James L. Clifford Lecture Recommendations- ASECS 2022

Dear ASECS Members,


The Executive Board invites members of the Society to recommend speakers to deliver the James L. Clifford Lecture at the Annual Meeting to be held in Baltimore, March 30 – April 2, 2022. Nominees should be distinguished scholars of eighteenth-century studies; they do not have to be members of ASECS.


As the plenary ASECS President’s Lecture will be delivered by Rebecca Messbarger in 2022, in keeping with the Society’s commitment to interdisciplinarity the Executive Board would like to identify a 2022 Clifford lecturer who is not in the fields of Italian studies or medical humanities.


You may nominate a Clifford lecturer by writing to Executive Director Lisa Berglund at berglul@buffalostate.edu. No formal letter of recommendation is required but a link to the nominee’s CV would be helpful.


Thank you!

March 13, 2020

2020 Annual Meeting FAQ

2020 Annual Meeting Frequently Asked Questions

Presenting or Moving 2020 Sessions


When is the next ASECS Meeting?


The next Annual Meeting will take place in Toronto, 8-10 April 2021. It is possible that the meeting will be extended to include a portion of Wednesday, 7 April and/or Sunday, 11 April. Information about the schedule of the 2021 Toronto Annual Meeting will be available when the 2021 Call for Proposals is circulated in April 2020.


I am a panel chair. Can my 2020 panel be moved to Toronto?


Sessions originally approved by the 2020 Program Committee can move to Toronto. Consult with your panelists and if you decide to move the panel, fill out this ASECS 2020 Session Transfer Requests before 15 April 2020 so we can keep track of how many sessions we need to accommodate.

            The title of the session, the core participants, and format (e.g. roundtable, workshop) must remain the same when the session moves to Toronto. Other changes (e.g. the title of an individual paper, an extra person drops out) are fine; there’s no need to advise the Business Office of editorial changes. Chairs will provide the full session information as usual in September on the session information form.


Can I give my 2020 paper at the 2021 Annual Meeting?


You may give your 2020 paper if the session on which it was scheduled will be moved to Toronto. Please consult with your panel chair. Any session that wishes to move in its entirety to Toronto will be given a time slot, although not necessarily for the same day and time as was assigned in St. Louis.


What if I want to make changes to my paper before I present it in Toronto? Is that okay?


You can edit your paper as usual until the printed program is finalized in January.


I am a panel chair. Can I add new people to my session if I move it to Toronto?


The session must have the appropriate number of participants and the format and title of the panel must be what was approved for St. Louis. Otherwise, changes necessary for the panel to run are at the discretion of the session chair. Requirements for participants (current membership in ASECS or an ISECS society, paid registration fee, no more than two listings in the program) remain the same.


My 2020 panel was given a second session. Can both sessions move to Toronto?


Yes, as long as both sessions comply with the requirements listed above.


I plan to give my paper in Toronto. Can you credit my 2020 registration fee to the 2021 Meeting?


No. You may request a refund of your 2020 registration fee, but because some presentations will take place in 2020 in an abbreviated online format, the financials for the two Meetings are being handled separately. If you are going to present your paper in 2020 in an alternative format, you need to remain registered for the 2020 Annual Meeting.


I need to present my paper this year. How do I do that?


ASECS is working with session chairs to develop options for online presentation of work, including the possibility of Zoom conferencing, YouTube videos, and discussion boards. Information will be available soon from your session chair. Please note that if you plan to present in an alternative format in 2020, you must register or remain registered for the 2020 Annual Meeting. The tentative deadline for giving alternative format presentations is December 1, 2020.


I need to have evidence for my institution’s promotion and tenure committee that my presentation took place in 2020 as part of the ASECS Meeting. How will ASECS help with that?


Alternative presentations will have a formal ASECS imprimatur; possibilities include being hosted on Zoom by the ASECS Business Office, given at an ASECS Affiliate Society as an ASECS sponsored session; or posted on the ASECS YouTube channel. Later this year, ASECS will publish a formal revised 2020 Program online, which will list all participants in alternative format presentations. All alternative presentations will be advertised by ASECS on social media. Details will be made available in coming weeks.


