Tuesday 4th to Friday 14th January, 2022
4pm to 5.30pm UK time
Online, international, and free
environmentandculture.com

Nine interdisciplinary conversations about land, sea, and sky from the Glorious Revolution to the Great Exhibition, featuring…

Tuesday 4th January: Elizabeth Carolyn Miller on periodizing extraction, and Fredrik Albritton Jonsson on fossil fuels and fossil science

Weds 5th: Jan Golinski on ideas about climate change in the North Atlantic world, and Lynn Voskuil on tracking globally mobile plants

Thurs 6th: Alexander Dick on islands, coastlines, and Scotland’s double colonial history, and Sarah Spooner on landowners, enclosure, and access to the countryside

Fri 7th: William Cavert on the business of killing vermin, and Jesse Oak Taylor on the necroaesthetics of Victorian natural history

Mon 10th: Steven Mentz on competing identities aboard ships at sea, and Miles Ogborn on the role of the Jamaican landscape in the uprising of 1831–32

Tues 11th: Clare Hickman on the use and experience of scientific gardens, and Charles Watkins on attitudes to trees newly introduced to Britain

Weds 12: Erin Drew on concepts of environmental justice, and Katrina Navickas on trespass into manorial wastes in England

Thurs 13th: James Fisher on how to control land and labour through accounting, and Jodie Matthews on engineered water in literature

Fri 14th: Carl Griffin on vernacular environmental knowledges and enchantments, and Paul Readman on antiquarianism, history-writing and the embodied experience of landscape

Environment and Culture in Britain, 1688–1851 brings together distinguished scholars in a series of conversations at the cutting edge of new research. The forum is free, online, and open to all. It will be much more discursive than a standard conference. There will be no formal presentations. Instead, in each daily roundtable, two writers whose shared interests cross disciplinary boundaries will discuss puzzles and insights arising in their current research. Their dialogue will be the starting point for open-ended conversation with a live international audience.

The forum is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Please visit environmentandculture.com for more details.

CFP: Blue Extinction

Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre (ShARC)
7-8th July 2022

Aquatic species are threatened with extinction at an unprecedented rate due to the combined effects of overfishing, pollution, climate change, acidification, and other human impacts. Yet blue ecosystems have remained an overlooked and neglected subject of enquiry in animal studies, where the focus has tended to be on terrestrial – or green – habitats. The extinction of aquatic organisms poses particular perceptual, epistemological, and affective challenges: many of the species that are disappearing were never apparent, or known, to us in the first place. And those that we are aware of are often considered to be impossibly remote from, and alien to, human life, making it difficult to consider their lives grievable in a traditional sense.

Recent work in the blue humanities has seen a growing emphasis on nonhuman life and multispecies ecologies (Alaimo; DeLoughrey; Neimanis; Shewry). In the field of extinction studies, there has also been an increasing focus on untold, unloved, and invisible lives (Bastian; Bird Rose; Heise; Van Dooren). Building on these approaches, this two-day symposium will examine the subject of aquatic biodiversity loss from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

It will ask: what kinds of narratives and modes of storytelling are best suited to the subject of blue extinction? What impact does the actuality of extinction have on ideas of literary representation and interpretation? What role might literary methods such as close reading play in helping us to imagine and come to terms with extinctions which occur largely out of sight (Bastian)? Can an awareness of blue extinction foster new affective and ethical relations with forms of life that are often considered to be monstrous or alien (Helmreich)? Might an attentiveness to past marine extinctions, and their cultural representations, be useful to us in our present age of biodiversity loss? And can collaborations between the humanities and the sciences yield new perspectives on blue extinction along with ways to combat it?

Possible topics for papers include, but are not limited to:
- Literary and artistic representations of marine life / marine biodiversity loss
- Blue extinction and questions of form and method (e.g. aesthetic, material, biological)
- Changing oceanic environments and human extinction
- Past extinctions: remains and material traces; fossils, museum collections, archives
- The future of blue extinction: predicted extinctions, imagined alternatives
- Marine life in ‘the Oceanic South’ (Samuelson and Lavery)
- World-Systems approaches to blue extinction
- Connections between oceanic degradation and colonial violence
- Queer, feminist, and trans-inclusive approaches to aquatic biodiversity
- Black and Indigenous perspectives on aquatic life
- Aquatic life, resilience, and survival
- Aquatic biodiversity and apocalyptic narratives (e.g. the ‘jellypocalypse’)
- The (in)visibility of blue extinctions
- The impact of extinction on coastal environments and communities

Abstracts of up to 350 words should be sent to Rachel Murray and Vera Fibisan at blueextinction22@gmail.com by the 4th of February 2022. Participants will be notified by the 28th of February 2022. We particularly welcome abstracts from PGRs, ECRs and researchers from underrepresented backgrounds.

