Adaptation is a term that bridges the divide between literature and evolution. Texts are adapted to speak to new circumstances as time advances and younger writers, directors, actors, artists, and audiences seek connections to a mutable culture. Likewise, organisms adapt over generations to better suit their circumstance.

Adaptation also presupposes a relationship to an original, a source. In organisms, unchecked replication can lead to distorted text, broken genetic code. In the age of infinite digital reproduction, of Tiktoks, NFTs,  AI-generated images or novels and so on, the concept of adaptation can generate productive conversations on the current role and nature of art. 

Have we irrevocably moved away from the notion of art as belonging to a particular time and space, having a unique context, what Benjamin called “aura”? Lawrence Venuti, who configures adaptation as translation, writes that “the interpretive force of a translation issues from the fact that the source text is not only decontextualized, but recontextualized” (Venuti 93). In nature as well as art, both the monstrous and the exquisite are born from these textual recontextualizations. 

This conference aims to approach adaptation in all its guises: The literary, the evolutionary, the personal. We seek stories of adaptation, criticism that approaches textual or theatrical adaptation, and presentations that explore the juncture between literary and evolutionary space.

Performance Studies, Literature and Science, Literary Adaptation, Genre-bending, Biosemiotics, Ecocriticism, Adaptation and Translation

Keynotes: Stephen O’Neill and John Holmes

Please send Abstracts of 250 words plus a bio in the body of an email by February 28th to timothy.day@slu.edu and olivia.badoi@slu.edu

Epistemic Transformations in Literature, Science and the Arts

Extended Deadline for Abstract Submissions

Conference of SLSAeu

European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts and ELINAS Research Center for Literature and Natural Science

May 18 – 21, 2023

Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg

The SLSAeu Conference 2023 is centered on modes of exchange between discourses and practices of knowledge production, re-presentation and simulation which lead to epistemic transformations in science, literature and arts.

Metaphors, models and simulations are epistemic tools for physics, astronomy, climatology, earth system sciences, chemistry, biology, life sciences, medicine and robotics. Model-based reasoning is employed in social sciences, cognitive sciences, computer sciences, archaeology and architecture. While the usual categories for doing scientific research are experiments, theories and their falsifications, which are mainly based on technical equipment and mathematical formalism, recent approaches investigate how models and simulations are embedded in cultural processes, and ask how they are formed or epistemically transformed as parts of material cultures. Moreover, they ask how metaphors, models and simulations receive a certain epistemic agency and autonomy due to their artefactual (Knuutilla), mediation (Morgan/Morrison) and exemplification functions (Goodman/Elgin). Philosophy of science goes so far as to ask about the epistemic functions of fiction in the process of scientific modelling and simulation, and draws parallels between scientific models and fictive characters, objects, or places of literary fiction (Frigg, Nguyen).

The conference is meant to be a platform for this interdisciplinary exchange on epistemic cultures of modelling (Gelfert): How can we explore epistemic relations between models, fiction and simulations? How can we think of literary practices and modelling strategies as specific modes of epistemic inquiry? How can we gain new knowledge through the epistemic use of imagination (Badura/Kind) in literature, the arts and science? What is the epistemic function of aesthetics in scientific modelling practices? What interpretational problems arise due to crossdisciplinary approaches and different textual, diagrammatical, algorithmical and encoding practices?

We invite participants to outline the historical, cultural, and rhetorical formation and transformation of model-based knowledge (Magnani/Bertolotti) at the intersections between science, literature and the arts. We hope for interesting encounters between different communities: the philosophy of science investigates the relationships between models, simulations and theories of fiction as make- believe (Walton, Toon) as well as the artefactual and non-representational dimensions of models (Knuuttila). Cultural semiotics conceptualizes literature and the arts as secondary modelling systems (Lotman), the philosophy of mind explores epistemic uses of imagination (Amy Kind), the philosophy of art investigates ‚exemplification‘ as an epistemic practice in art and science (Goodman, Elgin). Narratology investigates narrative factuality and experientiality (Fludernik, Ryan) and history of science examines narrative strategies of scientific writing (Brandt,  Schickore). But the question posed by Jay Labinger still remains: Where are the scientists in literature and science studies?

