Research Studentships

Three Quintin Hogg Trust PhD studentships in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities is delighted to offer three fully funded Quintin Hogg Trust PhD studentships beginning in September 2017 for projects using the University of Westminster Archive. The Archive holds a wide collection of material on the history of the University and its predecessor institutions from 1838 to the present. The Studentships will be awarded to projects making excellent use of the University Archive, and to applicants demonstrating commitment to the promotion of the Archive both within the University and externally and to the development of the University’s research student community.

The three Scholarships will be awarded across the following broad areas:

Creative Writing based on material in the Archive

Performing science in the 19th century

Leisure, religion and mobility: Quintin Hogg and the Regent Street Polytechnic

Photography and/as pedagogy

It is strongly recommended that candidates contact the Archive and arrange to visit and speak to an archivist before applying. Please contact Anna McNally at the Archive: a.mcnally@westminster.ac.uk.

Full details on how to apply are available.

Applications are now invited for the next round of both competitions, each with a deadline of 1st March 2017.

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 (g.j.lynall@liverpool.ac.uk) by 1st March 2017. 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 March. 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 April 2017

 

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 (rsaa1e09@soton.ac.uk) by 1st March 2017. 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.

 

University of Bristol, 6-8 April 2017

ONLY A FEW DAYS LEFT TO SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACTS!

The twelfth annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science will take place at the University of Bristol, from Thursday 6 April until Saturday 8 April 2017.

Keynote talks will be given by Professor Havi Carel (University of Bristol), Professor Robert Mitchell (Duke University), and Professor Ralph O’Connor(University of Aberdeen).

The BSLS invites proposals for twenty-minute papers, or panels of three papers, on any subjects within the field of literature and science.  Please send an abstract (c.200 words) and short biographical note to the conference organiser (Ros Powell bsls-2017@bristol.ac.uk) by no later than 5pm GMT, Friday 9 December 2016. Please see the full CFP at www.bsls.ac.uk

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

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 2012 onwards will be considered.

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

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University of Leeds

Tuesday 4th – Thursday 6th July 2017

Confirmed speakers: Professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin (Leeds); Professor Nigel Clark (Lancaster); Professor Alexandra Harris (Liverpool); Professor Mike Hulme (King’s College London); Dr Adeline Johns-Putra (Surrey); Professor Toby Miller (Loughborough); Professor Gillen D’Arcy Wood (Illinois)

Our experience of climate change is always mediated. Its effects are encountered through changing weather patterns, including the storms, floods, and droughts that afflict communities across the world. They are also encountered through different forms of representation: a novel imagining a desiccated future Earth; a television documentary about coral bleaching; a graph of rising global temperatures. Researchers increasingly understand climate change as a cultural and political issue, and are concerned with the ways in which it is mediated in different contexts, and to different audiences.

This major environmental humanities conference will cross disciplines and periods to analyse the ways in which human beings have tried to make sense of climate change. What difficulties are there in representing climate change? How has it been debated in the past? What new ways of exploring and mediating climate change are emerging as we face an uncertain future?

We welcome proposals of around 250 words for twenty-minute papers suitable for an interdisciplinary audience. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Representations of climate change in literature, film, the media, and the arts
  • Climate change and cultural theory (e.g. posthumanism, new materialism)
  • Historical constructions of climate change
  • Climate change and the Anthropocene
  • The mediation of climate science
  • Scales of mediation/climate modelling
  • Climate change as a culturally mediated and contingent concept
  • The construction of climate change within academic discourse
  • Climate change and consumerism (e.g. greenwash)
  • The psychology of climate change (e.g. disavowal, denial, scepticism, affirmation, optimism)
  • Climate change in political discourse
  • Climate change and the ethics of representation
  • Mediation and climate change activism

We also welcome proposals for complete panels and for presentations/panels using non-standard formats. The deadline for proposals is 15 January 2017. Please use the conference email address for all correspondence and proposals: mediatingclimatechange@leeds.ac.uk

Conference organisers: David Higgins and Tess Somervell

Conference advisory team: Jeremy Davies, Dehlia Hannah, Graham Huggan, Sebastien Nobert, Chris Paterson, Lucy Rowland, Stefan Skrimshire, Kerri Woods

This conference is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through a Leadership Fellowship awarded to Dr Higgins.

