Annual Meeting of the East Central American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies

Lehigh University Lawrence Henry Gipson Institute - American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Please see our Conference Program on the Program page 
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October 8-11, 2009
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
2009 Meeting
The next annual meeting of the East-Central American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies will be hosted by Lehigh University in historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania—settled in 1741 as a Moravian community. Given Bethlehem’s many histories, the theme of this conference will be the Sacred and the Secular in the Transatlantic Eighteenth Century.
The residents of eighteenth-century Bethlehem designed their community to prioritize their local and transatlantic missionary work. With this aim in mind, they re-envisioned property, gender, family roles, and a communal economy. Living in dormitories segregated by gender and by age, they built no private dwellings; parents did not raise their children. These men and women also constructed one of the colonies’ most important industrial districts—visiting Bethlehem, John Adams marveled in 1777 that “they have carried the mechanical Arts to greater Perfection here than in any Place which I have seen”—and established trade networks across the Atlantic and west to the Ohio River Valley. Many of Bethlehem’s eighteenth-century sacred and secular buildings remain in use today, just steps from our conference site.
We are delighted that this year’s keynote speaker will be Jon Sensbach, professor of history at the University of Florida. Professor Sensbach is an outstanding scholar of religion, race, and colonization. He is the author of Rebecca's Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World (Harvard, 2005), and A Separate Canaan: The Making of an Afro-Moravian World in North Carolina, 1763-1840 (North Carolina, 1998).
The Burney Society
The Burney Society will meet in the afternoon on October 8, 2009, in Bethlehem PA, prior to the start of the annual conference of the East-Central American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Attendees of the Burney Society meeting will have the option of registering also for the EC/ASECS conference, which will begin on the evening of October 8 with a performance of scenes from Burney's "The Witlings."
Oral-Aural Experience
Peter Staffel "presents" the 15th annual The Oral-Aural Experience: Readings in Restoration and 18th-Century Poetry and a reader's theatre "reduced" version of Burney's "The Witlings." Participation strictly voluntary (unless no one volunteers); no prior rehearsal or experience necessary. Requirements: a sense of the absurd & a willingness to make a fool of oneself in public (among friends). Contact Peter Staffel ( or 304-336-8193).


Lawrence Henry Gipson Institute  |  101 Williams Hall  |  31 Williams Drive  |  Bethlehem, PA 18015  |  phone 610-758-3996  |  fax 610-758-2131