1.1 The purpose of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies is to promote the growth, development and co-ordination of studies and research relating to the eighteenth century in all aspects of its cultural heritage (historical, philosophical, ideological, religious, linguistic, literary, scientific, artistic, juridical) in all countries, without exception; the Society is non-profit-making and non-political.
1.2 Its function in particular is to promote communication and the circulation of information between national societies for eighteenth-century studies.
1.3 Its aim is:
i. to foster exchanges, contacts and meetings between eighteenth-century specialists of all countries;
ii. to give moral support to cultural events (conferences, exhibitions, etc.) related to the eighteenth century, or commemorating its great figures and its accomplishments;
iii. to promote the creation of national societies in countries where none are in existence.
1.4 Its means of action consist essentially of:
i. the holding of international congresses and colloquia (art.2) open to all eighteenth-century specialists whether or not belonging to any scholarly society;
ii. the creation of an electronic international directory of eighteenth-century researchers;
iii. the creation of a legal body which will assist ISECS between two congresses;
iv. the creation, maintenance and updating of an effective website facilitating communication between personal members and between national societies.
2.1 The Society holds a Congress at intervals of not more than four years.
3.1 Multinational and national associations pursuing aims similar to those of the Society may be admitted as Constituent Societies by the General Assembly of the Society provided that the Executive Committee is satisfied that, within the terms of their constitution, scholars in all fields of eighteenth-century studies may be admitted as members. In the intervals between General Assemblies such associations may be admitted as Constituent Societies by decision of the Executive Committee, subject to the same condition and subject to the eventual approval of the General Assembly; an association so admitted shall forthwith and in advance of such eventual approval incur the obligations and enjoy the rights of a Constituent Society.
3.2 Constituent Societies may draw their membership from any geographical area. They shall pay to the Society, annually and promptly on request, a subscription in respect of each of their members. They shall supply yearly to the Secretary-General a list of the names and addresses of their new and non-renewing members together with changes of address of current members. They shall circulate to their membership with all reasonable speed all information and instructions sent out by the Secretary-General in the name of the Society.
4.1 The Society has the following categories of members:
i. Personal Members, who include all members of Constituent Societies in good standing with the payment of their subscription to the Society.
ii. Corporate Members, who are either libraries or are associations or institutes concerned with eighteenth-century studies in general or with some aspect of eighteenth-century studies.
5.1 The Society has the following officers: a President; three Vice-Presidents, of whom one shall be known as the First Vice-President; a Secretary-General; an Assistant Secretary-General; a Finance Director; an Assistant Finance Director; a Congress Secretary.
5.2 The officers shall hold office for four years and may serve as officers for no more than twelve years in total.
5.3 The Technical Secretariat is composed of an Executive Secretary and a Communications Secretary, who are members ex officio and without vote to the body of officers.
6.1 The Executive Committee shall consist of: the officers of the Society; the most recently retired President; delegate members, elected by the Constituent Societies; eight elected members, elected by the Personal Members; two co-opted members.
6.2 The Executive Committee shall hold office from one Congress to the next and its elected members are eligible to be members of the Executive Committee for a maximum of twelve years (1999 is regarded as year 1 for this purpose). Executive Committee meetings can only be valid with at least one third of its members present or represented. The President shall be required to call a meeting of the Executive Committee at the request of one third of its members.
6.3 Each Constituent Society having fewer than 750 members shall be entitled to designate one delegate member of the Executive Committee. Each Constituent Society having 750 or more members shall be entitled to designate two delegate members of the Executive Committee. Each Constituent Society having 1,500 and more members shall be entitled to designate three delegate members of the Executive Committee. Each Constituent Society shall make its own rules for the selection of these members but Constituent Societies nominating two or three members shall keep in mind the interdisciplinary character of the Society and the need for the representation of both sexes.
6.4 Each Constituent Society shall keep the Secretary-General informed of the names and addresses of its delegate members.
6.5 Constituent Societies are encouraged to appoint their delegates for a term of four years, from one Congress to the next, and for a maximum of three terms. Delegates who become elected members, whether or not with specific posts, cannot exceed a total tenure of twelve years on the Executive Committee.