I didn’t register for St. Louis, but I like the idea of supporting the alternative format presentations. Will they be available to non-meeting registrants to watch or read?


Specific details have yet to be worked out, but it is likely that the alternative presentations will be accessible to ASECS members, and possibly to the general public.


Will ASECS be giving awards for 2020 conference papers presented in alternative formats?


The ASECS Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize and the ASECS Women’s Caucus Catherine Macaulay Conference Paper Prize will be awarded for 2020. Eligibility details will be posted in the upcoming weeks, as will information on whether the Hans Turley Queer Studies and the Race and Empire Caucus awards will be given.


The other people on my panel want to move the panel to Toronto but I can’t attend next year. Can ASECS help me present my paper this year?


At this point, we are not able to make accommodations for individual papers. We hope you can find a place for your paper on a panel at a regional or affiliate society.


Will there be room for new panels or papers in Toronto?


Yes. Once we know how many sessions will move from St. Louis to Toronto, the Program Committee and the Business Office will determine how many additional sessions we can include. A Call for Proposals will be issued in April, with a May 15 deadline. The full Call for Papers will be posted June 15 and the deadline for submitting abstracts to panel chairs will be September 15.


I am the representative of an Affiliate Society or a Caucus. Will our organization have its usual guaranteed sessions in Toronto?


If an Affiliate Society moves its single guaranteed session from St. Louis to Toronto, it will not receive an additional guaranteed session. If a Caucus moves its two guaranteed sessions, it will not receive another guaranteed session; if it moves one 2020 session, it will receive one guaranteed session in 2021. (A session that split into two panels in St. Louis counts as one guarantee session.) If Affiliates or Caucuses do not move 2020 sessions to Toronto, they may request their usual guaranteed sessions.

            Affiliate Societies and Caucuses will be asked to submit their guaranteed session proposals by April 15. These session CFPs will be posted before the deadline for the general Call for Panels, so that members proposing sessions do not unwittingly propose topics that have already been scheduled.


Refunds and other Financial Questions


How can I apply for a refund of my 2020 Registration Fee?


If you plan to present your paper in an alternative ASECS format in 2020, do not apply for a refund; you still need to be registered for the Meeting to be credited with presenting an official paper. If you will be moving your paper to Toronto or will not give your paper at all, then you may request a refund, less a $15 service charge, by filling out the ASECS 2020 Annual Meeting Fee Resolution Form. Refunds will be made by check or PayPal within 60 days.  Refunds in PayPal are credited to the card you used to pay your registration.


Should I cancel my registration on the conference website to expedite the refund process?


No. Doing so will actually delay your refund as your registration information will be moved into a different processing section.


Can I donate my registration fee to the Society to help offset the financial damages the Society will incur?


Yes. (Thank you!) You can convert your registration into a tax-deductible contribution to the Society, either to cover our financial loss or to support an ASECS endowed fund. Please fill out the ASECS 2020 Annual Meeting Fee Resolution Form and indicate where you would like your donation to be applied. You will receive a receipt for tax purposes within 60 days.


I purchased a ticket to the Women’s Caucus luncheon or the French Studies dinner. Will I receive a refund?


You may request a refund, or you may donate your ticket to ASECS to help offset the financial damages incurred by the cancellation of the Meeting. Donated Women’s Caucus Luncheon tickets will be used to subsidize graduate student luncheon tickets at future annual meetings. Please fill out the ASECS 2020 Annual Meeting Fee Resolution Form. You should receive a refund or a receipt within 60 days.

I purchased a ticket to The Triumph of Love. Can I get a refund?


Refunds are not available for this event, as it is external to the Annual Meeting. If the theaters in St. Louis remain open, you may still use your ticket; a list of ASECS ticket holders will be provided to the theater.


I purchased a ticket to Cahokia. Can I get a refund?


You may request a refund or you may donate your ticket to ASECS to help offset the financial damages incurred by the cancellation of the Meeting. Please fill out the ASECS 2020 Annual Meeting Fee Resolution Form. You should receive a refund or a receipt within 60 days.


