March 16-19, Sheraton Society Hill, Philadelphia

Nineteenth-century bodies were poked and prodded, characterized, caricatured, corseted and cossetted, disciplined, displayed, naturalized, normalized, medicalized, mapped and mechanized. Sciences and pseudosciences brought the body under scrutiny to an unprecedented degree—phrenology, psychology, physiology, anatomy, paleontology, microbiology, germ theory, principles of population, zoology, and sexology, all contributing to the proliferation of bodily discourses. Improvements in medicine and sanitation coexisted with poor sewage, and the ever-present fear of disease, and bodies were variously protected and regulated through Factory Acts, Public Health Acts, and the Contagious Diseases Act. Hospitals, workhouses and freakshows corralled and categorized. Pre-raphaelite painters proferred strong and sexualized women, while overpopulated novels featured the blind and deaf, fragile children and disabled adults, and all worried whether such outward signs accurately attested to the content of a character. Meanwhile, changes wrought in understanding one kind of body reverberated through its analogs; the human body was taken as model for corporate bodies, the body politic, bodies of knowledge—and vice versa. And where there is a model, a norm, there is also that which defies and defines that norm. INCS 2017 will pay special attention to the problematic, marginalized and metaphoric—to odd bodies.

Queer bodies, raced bodies, busy bodies, body markings, disabled bodies, prosthetics, bodies behaving badly, the body as spectacle, fragmented bodies, disciplined bodies, animal bodies, circus & freak show bodies, bodies at work or play, bodies in contact, unlikely friendships/romances, sexy bodies, naked bodies, diseased bodies, vivisection, the anatomised body, dead bodies, body snatchers, embodiment/disembodiment, spirit bodies, mythical bodies, angels, monsters, and ghosts, the gendered body, intellectual women, odd women, blue stockings, New Women, the body of the insane, the eccentric, characters & caricatures, ugly bodies, corporate bodies, bodies of knowledge, bodies of evidence, bodies of work, colonial bodies, traveling bodies and the body politic.

Deadline: November 1, 2016. Upload proposals via the conference website coming soon. For individual papers, send 250-word proposals; for panels, send individual proposals plus a 250-word panel description. Please include a one-page CV with your name, affiliation, and email address. Proposals that are interdisciplinary in method or panels that involve multiple disciplines are especially welcome.

Questions? Contact Barri Gold at

The BSLS are pleased to announce that this year's winner of the essay prize jointly awarded with the Journal of Literature and Science is Rachel Murray’s essay titled ‘Vermicular Origins: The Creative Evolution of Samuel Beckett’s Worm’.

We offer our many congratulations to Rachel.

The judges wrote: “This essay offers a meticulously researched, original account of the development of Beckett’s interest in the larval. Arguing that Beckett conceived of his language and writing in ‘larval’ terms, having read various scientific texts on insect life, the essay convincingly traces how the influence of the ‘worm-state’ on his work grew from the late 1930s. What particularly stood out was the use of archival sources to demonstrate how Beckett engaged with Darwin and to show how Beckett’s understanding of the creative impulse was influenced by Henri Bergson’s writing on evolution. From these readings, the essay shed new light on some of the sources which informed Beckett’s concern with pre-linguistic, instinctual forms of expression. Interweaving exemplary close readings of Beckett’s fiction and his letters, the essay offers a fascinating, historically grounded view of Beckett’s own vermicular evolution as a writer, and as such it is a deserving winner of the 2016 prize.”

Rachel's essay will appear in one of the next issues of the Journal of Literature and Science:

We are conducting a short survey to gauge how literature and science scholars perceive science in relation to their own work. Our aim is to establish whether there are particular conceptions of science and of scholarly practice in relation to it that are prevalent among literature and science scholars at large or among particular communities or disciplines working in this field. With this in mind, we are sending out the survey to the members of the British Society for Literature and Science, the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (US and EU branches), and the Commission on Science and Literature. We are hoping to present the results of the survey at the SLSAeu conference next year and in the Journal of Literature and Science.
We would be very grateful if you would take a few minutes to answer the questions in the survey. You can get to the survey by clicking on this link: You are welcome either just to tick the boxes or to include brief comments alongside your answers. If you wish to, you can complete the survey in stages, and there is also a facility for printing off your response for your own records. The survey will close at the end of August.
Please share this link with any friends and colleagues working on literature and science who are not members of the societies listed above. If you have any problems completing the survey, please contact Emil Toescu (
Thank you very much indeed. We look forward to sharing the results of our survey with you. 
Emil Toescu (Neuroscience) and John Holmes (English Literature) 
University of Birmingham

For the coming academic year, these two funding streams will invite applications twice, with deadlines in September and March. Applications are now invited for the next round of both competitions, each with a deadline of 1st September 2016.


