Proposal for a Race and Empire Caucus at ASECS

[I just saw this announcement on the Eighteenth-Century Questions group at Facebook, and thought it would be a good idea to cross-post at the Long 18th.  Take a look, and if you’re interested or have further questions, please reply to Suvir Kaul or Ashley Cohen at or  Thanks, DM]


In an attempt to make ASECS a more conducive and productive environment for scholarly exchange on the issues of race and empire, we are proposing to establish a Race and Empire caucus. ASECS procedures require us to collect a requisite number of signatures. Please consider our proposal (below) and reply to or with your name and departmental affiliation if you would like to sign. We would be much obliged if you would forward this e-mail to like-minded friends, colleagues, and students.

We have also organized a Race and Empire roundtable in Cleveland in support of our efforts and would be delighted to see you all there.


Ashley Cohen and Suvir Kaul

The rise of European sea-borne trade and colonialism is the central geopolitical fact of eighteenth-century history. It is thus impossible to understand the domestic social formations and cultures of eighteenth-century Europe in isolation from a global framework that acknowledges and takes into account the histories of European exploration, commerce, conquest, colonialism, and slavery in Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, and the Americas. These simple propositions form the basis for our present proposal to found an ASECS caucus dedicated to the constitutively linked issues of Race and Empire. We feel that the systematic study of these issues has been significantly underrepresented at ASECS’s annual conference in years past, even as occasional panels on such issues gather large audiences. A Race and Empire Caucus will ensure that ASECS consistently provides a forum for discussing and developing innovative critical approaches to eighteenth century histories and legacies of imperialism and slavery, as well as to the strategies of racialization that were central to both of these institutions. It is our hope that a Race and Empire Caucus will promote intellectual solidarity, create community, and foster collaboration, transforming ASECS’s annual meeting into a venue that consistently offers vibrant and vigorous discussions of these issues.


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