I booked a hotel room through the ASECS block at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis at the Arch. Can I get a refund?


All rooms reserved through the ASECS block should have been canceled. You may wish to confirm this cancellation with the Hotel (877-803-7534). If you booked a room outside the ASECS block or at another hotel, you should act promptly to avoid a cancellation fee. Normally rooms can be canceled without penalty until 72 hours before the scheduled start date of the Annual Meeting (March 18).


Will I be able to reschedule or cancel my flight?


Some airlines are permitting cancellations without a penalty; you will need to contact your carrier directly.


I have not been able to get my airplane ticket reimbursed by my institution. Can ASECS help?


ASECS would be happy to write a letter to your chair, dean, or provost, urging them to help with reimbursement for airplane tickets. Please contact the Business Office if you need such a letter, and provide the name, institutional address, and email address of the person to whom the letter should be addressed.


I joined ASECS in order to present at the 2020 Meeting. Can I receive a refund of my membership?


Refunds of membership are not being made available. As a member you also receive a subscription to Eighteenth-Century Studies, the opportunity to apply for ASECS fellowships and prizes, and the right to propose a session for the next Annual Meeting. These benefits of membership have not been cancelled.


I was awarded a Traveling Jam Pot grant. Can I apply the grant to presenting in Toronto?  


If you present your St. Louis paper in Toronto, you will receive your Jam Pot award next year, even if you graduate before April 2021. Please notify the Business Office of your plans.

If you present your paper in an alternative format in 2020, your Jam Pot registration fee waiver will apply to this year. You will not, however, receive funds for travel support unless you incur travel expenses in presenting your paper in 2020. Please contact the Business Office before making travel arrangements.

            If you incurred airfare or rental car costs for St. Louis that cannot be refunded or changed, document the situation and contact the Business Office.


I received an NTTF grant for St. Louis. Can I apply the grant to presenting in Toronto?


Yes. If you are moving your paper to Toronto, your travel award and waived registration fees will apply next year, even if your job status changes. If you will not be presenting your 2020 paper in Toronto, contact the Business Office to discuss options.

Other Questions


Do you know whether book exhibit discounts will be made available?


Some publishers have already noted that ASECS2020 discounts will be honored. We will compile a list of publishers and post it once we have heard back from everyone. In the meantime, you could contact the publishers directly; a list of the exhibitors who were planning to attend ASECS is in the Meeting program, which is still online at ASECS 2020 Annual Meeting Program


Please contact our Business Office (asecsoffice@gmail.com) if you have additional questions.

March 13, 2020


The ASECS Executive Board has unanimously endorsed the following statement prepared by the Society’s DEIA (Disability, Equity, Inclusiveness, and Accessibility) Advisory Committee:

The CDC has recently declared that the spread of the coronavirus is a public health emergency of international concern.  We trust that our members are seeking information from experts, following national guidelines, and taking personal care of your health.  We also enlist your support as educators and as scholars of the eighteenth century in addressing the racism, xenophobia, and nationalism that have emerged in the wake of the current health concerns.  Viruses, of course, do not discriminate by nationality, region, gender, race or ethnicity. Yet in ways reminiscent of past discourses of plague and “yellow peril,” many Asians and Asian-Americans are once again experiencing discrimination, hostility, and exclusion both in person and on social media platforms.  Suspicion and hostility have also fallen on individuals who choose to wear masks in public whether for cultural reasons or from concerns for personal health.  We ask all those attending the annual meeting or engaging with colleagues on line to ensure a fully professional environment for every member of our Society during this health crisis and to be cognizant of the burden that persons of Asian identities may be experiencing at this time.  ASECS condemns all prejudicial and racialized responses to the current viral outbreak.  

March 6, 2020

A Note from the ASECS Business Office

“We are not to repine, but we may lawfully struggle; for the calamities of life, like the necessities of nature, are calls to labour and diligence.”  -- Samuel Johnson, Rambler 32.


