Nachricht vom

Université Bordeaux Montaigne, Bordeaux, France, 3-5 April 2024

Christoph Heyl (University of Duisburg-Essen) and Rémy Duthille (University of Bordeaux Montaigne) continue the long tradition of the Lapasec (Landau-Paris Symposium on the Eighteenth Century), which welcomes both young and established scholars. The symposium focuses on the literature and culture of the British Isles, but is also open to papers on the British colonies, France, Germany and other geographical areas.

The conference will be in French and English.

The ongoing wars and migrations have foregrounded the issue of the hosting of migrants and the duty of hospitality. This international Early career symposium aims to explore the relationship to foreigners in Germanophone areas, France and Britain (including colonial spaces) from the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685), which provoked international migrations of Protestant refugees, to the revolutions of 1848, which were characterized both by internationalist fervour and by political exiles. Western European ancien régime societies elaborated legal rules and practical arrangements to receive or reject foreigners who were endowed with various statutes. The French Revolution, and later the repressive policies following the Congress of Vienna (1815), sent thousands of political refugees into exile across Europe. While there was no legal recognition of exile, those refugees found themselves the object of migratory policies varying from country to country, with Britain granting total liberty of settlement in 1826. The importance of the religious and political questions in the reception of strangers should not make us lose sight of the significant role of economic migrations, which may also be dealt with in this conference.

One possible approach looks at the history of migrations themselves and combines them with political history and the history of political relations to study the possible reception of migrations, through institutional mechanisms or through case studies of individuals, families or communities in exile. The notion of stranger itself should be analysed, since it covers a spectre of shifting perceptions and legal statuses, which were redefined by the French Revolution and the birth of nation-states. Where French has only étranger, the English and German languages provide a specific vocabulary to designate the stranger/fremd (the unknown person among a community of universal mutual acquaintance) and the foreigner/Ausländer, understood as a social or legal category referring to the non-national. The polysemy of the French étranger, designating both the stranger and the foreigner, can serve as a basis to analysis forms of transnational sociability in which face-to-face relationships or mutual acquaintance can take precedence over national belonging. Contributions on female sociability or sociability on women’s initiative are especially welcome in this regard. Objects of study include Huguenots and Jacobites in the eighteenth century, and the many networks and political sociabilities that spread from the time of the French Revolution and throughout the first half of the nineteenth century: Emigrés, illuminati, Tugendbund, Carbonari… Some groups have an intermediary, sometimes ambiguous, status, that can lead to the persistence of cultural specificities or, on the contrary, integration into the host community. Such was the case of the merchants settled in foreign ports or trading cities who benefited from protection, and sometimes privileges as burgesses or through naturalization. Such analysis of networks may lead to the examination of cultural, intellectual, political or economic transfers between the three spaces considered.

Another promising perspective concerns the mental, artistic and literary representations of strangers, ranging from cliché to xenophilia. The image of Black people became degraded as the colonial, slaving system expanded. Hospitality and phenomena of rejection may be envisioned in the context of the elaboration of racial hierarchy, which was under way in the Scottish Enlightenment for instance. Travel narratives and fictions also built up images of strangers and foreignersand depict hospitality as well as hostility, dealing also with racial mixing and metissage.

The definition of the stranger (or the ‘neighbour’, in theological terms) as well as the discussion of the conditions of the duty of hospitality constitute rich fields of enquiry in intellectual history. Topics of study include religious discourse, whether in the pulpit or in theological treatises, in the socio-political context of inter-state relations, migrations like the French Huguenot exile and the existence of transnational networks, whether confessional or pertaining to the Republic of Letters. The French Revolution turned hospitality into a normative political value. In his Project for Perpetual Peace (1795), Immanuel Kant defined hostility as “the right of a stranger not to be treated in a hostile manner by another upon his arrival on the other's territory”. Kant conceives hospitality as a political and legal problem which has continued down to our own times. This legal-political construction of hospitality may be analysed in comparison with hospitable practices.

Possible themes include:

  • legal, political, religious definitions of the stranger/foreigner
  • treatment of foreigners
  • migration and gender
  • migration and cultural transfer
  • merchant and seafaring communities
  • economic migration
  • reception of passing strangers and foreigners: travels, Grand Tour
  • war refugees
  • religious refugees, Huguenots
  • political diasporas, Jacobites in the eighteenth century
  • political dimensions of internationalism
  • revolutions and political exile
  • French Revolution and revolutionary hospitality or inhospitality
  • Springtime of the Peoples and hospitality
  • networks of hospitality, hospitality toward refugees
  • social and cultural mixing, metissage
  • artistic patronage, reception of foreign artists
  • theological reflection on the stranger: the neighbour, the Good Samaritan
  • philosophical reflection on the stranger and on hospitality.

We invite 20-minute papers with a discussion time of 10 minutes.
For those in the early stages of their academic careers, we are seeking to fund travel, accommodation and related conference costs.

Please e-mail your proposal (c. 250 words), contact information and a brief biographical note (c. 100 words) to Rémy Duthille  (rduthille(at) and Tristan Coignard (Tristan.Coignard(at)