The University of Westminster's department of English is offering a fully-funded 3 year Full-Time PhD studentship on the topic of performing science in the nineteenth century. Full details can be found at https://www.westminster.ac.uk/courses/research-degrees/research-areas/social-sciences-and-humanities/research-studentships/performing-science-in-the-19th-century
Clifton Hill House, University of Bristol, Friday 20th January 2017.
‘It’s a kind of literary archaeology: on the basis of some information and a little bit of guesswork you journey to a site to see what remains were left behind and to reconstruct the world that these remains imply’. Toni Morrison is not the only writer to have imagined her work as a kind of archaeological digging, as an imaginative excavation of the past and a reconstruction of past lives from remains. From Wordsworth’s call to ‘grieve not, rather find / strength in what remains’ to Heaney’s bog poetry, writers have interrogated the significance of the earth, the buried, remains and fragments, and drawn upon techniques and tools associated with archaeology as a means of thinking about history, memory and the body. Conversely, archaeologists have begun to examine the potential influence of literature on their approaches to material traces and human remains. In the introduction to their 2015 book Subject and Narrative in Archaeology, Ruth M. Van Dyke and Reinhard Bernbeck note that there is an ‘increasing clamour for and interest in alternative forms of archaeological narratives, involving writing fiction, making films, constructing hypertexts, and creating media that transcend the traditional limitations of expository prose’ and that ‘Visual art, fiction, creative nonfiction, film, and drama have much to offer archaeological interpretation and analysis’. Not only literature itself, but literary critical approaches are also being recognised as useful ways of thinking about the archaeological processes: for archaeologist John Hines, there is an ‘affinity between the scholarly disciplines’, archaeology involving ‘the same exercises of interpretation, analysis and evaluation as literary criticism.’
This conference brings together archaeologists, literary scholars and creative writers to explore similarities and points of convergence between literature, literary studies and archaeology across historical periods. We invite papers which adopt a range of disciplinary or interdisciplinary approaches to the relationship between archaeology and literature and/or the potential for methodological exchange between the disciplines. We are particularly interested in exploring synergies between archaeological science and literature, and how the human body as a site of archaeological knowledge might shape and be shaped by literary and critical approaches to the body.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
- Literary and cultural representations of archaeology
- Fragments, remains and reconstruction in archaeology and literary studies
- Theoretical uses of archaeology in the work of Walter Benjamin, Freud, Foucault
- Human remains, bodies, bones and skeletons in literature
- The influence of archaeological writing on literary studies
- Representations of archaeology in the media
- Metaphor, analogy and storytelling in archaeology
- The relationship between memory, history and narrative
- Race and gender in archaeology
Confirmed keynote speakers include:
Dr. Jerome de Groot, University of Manchester
Dr. Robert Witcher, Durham University
This conference is supported by the AHRC and is being held as part of the AHRC-funded project ‘Literary Archaeology’: Exploring the Lived Environment of the Slave http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/research/literary-archaeology/
Attendance at the conference is free and there is a limited fund for reimbursement of UK travel expenses. We are also pleased to offer a postgraduate bursary which will cover all expenses of the successful applicant.
There will be an opportunity to publish conference papers in a journal special issue following the conference.
Please send 250 word abstracts to Josie.Gill@bristol.ac.uk by 16th September 2016. Delegates will be notified of the outcome in mid-October.
BSLS member Sam George at Hertfordshire been involved in a collaboration with New York Botanical Gardens for an exhibition on Poetic Botany in the Eighteenth Century.
The exhibition can now be seen live at http://www.nybg.org/poetic-botany/.
THE STATE OF THE UNIONS
What are the relations between literature, science and the arts within our field today? This special double issue marks a unique collaboration between the Journal of Literature and Science and Configurations. Across two years – 2017 in the JLS and 2018 in Configurations – we aim to enable scholars of all career-stages to debate the nature of the interdisciplinary relations of our field in short and sharp “position” papers of approximately 2000 words.
We therefore invite contributions that make an intervention in our thinking about the field of literature, science and arts. Potential topics for discussion include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The meanings of interdisciplinarity in the field
- The place of the study of literature and science within the academy
- International variations or international synergies
- Collaborative work between literature/arts and the scientific community
- How do we (now) define "literature" in the dyad of literature and science?
- The relationship between cultural theory and historicism in the field
- How is literature and science evolving in relation to its own splintering (into animal studies, neuroscience, environmental studies, etc.)?
- Speculations: what is the future of the field?
- Reflections: where has the field most profited and where has it gone astray?
Submission information for the first issue:
Length of contribution: 2000 words
Deadline: December 16th, 2016
Send to: Melissa Littlefield (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Martin Willis (email@example.com)
Publication: JLS 10.1 in June 2017
(Decisions on inclusion in the first issue by February 2017)
NOTE: A further call for contributions for the second issue (Configurations, 2018) will go out in the Summer of 2017. It is to be hoped that the second issue will include, among other topics, reflections on the first set of published papers.
The latest call for reviewers from the Journal of Literature and Science is available here: JLS CALL FOR REVIEWERS 2016
Reviews that have appeared on the British Society for Literature and Science website in July 2016
- Trevor Dodman, Shell Shock, Memory, and the Novel in the Wake of World War I
- Esther L. Jones, Medicine and Ethics in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction
- Valerie Purton (ed), Darwin, Tennyson and Their Readers: Explorations in Victorian Literature and Science
- William Hughes, That Devil’s Trick: Hypnotism and the Victorian Popular Imagination
- Helena Feder, Ecocriticism and the Idea of Culture: Biology and the Bildungsroman
- Claire Preston, The Poetics of Scientific Investigation in Seventeenth-Century England
A list of books for which we are currently seeking reviewers can be found here.
Please email Gavin Budge on <G.Budge@herts.ac.uk> if you would like to propose a book for review - anything published from 2011 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.
INCS 2017—ODD BODIES
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 www.muhlenberg.edu/incs2017 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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: www.literatureandscience.org