The conference seeks to establish and facilitate a dialogue between literary and cultural studies and various interdisciplinary science communities, history of science, philosophy of science, and science and technology studies. We invite papers as well as panels dealing with the epistemological functions of metaphors, models and simulations in literature, the arts, sciences, virtual realities, digital humanities, informatics, brain and cognitive sciences, climate sciences, earth system sciences, life sciences, astronomy, astrophyics. Questions could arise on the epistemic functions of models as mediators between arts and sciences, on the world building functions of models and literary texts, on the artefactual nature of models and simulations, on the epistemic function of aesthetics in modelling and simulation practices, on literary, artistic and scientific imagination in the process of modelling (Thorne), on the epistemic tools of representation – pictorial, mathematical, linguistic, algorithmic, 3-D —  on non-representational accounts of modelling, on the process of epistemic transformation from metaphors to models and simulations, and on the cultural materiality of models and simulations.

Abstracts

Please send 400-word abstracts by the 20th of February 2023 to Aura Heydenreich (aura.heydenreich@fau.de). Please include “SLSAeu23” in the email subject line and a brief bio/bibliography, as well as an e-mail address and a postal address. Formats include paper presentations (20-25 minutes), interdisciplinary panels (including participants from three disciplins and a moderator), art events (multimedia, AV format). SLSAeu and ELINAS are committed to supporting young talents to present their work. We invite MA and PhD students to submit their paper. Proposals for interdisciplinary roundtables spanning science/technology, literature, humanities or social sciences, and the arts are especially welcome.

Venue of the Conference

The main venue of the Conference will be the „Kollegienhaus“ and the „Orangerie“ of the Friedrich-Alexander-University (Universitätsstraße 15, 91054 Erlangen) which are located directly at the Erlangen Schlossgarten. The main train station and the University Library are just a stone’s throw away.

Accommodation

Room contingents in different hotels will be pre-reserved for conference participants. Please make your reservation as soon as possible as available rooms are limited.

For further information visit: https://www.slsaeu23.fau.de/

Key Dates:

Abstracts due:                                             20 February 2023

Decisions + Program:                                   1 March 2023

Registration:                                                 1 April 2023

Conference:                                                  18-21 May 2023

Contacts:

PD Dr. Aura Heydenreich

German and Comparative Literature

Research Fellow, ELINAS

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

President of the European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts

Aura.Heydenreich@fau.de

Prof. Dr. Klaus Mecke

Institute of Theoretical Physics

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität

Erlangen-Nürnberg

Klaus.Mecke@fau.de

Launching in February 2023, this seminar series will map out relations between the life sciences, critical theory, contemporary literature and the visual arts. Sessions will alternate between academic presentations and informal workshop sessions exploring recent artistic work and research.

 

The proposed scope of biocriticism is:

a. critical examination of artistic engagement with biological images, discourse and practices

b. critical theory currently engaging with the concepts and discourse of the life sciences

c. art as a space which engages critically with biological theory, technology and rhetoric

 

The theme for 2023 is "Through the Microscope": we will explore art and theory inspired by microbiological, genetic and epigenetic perspectives. The full programme is now available: 

  • February 24th, 2 pm Central European Time, in person and online

 

Communication scholar Professor Lisa B. Keränen (Colorado University) will discuss 

Biocriticism as inventional practice: The case of global health security”.

Her respondent will be Literature scholar Professor Catherine Bernard (Université Paris Cité).

NB The first meeting will exceptionally be in person as well as online, in the Salle du Conseil, Maison de la Recherche, 4 rue des Irlandais, Paris.  

 

  • March 10th, 2 pm Central European Time, online

Theatre director Frédérique Aït-Touati (CNRS) will discuss La Trilogie Terrestre (created with Bruno Latour)

 

  • April 21st2 pm Central European Timeonline

Professor François-Joseph Lapointe (Université de Montréal) will discuss microbiology in his artistic practice

 

  • May 12th, 2 pm Central European Time, online

Artist-designer Marie-Sarah Adénis will discuss microbiology in her artistic practice

 

  • June 9th, 2 pm Central European Time, online

Literature scholar Dr Lara Choksey (University College London) will discuss epigenetics, poetics, and atmosphere

 

Please contact Liliane Campos for information and links: liliane.campos@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr

BioCriticism is organised with the support of PRISMES EA4398 and the Institut Universitaire de France

 

The Literary Twilight Zone: Nonfictional Fiction, 1820–1920

The University of Birmingham, Wednesday 28 June 2023

"The mystical student of psychology, who knows the inadequacy of a bare statement of facts for the presentation of psychic incidents, will hardly need an apology for the form in which the narratives are cast."
Mohini Chatterji and Laura Holloway, Man: Fragments of Forgotten History (1885)

