Word follows of a fundraising campaign which is not officially connected to the BSLS, but in which BSLS members might be interested:

Charles Lyell (1797 - 1875) is well known for his part in the Darwinian evolutionary debates, his travels to America and his role in convincing readers of the significance of 'deep time'. During the past decade, Lyell's geographical theory of climate and his subdivisions of recent geological periods have gained renewed attention in connection with discussions of climate change and the Anthropocene. The Lyell archive is almost certainly the most important manuscript collection relating to nineteenth century science still in private hands.  At its core are 294 notebooks, which provide a daily record of Lyell's private thoughts, reading notes, travels, field observations and conversations from the mid-1820s to his death half a century later.

In order for the family to meet inheritance tax, the Lyell notebooks were sold to an unknown foreign buyer towards the end of last year. Fortunately, the UK government has imposed a temporary export ban to enable fundraising to purchase these remarkable documents, conserve them, and make them available on-line for free to the public. The University of Edinburgh Library, which already has the largest collection of Lyell material, is organizing the campaign. The website for this became active at the end of last week. The sum required is £1,444,000; major donors have already pledged more than a third of the total needed.

The temporary export ban has an initial deadline of 15th July, so time is extremely short.  If significant progress is made, then it may be extended until 15th October. Therefore, all who are interested are asked to pledge a donation, which will only be collected when the required amount is achieved. For more information about the notebooks and to make a pledge, please click on https://www.ed.ac.uk/giving/save-lyell-notebooks/pledge-to-save/

If you, your students and friends can give anything to this campaign--even five pounds or a pound--it will make a big difference, not least in showing larger donors that there is substantial public interest and concern. It would be great if we can get the donor count over 1000.

I'd appreciate it if you could pass on this message to anyone who might be interested, and to any other relevant lists.

Jim Secord (jas1010@cam.ac.uk)
Professor of History and Philosophy of Science
Director, Darwin Correspondence Project
University of Cambridge

Thanks to the support of the Institute of Modern Languages Research at the University of London (@IMLR_News), the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (@asmcf), the British Society for Literature and Science (@TheBSLS), and the Centre for Environmental Humanities at the University of Bristol (@UoBrisCEH), we were able to hold a workshop for early career researchers working on French and Francophone contexts (day one), followed by a widening participation event for teachers and A-Level students (day two).  Day one involved the speakers and four participants, which proved to be advantageous for focussed discussion of the papers as work-in-progress for a forthcoming special issue edited by Daniel Finch-Race, which will be the primary academic publication from the event. On day two, four workshops were delivered to nine teachers and A-Level learners: close readings of literary texts (session one) and films (session three) bracketed parallel workshops on translation (session two).

Day one began with a panel on nineteenth-century French texts. James Illingworth approached George Sand’s volcanic imagery as an instance of eco-feminism avant la lettre. Sarah Jones considered Emile Zola’s interest in madness and hysteria. Arthur Rose returned to Zola’s Germinal as a source text for thinking about coal use in the Anthropocene. After a short break, Keir Waddington delivered an excellent keynote on trends in French environmental historiography as part of an argument that sought to recover the role of topography in thinking about environmental health. After lunch, there were two presentations on twentieth-century francophone writing. Joe Ford’s close reading of key passages in Albert Camus’ L’Étranger showed how the narrative plays with subject positions to problematize the protagonist’s agency. Holly Langstaff reflected on the animal presence that persists across Maurice Blanchot’s oeuvre, particularly his ‘mouche importune’. In the final session, Frances Hemsley considered how contemporary Rwandan testimonial writing demonstrates the entwinement of insect-eradication campaigns with the forced displacement of groups during the late colonial period. Kasia Mika introduced us to the ‘cholera chronotope’ as a mode for considering time and place in activist documentaries about UN peacekeepers introducing cholera into Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

On day two, Langstaff, Illingworth, Ford, Rose and Finch-Race delivered four one-hour workshops on how the environmental humanities and medical humanities can be used in teaching A-Level French. The close-knit audience was exceptional: each of the ECRs delivering the workshop commented upon the engagement of the teachers and learners. At the end of the day, the audience’s feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with several people referring to how the sessions provided the means and motivation to develop their work.