We have decided to work remotely, as much as possible, for at least the next three weeks. You may reach us by phone or email, and we will continue to update you regularly through our online platforms. Please note that as Buffalo State will be on spring break from 23-30 March, our staff will be on vacation during that period.


Thank you for all your supportive messages. Your confidence in the ASECS Office and our Society during this very difficult time is much appreciated.



Lisa Berglund, Ph.D.

Executive Director


Aimee Levesque, Ph.D.

Project and Office Manager

Julio Valentin

William McCourt

Graduate Student Assistants

March 16, 2020


Dear ASECS Members and Annual Meeting Participants,


At its virtual meeting on Friday afternoon, March 6, the ASECS Executive Board decided unanimously to cancel the Society’s physical meeting in St. Louis on March 19-21.  We do not take this action lightly.  The face-to-face encounters, both formal and informal, that occur at the annual meeting are invaluable.  We look forward throughout the year to those exchanges, and all of us have grown as scholars of the eighteenth century as result.

The Board determined, however, that the risk of infection among ourselves and those with whom we would interact in St. Louis is too great.  It may be the case that the virus will never come to Missouri (there are not documented cases there now), and that the wave of infections around the country and world will recede in the next ten days, rather than grow. But if even one member of our Society were to become critically sick, or worse, the consequences would outweigh the benefits of our scholarly exchanges.  The Board was unanimous in its feeling that we want to hold the best meeting possible.  Given the number of cancellations already received in the Business Office, the number of international scholars who are already unable to attend, and the general level of anxiety that would shadow our sessions, we do not feel we can hold a meeting in St Louis this March that would be up to our standards.

We greatly regret that we will not be able to enjoy the hard work of our program committee and our colleagues on the ground in St. Louis.  We especially want to acknowledge the efforts of Professor Pannill Camp at Washington University in St. Louis, who is the driving force behind the production of Marivaux’s The Triumph of Love, and Amy Tolbert, curator at the St. Louis Art Museum, who had arranged for a workshop the day before the conference.  Colleagues in the St. Louis area will still be able to enjoy the Marivaux production the week after next.

We know that the membership will have many questions about the consequences of this decision, including:

  • Might there be a way to hold some of the sessions online, or in some other virtual format?

  • Might panels organized for this year’s conference be rolled over to the Toronto program next spring?

  • What will be the Society’s policy on the refund of conference registration fees?

We will be working over the weekend to answer these questions, and will communicate on these and other conference-related matters with you over the next week.  You may also send your queries and comments to the Business Office at asecsoffice@gmail.com.


Jeff Ravel

President, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Professor and Head of History, MIT

March 6, 2020

Update on ASECS Annual Meeting in St. Louis, March 19-21

Dear ASECS Members,

Over the weekend, many of you made hotel reservations in St. Louis for our annual conference on March 19-21, and many of you also paid your registration fees.  Thank you for your support! 

As of this writing, the conference is still on.  We are monitoring the statements and evidence issuing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other authorities about the COVID-19 virus carefully, but at the moment we do not see any reason to cancel.  We have set ourselves a deadline of next Monday, March 9, to make a final determination about whether to proceed with the conference.  We will be in touch with you again then.

Some airlines are offering reservations with no-fee flight change provisions at the moment.  We urge you to consider these options as you make your travel plans.

As always, you may send your questions and comments to the ASECS Business Office at asecsoffice@gmail.com.


Best wishes,

Jeff Ravel

President, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Professor and Head of History, MIT

March 2, 2020

ASECS St. Louis Meeting Planning

Dear ASECS Members,

Over the weekend, many of you made hotel reservations in St. Louis for our annual conference on March 19-21, and many of you also paid your registration fees.  Thank you for your support! 

As of this writing, the conference is still on.  We are monitoring the statements and evidence issuing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other authorities about the COVID-19 virus carefully, but at the moment we do not see any reason to cancel.  We have set ourselves a deadline of next Monday, March 9, to make a final determination about whether to proceed with the conference.  We will be in touch with you again then.

Some airlines are offering reservations with no-fee flight change provisions at the moment.  We urge you to consider these options as you make your travel plans.

