International conference - Sociability in Politics, Food and Travel in the Early Modern Era

Sociability in Politics, Food and Travel in the Early Modern Era

8-10 June 2023, in-person at the University of Warwick

Organisers: Naomi Pullin & Charles Walton

The Early Modern and Eighteenth-Century Centre at the University of Warwick, together with GIS Sociabilités/Sociability network in France, aims to explore the intersection of sociability with the themes of food, politics and travel in the early modern period (1550-1850). The conference coincides with the Visiting Professorship of Dena Goodman (University of Michigan), who has devoted much of her career to studying sociability in eighteenth-century France. In her keynote, she will reflect on the political implications of the family/friendship binary for the history of sociability between 1750 and 1850.

This international conference, which is open to researchers at all levels of their career, aims to explore new insights on forms, models and practices of sociability interpreted and analysed through the themes of food, politics and travel. These constitute three of the four strands currently being explored in the new scientific programme (2023-2025) of the GIS Sociability international network. Two of these themes – food and travel (‘connecting cultures’) – fall under the ‘Global Research Priorities’ of the University of Warwick.

Historical research on sociability has been developing for several decades. It has been enriched by theoretical frameworks for understanding networks and the rise of public spheres. Sociology and cultural anthropology have been especially helpful for conceptualising how, why and the conditions under which people interact in specific ways. Recent studies of emotions – individual and collective – have thrown light on various forms of sociability.

Although there is a rich literature on the topic to draw from, the aim of this conference is to home in on how sociability was imbricated in other cultural phenomena. We are especially interested in exploring the relationship between sociability and political culture, food and drink studies, and trade, travel, and overseas exchange.

Keynote lecture: Dena Goodman (University of Michigan) – ‘The Convergence of Family and Friendship: Intellectual Sociability in the Wake of the French Revolution’.

The programme is available here.


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