Keynote: Dr Tatiana Kontou Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth Century Literature, Oxford Brookes University

Fiction is not always entirely fictional. Indeed, many of the long nineteenth century’s most famous writers – including Edgar Allan Poe, Marie Corelli, and Émile Zola – wilfully blurred the boundary with nonfiction. Scientific and paranormal romances provided unrepentantly literary spaces to contribute to modern thought, while other authors opted for experimental naturalism, impeccably researched historical novels, hoaxes, thought experiments, and truth claims disguised as fiction.

Fascinating scholarship has analysed twentieth-century writings that sit uneasily on the fact-fiction binary, from Charles Fort’s The Book of the Damned (1919) to the space opera origins of Scientology. This work has rarely been linked in detail to its nineteenth-century origins, despite burgeoning research on occult writers like Edward Bulwer Lytton, whose novels were interpreted by some readers as partially true. Scholars of nineteenth-century literature still have much to bring to a conversation which has been flourishing in research on science fiction, esotericism, and popular culture. During this period modern disciplines and literary genres were gestating, as were (fragile) boundaries between the scholarly and the popular, the aesthetic and the scientific, the scientific and the pseudoscientific. What advantages did fiction hold for authors who chose it over nonfiction journalism or scholarly articles? And how did their readers interpret works – from the conventional to the bizarre and avant-garde – that combined Wissenschaft and fantasy?

This one-day academic workshop, hosted by the Nineteenth-Century Centre, brings together scholars interested in fiction’s relationships with the creation of knowledge. Global subject matter is welcomed, and potential topics include:

  • Scientific romance
  • Paranormal narratives
  • Marginalised authors
  • Footnotes and fiction
  • Hoaxes and fraud
  • Generic fluidity
  • Creative nonfiction
  • Pseudoarchaeology
  • Imaginary portraits
  • Semifiction
  • The experimental novel
  • Roman à thèse

Papers can be 20 minutes in length, but we also welcome proposals for alternate formats. The deadline for abstracts of up to 250 words and bios of 150 words is 28 February 2023. Send enquiries to nonfictionalfiction23@gmail.com. Travel bursaries available on request.

This event is hosted by the Nineteenth-Century Centre at the University of Birmingham, which provides a collaborative network for scholars working across traditional disciplinary, national, and temporal boundaries. They host regular events of interest to members and mobilise the rich resources of the local area to support both research and teaching.

This event is funded by grants from the Leverhulme Trust and the British Society for Literature and Science.

Disruptive Imaginations 

Joint Annual Conference of SFRA and GfF

TU Dresden, Germany, August 15-19, 2023

The societies invite papers on all forms and genres of science fiction and the fantastic in relation to the paradigm of disruption, including but not limited to literature, music, film, games, design, and art. Presentations may be held either in English or German. They strive for a diversity of voices and perspectives from any and all disciplines and career stages. While papers on any subject in SFF are welcome, they especially encourage topics that resonate with the overall conference theme and that engage disruptive imaginations along axes that include but are not limited to:

 

  • SFF imagination under conditions of disruption, e.g., energy crisis; toxicity; climate disruption; war; colonialism; dis/ability and ableism; trauma; white supremacy
  • SFF imagination against disruption, e.g., resilience; worldmaking; utopia; decolonization and restitution; cultural healing; kinship; critical and co-futurisms (African and Afro-futurisms, Indigenous Futurisms, Queer and Trans Futurisms, Crip Futurisms, LatinX Futurisms,…)
  • SFF imagination in need of disruption, e.g., SFF and systems of oppression; the energy unsconious of SFF; transhumanism and eugenics; SFF tropes/histories/conventions of white supremacy, colonialism, heteropatriarchy, and technological solutionism
  • SFF imagination as a force of disruption, e.g., SFF in/as activism; emancipatory forms of SFF publishing (e.g., Destroy! Series); the cultural/bodily/social/political/aesthetic/ecological impact of SFF; SFF as medium of political subversion and agitation; alt-right utilization of SFF rhetoric
  • SFF imagination of disruption, e.g., ruptures of space and time; geoengineering; gene editing; hacking; revolution; border crossings, unsettling of hierarchies, chimeras and hybrids, creative technologies and alternative communication media

 

Proposal for individual presentations, panels, or non-traditional formats (roundtable, artistic research, participatory formats, etc.) are welcome, in English or German. For individual presentation, we ask for an abstract of 300 words and a short bio (150 words). For preformed panels we require a proposal (single file) that includes a 300 word summary of the panel topic, abstracts of 200 words for each contribution, and bio notes (150 words) for all participants. Please send all submissions to disruptive.imaginations@tu-dresden.de by March 1, 2023. Options for limited hybrid participation will be available. More information will be supplied soon on our conference website www.disruptiveimaginations.com.

