May 2012

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'Cultivating Common Ground: Biology & the Humanities'

What do biologists know and think of the humanities? And what do they make of those humanities scholars – literary critics and historians – who have made biology their area of study?

University of Reading staff in the biological sciences and the humanities are currently seeking practising biologists to participate in an AHRC-funded workshop which will address these and other questions. The workshop will consist of short presentations by humanities scholars whose research focuses on biology, followed by discussion and analysis of these and other topics. The workshop will be lead by Nick Battey, a plant biologist with a long-standing interest in the value of humanities research to biology, and there will be presentations by John Holmes (Darwinian evolution in poetry), Karin Lesnik-Oberstein (pre-conceptions in biomedical research), David Stack (understanding Victorian science) and Françoise Le Saux (medieval ideas about magic and the natural world).

The workshop will take place on Wednesday 18 July 2012 at the University of Reading's Whiteknights campus between 0930 and 1700. Refreshments, including lunch, will be provided, as will reasonable travel expenses.

Please see for further information. To register for a place, please contact Rachel

Martin Willis has written a very short report on the Historicism plenary on the final day of this year's conference. He has uploaded this onto his papers page on - here is a link, for anyone who missed the conference itself.

Applications are invited for BSLS small grants to advance and/or promote the study of literature and science. Examples of things for which the awards might be used are expenses for visiting speakers, seminar series and debates, and other funding to stage events on literature and science. The scheme is not intended for individual conference travel, but applications to stage special BSLS panels at appropriate conferences will be considered.

Applicants should be members of BSLS (with membership paid for 2012) and should apply by making a case, in up to 300 words, for how the award will contribute to the development of literature and science; a brief costing should be appended to the end of the application. 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; applications for panels at the 2013 BSLS conference are not eligible. Recipients of small grants are asked to acknowledge BSLS sponsorship appropriately in publicity for events and to provide a brief report on events.

The application should be e-mailed, as a Word attachment, to the BSLS Treasurer, Daniel Cordle (, by June 30 2012.
Applications will be considered by the BSLS Executive Committee and a total of up to £300 will be awarded. Applicants may apply for any amount up to £300; in some instances a proportion of the amount applied for may be awarded.
Successful applicants will be informed over the summer. Queries about the scheme may be directed to Daniel Cordle, but no correspondence will be entered into about the decisions of the Committee. 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.

A debate about the interrelations between science and contemporary poetry, edited by Gilbert Adair, has been published in the online poetry and poetics magazine Jacket2 under the title 'Like a Metaphor: Ongoing relations between "poetry" and "science"'. Contributors include Gilbert Adair, Rae Armantrout, Amy Catanzano, John Cayley, Tina Darragh, Marcella Durand, Allen Fisher, James Harvey, Peter Middleton, Evelyn Reilly, and Joan Retallack.