The symposium will take place online and in-person at the University of Sheffield and participants can choose their mode of attendance. Registration fees will only apply to in-person delegates. The intended outcome of this symposium is an edited collection entitled ‘Blue Extinction’, which will be considered for publication in the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature series.

The School of English at the University of Leeds is advertising a full-time, permanent lectureship in Medical Humanities

We are looking for candidates with a background in English Studies (including English Literature, English Language, Theatre Studies and Creative Writing) and strong research interests in any area of Medical Humanities.

Deadline: Sunday 28 November

Further information: Please see https://jobs.leeds.ac.uk/vacancy.aspx?ref=AHCEN1057

Bio-Lit Talks is an online, four-event series exploring the interactions and intersections between Biology and Literature.

Structured as a four-event series and focusing on a new topic each week, join us as we delve, digress, and dissect into words of authors and mechanisms of pathogens: from Scottish texts of the 16th century to contemporary prose, Victorian texts, and Latin American literature - witness easily digestible discussions on the plague, cholera, sexually transmitted infections, and novel pathogens.

Organised by doctoral researchers at the University of Glasgow and featuring authors, researchers, and academics, this free event series is open to Literature lovers, Science enthusiasts and everyone in between!

For more information and to register, please visit Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/bio-lit-talks-crossing-science-with-humanities-35909105423#events

List of events:

Wednesday, 10/11/21, 7-8 PM (GMT) - Novel Monsters: Exploring the Threat of Emerging Pathogens and their Depiction in Contemporary Literature

Wednesday, 17/11/21, 7-8 PM (GMT) - Society, Sex, and Science: Understanding Syphilis and its Portrayal in the Victorian Era

Wednesday 24/11/21, 7-8 PM (GMT) - Poetry, Pestilence, and Prescriptions: Plague Biology in 16th-century Scottish Poetry and Medical Manuscripts

Wednesday 01/12/21, 7-8 PM (GMT) - Heartaches and Stomach Pains: Infectious Disease in Latin American Literature

Proposals are invited for the tenth annual Scientiae Conference on disciplines of knowing in the early modern world (roughly 1400-1800), which will take place at McGill University, 1-4 June 2022.

Scientiae is an international research group that investigates the variety of ways people of the Renaissance and early modern periods understood the world and the implications this knowledge held for them. This is the period that saw the development of academic disciplines, but the formation of these disciplines was an interdisciplinary process that drew upon developments in many other fields of scholarly endeavour, including biblical exegesis, art theory, history and literary humanism, as well as natural philosophy, alchemy, occult practices, and trade knowledge.

Scientiae 2022 will feature plenary addresses by Jennifer Rampling (Princeton University) and Paul Yachnin (McGill University), as well as a plenary panel entitled “New Worlds and Knowledge Making” featuring Jaime Marroquín (Western Oregon University), Simon Kow (King's College, Halifax), Djoeke Van Netten (University of Amsterdam) and Carolyn Podruchny (York University).

Proposals are invited for individual papers (20-25 minutes), complete panels, workshops and seminars on any field of intellectual endeavour from the period 1400 to 1800.

The Programme Committee welcomes panel-proposals from any disciplinary perspective, yet we would like to encourage submissions that seek to examine modes of early modern knowledge formation and application that cross traditional disciplinary, national, geographic, linguistic or intellectual borders. The conference is interdisciplinary and the sessions should foster discussion transcending the disciplinary scope. This year, Scientiae would especially like to encourage proposals that address knowledge production and exchange in colonial environments.

Individual papers should include a 250-word abstract and a 1-page CV. Proposals for panels, debates, roundtables or workshops should contain a single 250-word description of the theme under discussion, along with a 100-word abstract and short CV per participant.