BSLS Small Grants Scheme


Applications are invited for BSLS small grants of up to £400 to promote the study of literature and science. We are open to all sorts of proposals other than personal conference expenses. Examples of activities for which the awards might be used are expenses for a visiting speaker, a seminar series, or a symposium. Applications for support to stage special BSLS panels at appropriate conferences (other than the BSLS 2017 conference) will be considered.

Recent events supported by the scheme include: conferences on ‘The Body and Pseudoscience in the Long Nineteenth Century’ at the University of Newcastle, and on ‘Doing Science: Texts, Patterns, Practices’ at the University of Cologne; EXEWHIRR, a public-engagement event on ‘The Human-Technology Relationship through the Ages’ at the Bike Shed in Exeter, and; a symposium on ‘Biomedical Science and the Maternal Body’ at the University of Southampton organised by the Postgraduate Contemporary Women’s Writing Network.

Applicants should be current members of BSLS and should apply by making a case for how the award will contribute to the development of literature and science, with a brief outline of costs of the project. Applications should be no longer than 500 words. Where funding is sought for BSLS panels a clear indication of the scope of the panel, and of its contribution to the understanding of literature and science, should be included. Recipients of small grants are asked to acknowledge BSLS sponsorship appropriately in publicity for events and to provide a brief report on events for the BSLS newsletter and website.

Applicants may apply for any amount up to £400; in some instances a proportion of the amount applied for may be awarded. International members of BSLS are welcome to apply for the awards, but should note that they will be distributed in the form of bank cheques made out in pounds sterling. Serving members of the BSLS Executive Committee are not eligible to apply for the awards. We cannot enter into correspondence about the decisions of the Committee.

The application should be e-mailed, as a Word attachment, to the BSLS Secretary, Greg Lynall ( by 1st September 2016. Please put 'BSLS small grant' in the subject heading of your email. Applications will then be considered by the BSLS Executive Committee, with successful applicants informed by the end of September. Queries about the scheme should be directed to Greg Lynall.


BSLS Postgraduate Conference Fund


Applications are invited for bursaries of £200 for BSLS postgraduate student members toward the cost of presenting research papers at conferences (this excludes the BSLS annual conference, which has its own postgraduate bursary scheme). In addition to funding attendance at literature and science conferences, we would like to fund members who intend to give papers on literature and science at conferences which are not specifically focused on this topic, in order to promote the study of our field more widely.

To be eligible, applicants must

  • Be a member of the BSLS
  • Be a current research student
  • Be presenting a paper at a conference held after 1st October 2016


Eligible expenses include conference fees, travel and accommodation costs. Applicants must provide an outline of their research paper, justify why the funds are required (i.e. give a break-down of the budget) and state whether they have applied to any other funding sources (and the outcomes of those applications). You should also state why you think the particular conference you have chosen would be valuable, both for your own career and with regard to the wider objectives of the BSLS. Applications should be no longer than 500 words. Successful applicants will be expected to provide a brief report on their paper and experience of the conference, for the BSLS newsletter and website.

International members of BSLS are welcome to apply for the awards, but should note that they will be distributed in the form of bank cheques made out in pounds sterling. Serving members of the BSLS Executive Committee are not eligible to apply for the awards. We cannot enter into correspondence about the decisions of the Committee.

The application should be e-mailed, as a Word attachment, to the BSLS Early Career Executive Committee Member, Ros Ambler-Alderman ( by 1st September 2016. Please put 'BSLS PG conference fund' in the subject heading of your email. Applications will then be considered by the BSLS Executive Committee, with successful applicants informed by the end of September. Queries about the fund should be directed to Ros Ambler-Alderman.

A fully funded studentship is available for a PhD in literary studies at Roehampton.
This will be supervised by Dr Shelley Trower and needs to match with her expertise (eg. in reading, oral history, sound, science and literature, Gothic, Victorian)

Full details can be found at:


The first volume of the Journal of Science and Popular Culture (comprising two issues) is currently being assembled for publication and will be available in October 2017 and early 2018.

If you would like to contribute to either issue please send proposals or full articles to the Editor, Dr Steven Gil, at The Journal is primarily interested in research articles (6,000-8,000 words inc. notes etc) but the Editor is also open to suggestions for shorter pieces.

Reviews that have appeared on the British Society for Literature and Science website in June 2016

A list of books for which we are currently seeking reviewers can be found here.

Please email Gavin Budge on <> if you would like to propose a book for review  - anything published from 2010 onwards will be considered.

This is a list of books that are currently in the process of being reviewed.

A list of books that have already been reviewed on the British Society for Literature and Science website can be found here.

Winter Symposium – The Politics of Literature and Science

BSLS members are invited to send in proposals to host the third BSLS one-day symposium in November 2016.

At the AGM, the BSLS membership voted again to support, in addition to the annual conference, a one-day symposium in November 2016 on the theme of the politics of literature and science. A budget of £500 will be made available to members to fund the symposium.

