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The first open-access digital encyclopaedia on sociability in Europe throughout the long-eighteenth century

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Dance, Song, Music and Sociability 1750 -1832


International workshop organized by Mark Philp (Warwick) and Ian Newman (Notre Dame)
Notre Dame Centre (Central London, UK) - March 5-6, 2022
Contact details:

Supporting Organisations: DIGITENS EU Project and the Universities of Warwick, UEA and Notre Dame

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.

Saturday 5th March
10.00: Introduction
10.15 - 11.55:
*Hillary Burlock, ‘Dancing Masters and the Social Implications of Grace and Ease’
*Ambre Emory Maier/Valarie Williams ‘Clothing the Ballroom and Ballet Body: Hidden Meanings in Movement’
*Moira Goff, ‘Ballroom danced on the stage and stage steps in the ballroom, dancing shared.’

11.55 - 12.15: Coffee break
12.15 - 1.15:
*Natalie Hanley Smith, ‘Dance Flirtation and Affairs 1780-1830’
*Lynn Matluck Brooks, “Social Aspiration in Early Nineteenth-Century Black Philadelphia”

1.15 - 2.00: Lunch
2.00 - 3.00:
*Matthew McCormack, ‘Dancing Feet’
*Alice Little, ‘Playing Music Together in late-C18th England’

3.00: Tea
3.20 - 5.50: Practical Dance class
7.00: Dinner

Sunday 6th March
10.20 - 12.00:
*Remy Duthille, ‘The British Ça Ira, and the Carmagnole, 1790-1837’ Kimberley Page Jones and *Véronique Léonard-Roques 'French fetes and festivals in British travel writing (1790-1815)'
*Ian Newman, ‘Hopping in London – Pierce Egan and the dirty underbelly of Austen’s balls.’

12.00 - 12.45 lunch
12.45 - 2.25:
*Sabrina Juillet Garzon, ‘Music and dances in Edinburgh polite society in the light of the journals and letters of Jenny Harden Agnes Witts and Lord Cockburn, 1793-1804.’
*Alena Shmakova, ‘Edinburgh Assembly and Scottish Enlightenment’
*Catherine Mayes, ‘No Room at the Inn: Class, Gender, and Vernacular Music in Enlightenment’ Vienna

2.25 - 3.15 Closing discussion.