The deadline for submission is 15 January 2022. Please submit your proposals via this Google formFor more information please contact: conference@scientiaeacademic.com

For more on Scientiae, please see: https://scientiaeacademic.com/

Nominations are now being accepted for the BSLS Book Prize 2021. Inaugurated in 2007, the annual British Society for Literature and Science book prize is awarded for the best book in the field of literature and science published that year. Any book is eligible, but can only be considered if it is nominated either by a member of BSLS or by its publisher. Publishers are very welcome to nominate their own books, and members may nominate their own titles. Please note that individual memberships must be current and the publication in question must be dated 2021 to be eligible. Members of the BSLS committee are not eligible for the Prize. A panel of BSLS executive committee members and scholars will read all submissions, with the winner announced at our 2022 conference. Please send all nominations to Emily Alder on bslsbookprize@gmail.com by 31 December 2021.

For a list of past winners and shortlisted titles, see here.

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University of Stuttgart Digital Workshop
16–17 December 2021
Confirmed Keynote Address: Dr. James Smithies, Director of King’s Digital Lab, King’s College London
Full CFP here

Research on ‘intelligent systems’ broadly impacts the everyday lives of citizens worldwide, from self-driving cars, facial recognition, and ‘intelligent’ robots, to algorithms that create personalized advertisements that influence consumer choice. The societal, political, cultural, and ethical impacts of advances in this field have become matters of concern – and have also shaped literary and cultural production. Especially in recent years, literary texts that explore various aspects of intelligent systems have been thriving: novels such as Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me (2019), Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun (2021), and Mark Wheaton’s Emily Eternal (2019) have drawn public interest and have put a new focus on the ‘knowledge of literature’ in that these narratives not only reflect upon, but often also engage in, re-creating (and advancing) intelligent systems on the level of the storyworld. In effect, literary texts are both shaped by and actively shaping their cultural contexts of production and reception. With regard to the impact of various agents and environments on the design of a narrative – the text properties considered typical for a particular literary genre, as well as the robustness of specific genres due to their ability to adapt to changing requirements across different times and cultures – questions arise to what extent literature (or specific text types) can also be regarded as intelligent systems.

We welcome 15-minute input papers from scholars of all career stages, backgrounds, disciplines. The workshop will be held online. Please send an abstract of 300-400 words with contact information and a short bio to jessica.bundschuh@ilw.uni-stuttgart.de under the subject line of “intelligent systems” by 29 October 2021. A full CFP can be read here.

Every year, the BSLS organises a winter symposium around a particular theme. This year's has been organised by the BSLS executive committee and will be hosted online rather than at a particular institution. The event, which takes place on the 20th of November this year, is free to attend, and you can sign up here.

Here's the full programme (times are GMT):

10.00-10.15am Welcome and Opening Remarks by Jenni Halpin, BSLS Chair

10.15-11.15am Keynote Lecture: Josie Gill

11.15-11.30am Break

11.30-12.00pm Publishing Talk with Ben Doyle, Bloomsbury Academic

12.00-12.15pm Break

12.15-1.00pm Grants Talk with Tom Bray, Wellcome Trust

1.00-1.30pm Lunch

1.30-2.45pm Roundtable with Chisomo Kalinga, Manali Karmakar, Sandeep Bakshi

2.45-3.00pm Coffee Break

3.00-3.45pm Group Discussion: ‘What Kinds of Examples of Decolonial Practice Have You Seen in the Academy, or Want to See?’

3.45-4.00pm Break

4.00-5.00pm Reading Group: Priyamvada Gopal, ‘On Decolonisation and the University’; Michell Chresfield and Josie Gill, ‘Race and Antiracism in Science and the Humanities' (readings will be pre-circulated to attendees)

5.00-5.30pm BSLS Social

The Commission on Science and Literature (CoSciLit) has just published two volumes of papers drawn from their conferences to date. To read the ebooks, edited by George Vlahakis and Kostas Tampakis, click on the links below:

Science and Literature: Imagination, Medicine and Space

 Science and Literature: Poetry and Prose

BSLS members may be interested in a new essay published by the University of Birmingham's John Holmes and Dion Dobrzynski ahead of the COP26 summit. The essay is part of a cluster on ‘New Approaches’ from the new Birmingham report on Addressing the Climate Challenge, which includes essays by students on the English Literature and Liberal Arts programmes. Read John and Dion's essay here!

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