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Scots Abroad

The 33rd Annual Conference of the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society

Scots Abroad

28 - 30 July 2022

30 years after its last visit to England, ECSSS’s annual conference will be hosted by Liverpool’s Eighteenth-Century Worlds Research Centre amid the unspoiled residential terraces of Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter.

Liverpool was the fastest growing British city of the 1790s, with emigrant Scots – including Dr. James Currie (editor of Burns) and merchant, MP and slave owner Sir John Gladstone – playing a significant role in its cultural, economic, social, political, intellectual and religious life. The programme offers papers on all aspects of the conference theme ‘Scots Abroad’, including the movement and impact of Scottish people, practices, goods and ideas to other parts of the globe near or far – as well as a selection of papers on other aspects of eighteenth-century Scottish thought, politics and culture. Two keynote lectures highlights Scottish influences on cultural and intellectual developments in northern England and the activities and networks of Scots in the Caribbean.

Postponed from 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference theme marks the tercentenary of the births in 1721 of Principal William Robertson (who wrote about Europe, India and the Americas), Dr. John Erskine (who developed Scottish-American evangelical connections), and Tobias Smollett (who emigrated to London), as well as the tercentenary of the death of castaway Alexander Selkirk (who inspired Robinson Crusoe).


Conference Information, Registration and Programme

We are delighted to announce that registration for the SCOTS ABROAD conference is now open and available from the conference shop.

The preliminary programme is available - ECSSS Conference Programme. Please let the conference organisers know if any details are incorrect, or if you are now unable to attend the conference by emailing towsey@liverpool.ac.uk. If you would still like to offer a paper, please let us know – we will keep a waiting list in case of last-minute withdrawals, and will do our utmost to accommodate you. Likewise, we are now eagerly looking for volunteers to chair panel sessions – please let us know if you’d like to offer your services as a panel chair. 

The conference will be largely in-person, with no current plans to routinely stream panels. If there is sufficient interest, we may consider making some panels available online: if you are interested in viewing panels online, please register your interest by emailing the conference organisers. 

In light of the economic hardship caused by the pandemic, the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society has approved some limited funding to support PhD Students, Early Career Researchers and other unfunded delegates who need financial assistance in order to attend the conference. If you would like to apply for support, please write to both Leith Davis (leith_davis@sfu.ca) and Mark Towsey (towsey@liverpool.ac.uk) laying out your circumstances and the level of assistance required. Funding will be allocated on the basis of need, and applications must be received by Friday 27th May 2022.

Following discussion with the ECSSS Executive Board, veteran conference delegates will notice several changes this year, both to adjust to the new realities of the pandemic (including the increased emphasis on social distancing) and to keep the costs of attending the conference as low as possible. Instead of offering a formal, sit-down conference dinner, the AGM and the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award will be held at a wine reception at the historic Athenaeum (a newsroom and subscription library founded in 1797) in the city centre, following which delegates will be able to make their own dining arrangements in smaller, socially distanced groups. Recommendations on local dining options will be made available on this website nearer the time. Likewise, there will be no formal excursions this year. Instead, the conference organisers will provide information on local attractions (including self-guided walking tours) on this website nearer the time.

Liverpool is a fantastic eighteenth-century city with a huge amount to see and do – we very much look forward to welcoming you here in July! 


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