Announcing MWASECS 2020


A joint conference with the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Fall 2020

More information coming soon.

The Conference of the Midwestern
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies


Eighteenth-Century Frontiers


Testing Limits • Crossing Boundaries • Claiming Spaces



11-13, 2018


Sioux Falls,

South Dakota


Falls Park



Drawing upon the conference’s location in South Dakota, the theme of MWASECS 2018 is “Eighteenth-Century Frontiers.” We interpret the term “frontiers” broadly to include not just the physical boundaries of space and empire, but also advances in science, religion, and human understanding writ large. The very term “frontier” implies the notion of limits and the demarcation of boundaries between the known and the unknown. Accordingly, this conference seeks to explore the manifold ways this liminal space of the “frontier” was tested, mapped, challenged, and transcended during the long eighteenth century.


We invite proposals for individual papers, panels, or roundtables on any aspect of researching or teaching the long eighteenth century (1660-1830). We welcome proposals from all disciplines dealing with any facet of eighteenth-century literature, history, art, language, science, politics, or culture. We especially encourage submissions that address the conference’s theme of “Eighteenth-Century Frontiers” and its complex range of associations: discovery, innovation, exploration, exploitation, rebellion, revolution, resistance, and liberation.


Paper proposals should include a brief abstract of the paper (no more than 250 words), along with the presenter’s name, affiliation, and email address. Panel proposals should include three to four papers united by a common theme, while roundtable discussions should include no more than six presentations focused on a particular topic. Panel and roundtable proposals should include the panel/roundtable title; the titles and abstracts of each paper/presentation; the names, affiliations, and email addresses of presenters; and the name, affiliation, and email address of the organizer and primary contact.


The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2018.


Please send proposals and queries to



Questions may also be addressed to the conference co-organizers, Scott Breuninger and Sharon Smith.




In addition to two days of engaging and innovative panels featuring forty-seven speakers, the program includes the following events:

  • Thursday, October 11: Opening reception at Monk's House of Ale Repute in downtown Sioux Falls.

  • Friday, October 12: Keynote address and banquet featuring Dr. Sean Moore, University of New Hampshire, who will be presenting material from his latest book project, Slavery and the Making of the Early American Library. His talk is entitled "They Were Prodigals and Enslavers: Patriarchy and the Reading of Robinson Crusoe at the New York Society Library."

  • Saturday, October 13: South Dakota Symphony Orchestra performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," at the Washington Pavilion.

The program is subject to change.



Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Sean Moore, Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Moore's research focuses on postcolonial, economic, and book history approaches to Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, particularly as they relate to Ireland and the Anglophone Atlantic. He will be presenting a talk entitled "They Were Prodigals and Enslavers: Patriarchy and the Reading of Robinson Crusoe at the New York Society Library." Dr. Moore's presentation will draw upon research from his current book project Slavery and the Making of the Early American Library, which studies how the transatlantic trade in British texts was financed by colonial slave traders and enabled by the consumer habits of slave owners. In support of this project, Dr. Moore has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Antiquarian Society, the Mellon Foundation/Library Company of Philadelphia, and Newport Mansions. Dr. Moore’s previous book Swift, the Book, and the Irish Financial Revolution: Satire and Sovereignty in Colonial Ireland (Johns Hopkins UP, 2010), won the 2010 Donald Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Book from the American Conference for Irish Studies. His work has appeared in Early American Literature, PMLA, Eighteenth-Century Studies, The Eighteenth-Century: Theory and Interpretation, Atlantic Studies, Eighteenth-Century Ireland, and the Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies. Dr. Moore currently serves as the editor of Eighteenth-Century Studies.


The conference hotel and venue will be the Holiday Inn Sioux Falls – City Centre, located in historic downtown Sioux Falls. The hotel is within walking distance of a wide assortment of restaurants, shops, museums, and entertainment, as well as Falls Park, the Sculpture Walk, the Terrace Park Japanese Garden, and the Washington Pavilion. Directions to the hotel can be found here.

The hotel group rate is $114 per night. To receive the group rate, make reservations using the link below. The hotel will offer the group rate through September 12, 2018, as long as there are still rooms available.



Conference Fees

  • Standard presenter registration fee: $90

  • Student presenter registration fee: $50

  • Guest of presenter registration fee: $75

  • General public non-presenter registration fee: $10

  • MWASECS membership fee: $10 (mandatory for presenters)

The registration fee for presenters and their guests includes attendance at all sessions, the keynote presentation, the Thursday evening reception, the Friday evening banquet, the Saturday morning brunch, and the Saturday evening symphony performance. Guests of presenters must register separately.


The general public non-presenter fee includes attendance at all sessions and the keynote presentation (meals not included).

​Online Registration

To register for the conference, follow the link below to our online registration form. You may pay by credit card by entering your card's information into the form, or you may send a check by mail after completing the form.

Terrace Park Japanese Garden



The Midwestern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies is a regional affiliate of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS). In keeping with the mission of ASECS, we are an interdisciplinary society that encourages and supports inquiry into all aspects of eighteenth-century life, art, and culture.


Scott Breuninger

Scott Breuninger is an Associate Professor of History at the University of South Dakota specializing in Irish and British history of the eighteenth century and the Enlightenment. He is co-editor of Sociability and Cosmopolitanism: Social Bonds on the Fringes of the Enlightenment (Pickering & Chatto). His work has appeared in New Hibernia Review, Journal of Religious History, Berkeley Studies, and elsewhere.


Sharon Smith

Sharon Smith is an Associate Professor of English at South Dakota State University specializing in Restoration, eighteenth-century, and early Romantic British literature. Her current research focuses on women’s verse satire of the long eighteenth century. Her work has appeared in The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, European Romantic Review, and The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies.



© 2018 by MWASECS 2018. Created with Background photo: De Smet, South Dakota, by Sharon Smith, 2010.

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