CFP BSLS Winter Symposium: Metaphor in Literature and Science

BSLS Winter Symposium: Metaphor in Literature and Science – King’s College London, Saturday November 4, 2017

Keynote speaker: Professor Alice Jenkins, University of Glasgow

The aim of this symposium is to re-examine the role of metaphor in literature and science studies in the light of new developments and questions in the field. The study of metaphor and analogy could prove to have a crucial role in negotiating between historicist and readerly approaches to literature and science. Are metaphors necessarily rooted within a particular historical context, with literary texts employing the scientific metaphors of their time, or is it possible to draw productive analogies between literary and scientific texts from disparate historical periods? How useful is it, for instance, to read the forms and metaphors of modern neuroscience into older texts? We would also like to consider the role of metaphor in emerging fields within the study of literature and science, such as performance studies, medical humanities and animal studies (as well as the connected study of posthumanism). How do metaphors function in texts that extend the boundaries of the human?

The symposium will incorporate, though not necessarily be limited to, the following topics:

  • How metaphors are passed from one discipline to another (domaining)
  • The use of models and analogies within science writing
  • The role of ‘field’, ‘matrix’, ‘two-way traffic’ and other metaphors within the theory of literature and science: what political assumptions lie behind our critical use of metaphor?
  • Metaphor and the body: how do metaphors, particularly technological and animal metaphors, help to construct different versions of the body?
  • Political metaphor: how can metaphors be used to construct or challenge particular social formulations? What are the political implications of the use of metaphors in illness narratives and case histories, for example?

While we welcome traditional papers, we also encourage contributors to experiment with non-traditional formats: speakers could present their work as a short film, or as a ‘biographical’ paper in which they reflect upon their own academic and theoretical trajectories. We also particularly invite papers by women, people of colour, and other groups that are underrepresented within science studies. The conference will be inclusive and gender-balanced, with at least fifty percent women speakers, and no all-men panels.

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words long, and should be emailed to by October 1, 2017. Selected participants will be notified by October 7.

Call for Papers