Call for Papers: Empire and its Discontent, 1763-1773

The David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society intend to host a conference on the theme “Empire and Its Discontent” at the Massachusetts Historical Society on December 1 and 2, 2023. This conference is part of a series of interdisciplinary and international meetings designed to re-examine the origins, course and consequences of the American Revolution. Our 2023 meetings mark the 260th anniversary of the Treaty of Paris that ended the Seven Years’ War and the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. We intend to use this gathering to examine the British empire at its moment of great triumph, in 1763, with its enemies defeated and its control spreading from India to the Mississippi; and again at 1773, with its control beginning to slip away in North America as a radical mobilization began against imperial power.    

The program committee invites papers from historians and scholars working in all other fields whose research addresses questions of empire, revolution, and independence in the period between 1763 and 1773. 

Possible topics include but are not limited to: 

  • Imperial rivalries and shifting power within North America

  • The structures of empire within the metropole and on the peripheries

  • Policy and practice in the 18th century

  • The political, diplomatic, and military challenges of governing a diverse and far flung polity

  • Global trade networks within and outside the empire and their influence on imperial policy and colonial practice

  • The shifting nature of boundaries, borders, authority, and sovereignty and their role in the local and global geopolitics of the era

  • The imperial origins of the outbreak of sustained unrest in British America after 1763 and the impact of that unrest on settler, native, and enslaved populations

  • The Tea Party and its immediate aftermath.  

Applicants should submit a title and a 250-word proposal along with a C.V. by May 1, 2023 via Interfolio:

All scholars invited to participate will be notified by May 30, 2023. All presenters will receive travel subsidies and hotel accommodations to attend the gathering. Accepted papers will be due by November 1, 2023, a month before the conference, and these will be pre-circulated to registered attendees. Papers should be no longer than 20 double-spaced pages. Presenters may also have the opportunity to publish revised papers in an edited volume.

For more information, visit, or contact Adrianna Link, Head of Scholarly Programs, at [email protected]. 

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