New Orleans, Global City (1718 – 2018):

The Long Shadow of John Law and the Mississippi Company


Inaugural Conference of the 18th- and 19th-Century Studies Network


University of Colorado Boulder


Thursday, April 26 – Saturday, April 28, 2018















                                                       Gerard Van Keulen, Carte de la Nouvelle France ou se voit le cours des Grandes

                                                                         Rivieres de S. Laurens & Mississippi… (Amsterdam, 1720)


It has been almost three hundred years since the first international stock market crash took place in France, Britain, and the Netherlands. A spate of cross-disciplinary conferences and publications have added greatly to our understanding of the impact of the Mississippi and South Sea Bubbles and the Dutch windhandel (trade in wind) on European economies and cultures. The colonial, global, and oceanic dimensions of these events have not been studied as closely.

Meant to coincide with the foundation of New Orleans in 1718 by the Compagnie des Indes (aka the Mississippi Company), this interdisciplinary conference will focus on the immediate to long-term impact of Law’s System and the Mississippi Company on the cultures, economies, and environments of New Orleans and surrounding areas. The focus will be on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but we shall also consider proposals that deal with earlier or later developments so long as they take into account their broader historical context.

We particularly welcome proposals that

  • consider the direct and indirect impact of French (and other) joint-stock companies and state-sponsored monopolies on the economies, cultures, ecologies, soundscapes, and sensescapes of New Orleans and the Mississippi River Delta;


  • bring into dialogue indigenous, European, and American economic and cultural studies; and/or


  • approach the history of New Orleans and the Mississippi River Delta from a global or oceanic perspective.


Sub-topics might include:

  • Global capitalism and the making of New Orleans

  • New Orleans in the global imagination

  • The impact of colonial settlements on indigenous and on metropolitan and colonial French, Spanish, and British economies and cultures

  • Relations among indigenous peoples, Spaniards, Canadians, Acadians, French, Africans, and Germans

  • Relations with France, Britain, Spain, and their colonies

  • Trade routes and migration patterns

  • Cross-cultural / comparative studies of slavery and colonialism

  • Linguistic creolization

  • 1718 / 1720 as origin myth in French and American cultures

  • The impact of the Mississippi Bubble on New Orleans, Lower Louisiana (la Basse Louisiane), New France (la Nouvelle France), and the West Indies

  • Economic, ecological, and cultural dimensions of natural and financial disasters


The deadline for the submission of individual paper proposals is September 17, 2017. Please send an abstract (300 – 600 words) along with a brief (2 – 3 pages) curriculum vitae to Abstracts and cv may be in English or French, although all presentations will be in English. If you do not receive an acknowledgment by September 22, please e-mail


Proposals will be selected by an interdisciplinary scientific committee. Notifications will go out by October 15, 2017. Papers (due April 9) will be pre-circulated. Presentations will be brief to leave plenty of time for discussion.