Upcoming Conferences


The Fifth Biennial Meeting of the Defoe Society

Tolerance and Intolerance in the Age of Defoe

September 7-9, 2017


Plenary Speakers:

Jill Campbell, Yale University

Wolfram Schmidgen, Washington University


In one light, late seventeenth-and early eighteenth-century Britain might be said to have been an age of tolerance: a degree of toleration of religious dissent became the law of the land; and in the world of letters, many authors sought to cultivate a posture of rhetorical moderation and urbane cosmopolitanism. At the same time, of course, the age was marked by bitter factionalism and biting satire. Social and political upheavals created new opportunities for confrontation as well as for incorporation, for hostility as well as for hospitality. Such tensions led writers like John Locke and Daniel Defoe to address questions of tolerance and toleration directly.


How these and other writers from roughly 1660-1740 negotiated encounters with others is the theme for the fifth biennial meeting of the Defoe Society. Topics of interest might include (but are not limited to):


* Religious toleration and intolerance (conformity and dissent, confessional strife, secularization, atheism)

*Legislating Toleration in England and America

*Politics (factionalism, corruption, rebellion)

*Cosmopolitanism and Immigration

*Hatred and Invective

*Bullying or Hectoring

*Symbolic Power/Soft Violence

*Sovereignty/Sovereign Ban

*Toleration and Economy

*Refugees, Migrants, and Displaced Persons

*Utopian Community

*Recognition and Face-to Face Encounters


Submissions not directly related to the conference theme but that concern the life, culture, and works of Daniel Defoe or his contemporaries are also welcome, as is work exploring the later legacy of the age in the form of adaptations, translations, remediations. etc.


Proposals for individual papers or complete panels should be directed to the conference organizers, Dwight Codr (Dwight.codr@uconn.edu) and Benjamin Pauley (pauleyb@easternct.edu) by April 1, 2017.


The 2017 meeting will be held September 7-9 at the Courtyard Marriott in New Haven, Connecticut, conveniently reachable by rail from New York and Boston and by ground shuttle from Bradley International Airport in Hartford.



The Fourth Biennial Meeting of the Defoe Society

Nature in the Age of Defoe

July 22-23, 2015

The fourth biennial meeting of the Defoe Society will be held from 22-23 July in Bath, England. The conference invites proposals for panels on any topic related to the study of Defoe and his contemporaries, broadly defined as stretching from the Restoration period to the mid eighteenth century. Proposals are invited for fully comprised panels of three papers, for roundtable sessions of up to five speakers, and for 'alternative format' sessions of your devising. The conference keynote theme is Nature in the Age of Defoe. ‘Nature,’ Raymond Williams observed in 1976, ‘is perhaps the most complex word in the language.’ While over the past decade the question of ‘Nature’ in eighteenth-century studies has been increasingly driven by ecocriticism and animal studies, writers of the late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-centuries were no less alive to the freighted multiplicity of the term. Some suggestions for panel topics are below, but proposals are also invited which address any aspect of this theme.

Human nature

Animals (humans and /or others)

Wilderness or wildness

Ecocriticism / posthumanism

Nature/culture hybrids


Ecologies (human or natural)

Weather and climate

Please email proposals, by Friday, 30th January, 2015, to Dr Stephen H. Gregg at s.gregg@bathspa.ac.uk

In February 2015, there will be an announcement calling for stand-alone paper proposals, paper proposals for the specific panels that were proposed by January, and proposals for pre-assembled panels.

Please check out the conference website here for more information.


Past Conferences


The Third Biennial Meeting of the Defoe Society

Global Defoe: His Times and His Contemporaries

August 9-10, 2013

For the Conference Web Site and Registration Information, please click here

The third biennial meeting of the Defoe Society was held from August 9-10, 2013 at the Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Normal, Illinois. The theme for the meeting is "Global Defoe: His Times & His Contemporaries." We received a plethora of panel proposals that relate to this theme.


The Second Biennial Meeting of the Defoe Society

The Culture of Grub Street

For the Conference Registration form, please click here

For the Conference Program, please click here

14-16 July, 2011

The University of Worcester, UK, hosted the second biennial meeting of the Defoe Society on 14-16 July 2011. The conference host was Dr. Andreas Mueller. The conference’s aim was to encourage fresh examination of the socio-cultural and literary milieu of Grub Street and its “duncical” authors and “Scriblerian” enemies.

The Worcester meeting was punctuated by three focal events: keynote lectures by Pat Rogers (University of South Florida) and Paula McDowell (New York University) and a President’s Roundtable on the topic of ‘Defoe bibliography’. Participants in the roundtable, chaired by Maximillian E. Novak (UCLA), include David A. Brewer (Ohio State University), J. Alan Downie (Goldsmiths College, University of London), Kit Kincade (Indiana State University) and Ashley Marshall (Johns Hopkins University).



The First Biennial Meeting of the Defoe Society

The first biennial meeting of the Defoe Society took place at Oklahoma State University, hosted by Dr. Robert Mayer. This successful conference reenergized the society by providing a lot of new avenues for development in Defoe Studies. Two publications are expected to emerge from this conference. The first will be an essay collection by AMS Press (contact Kit Kincaide for further information) and the second will be a special issue of Digital Defoe, contact Katherine Ellison or Holly Faith Nelson for further information).

Conference Program

You can download the Conference Program for the first Defoe Society Conference here.