 

For further details, visit http://romanticcatastrophe.leeds.ac.uk/conference/

Panel session at the 12th Annual Conference of the British Society for Literature and Science

6-8 April 2017, University of Bristol

 

In Imagined Communities (1983) Benedict Anderson famously argued that the idea of the nation, and national belonging, first developed with the rise of news periodicals and new ways of story-telling in novels. Readers and writers of these enacted a sense of national collectivity through the simultaneous and repetitive adoption of a shared outlook of the world. In Anderson’s framework, nations are communities imagined by literary means.

 

Our panel seeks to apply this approach to various learned collectives - the communities which scholars and scientists have considered themselves to be part of, such as the Republic of Letters, international science, the intelligentsia, academia, schools of thought within specific disciplines, etc. We want to consider how such groupings may have been called into being through the various forms of belles-lettres in writing, publishing, correspondence, and other means of literary communication. We will also examine how the use of literary techniques and genres within a learned discourse supported the visibility and shaped the identity of specific scholarly communities, sometimes facilitating their institutionalization.

 

Relevant issues include: how have specific literary tools, such as analogy, metaphor, and narrative sequencing of material, contributed to creating an idealized projection of learned discourse and hence community? How were non-verbal and emblematic means employed for mental and visual portrayal of guilds and corporations of knowledge? How was the imagining of learned communities involved in the global transfer of epistemic values, in synchronic and diachronic perspective? How have narrative ways of self-description helped learned groups to define their relations to national, political, religious, economic, and other environments? Using Ian Hacking’s “dialectical realism”, how have the invented categories of community induced patterns of behavior and thus contrived new ways of being?

 

We would like to address these and other related questions over a wide range of historical contexts, and invite proposals for twenty-minute papers to become part of the panel. Please send an abstract of 200 words and short biographical note to the panel conveners Maria Avxentevskaya (mavxentevskaya@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de) and Geert Somsen (gjs2141@columbia.edu) by 7 December 2016. All enquiries concerning the 12th Annual Conference of the British Society for Literature and Science can also be sent to Ros Powell (bsls-2017@bristol.ac.uk). Please see the full CFP at https://www.bsls.ac.uk/2016/10/cfp-the-british-society-for-literature-and-science-annual-conference.

An interdisciplinary workshop, 26-27 May 2017, University of Aberdeen

Gut health has become a buzzword in contemporary culture. Ground-breaking research is pointing to potential links between the gut and such diverse areas as our mood, weight, and thought processes. The current debates on the digestive system and our physical and mental health, however, are not without precedent. The stomach occupied a central place in the development of medicine in the nineteenth century and the number of medical, literary and popular publications on digestion proliferated from this period onwards. With the exception of anorexia and obesity, however, few scholars have examined the cultural significance of the gut in the modern period, confirming the lowly status the abdomen has endured in the Western intellectual tradition.

This workshop aims to develop a new understanding of gut health in modern history by establishing a dialogue between different scholars on this aspect of the body. The preoccupation with guts and the bowels in the Early Modern period developed a new urgency in the nineteenth century through the rapid progress of medicine and the increased concern with the stomach as a site of self-fashioning. The obsession with the gut during this period was a highly cosmopolitan phenomenon crossing many fields of experience, and the workshop aims to bring together scholars from a range of specialisms, including English studies, Modern Languages, History, History of Medicine, Anthropology, Philosophy, Visual Studies, Religious Studies and History of Science.

Applications from postgraduate and early career scholars are particularly welcome.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The history of psycho-gastric conditions
  • The history of nutritional physiology and metabolism
  • (In)digestion as a metaphorical framework
  • Literary portrayals of digestion, constipation and defecation
  • Digestive and excretory labours and authorial identity
  • Visual portrayals of the digestive system
  • The gut as a site of self-fashioning
  • Digestion and nationhood
  • Digestion and public health
  • Gut-brain connections
  • Digestion and modernity
  • Digestion and constipation in philosophical thought
  • The role of digestion in social relations
  • Digestive health as spiritual practice

Interdisciplinary approaches and international comparisons are strongly encouraged.

Contributors will be invited to submit developed papers for consideration for publication after the event.

Proposals should be no more than 300 words in length and a short biography should also be included. Please send to m.mathias@abdn.ac.uk by 31 January 2017.

This two-day workshop is funded by the University of Aberdeen School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture; the Society for French Studies; the British Society for the History of Science; and the British Society for Literature and Science.

Nominations for The British Society for Literature and Science book prize 2016 are now being sought. All nominated books must be dated 2016 and should be academic titles (usually monographs or essay collections) in the area of literature and science (including technology and medicine, in all periods). The prize is not open to creative writing. Paid up members may nominate their own titles. Members of the BSLS committee are not eligible for the prize.

Nominations should be sent to Peter Garratt by 31 December 2016.

The announcement of the prize winner will take place at the annual conference in April.

As the third millennium progresses, science and technology more than ever govern human lives, and the topic of science and/in fiction shows no signs of decline, neither in terms of artistic production nor as an area of critical inquiry. As several critical accounts of the field of 21st century literature note, writers address contemporary issues such as environmental catastrophes and international conflicts, the proclaimed turn to precarity and the future of the planet and of humanity. Yet, at the same time, writers also appear disposed to look back, continuing to make the past and issues of time, history and temporality dominant concerns. But the question arises of what this turn to the past means in view of our narrative engagement with technology, projections of the future and its place in human life today and in times to come: (how) can it be that literature set in the 19th and 20th centuries imitates earlier styles and techniques and engages with technologies that once had a frightening impact but have become part of our reality long ago? How do these trends relate to the typically speculative view of science fiction? What happens to the characteristic orientation towards futuristic science and settings and, on the other hand, to conceptions of realism? Considering, for instance, the booming genres of Neo-Victorian fiction, adaptations and re-tellings, (how) can it be that upon entering the new millennium, writers seem to find greater imaginative stimulus in the past than in the present and the future?

The edited collection of essays aims to address current directions in fictional science narratives in different media. It brackets questions of scientific accuracy and the well-trodden path of the ‘two cultures’ debate to explore what modes, forms, and genres emerge and dominate in the 21st century. Aside from tracing new and old boundaries between kinds of knowledge, modes of narration and perceiving reality, and between facts and fiction, the ethical dimension of the question ‘can it be’ might include narrative representations of risk, fear, and cultural assumptions about scientists and the research enterprise.

We invite contributions that address 20th century developments from a 21st perspective, as well as theoretical reflections on new trends and movements, surveys and close readings of narratives, including novels, drama, film, young adult fiction, and graphic fiction.

Papers may deal with (but are of course not limited to) the following topics and interrelations:

 

  • Science and genre, e.g. the historical novel, thriller, satire, fantasy, dystopia, transrealism, and life-writing
  • Science and ethics
  • Science and religion, secularism
  • Science and/as terror
  • Science and (post)human identity
  • Science – still between fascination and fear?

Please send 300-500 words abstracts to Dr Nina Engelhardt (nina.engelhardt@uni-koeln.de) and Dr Julia Hoydis (julia.hoydis@uni-koeln.de).

 

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 01.02.2017.

Notice of acceptance: 01.03. 2017.

Deadline for submission of papers (7000 words): 01.01.2018

 

Merveilles Électriques

Invention littéraire, vulgarisation et circulation médiatique

Colloque international
Organisé par Claire Barel-Moisan (CNRS. ENS-Lyon. UMR IHRIM), Delphine Gleizes (Université Lyon 2. UMR IHRIM)

Les XVIIIe et XIXe siècles constituent une période essentielle dans l’histoire des découvertes sur le magnétisme et l’électricité. Elle se caractérise par l’élaboration d’hypothèses scientifiques viables, par la mise en place de procédures expérimentales à même de les étayer et, bien sûr, par le développement des applications techniques et pratiques qui en découlent : éclairage, énergie motrice, progrès dans les transmissions et les transports, etc. Ces découvertes dans le domaine des fluides modifient définitivement le rapport au monde. Par le caractère spectaculaire des expériences menées et des progrès engendrés, l’histoire de ces découvertes s’ancre également dans l’imaginaire contemporain, suscitant une production abondante de textes et d’images. Ce colloque se propose d’analyser la diversité des productions scientifiques, littéraires et médiatiques, dont la circulation témoigne de deux siècles de fascination pour les « merveilles électriques ».

16, 17 et 18 novembre : BU Lyon 1, MILC Lyon 2, et ENS Lyon

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