As always, you may send your questions and comments to the ASECS Business Office at asecsoffice@gmail.com.


Best wishes,

Jeff Ravel

President, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Professor and Head of History, MIT

February 25, 2020

ASECS 2020 DRAFT Program Now Available! 

ASECS 2020 Program Now Available! 

Visit: https://acf0d2b7-3010-4744-aaa4-30f1b0e16983.usrfiles.com/ugd/acf0d2_6bb75809ac764f35921f559ca3fd5837.pdf

Send your corrections, updates and questions to asecs2020corrections@gmail.com.

February 23, 2020

Eminent historian Isaac Kramnick dies at 81

Isaac Kramnick, the Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government Emeritus, a renowned scholar of English and American political thought and history, and a longtime champion of undergraduate education, died Dec. 21 in New York City. Kramnick was 81.

Cornell President Martha E. Pollack said Kramnick was “a beloved Cornellian; a teacher and leader who, in his time at Cornell, touched the lives of generations of students, faculty and staff.”  

Read more: http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2019/12/eminent-historian-isaac-kramnick-dies-81

December 27, 2019

Remembering Dora Wiebenson

We are saddened to learn of the death of Dora Wiebenson, who passed away on  August 20, 2019. Professor Wiebenson received her Ph.D from NYU’s  Institute of Fine Arts and taught 18th and 19th century architectural history at the University of Virginia. She was a distinguished scholar in her field,  a pioneer of 18th-century visual studies, and was also one of the first female full professors in the discipline. It was Prof. Wiebenson who had the inspired idea in 1993 to establish the ASECS affiliate group Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture; HECAA just celebrated its 25th anniversary with an immensely successful conference, hosted by SMU.  She had a major role in composing HECAA's first constitution and the ASECS/HECAA Wiebenson Prize was named in her honor.

December 10, 2019

ASECS 2020 Registration Information

The 51st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, which will be held 18-21 March 2020 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. A rich array of papers, roundtables and plenary lectures will be complemented by special events including a fully-staged production of Marivaux’s The Triumph of Love (sponsored by Washington University and ASECS), a guided tour of Cahokia Mounds, the Doctor Is In Mentoring Help Desk, and a pre-conference workshop at the Saint Louis Art Museum.  For more information, visit 

https://static.wixstatic.com/ugd/acf0d2_7e39e888617c475ea663a7f6215635c3.pdf or the annual meeting website https://asecsoffice.wixsite.com/asecs2020.


Draft program coming soon!

December 4, 2019

ASECS Annual Meeting Registration Now Open!

Visit: https://asecsannual2020.dryfta.com/buy-tickets/register/tickets

You may also print off a copy of the registration form and mail it into the ASECS Office.


You can find the registration form here: 


December 2, 2019

Free Access to The Literary Encyclopedia

Members of ASECS are entitled to free access to the volumes of The Literary Encyclopedia that cover English, French, German and Italian literature in the period 1680-1820, notably Volume English Writing and Culture from the Glorious Revolution to the French Revolution, 1689-1789, edited by Pat Rogers, Nick Seager, Daniel Cook and Paul Baines.

The Literary Encyclopedia was founded in 1998 by ASECS member Robert Clark with the aim of providing comprehensive, learned and detailed support to tertiary-level teaching and research. Its scope is world literatures and cultures from the classical to the present.  For detailed information on this resource, please visit https://www.litencyc.com/.

To receive free access to the Literary Encyclopedia, contact the ASECS Business Office at asecsoffice@gmail.com. You will be given a unique alphanumeric password that you can use to create a personal user account valid until the end of your subscription year.

November 19, 2019

Remembering Donald C. Mell, Jr.

Dr. Donald C. Mell, Jr. 1931-2019


Wilmington - Dr. Donald C. Mell, Jr. died on November 9, 2019, in Wilmington, Delaware, surrounded by his family, following a short illness.


A professor of English literature at the University of Delaware for 47 years, Don was a dedicated teacher who loved lively discourse and the exchange of ideas. He was the truest form of a gentleman and a scholar.


