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UK Hosts Conference on 17th Century France


By Erin Holaday Ziegler

The University of Kentucky will host 40 of the world's experts in early modern France at an interdisciplinary conference this week.

The 30th Annual Conference of the Society for Interdisciplinary French Seventeenth-Century Studies (SE17) will begin Thursday, Nov. 3, with scholarly papers and discussion. The meeting will be held in the Blue Grass Room of the Hilton Hotel in downtown Lexington and is free and open to the public.

Jeffrey Peters, the director of UK's Division of French and Italian Studies, organized the three-day scholarly get-together.

"The nature of literary studies has really changed in recent years," Peters said. "It's more interdisciplinary, and our annual conference reflects that change."

Peters expects the conference to be of interest to anyone in the humanities, as participants will present ideas in philosophy, art history, music, history and literature, among other disciplines.

"We have quite a specific focus in 17th century France, but we intersect with scholars from many fields," said Peters, whose 2004 book "Mapping Discord: Allegorical Cartography in Early Modern French Writing" traversed cartography and geography. "We have a broader and more cultural focus on scholarship on this period compared to a generation ago."

Founded in 1982 as the Southeast American Society for French Seventeenth-Century Studies, SE17 has become a dynamic international community of scholars committed to the research and teaching of all aspects of 17th-century French culture and history.

In recent years, this once primarily literary society has sought to more fully realize its interdisciplinary mission and hopes to encourage even greater interdisciplinary communication and collaboration among scholars of early modern France in the years to come.

"This is a really exciting time to work with people who do what you do from around the world," Peters said. "It was a lot of work, but we're thrilled to be a part of it."

Conference sessions run from 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 through 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5. Please contact Peters at for more details