October 2012

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Hearty congratulations to Martin Willis, whose book Vision, Science and Literature, 1870-1920: Ocular Horizons (Pickering & Chatto, 2011), winner of the BSLS Book Prize in 2011, has recently won the ESSE (European Society for the Study of English) award in 'Cultural Studies in English'.

Enlightenment, Science and Culture in the East Midlands c1700-1900

Saturday 22nd June 2013

University of Derby


This conference examines the impact of scientific and intellectual cultures in the English East Midland counties of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland between 1700 and 1900. Social and economic developments in the period brought major changes including urbanisation and the industrial development of the Derwent Valley and larger county towns. The sciences impacted upon regional culture in many ways facilitated by associations such as the Spalding Gentleman’s Society, Derby Philosophical Society and Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society, whilst public lectures and new institutions such as mechanics’ institutes brought new audiences to the sciences. Bringing together local historians, academics, museum and heritage professionals and others, this conference will explore the various manifestations of science and intellectual cultures in the region including interconnections between the sciences, art, heritage and the built environment. Keynote speakers include Professor Ruth Watts, Emeritus Professor of the History of Education at the University of Birmingham.



Enlightenment, Science and Technology: science and industry; scientific culture, individuals, experiments, inventions and patents, scientific societies. Geographies of the production and dissemination of science, the home, clubs and societies; local, regional and global dimensions; the impact of the agricultural revolution in the region; science and farming, agricultural societies, gardening and horticulture; science and medicine, public health, medical societies;

Urban Science: the role of towns in the development of science and scientific cultures; urban scientific institutions including associations, museums and mechanics’ institutes; science and urban typologies; civic science; urban competition and rivalry; town and countryside;

Representations of Science, Technology and Industry: these include within historical writing, guide books and travel literature, architecture, the literary and visual arts such as landscape painting, literature and music; scientific and intellectual dimensions of prominent artists with strong regional associations.

Science, Class, Gender, Religion and Ethnicity: the relationship between scientific and intellectual cultures and the shaping of élites, the emergence of the middle and working classes and relationships between them; female identity and public position; poverty and wealth; civic science and politics (libraries, museums, galleries, parks etc.) local government including the activities of individuals and associations such as political reform societies and chartists; migration and intellectual cultures, the development of minority communities and the role and experience of individuals within these communities; relationships between science and religion, including all forms of belief that flourished in the region in the period.


There will also be a specific panel for women’s writing and culture. Please contact Teresa Barnard (t.barnard@derby.ac.uk) for details.


Heritage and Historiography of East Midland Sciences and Enlightenment: impact of new theoretical approaches; study and representation of East Midland sciences in museums and heritage institutions; community engagement with local and regional scientific history; the use of new technology to engage with the region’s Enlightenment past including approaches to digitisation, GIS mapping and visualisation.

Outcomes: A selection of papers presented at the conference will be published in a book.

Venue: this conference is hosted by the Centre for Identity, Conflict and Representation in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Technology at the University of Derby and will be held at the Enterprise Centre on Bridge Street in Derby, close to the city centre.

Cost of the conference: £20: £15 students and unwaged. Includes refreshments.

Contributions: The conference organisers welcome contributions from scholars within and outside universities, including research students and local historians; perspectives are invited from different disciplines, including cultural, social, economic and women’s history, industrial archaeology, landscape studies, history of art and architecture, heritage studies, literature and the social sciences. Potential contributions might focus on any one of the themes above, cross boundaries between them or offer a perspective on a relevant subject which is not indicated in the above list.


Potential contributors for 20 minute papers should send a proposal: title, description (250 words max), biography (100 words max) as an e-mail attachment in word with contact details to Paul Elliott p.elliott@derby.ac.uk or t.barnard@derby.ac.uk before 31 December 2012.


Paul Elliott, Reader in Modern History, School of Humanities, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB, UK

Teresa Barnard, Lecturer in English, School of Humanities, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB, UK


The British Society for the History of Science Postgraduate Conference 2013
University of Kent, Canterbury
3 - 5 January 2013

This annual 3-day event gives postgraduates in the history of science, technology and medicine a chance to get to know each other and to present their work to a wider audience. The conference is organised by and for postgraduates, aiming to offer the opportunity of presenting a fifteen minute paper in a supportive environment. Our aim is for postgraduates to convene from a wide range of universities and disciplines to discuss our common interests, share experiences and network in a friendly and receptive environment.

The programme will see parallel sessions of papers spanning all three days. There will be a drinks reception on Thursday evening and a conference dinner on Friday evening.

Paper and/or session proposals for the conference must be submitted by 5pm on Friday 9th November 2012.

Please complete the Abstract Submission form (pdf) and email to: historyofscience@kent.ac.uk

Proposals for themed sessions are also welcome, for which we will require a 400 word summary along with the names of those involved and the suggested length (maximum two hours).

More information is available on the conference website.

What in practice can science learn from the humanities? That is the question that a team of biologists, literary critics and historians at the University of Reading set out to answer in an AHRC-funded project that has generated some new insights into the relationship between the two fields.