Don's accomplishments were many, but it was his character, gentleness, and engaging personality that touched everyone he encountered. His unassuming demeanor, respect for others, and genuine delight in the collective pursuit of knowledge made him a singular individual.


Don was born in May 1931 in Akron, Ohio to Donald Charles and Josephine Seiberling Mell. As a child, he attended Old Trail School, and then Western Reserve Academy, graduating in 1949.


He attended Yale University, where he earned his B.A. in 1953. Upon graduation, he served his country in Korea as an Army PFC from 1953-55.


Don returned to Yale to earn a M.A.T. in 1956, and M.A. in 1959. He was then accepted to the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1961.


It was during his undergraduate years at Yale when he developed his love of music, especially the organ, studying under the prolific German composer Paul Hindemith. For a fleeting moment, he entertained the idea of a career in music, and even performed once with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.


Also, at Yale Don was an accomplished student-athlete, playing varsity soccer and was recognized with the All-Ivy Postseason Award. His "soccer buddies" were an important part of his life and Don remained close to his college teammates for decades to come.


Don loved spending summers on Cape Cod, having learned to sail as a young man at the Cape Cod Sea Camps (Monomoy 1945-46).


Before moving to Delaware, Don taught English at Middlebury College (1965-68) and Rutgers University (1961-65).


Arriving on campus at Delaware in the fall of 1968, Don's gentle nature quickly endeared him to faculty, staff and students, alike. At his core, he was warm, kind and humble. He loved academia, and at UD he thrived.


Don briefly went back into government service at the National Endowment for the Humanities as a Program Officer in the Division of Research Programs during 1993-94.


Don's role as chairperson of the University of Delaware Press Board of Editors from 1997-2015 was perhaps the most fulfilling of all his intellectual pursuits. He cherished the collaboration with board members and Press staff.


Don regularly and enthusiastically supported the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Modern Language Association throughout his career. Participating in academic conferences was a thrill for Don, and he made lifelong friends across the country with his understated temperament and good humor.


Don wrote two books, edited four others, and published 15 articles and 28 reviews. His distinctions also include several fellowships, literary prizes, and grants. Don was a member of the Cosmos Club of Washington D.C. and the Yale Club of New York City.


Don is survived by his wife of 62 years, Katherine Lyon Mell, his son, Donald C. Mell, III of Wilmington (Jeanne), and his daughter, Elizabeth of Chester Springs, PA. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Marvin M. and Francis S. "Skip" Mell.


A memorial service to celebrate his life will take place at Christ Church Christiana Hundred at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 22.


In lieu of flowers, the Mell family requests that donations in Don's memory be given to the Future Fund of the East Central American Society for 18th Century Studies (EC/ASECS) which will provide scholarship opportunities to graduate students. Payments can be made online with the Future Fund Donate button at: http://www.ec-asecs.org or by check to "Future Fund c/o Dr. Staffel, P.O. Box 52, Bethany WV, 26032."


For online condolences, please visit www.chandlerfuneralhome.com


Published in The News Journal from Nov. 15 to Nov. 18, 2019


November 15, 2019

Hotel Registration for ASECS 2020 St. Louis is Now Open!

Hotel registration for ASECS 2020 St. Louis is now open!

To make your reservations, please click here: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/group-booking/STLRS/G-AMSO

If you need additional assistance, please contact us at 877-803-7534 or click here to find contact information by Region.

If the group rate is no longer available, prevailing rates may be offered for some or all of your dates.

PLEASE NOTE: The last day for ASECS guests to make reservations is February 25th, 2020.  After this date, the hotel can no longer guarantee your discounted room rate or hotel room availability. So please plan accordingly!

September 12,  2019

ASECS 2020 CFP Now Available

The ASECS 2020 CFP is Now Available.  You may view it here: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/acf0d2_f83c5a65990445398a5c22d42b3836bd.pdf

July 2, 2019

Remembering Peter Hanns Reill

Peter Hanns Reill 1938 – 2019


Peter Hanns Reill, Professor Emeritus of History and former Director of the Clark Library and the Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies at UCLA, passed away suddenly on August 18, 2019, following a fall at his home. He is mourned by his wife, Jenna, his daughter, Dominique, and by his wide circle of friends and colleagues. He was a genial, warm-hearted, generous man, a witty conversationalist and raconteur, who endeared himself to everyone who knew him. All those who loved him are devastated by his untimely passing, for he had many years still to come in a long and productive scholarly career.


Professor Reill was born in Astoria, NY, on December 11, 1938. His parents were immigrants from Germany. He was awarded his BA by New York University in 1960, and his PhD by Northwestern University in 1969. He joined the Department of History at UCLA as an Assistant Professor in 1966, and rose steadily through the ranks, becoming Full Professor in 1980, and Chair of the Department from 1988 to 1991. He retired in 2011. His research centered on the cultural and intellectual history of Europe during the 18th century Enlightenment, focusing on the interchange of ideas between Germany, Britain and France, and the interdisciplinary relationship between science and philosophy. His work was internationally recognized; he received numerous Fellowships and held several Visiting Professorships in this country and in Europe. He produced major studies in his field, together with a long series of articles and edited volumes. He was at work on the research for another book at the time of his death.


Professor Reill was a skilled and dedicated teacher. He taught a wide range of undergraduate lecture courses and graduate seminars, admired for their clarity and intellectual rigor. He was approachable and cared deeply for his students. He will be fondly remembered by the many students he nurtured, who went on to academic careers of their own.


Professor Reill’s crowning achievement was his brilliantly successful service as joint Director of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library and the Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies at UCLA, from 1991 to 2011. He took the helm at a moment of budgetary uncertainty but, undeterred, quickly expanded and transformed both these institutions. In his hands they became centers of advanced historical and literary study, nationally and internationally renowned, attracting students and established scholars from across the globe. Professor Reill was an innovative administrator and (an essential accomplishment) also a highly skilled fund-raiser, winning numerous grants from donors and scholarly funding institutions. At the Clark Library he embarked on a major acquisitions program to extend the library’s holdings beyond its core collections in British 17th and 18th century history and literature, to give it a broader chronological and international range. Through judicious purchases he built up the Clark Library’s collection of books and papers relating to Oscar Wilde, making it the most important collection of Wilde materials in the world, which now attracts researchers from across the USA and abroad. He instituted an Outreach Program for K-12 students, in conjunction with LAUSD, to foster their interest in and love of the humanities. He set up a program of poetry readings, and as a lover of classical music, an annual series of recitals and chamber music concerts; both the poetry readings and the concerts were staged in the grand setting of the Library’s wood-paneled salon.


At the same time, Professor Reill worked tirelessly to expand the activities of the UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies. He set up a full schedule of annual conferences, held at the Clark Library, with up to twenty sessions each year, side-by-side with one- or two-day scholarly meetings, on a vast range of literary and historical themes. He established relations with numerous universities and scholarly institutions in the United States and Europe. An indication of the international recognition the UCLA Center attained under Professor Reill’s leadership was its role as the venue for the 34th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, in August 2003; Professor Reill was at that time the elected President of the Society. This very successful meeting, and the activities which Professor Reill arranged to accompany it – films, concerts, visits to cultural centers in Los Angeles - attracted over 1200 scholars, not only from the USA and Europe, but also from countries in Asia and Latin America. This resounding success is a fitting tribute to Professor Reill’s talents as an imaginative administrator and coordinator of landmark intellectual forums.


Professor Reill will be terribly missed by his grieving family, and by his great circle of devoted friends and colleagues. Family and friends alike share in the profound shock and sense of loss at his being torn away from them so suddenly and tragically. He was an internationally renowned scholar, and a brilliant creator of programs that fostered a diverse range of intellectual endeavors. But above all, he will be remembered as a decent, witty, friendly man, and a generous host who loved to entertain. His memory will be treasured by all those who knew and loved him. The funeral will be private.

Professor Reill's obituary on the UCLA History Department web site can be found here.

