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Assistant Professor in Science, Culture, and Writing

Department of English Language and Literature

 The Department of English Language and Literature in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Waterloo invites applications for a probationary position in Science, Culture, and Writing at the rank of Assistant Professor, with a preferred start date of July 1, 2018. The successful candidate will have an established program of research in one of the following areas: ecocriticism; literature and the environment; science fiction studies; disability studies; literature of science; history of science; medical humanities; history of health and medicine; or an area of literary study relevant to the communication of science. A secondary area of research in writing, systems of knowledge production, new modes of publication, or other literary or rhetorical subfield, will be considered an asset. The Department promotes an integrated research culture, combining expertise in the fields of literary study, rhetorical study, and digital media.

For further information on this and other posts with a literature and science element visit: https://arts-ofas.uwaterloo.ca/english/

CALL FOR PAPERS

The thirteenth annual conference of the British Society of Literature & Science will take place at Oxford Brookes University, from Thursday 5 April until Saturday 7 April 2018.

Keynote talks will be given by Professor Kirsten Shepherd-Barr (University of Oxford), Professor Alex Goody (Oxford Brookes University).

The BSLS invites proposals for 20-minute papers, panels of three papers or special roundtables on any subjects within the field of science, and literatures in the broadest sense, including theatre, performance, film and television. There is no special theme for this conference but abstracts or panels exploring Frankenstein in its bicentenary year are especially welcome as are those in the contemporary period, theatre and performance.

In addition, we are hoping to put together sessions with looser, non-traditional formats, and would welcome proposals from any person or persons interested in making presentations of approximately ten minutes from notes rather than completed papers. Our hope is that the latter format will encourage longer Q&A sessions with more discussion. If you have a topic or research area which would suit such a discussion, we would also like to hear from you.

Please send an abstract (c.200-250 words) and short biographical note to the conference organiser, Dr. Carina Bartleet, c.e.bartleet@brookes.ac.uk, by no later than 5pm GMT, Friday 8 December 2017. Please include the abstract and biographical note in the body of the email and not in an attachment. All proposers of a paper or panel will receive notification of the results by the end of January 2018.

The conference fee will be waived for two graduate students in exchange for written reports on the conference, to be published in the BSLS Newsletter. If you are interested in being selected for one of these awards, please mention this when sending in your proposal. To qualify you will need to be registered for a postgraduate degree at the time of the conference.

Please note that those attending the conference will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation. Information on local hotels will be made available soon.

Membership: conference delegates will need to register/renew as members of the BSLS (annual membership: £25 waged/ £10 unwaged).

Assistant review editors are wanted to join an expanded reviews team for BSLS Reviews, the reviews section of the British Society for Literature and Science website, <https://www.bsls.ac.uk/reviews/> We aim at comprehensive coverage of the literature and science field, and related areas, with reviews published within ten months of book publication date, and updates on at least a monthly basis. Last year we published over sixty reviews, and in the current year we are on track for over a hundred. Assistant review editors will monitor the output of major academic publishers, and superintend the commissioning process from beginning to end. Applications should include academic background, together with a sample of your own writing, and should be sent by 5.00pm on 15th December 2017 to the BSLS Book Reviews Editor, Dr Gavin Budge on <G.Budge@herts.ac.uk>.​

CFP DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JANUARY 5 2018

Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities 2018
University of Kent, 1-4 July

Keynote Speakers
Maaike Bleeker, Utrecht University
Margrethe Bruun Vaage, University of Kent
Eric Clarke, Oxford University
Amy Cook, Stony Brook University

Organisers: Melissa Trimingham and Nicola Shaughnessy, in association with the Centre for Cognition, Kinaesthetics and Performance.

Call for Papers

Building on the conferences associated with the network Cognitive Futures in the Humanities in Bangor (2013), Durham (2014) and Oxford (2015), Helsinki (2016) and Stony Brook (2017) the 2018 conference aims once again to bring together a wide array of papers from the cognitive sciences, philosophy, literary studies, linguistics, cultural studies, critical theory, film, performance, theatre and dance studies, the visual and sonic arts, musicology and beyond. In accordance with the original purpose of the network, the aims of the conference are:

-to evolve new knowledge and practices for the analysis of culture and cultural objects, through engagement with the cognitive sciences;

-to assess how concepts from the cognitive sciences can in turn be approached using the analytical tools of humanities enquiry (historical, theoretical, contextual);

-to contest the nature/culture opposition whose legacy can be identified with the traditional and ongoing segregation of scientific and aesthetic knowledge.

Topics relevant to the conference include (but are not limited to):
Cognitive neuroscience and the arts       Interdisciplinary methodologies
Cognitive poetics                      Theory of mind
Conceptual blending                Cognition and narrative
Spectatorship and participation         Empirical aesthetics
The 4 Es                            The science of creativity
The social mind                 Material culture

Submission details
Please send 250-word proposals to  cogfutures@kent.ac.uk by 5 January 2018. As well as 20-minute papers, we welcome contributions in a variety of formats, for example workshops, performance presentations, and posters. Abstracts should be included as Word file attachments. Please indicate clearly in your email whether your abstract is to be considered for a paper or as part of a panel, including the name of presenter(s), institutional affiliation(s) and email address(es). Proposers can expect to hear if their abstract has been accepted by 1 February 2018, and registration will open soon afterward.

Organising committee
Shaun May, Nicola Shaughnessy, Melissa Trimingham, Freya Vass-Rhee

Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities Steering Group
Amy Cook (Stony Brook University)
Karin Kukkonen (University of Oslo)
Peter Garratt (Durham University)
John Lutterbie (Stony Brook University)
Ben Morgan (University of Oxford)
Sowon Park (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Merja Polvinen (University of Helsinki)
Nicola Shaughnessy (University of Kent)

Dr Emily Alder (Napier University) is in the process of putting together two panels for BSLS 2018 and invites proposals for either of the following topics:
1. Gothic and science (fairly broadly, to promote BSLS/ International Gothic Association links - if you are like me both a BSLS and IGA member it would be particularly good to hear from you!)
2. Frankenstein and science (with one eye on the bicentenary)
If you are interested in joining either panel, please get in touch with Emily by 1st December at em.alder@napier.ac.uk

University of Kent, 1-4 July

 Keynote Speakers

Maaike Bleeker, Utrecht University

Margrethe Bruun Vaage, University of Kent

Eric Clarke, Oxford University

Amy Cook, Stony Brook University   

 

Call for Papers

Organisers: Melissa Trimingham and Nicola Shaughnessy, in association with the Centre for Cognition, Kinaesthetics and Performance.

Building on the conferences associated with the network Cognitive Futures in the Humanities in Bangor (2013), Durham (2014) and Oxford (2015), Helsinki (2016) and Stony Brook (2017) the 2018 conference aims once again to bring together a wide array of papers from the cognitive sciences, philosophy, literary studies, linguistics, cultural studies, critical theory, film, performance, theatre and dance studies, the visual and sonic arts, musicology and beyond. In accordance with the original purpose of the network, the aims of the conference are:

to evolve new knowledge and practices for the analysis of culture and cultural objects, through engagement with the cognitive sciences;

to assess how concepts from the cognitive sciences can in turn be approached using the analytical tools of humanities enquiry (historical, theoretical, contextual);

to contest the nature/culture opposition whose legacy can be identified with the traditional and ongoing segregation of scientific and aesthetic knowledge.

Topics relevant to the conference include (but are not limited to): Cognitive neuroscience and the arts, Interdisciplinary methodologies, Cognitive poetics, Theory of mind, Conceptual blending, Cognition and narrative, Spectatorship and participation, Empirical aesthetics, The 4 Es, The science of creativity, The social mind, Material culture

Submission details

Please send 250-word proposals to  cogfutures@kent.ac.uk by 30 November 2017. As well as 20-minute papers, we welcome contributions in a variety of formats, for example workshops, performance presentations, and posters. Abstracts should be included as Word file attachments. Please indicate clearly in your email whether your abstract is to be considered for a paper or as part of a panel, including the name of presenter(s), institutional affiliation(s) and email address(es). Proposers can expect to hear if their abstract has been accepted by 5 January 2018, and registration will open soon afterward.

