December 2012

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2012.

Call for expressions of interest

Please respond to

A call for papers will be circulated in 2013

'Popular Science, Altered Consciousness and Twentieth-Century Culture'

Date: November 2013 (one-day conference to be held on a Saturday)

Venue: Queen Mary, University of London

Funded by the British Society for the History of Science

Supported by the Centre for the History of the Emotions and the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary, University of London

This conference will bring together scholars working on altered
consciousness in relation to popular science, medicine and literature
during the period 1918-1980. The interdisciplinary meeting will
initialise a network for future exchange and collaboration between
historians of mind science and literary critics.

Many literary and popular authors during the mid twentieth-century
represented altered states of consciousness in their writing,
responding to and participating in research relating to such topics as
ESP, clairvoyance, telepathy, mind-altering drugs, psychic therapies,
spiritualisms, conversion, revivals, somnambulism, precognition,
distraction, group mind, multiple personality, hypnotism, lucid
dreaming, Vedanta, hysteria and automatism.

What was the continuing legacy of nineteenth-century approaches to mind
and spirit? How did work at the fringes of psychiatry and psychology
intersect with mind sciences that consolidated their authority during
the mid-twentieth century? What are the key interactions between
British, European, North American and non-Western sources?

Please send queries and expressions of interest to

In October, I teamed up with the poet Lesley Saunders at a poetry event at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. Lesley read from her new book of poems, Cloud Camera (Two Rivers Press), while I read a selection of poems by modern poets on the science of life.

A podcast of the two talks is available on the MHS website.

The next meeting of the London Interdisciplinary Discussion Group will take place on 22nd January 2013 from 6-8pm at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre. Details are on the group site.

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 each explore how they work with or produce images in their own practice.

There is a change from the usual format as participants will need to book to attend this event. Please email to book for this talk. The event will be followed by a wine reception at the Dana Centre.

For more information see the Dana Centre web page.

Susie Christensen

PhD Student, King's College London
Department of English / Centre for the Humanities and Health
London Interdisciplinary Discussion Group