Arthur Rose

Tags:

Oxford University’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums, including the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford Botanic Garden and the History of Science Museum have been awarded 11 PhD studentships through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) programme. For more information, or if you are interested in proposing a collaborative doctoral project, click here.

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History is hosting an evening on Dinosaurs and Art on Thursday 13th June at 7 pm, featuring Will Tattersdill (Birmingham), Verity Burke (Birmingham) and David Button (Natural History Museum). To see the poster, click here:

Dinosaurs and Art OUMNH A4 poster

To book, click here

Friday 10 May 2019
9:15-16:45
University of Bristol – 10 Woodland Road
#EnviroMedicalHumanities

This free conference will feature eight papers by early-career researchers and a keynote by Professor Keir Waddington (@keir_waddington).

On the following day, Saturday 11th, five of the speakers will be at the University of Bristol's School of Modern Languages to deliver masterclasses for teachers and pupils.

These activities are supported by the Institute of Modern Languages Research at the University of London (@IMLR_News), the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (@asmcf), the British Society for Literature and Science (@TheBSLS), and the Centre for Environmental Humanities at the University of Bristol (@UoBrisCEH).

You are welcome to register on Eventbrite for as much of the programme as you like:
www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/enviro-medical-approaches-to-modern-francophone-culture-tickets-60885766968.

9:15, Welcome
Dan Finch-Race

9:30, Panel 1 James Illingworth (Exeter) – George Sand's Volcanic Imagination
Sarah Jones (Oxford) – Zola: Medicine and Madness
Arthur Rose (Bristol) – Coal Politics: Receiving Émile Zola's Germinal

*11:00, Break

11:30, Keynote Keir Waddington (Cardiff) – A Flat Past? History, Environment, Topography and Medicine

*12:30, Lunch break

13:30, Panel 2 Joseph Ford (IMLR) – Towards an 'Environmental Ethic' in the Literary Writing of Albert Camus
Beatrice Ivey (Stirling) – Remembering Natural Disasters with Nathacha Appanah and Nina Bouraoui
Holly Langstaff (Oxford/Warwick) – 'Une mouche importune': Reading Insects in Maurice Blanchot

*15:00, Break

15:30, Panel 3 Frances Hemsley (Bristol) – Health and Environment in 'New' Rwandan Testimonial Literature
Kasia Mika (Amsterdam) – Cholera Chronotopes: Living in and through 'the Time of Cholera'

16:30, Closing remarks
Dan Finch-Race

Half-day international symposium. Friday 7 June 2019 at 2-8 pm. Free admission.

The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS

Founded in 1799, the Royal Institution became the home of science education and the site of scientific discoveries and technological innovations which changed the world. In its early years, this remarkable scientific agenda was accompanied by an equally impressive programme of literary education, as luminaries such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Campbell and Sydney Smith took to the lecture podium to dazzle the fashionable male and female audiences of London with the latest advances in literary criticism and aesthetics. Science, poetry and philosophy combined in the work of the ‘chemical philosopher’ Humphry Davy and his literary friends, making the Royal Institution a centre of Romanticism as well as a focal point of the thriving public lecture culture of the time. This half-day symposium with talks by leading scholars will restore the forgotten literary history of the Royal Institution and highlight its unique interdisciplinary contribution to British Romantic culture.

Speakers: David Duff (Queen Mary University of London), Frank James (Royal Institution), Hattie Lloyd Edmondson (Science Museum), Seamus Perry (University of Oxford), Sharon Ruston (University of Lancaster), Sarah Zimmerman (Fordham University)

The event will conclude with a wine reception to celebrate the launch of Sarah Zimmerman’s new book The Romantic Literary Lecture in Britain (Oxford University Press), based partly on research done at the Royal Institution.

The event is free and open to everyone, including members of the public.