Organising committee

Shaun May, Nicola Shaughnessy, Melissa Trimingham, Freya Vass-Rhee

Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities Steering Group

Amy Cook (Stony Brook University)

Karin Kukkonen (University of Oslo)

Peter Garratt (Durham University)

John Lutterbie (Stony Brook University)

Ben Morgan (University of Oxford)

Sowon Park (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Merja Polvinen (University of Helsinki)

Nicola Shaughnessy (University of Kent)

Configurations, the journal of SLSA (The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts) is seeking submissions for a special issue on Science Studies and the Blue Humanities, edited by Stacy Alaimo. We are interested in essays, position papers, provocations, and artist statements that explore the significance of science studies for the development of the blue humanities. As oceans and bodies of fresh water increasingly become sites for environmentally-oriented arts and humanities scholarship, how can the emerging blue humanities best engage with the theories, questions, paradigms, and methods of science studies? How do questions of scale, temporality, materiality, and mediation emerge in aquatic zones and modes? How can literature, art, data visualization, and digital media best respond to the rapidly developing sciences of ocean acidification and climate change as well as the less publicized concerns such as the effect of military sonar on cetaceans? Work on postcolonial/decolonial science studies, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), indigenous sciences, and citizen science especially welcome. Please submit 5,000-7,000 word essays; 3,000 word position papers or provocations; or 2,000 word artist statements (with one or two illustrations or a link to a digital work); to Stacy Alaimo, alaimo@uta.edu, by February 1, 2018, for consideration. All essays will be peer-reviewed, following the standard editorial procedures of Configurations.

Ordering knowledge, from Bacon to the Shelleys

International conference

16-17 March 2018

University of Strasbourg

Organised by Pôle Grand-EST-SEAA XVII-XVIII (Société d’Etudes Anglo-Américaines du XVIIe et XVIIe siècles) in collaboration with IDEA (Interdisiciplinarité dans les Etudes Anglophones, Univ. de Lorraine) and SEARCH (Savoirs dans l’Espace Anglophone : Représentations, Culture, Histoire, Univ. de Strasbourg).

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Laurence Talairach-Vielmas (Centre Alexandre Koyré, University of Toulouse)

Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest)

Organising committee:

Anne Bandry-Scubbi (Université de Strasbourg)

Jean-Jacques Chardin (Université de Strasbourg)

Richard Somerset (Université de Lorraine)

Proposals of around 300 words should be sent by Monday 2 October to chardin@unistra.fr and richard.somerset@univ-lorraine.fr

In his 1667 tract publicizing and promoting the newly-created Royal Society, Thomas Sprat argued that while the Baconian experimental methods championed by the Society’s members imposed upon them “a close, naked, natural way of speaking” and “a constant Resolution, to reject all the amplifications, digressions, and swellings of style,” the austerity of this linguistic recommendation would not imply a distancing of philosophical and literary cultures. Beyond the stylistic debate around the desirability or not of ornamentation in language, the experimental method would benefit poetry by improving the justness of perceptions: it was thus expected that knowledge of “the Works of Nature” would prove “one of the best and most fruitful Soils for the growth of Wit.” For Sprat, the weak natural knowledge of the Ancients had produced a literature of limited imaginative scope; but the resources in imagery of the more fortunate Moderns were about to be replenished by “the charitable assistance [of] Experiments.” The images thus derived from observation were natural not conventional since “they proceed from things that enter into all men’s Senses” and which are therefore “nearest to their Nature.” The perceiver who ignores empirical method and relies only on immediate sense impressions is condemned to see with the eyes of convention and therefore to fail to perceive nature truly, or to discern its true beauties.

In his ‘A Defence of Poetry’ written just over a hundred and fifty years later, Percy Bysshe Shelley also insisted on the convergent pathways of science and poetry; only for him it was the poet who was to be in the driving seat. To thinkers influenced by German Idealism at the end of the eighteenth century, the experimentalists’ attempts to side-line the perceiving mind in the knowledge-building process could only result in distorted understanding. It was in fact the combination of perceptive acumen guided by richness of insight that was best apt to “defeat the curse which binds us to be subjected to the accident of surrounding impressions.” Poetry and science alike, when pursued by such minds, enable us to see beyond familiar appearances and to become “the inhabitants of a world to which the familiar world is a chaos.” Each “creates anew the universe, after it has been annihilated in our minds by the recurrence of impressions blunted by reiteration.” For Shelley and the Romantics generally, failure to accept the operative function of the agent will leave us the slaves of the appearances, and incapable of perceiving – far less understanding – the living spark at the heart of nature that is simultaneously the true object of enquiry for the natural philosopher, and the ultimate subject of expression for the poet.

