Transport and Transportation in the Long Eighteenth Century


Panel organizer: Elizabeth Hewitt, Department of English, Ohio State University


Savannah, a crucial harbor and trading port in Atlantic trade, gives an ideal location for a conversation and panel about transportation—the movement of goods and people from one geographical space to another. The proposed panel seeks papers that consider the various ways and forms by which writing describes commercial traffic through and across oceans, rivers, canals, and mountains. Since of course it is not merely goods but also people who were delivered across nations and the globe, papers might also include writing about the violent transportation of coerced subjects like indigenous people, Africans, and convicts. As such, topics might include the Middle Passage, the Trail of Tears, controversies surrounding access to the Mississippi River and the Port of New Orleans, the Erie Canal, or debates about the National Highway. Papers might include a study not only writing about traffic, but also imaginative literature (like poetry or novels) or commercial texts (like advertisements, maps, nautical charts, and postal schedules) as their own transportation devices—as flights of fancy or carriages of imagination. 


Send 250-word paper abstracts to Elizabeth Hewitt at by Friday, September 7, 2012.