Sociability & Networks: Dance, Song, Music and Sociability 1750 -1832

Virtual workshop organised by the DIGITENS EU Project and the Universities of Warwick, UEA and Notre Dame.

Held on March 5th as a preparatory workshop for a larger conference at the Notre Dame Centre (Central London, UK) on the 4th and 5th March 2022.

Sociability is one of the single most significant ideas to emerge out of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. The societies, clubs and institutions that underpinned intellectual exchange, made possible the scientific developments of the period, the development of "public opinion" through political meetings; and they helped form the entertainment industry through the commercialization of pleasure. Less widely understood, however, are the specific dynamics of sociability -- the ways that both institutions and private gatherings combined serious discussion with entertainment in the form of musical entertainment and dance. This conference will challenge the dominant understandings of Enlightenment sociability by placing music and dance at its core. Rather than thinking of music and dance as a peripheral ornament to the serious business of the Enlightenment, it will understand them as important engines in the development and dissemination of the ideas and practices that mobilised people’s bodies and emotions and shaped their social, emotional and intellectual worlds.

This introductory workshop is a preparatory workshop for a meeting (post Covid) in 2022. There are a series of short statements of intent; plus a set of issues we have set as challenges; and a pair of recordings of dance steps. The aim to focus on different aspects of the world of sound and movement and on their wider influence on the behavior of people at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries.

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