The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 2009

The Defoe Society presented three panels at the 2009 ASECS Conference in Richmond, Virginia:

1. The Stoke Newington Defoe Series Editorial Round Table
Chair: Max Novak, University of California, Los Angeles
Kit Kincade, Indiana State University
Manuel Schonhorn, Southern Illinois University
Gabe Hornstein, President, AMS Press
Respondent: Kevin Cope, Louisiana State University

Envisioned as primarily an editorial discussion about the history and future of the Stoke Newington Defoe Series, this panel has been devised to address and promote textual and editorial scholarship in the field of Defoe studies.

2 & 3. The Didactic and Non-fictional Works of Daniel Defoe
In contrast to his novels, Daniel Defoe's didactic and non-fictional works have only recently begun to be explored critically on their own terms. In an effort to continue and extend this trend, these two panels offer an opportunity for papers on Defoe's non-fictional works that investigate and comment upon Defoe's use of literary forms, genres and structures, as well as the functions of Defoe's non-novelistic writings in their socio-historical and literary contexts.

The Didactic and Non-fictional Works of Daniel Defoe I

Chair: John Richetti, University of Pennsylvania
*George Starr, University of California, Berkeley, “'Christianity Not as Old as the Creation' (1730): The Last of Defoe’s Performances?
*Andreas Mueller, University of Worcester, "Daniel Defoe: Whig poet in a Tory dress?"
*Sharon Alker, Whitman College & Holly Faith Nelson, Trinity Western University, "Pamphlet Wars: Tropological Union in Defoe's Anglo-Scottish Works"

The Didactic and Non-fictional Works of Daniel Defoe II

Chair: Andreas Mueller, University of Worcester
*Ben Pauley, Eastern Connecticut State University, "Placing London in Defoe's A Tour Thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain"
*Chris Gabbard, University of North Florida "'That Secret Something': The Mentally Disabled Primitive in Daniel Defoe's Mere Nature Delineated"
*Mita Choudhury, Purdue University, Calumet, "Global Systems, Imperial Symptoms: Mapping the Territory of Virtual Worlds in Defoe's Non-fiction"

Please visit the ASECS Website for more information.

The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 2008

There were two panels on Daniel Defoe at the 2008 ASECS Conference on March 27th-30th in Portland, Oregon:

1. "Defoe Visualized: Illustrations, Film, Television, and New Media" (Defoe Society)
Chair: Richard Frohock, Oklahoma State University
Andreas Mueller, University of Worcester, "Vulgar Postcolonialism: The Case of Halmi's Robinson Crusoe"
Robert Mayer, Oklahoma State University, "The Robinsonade on American Television"
Sharon Alker, Whitman College, and Holly Faith Nelson, Trinity Western University, "Defoe in Cyberspace: Eighteenth-Century Authors on the Web"

2. "Defoe: The Cambridge Companion" (Defoe Society)
Chair: John Richetti, University of Pennsylvania
J. Paul Hunter, University of Virginia
Cynthia Wall, University of Virginia
Maximillian Novak, University of California, Los Angeles
Ellen Pollak, Michigan State University

A Defoe Society roundtable on "The Future of Defoe Studies" was hosted at the 2007 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The details regarding the roundtable were as follow:

"The Future of Defoe Studies" (Defoe Society)
Chair: Sharon Alker, Whitman College
Geoffrey Sill, Rutgers University [Read Remarks]
Robert Mayer, Oklahoma State University
Irving Rothman, University of Houston
John Richetti, University of Pennsylvania
Maximilian Novak, University of California, Los Angeles

This panel was dedicated to the memory of Professor Jim Springer Borck (1941-2007).

Please see the ASECS Conference Website for more information.

The British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

The British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2009

The 38th Annual Conference was held from January 6-8th, 2009 at St. Hugh's College, Oxford University. Andreas Mueller chaired the following panel, centered on Defoe.

Panel Title: Defoe's Non-Fictional Writings

Chair: Andreas Mueller, University of Worcester

Aino Makikalli, University of Turku, "Functions of Time and Chronology in Defoe's Non-Fiction"

Penny Pritchard, University of Hertfordshire, "Voices of Dissent: Rhetorical Strategies in Defoe's Writing Before 1719."

Evert Jan van Leeuwen, Leiden University, "Defoe's History of Apparitions (1727): Versimilitude and the Birth of Parapsychology."

The British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2008

The 37th Annual Conference was held from the 3rd to the 5th of January 2008 at St. Hugh's College, Oxford. Chris Mounsey, University of Winchester, chaired a panel on Daniel Defoe that included the following papers:

Leyli Jamali, Islamic Azad University of Tabriz, "Darker Than The Plague: Defoe's Symbolic Gaze in A Journal of the Plague Year"
Andreas Mueller, University of Worcester, "A question of influence: Daniel Defoe's 'Meditations'"
Nicholas Seager, University of Nottingham, "Daniel Defoe, Major Ramkins, the Canon, and the Novel"
Jed Wentz, University of Leiden, "Roxana's Dance: The Persuasive Footwork of Defoe's Fortunate Mistress"

Please see the BSECS Conference Website for more details about the panel and paper abstracts.

The International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 2007

The Twelfth International Congress on the Enlightenment was held in Montpellier, France from the 8th to 15th of July 2007. Robert Mayer chaired a panel there on Defoe and the Enlightenment.

Please see the ISECS Conference Website for more information.