Summer is always a busy time of year, for while courses are over and seminars are generally suspended, it is conference season. I generally really like attending conferences and presenting my work. They provide me with motivation to finish various bits of work, as well as useful forums for trying out new material, and of course great opportunities to learn a load of new information and meet new people in relatively short time frame.
During July, I presented two papers on print related topics. The first was a paper for the Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society anual conference on the business model of the Northern Star newspaper. More information to come in a later post.
More recently, I returned from ‘Europe, Empire and Public Opinion: Debate and Consensus in the Three Kingdoms 1660-1763’ a conference put on by the gentlemen at Hertford College in Oxford. This was an intimate conference, but was packed with heavy hitters like Allan MacInnes (University of Strathclyde), Steve Pincus (University of Yale) and Phil Withington (University of Cambridge). Like most great conferences the discussion built over the course of the event, focusing on imperial policy and politics in England, but with a good dose of Ireland and the Caribbean thrown in as well.
While the conference in general was very politically focused (Whigs and Tories featured in nearly every paper), Dr. Benjamin Bankhurst (King’s College, London) and I managed to bring reading into the picture with our panel entitled ‘Reading America’. My own contribution was a case study on the early education and reading of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Here I used Carroll’s correspondence and his reading to trace the evolution of his opinions regarding Britain and her empire.
While the paper itself was well-received, there is certainly much room for further work to be done on the subject. Hopefully, I will be able to take some of the comments and further develop the paper as an article. Stay tuned for further updates and discussion on the reading habits of Mr. Carroll.
While the summer is nearly over, there are always more conferences. The next major conference on my calendar is the transatlantic ‘Ireland, America and the Worlds of Mathew Carey’ which will be a two-part conference started in October in Philadelphia and finished in November in Dublin. This should be particularly exciting because it will bring together scholars from both across the Atlantic working on a range of subjects, each of which relates in some way to Mathew Carey or the worlds that he inhabited. As a committee member for the Dublin leg of the conference, I am privileged to attend both ends of the conference, despite only presenting here in Dublin. Look out for updates on this subject in the coming months.
For now, I am off to start answering the new calls for papers which are already out for next year’s conferences.