Click here for further details and to register for a free place

Organisers: David Duff d.duff@qmul.ac.uk; Sarah Zimmerman Zimmerman@fordham.edu

Sponsored by the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar, the Fordham Romanticism Group, Queen Mary University of London, and the Royal Institution of Great Britain

Workshop organised by Dr Kim M. Hajek and Prof. Mary S. Morgan

3 June 2019, London School of Economics and Political Science

In the history of science, especially of the human and observational sciences, it has often been the case that knowledge-making activities drew upon many ‘voices’—accounts of a storm given by different observers; patient voices incorporated into a psychological case history; myths transcribed by an anthropologist. What many of these examples share is that the information provided by different voices takes narrative form in its own right. Yet scientists have also organised them into related groupings or broader narratives, as a way to elucidate particular research problems.

In this workshop, we ask how narrative has helped scientists to configure extended chunks of information, and ultimately to manage a multiplicity of voices in their enquiry. Using case studies from across a range of fields, workshop participants explore the roles played by narrative forms of explanation both within and across the contributions of multiple voices to science. Of particular concern are the ways that narrative serves to order polyphonic material into a larger epistemic scheme, and reciprocally, how narrative valorises or suppresses particular voices, or indeed shapes what counts as a ‘voice’ at all.

This workshop is organised as part of the Narrative Science Project, funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 694732). For more information on the project, please see our website: www.narrative-science.org

Speakers:

Dr Debjani Bhattacharyya, Drexel University
Ordering Cyclones: The Courtroom in the Making of Meteorological Sciences in Colonial India.

A/Prof. Devin Griffiths, University of Southern California
Darwin, Entrainment, and the Ecology of Form..

Dr Kim Hajek, LSE
Silencing Suggestion? Narratives of Suggestive Psychotherapy and Category Disputes in Hippolyte Bernheim’s Psychological Cases.

Prof. Isabelle Kalinowski, ENS, and Dr Camille Joseph, Université Paris 8
Unheard Words. Franz Boas and the Anthropology of Voices.

A/Prof. Birgit Lang, University of Melbourne
The Case of the Sexological Patient. From Narrative Polyphony to Visual Affect and Fragmentation.

Prof. Harro Maas, Centre Walras-Pareto, University of Lausanne
A Community on Paper: Reflections on a Witness Seminar on the History of Experimental Economics.

A/Prof. Jill Slinger (and Dr Lotte Bontje), TU Delft
On Narrative Competition in Coastal Policy Development.

Dr Rhianedd Smith, University of Reading
Weaving Narratives from Data and Myth: Multi-Vocal Heritage Interpretation at Glastonbury Abbey.

Attending the Workshop:

The workshop will take place at the LSE campus in central London, from approximately 9 am to 6 pm.

Attendance at the workshop is free and open to all; however, places are limited. Please register your interest in attending by emailing Dr Dominic Berry (d.j.berry@lse.ac.uk) as soon as possible.

The deadline for registration is Monday 20 May. Places will be confirmed by 22 May at the latest.

PhD Travel Bursaries:

To increase participation from the postgraduate community, we are making available 4 travel bursaries, each of up to £250. These can be used to recover the cost of train or airfare for those who wish to attend, and who are currently enrolled on a PhD programme, preferably with research interests directly related to the workshop themes.

To apply for a PhD travel bursary please write to Dr Dominic Berry (D.J.Berry@lse.ac.uk). Please include: Your name; university affiliation; thesis title; no more than 100 words on how this workshop relates to your research.

The deadline for applications to the travel bursary is Monday 13 May.

You will be notified as to the outcome of your application shortly thereafter. Applicants will be selected to ensure a diverse range of research interests and institutions are represented. 

The final series of Oxford's excellent Science, Culture and Medicine seminars is coming up this term. For details of the talks, click below.

Expressions of interest are invited by the 1st of June for the BSLS Winter Symposium in 2019. As members will recall, this is a postgraduate and early career researcher-led event and presents a great opportunity to run a successful event at this stage in your career (with help and support from the BSLS Committee throughout the process).

Proposals are invited for a themed one-day event to take place in or about November, to be emailed to Rachel Murray at r.e.murray@lboro.ac.uk. As ever, it is hoped that the event will have a 'non-conference' feel, and will include different types of papers, panels, and ways of sharing knowledge. Proposals should be no longer than two sides of A4, and should include a theme and description, details of the organising group and location, potential speakers (if known) and types of papers, panels or other sessions to be included.  The BSLS will award around £500, depending on the budget required, in support of the symposium, which should be free to attend if possible.

