WSECS 2015 Program

Las Castas
Las Castas (Eighteenth Century). | Image: Unknown artist, Wikimedia Commons.

The 2015 Western Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (WSECS) conference will be held during the afternoon of Friday, February 13 and all day Saturday, February 14, 2015. It will include a reception on Friday evening and lunch on Saturday.

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and the College of Liberal Arts is honored to host the 2015 conference for the WSECS, an event that perfectly aligns with our university’s commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration, innovative faculty scholarship, and excellent graduate education. This year’s meeting drew almost one hundred delegates, a diverse constituency representing twelve different disciplines, with a third of our presenters coming from outside of the western states (and a few from out of the country), and with graduate students comprising a third of those selected to give papers. 

We would like to thank Provost Kathleen Enz Finken and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Doug Epperson, for supporting the conference. We are especially grateful to the departments of the College of Liberal Arts, whose faculty, students, and staff devoted so much of their time and talents to this event. We appreciate our departments of English and History for supporting us in our efforts to organize the meeting. We also thank the department of Art and Design and the University Art Gallery for giving us a delightful site for our reception. We are grateful to students from the department of Graphic Communication, Abel Marquez, Morgan Gutierrez, and Florence Chui, for designing our beautiful print materials. We also express our appreciation to the twelve Cal Poly faculty members that are serving as our panel chairs and delivering papers, representing eighteenth-century scholarship from the departments of English, History, Art and Design, Music, Theatre and Dance, Modern Languages and Literatures, and Philosophy. 

We thank the Dean of the Office of Research and Economic Development, Dean Wendt, and the Director of Graduate Education, Richard Savage, for supporting the fifteen Cal Poly graduate students selected to chair sessions or present papers at this conference. We would also like to offer special gratitude to Katherine Beglin, Anthony Breakspear, Crystal Herrera, Sarah Horne, Stacy Neely, Gisele Olson, Sholeh Prochello, Phillip Schierer, Marin Smith, Justin Swanson, and Sarah Wishnewsky, the graduate students from Dr. Allen’s fall 2014 seminar on “Race, Gender, and Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century,” for which the conference serves as a co-curricular event. These students helped to create the program, are chairing sessions, and some were selected to revise their final seminar papers into conference presentations. 

We are excited to open the conference by debuting the new WSECS website. We hope that you will contribute previous conference programs or documents to our digital archives. The site also promotes our future events, like next year’s conference, which will be held at UC Riverside, on Friday, February 12 and Saturday, February 13, 2016, and will soon issue a call for papers on the conference’s theme “Encounter(s).” Our website also encourages WSECS members to apply to organize future conferences so we all can continue to enjoy the professional and personal benefits of a regional annual meeting. 

We have found that organizing this conference provides an important service to WSECS as well as to our departments, college, university, and community; it offers a wonderful chance to represent the teacher-scholar model by incorporating the conference theme into our coursework; and it presents a valuable opportunity for professional development by bringing together scholars from near and far, representing multiple disciplines, with a shared commitment to eighteenth-century studies. 

Regulus Allen
WSECS President, 2014-15
Associate Professor, Department of English

Kathleen Murphy
WSECS Vice President, 2014-15
Associate Professor, Department of History

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