a modern research hub which houses Hunter’s great collection, and which also offers access to the wider collections of the University, the National Library of Scotland and Glasgow Museums.



Images: William Hunter, By Allan Ramsay [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Hugh Blair, By Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815), Engraver, after Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823), Portrait painter (NPG, London) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 Keynotes (confirmed speakers)

  • Prof. Emma Rothschild (Harvard)
  • Dr. Jane Rendall (York)
  • Inaugural Thomas Muir Annual Lecture to be delivered by Sir Tom Devine

 The conference will also feature an excursion into Ayrshire to see the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and some historic eighteenth-century homes.

 Take part

Please e-mail a title and brief abstract of your proposed 20-minute paper, along with a one-page cv, to the conference organizer, Ronnie Young (, by 1 November 2017

Those submitting proposals for 3-paper panels should submit the panel title and abstract as well as titles and abstracts of the individual papers and cvs of the presenters by the same deadline. We would particularly welcome proposals on Hunter and Blair along with the main conference theme.









First published: 12 July 2017

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