A workshop, entitled ‘Cultivating Common Ground: Biology and the Humanities’, was held in July, which introduced practicing biologists to humanities research into biology, and provoked some unexpected responses. In the scoping study, ‘The Value of the Literary and Historical Study of Biology to Biologists’, the team draw upon the workshop experience and their respective specialisms to argue that the humanities can play an important role in transforming future biological research. To realize this ambition the team is now working together with colleagues from other universities on pioneering a co-disciplinary training programme for young academics as the next step towards bringing biology and the humanities together.

To view the report in full please follow this link:

The value of the literary and historical study of biology to biologists: A scoping study

The British Society for Literature and Science invites proposals for papers and panels to be delivered at its eighth annual conference to be held in Cardiff, 11-13 April 2013, by Cardiff University and the University of Glamorgan.

The BSLS Conference does not have a theme (as it its usual practise) but especially welcomes proposals on the state of the field of literature and science as well as its relation to other fields. This year we would be particularly interested to receive proposals that reflect upon the interdisciplinary study of literature and science in the context of the debate about the present position of the humanities in academia. However, the Society remains committed to supporting proposals on all aspects of literature and science across all periods.

Proposals for papers of 15-20 minutes should be sent in the body of the email text (no attachments, please), to bsls2013@yahoo.co.uk with the subject line ‘BSLS 2013 abstract’. Submissions should include the title of the paper, an abstract of no more than 300 words, a maximum of 3 keywords (placed at the end of the abstract), and the name and contact details of the speaker.

Closing date for submissions: 7 December 2012.

(Decisions will be made in January 2013)

Contributors interested in organising a panel or other special session, or who have suggestions for alternative forms of conference presentation, are warmly encouraged to contact the conference organisers. The organisers would welcome, for example, workshops on teaching literature and science, or on specific themes in literature and science that cross period boundaries, or on specific published works with considerable influence in the field. Please email the organisers on bsls2013@yahoo.co.uk, using ‘BSLS 2013 Panel’ as the subject line in email correspondence.

Funding: a bursary of £150 will be awarded to a graduate student on the basis on the paper proposals. The student must be registered for a masters or doctoral degree on 9 January 2013. The conference fee will be waived for two further graduate students in exchange for written reports on the conference, to be published in the subsequent issue of the BSLS Newsletter. If you are interested in being selected for one of these places, please mention this when sending in your proposal.

Accommodation: please note that those attending will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation. Information on selected hotels will be available shortly on the conference website. As in previous years, we anticipate that the conference will begin at about 1pm on the first day and conclude at about 2pm on the last.

Membership: in order to attend the conference, you must be a paid-up member of the BSLS for 2013. We anticipate that it will be possible to pay the £10 annual membership fee when paying the conference fee online.


Visit the conference website at: http://literatureandscience.research.glam.ac.uk/bsls2013/

The British Society for Literature and Science and the Journal of Literature and Science would like to announce a prize for the best new essay by an early career scholar on a topic within the field of literature and science.

Essays should be currently unpublished and not under consideration by another journal. They should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words long, inclusive of references, and should be send by email to both John Holmes, Chair of the BSLS (j.r.holmes@reading.ac.uk), and Martin Willis, Editor of JLS (mwillis@glam.ac.uk), by 12 noon on Monday, 1st April, 2013. The prize is open to BSLS members who are postgraduate students or have completed a doctorate within three years of this date. (To join BSLS, go to https://www.bsls.ac.uk/join-us/). The prize will be judged jointly by representatives of the BSLS and JLS.

The winning essay will be announced on the BSLS website and published in JLS. The winner will also receive a prize of £100. The judges reserve the right not to award the prize should no essay of a high enough standard be submitted.

On Thursday 25th October at 7 pm John Holmes from the University of Reading and the poet Lesley Saunders will be reading and discussing poetry and science at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. Admission is free, and all are welcome. For more details, see the poster below, or go to www.mhs.ox.ac.uk.

London Interdisciplinary Discussion Group

Vision and Images

6-8pm, 22nd January 2013

The Science Museum's Dana Centre
165 Queen's Gate
South Kensington

Please see http://londoninterdisciplinarydiscussiongroup.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/vision-and-images-22nd-january-2013/ for full details of this event and further information on all the speakers.

At this meeting our speakers Helen Barron, Matteo Farinella, Ludmilla Jordanova, Toby Ward and Lucy Wilford will discuss vision and images from the perspectives of history, medicine (psychiatry), art and neuroscience. Each speaker will address the question 'what are the methods of looking employed in your production and/or interpretation of images?' Using examples, they will explore how the way in which they look at and interpret images in their work shapes the way in which they see and use them.

As usual, the speakers will present for about an hour in total, and there will then be an hour for questions and general discussion between all in attendance.

This event is free and all are welcome! We are very happy to be able to hold this event at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre.

The University of South Carolina has recently advertised for an Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor in Victorian Literature and Science. Click here for the application details. The deadline is November 2, 2012.