The second Winter Symposium was held last year on the subject of archives, at the University of Reading. Details of this, along with the first symposium on teaching, can still be found on the BSLS website.

Proposals should include:

*   a statement of up to 500 words setting out the rationale for the event and how it interprets the over-arching theme

*   contact details for the organiser(s)

*   the venue(s) and date of the symposium

*   a provisional programme including provisional or confirmed speakers and panels

*   a clear budget explaining how the grant will be spent.

A small registration fee may be set for the symposium if required; if it is, this should be justified in the proposal. The BSLS will be named as the official sponsor of the event, but it will not take on further financial liability beyond the grant itself.

Applicants must be members of the BSLS both when the application is made and when the symposium is held. International members of the BSLS are welcome to apply for the awards. Applications should be emailed as a Word document to the Chair of the BSLS, Martin Willis (, and copied to the Secretary Greg Lynall ( by Monday 8th August 2016. Applications will be considered by the BSLS Executive Committee. The award will be made to the application which the Committee judges as best fulfilling the overall aims of the BSLS and serving its members and the academic community as a whole. Successful applicants will be informed as soon as possible after the deadline.

Queries about the symposium in the first instance are encouraged and should be directed to Martin Willis.

No correspondence will be entered into about the decisions of the Committee. Serving members of the BSLS Executive Committee are not eligible to apply for the grant. They may be included in the proposal for the symposium as participants, but they may not receive any of the award money either as costs or fees.

Creating Romanticism

Case Studies in the Literature, Science and Medicine of the 1790s 

Sharon Ruston 

Paperback edition out June 2016 


Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and the Cultures of Print Paperback


Jun 2016

£19.50 $34.99



May 2013

£58.00 $95.00

264 pp

216 mm x 138 mm



  1. Mary Wollstonecraft and Nature
  2. William Godwin and the Imagination
  3. Romantic Creation
  4. Humphry Davy and the Sublime
  5. Conclusion Bibliography

About the book 

This book argues that the term 'Romanticism' should be more culturally-inclusive, recognizing the importance of scientific and medical ideas that helped shape some of the key concepts of the period, such as natural rights, the creative imagination and the sublime. The book discusses a range of authors including Joanna Baillie, Edmund Burke, Erasmus Darwin, William Godwin, Joseph Priestly, Mary Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft. Chapters look at these figures from a new perspective, using their journal articles, diaries, manuscript notebooks and poetry, as well as unpublished letters. Humphry Davy is given particular attention and his poetry and chemistry are explored as central to Romantic efforts in both poetry and science.

Sharon Ruston is Chair in Romanticism at Lancaster University, UK. She has published Shelley and Vitality (2005), Romanticism: An Introduction (2007), and has edited The Influence and Anxiety of the British Romantics: Spectres of Romanticism (1999), Literature and Science (2008) and co-edited Teaching Romanticism (2010).

"...a fascinating and thoroughly convincing call to re-examine not just "Romanticism and Science" but "Romanticism" itself. If Ruston is correct about the deliberate use of scientific and medical ideas in some of the period's foundational literary texts - and I have every confidence that she is - then Creating Romanticism should find an audience well beyond those of us interested in the science of the day and become required reading for all students of the period."

— James Robert Allard, Keats-Shelley Journal 

"...offers a lively, de-centred view of British Romanticism, considered from the multiple vantage points provided by the complex structure of its intellectual and social networks".

— Noah Heringman, The Keats-Shelley Review 

'Ruston's book offers a valuable addition to the long history of research into science in the Romantic era: its strength resides particularly in its grasp of the political sub-texts of the interpretation of scientific ideas in the period, as well as in the accounts of little-discussed texts, and in the importance it rightly accords to Davy.'

— Edward Larrissy, The BARS Review 

The deadline for the 2016 prize for the best new essay by an early career scholar on a topic within the field of literature and science approaches fast - Friday 17th June. Additional submissions in the time before the deadline are very much encouraged.

Essays should be currently unpublished and not under consideration by another journal. They should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words long, inclusive of references, and should be send by email to both Josie Gill, Communications Officer of the BSLS (, and Martin Willis, Editor of the JLS(, by 12 noon on Friday, 17th June, 2016

The prize is open to BSLS members who are postgraduate students or have completed a doctorate within three years of this date. (To join BSLS, go to

The prize will be judged jointly by representatives of the BSLS and JLS.

The winning essay will be announced on the BSLS website and published in the JLS. The winner will also receive a prize of £100.

The winning essay for 2015 was Maria Avxentevskaya’s ‘The Spiritual Optics of Narrative: John Wilkins’s popularization of Copernicanism’ which was published in issue 8.2 of the JLS in December 2015. Read this and other prize winning essays in issues 7.2 and 6.2 at

(The judges reserve the right not to award the prize should no essay of a high enough standard be submitted.)

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