The Congress of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS - SIEDS) is the world’s largest meeting of specialists on all aspects of the eighteenth century, and takes place every four years. Recent ISECS congresses have been held in Montpellier (2007), Graz (2011), Rotterdam (2015), and Edinburgh (2019). The 16th ISECS Congress will be held in Rome, Italy, from Monday 3 July to Friday 7 July 2023. It is organized by the Italian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (Società Italiana di Studi sul Secolo Diciottesimo - SISSD) and hosted by Sapienza Università di Roma and Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata.
While proposals for papers, panels, and roundtables on any topic relevant to the long eighteenth century (1670-1830) are warmly welcomed, we particularly invite contributions that address the Congress theme: Antiquity and the Shaping of the Future in the Age of Enlightenment. In the 18th century, a new interpretation of the past radically innovated the dominating view of and approach to tradition. The legacy of antiquity was always there as shared memory, but the critical and analytical attitude that characterised 18th-century culture also transformed its relationship with antiquity, which was renegotiated and modernised. Indeed, the 1700s witnessed a reconstruction of the foundations of knowledge, considering not only the different forms of knowledge itself, but also the individual and his/her existence in the present. This change created a major break with the past and laid the groundwork for the new patterns of thought and expression that have developed in the subsequent ages and continue to do so, up to the present day. They build for the future, but in creative dialogue with a vanished Antiquity. The challenge that the Congress is to face lies precisely in the capturing of the deep sense and meaning of this transformation, which involves all branches of knowledge and can be approached from different perspectives and with different methodologies.