 

Both organizations give out a limited number of travel grants to help students, PhD candidates and non-tenured participants with their expenses: SFRA members are eligible to apply for travel grants of up to 500$; the GfF offers four travel grants of 250€ each, membership not required. Please indicate your interest upon submitting your abstract.

 

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The 2023 conference for the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, UK and Ireland (ASLE-UKI) will be hosted by the Literature and Science Hub at the University of Liverpool, 29 August to 1 September. ASLE-UKI welcomes participation from scholars, readers, and creative practitioners interested in the relationships between literatures, environments and cultures – past, present, or future – from anywhere in the world.

The theme of the 2023 conference is “Transitions“. Keynote speakers include: Brycchan Carey, Nandini Das, Caroline Edwards, Graeme MacDonald, Chris Pak, and Craig Santos Perez. 

n addition to relatively traditional academic formats we wish to encourage experimental modes of presentation including creative proposals. Possible formats include:

  • individual scholarly or creative-critical papers of 20 minutes
  • preformed panels comprising three or four papers/dialogues/conversations/performances
  • round table discussion panels with three to five participants

Please submit proposals via the following links. Include contact details, brief bios, and an abstract of up to 300 words by 1st June 2023.

Visit the conference website for further details.

Theatre about Science: Theory and Practice9-11 November, University of Coimbra, PortugalFollowing the fantastic meeting we had last year, we invite you to meet again in Coimbra next year, for the Theatre About Science Conference 2023.We welcome contributions ranging from the performing arts to the communication of science, and of diverse nature - from academic to practical research and performance. We also welcome contributions exploring connections of theatre with formal, natural, health and social sciences.We encourage participants from all over the globe, with the aim of mapping and expanding the network of people working in this interdisciplinary field.You can find more detailed information, as well as submit your proposals, in the following link: www.theatreaboutscience.com

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Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/yisr20/current) invites members of the BSLS to consider the journal as a venue for your research. ISR’s purpose is to exemplify proactively interdisciplinary research across the humanities, arts, social, natural and artificial sciences.

The journal publishes both unsolicited articles and thematic issues, including one on literature and science forthcoming in 2023.

 

Aims and Scope

 

Interdisciplinary Science Reviews has, for more than 40 years, been a forum where interdisciplinary research between the natural sciences, the arts and humanities can be reviewed and discussed. ISR publishes work which explores the nature, possibilities and challenges of interdisciplinary research and practice with the aim of promoting constructive dialogue between and across multiple fields of study.

ISR’s purpose is not to say what interdisciplinarity is but to exhibit what happens when researchers start from one discipline and expand into others. We look for research that attempts to find or negotiate mutually comprehensible terms between different intellectual cultures, making as explicit as possible the different assumptions inherent to them. We acknowledge that interdisciplinary research is neither singular in method nor standpoint but fundamentally diverse. Therefore, we seek not to reify ‘interdisciplinarity’ as an unquestioned good, but rather to provide a venue for conversations that struggle to find homes in strictly disciplinary spaces. Likewise, ISR stretches ‘science’ to the limits of scientia (‘knowledge’), exploring the work of many disciplines from multiple perspectives. The aim is not the convergence of disciplines, or a unified science, but conversation that respects as well as illuminates disciplinary differences. The similarities, where they hold under rigorous examination, are where we begin, not end.

A submission to ISR must be proactive in its pursuit of interdisciplinary dialogue. Submissions that merely take a concept, theory or technique from one field and uncritically apply it to another without unpacking its assumptions and considering the implications will be rejected. Because of ISR’s interdisciplinary audience, submissions need to use language that is easily grasped by readers outside the author’s discipline.