At the one extreme, then, stands the apologist for the new science holding out to men of letters the promise that philosophical and cultural renewal go hand in hand, with the former promising to nourish the latter; at the other extreme, a similar gesture is made in the opposite direction, inviting the natural philosopher to revive and correct his inadequate conceptions by drinking at the fountain of poetic insight. But however opposed their prescriptions, Sprat and Shelley shared the assumption that ‘knowledge’ and ‘culture’ can and should cooperate. Any attempt definitively to separate them would destroy both.

The current institutional norm that places science and literature in non-communicating disciplinary spaces is thus a recent development. Emerging in the late nineteenth century, it was less the result of epistemological divergence than of the politics of institutionalisation and specialisation. The implications for the historian are far-reaching. It does not suffice merely to notice the difference of prior epistemological arrangements in order to understand their operation; we need to attempt to think through the appropriate prisms. Thus, rather than anachronistically seeking interactions between ‘Literature’ and ‘Science,’ it may be more fruitful to treat the ‘knowledge’ of the period in holistic terms: a complex whole requiring the input of an ever-broader range of specialists but also the policing or structuring input of political, social and cultural authorities capable of bestowing status and value.

Following this orientation, the conference aims to re-examine the norms and modes of knowledge-production in the period after the introduction of ‘scientific method’ but before the definitive fragmentation of the sciences and the humanities into distinct disciplinary fields. It seeks to relate those norms to broader political, institutional and epistemological considerations, and by so doing to sketch out the contours of the period’s continued aspiration to a holistic knowledge economy. A fuller sense of this persistence is essential to the present-day historian’s attempts to retrieve the cultures of the past in their full complexity, and to the aptitude of academics in general to situate their own practices in a broader disciplinary history.

Potential themes for conference papers include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Taxonomies of knowledge and their representation; changing taxonomical order
  • Early phases in the emergence of ‘intermediary’ disciplines, notably the ‘historical sciences’ (geology, palaeontology, anthropology) and the ‘scientific humanities’ (philology, antiquarianism/archaeology). The place of ‘civil history’ in this spectrum
  • Institutional framing of disciplinary practices; their interactions
  • Modes of exchange and dissemination of culture and knowledge; networks of influence
  • The emergence of disciplines and the emergence of national identity
  • Ancient learning versus modern method: polemics, debates and satire
  • The ‘man of letters’ and the ‘man of science’ as citizens of the ‘republic of letters’
  • Women in the knowledge economy
  • Cross-fertilisation of generic codes
  • Disciplines, education and social status
  • University curricula; dissenting academies

Case studies of representative figures, working across a range of disciplinary specialisms

The Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University has extended its application period for Visiting Fellowships under the theme of ‘Imagining Science and Technology 200 Years after Frankenstein’ until 23 June 2017

Interdisciplinarity in Practice: Medical Humanities Research Workshop for PGRs

Thursday 7th September, University of Leeds, 11am – 6pm
We warmly invite participants for a one-day workshop addressing the scholarly challenges and collaborative opportunities surrounding postgraduate research in the medical humanities.
Increasing numbers of postgraduate students from a wide range of disciplines are undertaking work on human health, wellbeing, disease, and the body that entails interdisciplinary approaches. Conducting PhD research across disciplinary boundaries offers significant opportunities for innovative scholarship, but it can also present practical and intellectual challenges for those at the earlier stages of their academic careers.
This workshop, supported by the AHRC, will bring together postgraduate students in the medical humanities for interactive sessions and open discussion on research skills and professional career development in the field. Session leaders include Dr Emily T. Troscianko (Oxford), Dr Victoria Bates (Bristol), Dr Sam Goodman (Bournemouth), Dr James Stark (Leeds) and Dr Catherine Oakley (Leeds), with a keynote address from Professor Jane Macnaughton (Durham).
Session topics will cover: 
  • Undertaking an interdisciplinary PhD
  • Research methodologies
  • The disciplines of the medical humanities and disciplinary “identity”
  • Adapting your work for different audiences
  • Collaboration within and beyond academia
  • Positioning yourself for job and funding applications
  • Publishing in the field


For more details and the application process, see here. Please address any queries to Dr James Stark (j.f.stark@leeds.ac.uk).

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