August 20, 2019

ASECS Joint Library Fellowships

Information about the seventeen ASECS Joint Library Fellowships is available on the ASECS website www.asecs.org. Fall 2019 deadlines are approaching for fellowships at the Bibliographical Society of America ($3,000; November 1); the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin ($3,000; November 11), the Newberry Library ($2500; December 15) and the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia (tuition for one RBS course; November 1). Please visit https://www.asecs.org/library-fellowships for links to these funding opportunities!

July 31, 2019

Call for Proposals - ASECS 2020 NOW OPEN!

Call for Proposals - ASECS 2020, 51st Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis, MO, March 19-21, 2020 – NOW OPEN!  Deadline for proposal submissions is Wed, May 15, 2019.  Online submission form here: https://t.e2ma.net/click/glde3b/4nz37x/4j8bpr

April 15, 2019

ASECS News Circular – April/May 2019 - Now Available

The April/May 2019 ASECS News Circular is now available. You may access this and past news
circulars here: https://www.asecs.org/news-circulars

May 13, 2019

ASECS Announces Winners of 2019 Book Prizes

​At its 50th Annual Meeting, held March 21-23 in Denver, Colorado, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies conferred two book awards to outstanding scholars of the period.

The 2018-2019 Gottschalk Prize

ASECS awards the Louis Gottschalk prize annually to the best scholarly book on an eighteenth-century subject. In 2019, the Gottschalk Prize has been given to Paola Bertucci, associate professor of history and the history of medicine at Yale University, for Artisanal Enlightenment: Science and the Mechanical Arts in Old Regime France, published by Yale University Press. Bertucci’s deeply researched, subtle, and engaging study restores voice and agency to the craftsperson who combined technical skill in the mechanical arts with the intellectual quality of esprit. This study demonstrates the qualities and contributions of craftspeople to the Enlightenment and thus challenges us to rethink our hierarchy of Enlightenment values which divides application from both pure knowledge and creativity, a hierarchy moreover that resonates into our time. Complicating this divide, Bertucci reveals the importance of practical knowledge, a kind of hands-on material experience, that could be enhanced but not displaced by theoretical knowledge. She identifies such practitioners with the term l’artiste, a figure she develops through exploring the archive of the Société des Arts, an association that flourished during the 1730s.

As Bertucci examines the efforts of surgeons, geometers, engineers, clockmakers, and engravers to redefine the status of their crafts, she shows that their contributions reach beyond their fields to help constitute the concepts and project of such monuments of the Enlightenment as the Encylopédie. Artisanal Enlightenment does what the best books in any field do; its historical research and keen analysis convincingly reframe and transform our conception of what the Enlightenment really was. What counted as “art” for the people who were actually building out the Enlightenment was far richer and deeper than we had imagined.

The 2017-2019 Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize

​The Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize is awarded biennially by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies to an outstanding scholarly book on an eighteenth-century life. The 2017-2019 Jenkins Prize is presented to James Delbourgo, professor of history at Rutgers University, for Collecting the World: Hans Sloane and the Origins of the British Museum, published by Harvard University Press in 2017. Delbourgo’s masterful book goes beyond offering us an outstanding view of Sloane the physician, collector, naturalist, and adventurer. Collecting the World is as much an exploration of Sloane’s collections as it is the life of the collector, and the relation-ship between the man and his materials is part of what makes the book so important, original, and engaging. Following Sloane’s will upon his death in 1753, his collections became the basis for the establishment of the British Museum. And insofar as Delbourgo highlights collections brought from areas of the world far from England, the book approaches issues of empire and Britain’s global reach in new ways. Finally, the book is beautifully written, at once both erudite and accessible to a wide range of readers. Delbourgo’s remarkable volume previously was recognized by the Society with its 2018 Louis Gottschalk Award.

The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies is a not-for-profit educational organization founded to promote the study of all aspects of the eighteenth century. It sponsors conferences, awards fellowships and prizes, and publishes Eighteenth-Century Studies and Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture. Requests for information about the Gottschalk Prize and the Jenkins Prize, as well as nominations for the 2020 and 2021 prizes may be addressed to:


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April 15, 2019


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