Conferences, Proceedings

The Shaftesbury Project has organised two conferences to date. The first (2012) took place in Nürnberg, the second (2015) at the Shaftesbury family’s ancestral home, St Giles’s House. While the earlier of the two meetings was not restricted to any one theme and thus covered a vast range of subjects from the entire spectrum of Shaftesbury studies, the later one focused specifically on the respective social and political impact of the first and third Earls.


2015: Shaping Enlightenment Politics:
The Social and Political Impact of the First and Third Earls of Shaftesbury

23-25 July 2015
An International and Interdisciplinary Conference
hosted by the Earl and Countess of Shaftesbury

A two-day conference followed by one further day of what is envisaged as a “Festival of Thought” which is open to the public, this will be hosted by the Earl and Countess of Shaftesbury, Nicholas and Dinah Ashley-Cooper, at the family’s ancestral seat St Giles’s House, Wimborne St Giles, Dorset. The conference is generously supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, and Bath Spa University.

As we hope to offer a broad spectrum of approaches, the watchwords for the conference
being interdisciplinary discussion and constructive argument, one key element in the concept behind this conference is the wish to open it to a wider audience on the last of the three days. In collaboration with Bath Spa University, the organizers have been able to attract the following writers to take part in round table discussions about the personal and social relevance of literature.


Maggie Gee

Philip Hensher

Fay Weldon

Gerard Woodward

For the 2015 conference, see the picture galleries on

2012 ‘New Ages, New Opinions’: Shaftesbury in his World and Today

Ed. Patrick Müller (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2014)

Interest in Shaftesbury is as lively and productive today as it ever was. Indeed, the past decade has seen a veritable international renaissance in studies of his work. The various theoretical approaches of which modern critics and scholars can avail themselves are reflected in the different new interpretations we now have of Shaftesbury. This collection of essays manifests this diversity, offering a representative miscellany which covers the whole range of Shaftesbury’s own intellectual interests and which includes re-evaluations of his ethics, aesthetics, politics, religion, and literary criticism, as well as examinations of the reception of his works.

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