ISR’s cover image, ‘Two men discussing coming hunt’ (1961), by Inuit artist Qabaroak Qaisiya of Kinngait (formerly Cape Dorset), Nunavut, Canada, communicates what the journal promotes: the collaborative attempt to communicate and make real across that which separates (and therefore nurtures) separate disciplines. Qaisiya’s conjuring of the two hunters’ shared mind makes us attend to the betweenness of a relation within which something is realised.

 

Yours,

Professor Willard McCarty (Editor, ISR; King’s College London)

Dr Tara Mahfoud (Assistant Editor, ISR; University of Essex)

The eighteenth annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science will be held at Edinburgh Napier University, Thursday 13 April - Saturday 15 April 2023.

 

Confirmed keynote speakers: Professor Laurence Talairach (University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès) andProfessor John Holmes (Birmingham).

 

The BSLS invites proposals for 20-minute papers, panels, workshops, or special roundtables on any intersections between the fields of science (including medicine, technology) and those of literatures in the broadest sense (including theatre, film, and television). We particularly encourage proposals engaging with interdisciplinary fields such as environmental humanities, or focussed on early-career and post-graduate researcher professional development. We welcome work from all periods and countries.

 

The conference will be held in-person and will have capacity for online attendance. Proposals for papers delivered remotely will be considered (up to 30% of the conference).

 

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

 

The BSLS will pay the registration for two PGR attendees, who will be expected to provide newsletter articles describing their experiences of the conference. PGRs interested in pursuing this funding should indicate this along with the submission of their proposals.

 

Please email proposals of up to 300 words to bsls2023@napier.ac.uk by Monday 5 December 2022, together with a 50-70 word biographical note (or in the case of a panel, abstracts and notes for each speaker). Send abstracts and notes in the body of messages; do not use attachments. Lastly, state whether you will attend in-person or wish to present remotely (via Teams). Please answer as realistically as you can (we can’t guarantee to accommodate changes of mind later).

 

Please address queries to Dr Emily Alder at bsls2023@napier.ac.uk

 

BSLS Winter Symposium 2022

The Subterranean Anthropocene: Excavation, Extracting, Uncovering
From Classical to Contemporary Literature

12 November 2022 — Online via Zoom

Keynotes TBA

“Blue marble” images of earth are often synonymous with environmental campaigns and anthropocentric thinking. But by always thinking of earth from above, have we forgotten earth from below? In recent discussions of the Anthropocene, geographers Maria de Lourdes Melo Zurita, Paul George Munro, and Donna Houston argue that “the role of the underground has been discursively absent from contemporary debates about the Anthropocene”, reminding us that “the challenges of the Anthropocene are very much entangled with the underground’s past, present and future” (2018).

By excavating the subterranean, we can unearth long-held ideologies of knowledge, value, memory, and fear. And literature has long engaged with this too. The subterranean in fiction, from Dante’s Inferno, to Alice’s descent into Wonderland, to Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, represents underground space in myriad ways - as the stratification of the mind, as encountering the repressed, as the invisible labour of the working classes. Literary analysis, too, engages with a subterranean vocabulary of “mining” meaning, of processes of “discovering”, “uncovering”, and “bringing to light”. The specialisation of the sciences across the nineteenth century popularised the idea of the “quest narrative” being a process of seeking truth underground, as geology, palaeontology, anthropology, archaeology and new ideas about “deep time” located epistemologies beneath the surface, yet literature on both sides of this period imagines underlands as spaces of knowledge, history, value, and fear. This symposium will uncover the subterranean anxieties present in the intersection of literature and science and unbury narratives of extraction, depths, delving, and excavation.

 

The BSLS Winter Symposium will be free and open to all. We welcome 20 minute papers and panels of 3-4 speakers. We particularly encourage submissions from PGRs and ECRs. Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following themes and their intersections with science and literature:

 

  • Mining, minerals, and extraction
  • Tunnelling and travelling underground
  • The subaquatic subterranean
  • Water and ice subterranea
  • Soil, plantlife, roots, fungi
  • Oil, gas and ‘petrofictions’
  • Excavation, uncovering, unearthing
  • Burials and disinterring, bones, fossils
  • Stone, geology, caves
  • Subterranean life - mammals, birds, insects, aquatic life, worms
  • Subterranean, ‘centre of the earth’, and hollow earth fiction
  • Subterranean ‘hell’ and the afterlife

 

 

Please email your bio(s) and abstract(s) to BSLSSymposium2022@gmail.com no later than Sep 30th 2022. Please limit each abstract to 250 words and each bio to 150 words.

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