September 2008

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King’s College London / University of Stuttgart
PhD-Net “Internationalisation of Literature and Science since the Early Modern Period”
Application deadline: 15/11/2008

The PhD-Net “Internationalisation of Literature and Science since the Early Modern Period” is a bi-national PhD programme run collaboratively by King’s College London and the University of Stuttgart, which aims to forge interdisciplinary connections between various subjects in the Humanities (German Studies, English Studies, Comparative Literature, Philosophy, and the Histories of Medicine, Science and Technology). Partner institutions in Germany include the German Literature Archive in Marbach and the Institute for the History of Medicine of the Robert Bosch Foundation.

An international research group will support and connect projects which address both inter- and trans-national tendencies within the Humanities. Projects will develop both theoretical models for the as yet under-researched area of internationalisation within the Humanities, as well as critically assess historical case studies from the early modern period onwards, which address the role of exchange movements and networks and the transfer of topics, practices and methods in literature and science.

Of particular interest is the relevance of literature(s) for the internationalisation of the sciences, alongside critical reflections on the significance of the presentation and the mediality of knowledge (language, text, image) for its circulation, communication and implementation.

Applicants from all disciplines are welcome to apply to the programme – both those who are already registered as PhD candidates at King’s or Stuttgart, and those who are planning to undertake a PhD at either institution. Up to 15 PhD students will be supported in England and in Germany each year. Support covers travel costs, book grants, assistance in obtaining further PhD funding, and partial fee waivers.

The PhD programme lasts three years, and students registered at King’s will spend their second year at the partner university in Stuttgart. The programme is bilingual, and as such some knowledge of German is desirable for English speaking applicants.

All applications received by the 15/11/2008 will be considered. Applications should include:
- a CV
- a brief project outline (max. 2,000 words) including the topic, thesis, state of research, methods and a plan of work
- a cover letter (max. 600 words) explaining your interest in the programme and the thematic connections between your research project and your previous academic experience

Please address all applications and enquiries to:
Ben Schofield
Department of German
King’s College London
London UK-WC2R 2LS


Friday 12 December 2008 at 9:00am
Location: Royal Society, Kohn Centre

A one-day conference organised in conjunction with the Centre for Life Writing Research, King's College London.

Dr Thomas Beddoes (1760-1808) was one of the most remarkable figures in the history of British medicine. Part of a group of radical physicians friendly with Erasmus Darwin and the Lunar Circle in the early 1790s, he set up the Pneumatic Institution near Bristol where he attempted cures using newly-discovered combinations of gases. The then-unknown Humphry Davy superintended trials, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge was among his patients.

This conference marks the bicentenary of Beddoes's death. Speakers will include Trevor Levere, Larry Stewart, Mike Jay, George Rousseau, Giuliano Pancaldi, Iwan Morus, Neil Vickers and Jane Darcy. For further information, contact Neil Vickers (


The 4th annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science will take place at the University of Reading on 27th-29th March, 2009. Keynote speakers will include Dame Gillian Beer, formerly King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge; Patrick Parrinder, Professor of English at the University of Reading; and Simon Conway Morris, Professor of Evolutionary Palaeontology at Cambridge.

The Society invites proposals for 20-minute research papers addressing any aspect of the interaction between literature and science; collaborative panels of two or three papers; and papers or panels on the teaching of literature and science. We welcome work on literature from all periods and countries, and on all aspects of science, including medicine and technology. Presenters need not be based in UK institutions.

Please email proposals of up to 400 words to Dr John Holmes ( by Monday 1st December, together with a 100-word biographical note (or in the case of a panel, abstracts and notes for each speaker). Please send abstracts in the body of messages; do not use attachments. Alternatively, abstracts and proposals may be posted to Dr John Holmes, Department of English and American Literature, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 218, Reading, RG6 6AA, UK.

Please address any queries to Dr John Holmes at the email or postal address above.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: Literature, Art and Culture in an Age of Global Risk

An international, Interdisciplinary Conference

Cardiff University, UK
Thursday 2*Friday 3 July 2009

Keynote Speakers:
Prof. Imre Szemán (McMaster University, Canada)
Dr Charlie Gere (Lancaster University, UK)

What are the cultural implications of living under conditions of global, manufactured risk?

In the twentieth century, the possibility arose for the first time that a crisis of planetary proportions might result from human activities. By the early decades of the century, global economic and financial interdependence was such that a crisis unfolding in one location could radiate outwards to destabilize the entire socio-economic world-system. Through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, the risk of pandemic upheaval has been heightened by an array of phenomena: the expansion and acceleration of media and telecommunications networks; the integration of financial markets and the instantaneous ramification of market fluctuations via programme trading; nuclear proliferation; international terrorism; rapid population growth; unsustainable consumption of natural resources; overload of electricity grids, leading to cascading power failures; pollution of the ecosphere and resulting climate change; computer viruses and *cyber-warfare*; genetic engineering; cloning; nanotechnology; artificial intelligence; bioweaponry; the emergence and rapid spread of new strains of infectious disease; and the development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Scholars speak of *systemic risk* (Anthony Giddens), *simultaneous crisis formation* (David Harvey), a *general disaster* (Brian Massumi), *worst imaginable accidents* (Ulrich Beck), *total risk of catastrophe* (François Ewald), *global* or *integral* accidents (Paul Virilio), *global catastrophic risks* (Nick Bostrom and Milan *irkovi*), and *modernist events* * *events which not only could not possibly have occurred before the twentieth century but the nature, scope, and implications of which no prior age could even have imagined* (Hayden White).

Such occurrences hover indeterminably somewhere between the possible, the probable, and the inevitable. This conference will explore how writers, artists, filmmakers, dramatists, philosophers, and critical and cultural theorists have responded to the prospect and reality of global crisis. Moreover, it will ask how the methodologies of textual and cultural criticism might offer new insights into our age of global risk.

Topics might include, but are by no means limited to:

-Notions of futurity, messianism, and the à venir (*to come*)
-Modernism and the first era of globalization
-Figurations of the contemporary, postmodern, or technological sublime
-The alteration and/or realization of textual meanings in the wake of catastrophic events
-Connections between conditions of global risk and the aesthetic or intellectual *risks* taken by experimental artists and thinkers
-Disaster films
-Ecocriticism and climate change
-Future ruins
-The fate of the archive
-*Nuclear Criticism* and its possible revival post-9/11
-(Post-)apocalyptic visions
-Cyberculture and utopian/dystopian futures
-The cultural implications of Kondratiev waves and world-systems theory

Please send 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers to the organizer, Dr Paul Crosthwaite, at by Monday 22 December 2008. Proposals for three-person panels are also welcome; please send a brief description of the panel along with abstracts for the individual papers.

Updates will appear on the conference web site: