BSLS 2012 Conference: 12-14 April 2012, Oxford: call for papers

The British Society for Literature and Science invites proposals for papers and panels to be delivered at its seventh annual conference, to be held at the English Faculty, University of Oxford, 12-14 April 2012. The deadline for receipt of proposals is Monday 5 December 2011; we anticipate that announcements about acceptances/rejections will be issued 9 January 2012.

Plenary speakers will include Professor Jonathan Sawday (St Louis University), author of The Body Emblazoned: Dissection and the Human Body in Renaissance Culture (1995) and Engines of the Imagination: Renaissance Culture and the Rise of the Machine (2007), among other works.

There is no theme for this year’s conference, and we hope to receive a wide range of proposals covering a wide range of historical periods. Those unfamiliar with the BSLS may wish to look at past conference programmes and at the short-listed titles in successive book-prize competitions. We would particularly welcome papers that reflect on the state of the field. This might include the state of the field in relation to particular kinds of literature and historical periods; the differences in critical practices in relation to different kinds and periods; differences between British, continental European, and North American approaches; forms of historicism; and the relation of literature and science to neighbouring fields, such as literature and medicine, ecocriticism, evocriticism and other forms of criticism inspired by evolutionary biology.

In addition to regular panels, we would like to hold a series of workshops on the state of the field. Possible topics are: poetry; fiction; drama; teaching literature and science; historicism; dialogues between practitioners in different historical periods. We seek short (ten-minute) position papers defending or criticising particular approaches, or raising larger questions. If you are interested in offering such a paper, please contact the conference organiser by Monday 21 November. Within the workshop segment we also hope to have panel or panels on teaching literature and science: again, if you wish to offer an account of your teaching practice, please contact the conference organiser.

Thanks to a generous donation, there will be a bursary of £150 awarded to a graduate student on the basis on the paper proposals. The student must be registered for a masters or doctoral degree on 9 January 2012.

Proposals for papers of 15-20 minutes, and for panels, should be sent in the body of the email text (no attachments, please), to They should consist of: the title; a proposal of no more than 300 words; the title again; the name, postal address, and email address of the proposer; and, if you are applying for the graduate student bursary, the email address of your supervisor or other person who will be able to confirm that you are a registered student.

Accommodation: please note that those attending will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation. As in previous years, we anticipate that the conference will begin at about 1pm on the first day and conclude at about 2pm on the last.

Membership: in order to attend the conference, you must be a paid-up member of the BSLS for 2012. We anticipate that it will be possible to pay the £10 annual membership fee when paying the conference fee online.

Proposals and other enquiries should be sent to the conference organizer, Dr Michael Whitworth, on