6.6 Maximum length of tenure applies even if there is a break between terms.
6.7 The Executive Committee may co-opt members for one term only.
7.1 The Executive Committee shall have the right to make and amend by-laws for the application of the Constitution.
8.1 The Standing Committee, which acts for the Executive Committee between its meetings, consists of the President, the First Vice-President, the Secretary-General, and the Finance Director.
9.1 An Ordinary General Assembly of the Society is held on the occasion of the Society's Congress. An Extraordinary General Assembly may be summoned at other times, with not less than two months' written notice to all members, by the Executive Committee or by the President at the request of not less than 20% of the Personal Members.
9.2 All Personal Members of the Society in good standing shall have the right to vote at the General Assembly. Motions and resolutions other than amendments to the Constitution passed by a majority of qualified members present and voting at the General Assembly shall be binding on the Society. If, however, 25% or more of the members present at the General Assembly so request, a motion or resolution shall be referred to the whole membership of the Society, to be voted on by mailed ballots. Balloting of the whole membership shall be carried out under the supervision of the Secretary-General of the Society or by some other officer appointed by the Executive Committee. Corporate members shall not have voting rights.
10.1 The officers (except the Congress Secretary who is appointed by the Executive Committee on the proposal of the local organising committee) and the elected members of the Executive Committee are elected by ballot by the Personal Members of the Society. The ballot shall be held at a time such that the results can be announced at the Congress.
10.2 The responsibility for proposing candidates for such election is vested in the Executive Committee but nomination by petition shall be permitted and shall require the signatures of 25 Personal Members or, in the case of nomination for the office of President or First Vice-President, of 50 Personal Members. In the case of the elective places on the Executive Committee it shall nominate a number of candidates greater than the number of vacancies for elected members. As for the Board, the list will carry more than one candidate for the office of the First Vice-President, as well as those of Assistant Secretary and Assistant Finance Director; it will carry more than two candidates for the other offices of Vice-President. In making its nominations the Executive Committee shall take account of the international and inter-disciplinary character of the Society and of the need for proportionate representation of the sexes. The Executive Committee shall establish the list of candidates, having asked the Presidents of Constituent Societies whether they wish to submit names, and having also asked current Elected Members whether they wish to appear on the list.
10.3 The Executive Committee shall make and publish in good time by-laws for the holding of the election in such a way that all Personal Members shall have the opportunity of voting. These regulations shall prescribe the necessary dates for the election, including the date for the publication of the Executive Committee's nominations and for the receipt of nominations by petition. They shall provide for the addition by the Executive Committee, if not less than two-thirds of its members declare this to be in the interests of the Society, of further nominations after the receipt of nominations by petition.
10.4 No person, though a member of more than one Constituent Society, shall vote more than once.
10.5 In the event of the vacancy of the office of President by death or resignation, the First Vice-President shall succeed to that office. Other casual vacancies shall be filled by decision of the Executive Committee.
11.1 The amount of the annual subscriptions to the Society and the privileges of members of the different categories shall be determined by the Executive Committee.
12.1 The General Assembly of the Society may amend the Constitution by a majority of two-thirds of the members present or represented, and voting, provided that written notice of the amendment proposed has been given to all members not less than three months before the General Assembly. If, however, 25% or more of the members present at the General Assembly so request, a motion or resolution shall be referred to the whole membership of the Society to be voted on by mailed ballots.
13.1 The Society may be dissolved by the agreement of not less than three-quarters of the Personal Members of the Society. Any funds existing at the time of dissolution shall not become the property of any member or members but shall be devoted to furthering the aims defined in article 1.
Any questions regarding the interpretation of the Constitution may be decided by the Executive Committee between one Congress and the next. The General Assembly will clarify the Constitution and make permanent amendments.
This Constitution was adopted by the ISECS General Assembly, Pisa, 27 August 1979.
It was amended by the ISECS General Assembly: Brussels, 24 July 1983; Dublin, 29 July 1999; Montpellier, 12 July 2007; Rotterdam, 28 July 2015; Edinburgh, 17 July 2019; Rome, 6 July 2023.