For more about the symposium, including details of past events, see here.

This two-day interdisciplinary workshop is made possible thanks to the generous support of the British Academy (grant number BARSEA19\190021). It expands on the work of the Narrative Science project, a European Research Council funded project based at the London School of Economics (grant agreement No. 694732). It will take place in London on the 18th-19th of July.

The aim is to create a platform and a network for research at the intersections of the history of science and technology, literary studies, and the environmental humanities. The shared focus is accordingly on narrative, science, and environmental history. To these ends we are proud to have partnered with both the British Society for the History of Science and the British Society for Literature and Science. We have already gathered a range of expert speakers, who are listed alongside the titles of their talks at the bottom of this message. Further information about the workshop motivations and agenda can be found on the web page:
https://www.narrative-science.org/events-narrative-science-project-workshops-environment.html

In addition, as part of our networking, this event is organised in collaboration with 'Environment, Climate, and Heredity: the integration of environmental humanities with the history of heredity' to take place on the following Saturday, 20th of July, at Oxford, organised by Dr John Lidwell-Durnin. Further details will be announced soon.

Call for ECR presenters with posters - Deadline May 24th A key ambition of this workshop is to provide a platform and network for early career researchers (ECRs). For our purposes ECRs are defined as postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers not yet in permanent employment. There are 20 spaces available for ECRs across the two days. Each ECR presenter will have 10 minutes to speak about their work in a dedicated slot during the workshop plenary sessions, and will also provide a poster which will be showcased during the evening reception on the 18th of July. The poster reception will be an opportunity to talk directly and informally with all the other attendees in a relaxed atmosphere. All of the plenary sessions will be video recorded and eventually made available on the Narrative Science project website. At the moment we can only promise to reimburse hotel and travel expenses for these 20 ECRs up to £100, but we intend to increase this amount as much as possible. All catering is supplied to attendees across the two days free of charge, and we will also take care of the costs of poster printing. ECRs who are members of the BSHS may also be eligible to apply for a Butler-Eyles Travel Grant towards their travel costs.

To apply to the workshop please write to the organiser, Dr Dominic Berry, on d.j.berry@lse.ac.uk

In the email subject please write 'Your name - Environment workshop ECR', and in the message include:

  • Your status as independent scholar or affiliated with a particular institution/university.
  • Maximum 200 words on how this workshop relates to your ongoing research. 
  • Maximum 100 words on the kinds of material and arrangement you expect to include on your poster. 

Interested parties should obviously also feel free to contact us for any further information!

Confirmed speakers
Jon Agar (UCL) - "British Nature was Lost Here, 1964-71": what's at stake when scientists, nature writers and bureaucrats tell stories
Dominic J. Berry (LSE) - Narrative science in techno-environments
Animesh Chatterjee (Leeds Trinity University) - Urban, political and cultural environments in late-19th century Bengali anticolonial representations of electricity
Jean-Baptiste Gouyon (UCL) - Wildlife conservation as a cinematic project?
Alex Hall (University of Birmingham) - Who speaks for the flood? Exploring agency, expectations and the supernatural in extreme weather events
John Lidwell-Durnin (University of Oxford) - “Have they remained what they were in Europe?”: narrative, organisms, and environment in explorations of South America
Ina Linge (University of Exeter) - Narrating Human-animal Sexual Nature in 1920s Popular Science Books
Greg Lynall (University of Liverpool) - Reading Renewables: Stories of Solar Power
Harriet Ritvo (MIT) - The Stakes of Species
Anahita Rouyan (Independent scholar and consultant) - Producing Mutations: Scientific Plant Breeding and Narratives of Nature in the Progressive-Era United States, 1900-1914
Charlotte Sleigh (University of Kent) - Sugar in the air: carbon narratives, futures and endings
sam smiley (Astrodime Transit Authority) - Ornamentalism: The Migrations and Translations of Japanese Knotweed

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