March 2013

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The deadline for the British Society for Literature and Science and the Journal of Literature and Science prize for the best new essay by an early career scholar on a topic within the field of literature and science is coming up in a week's time.

Essays should be currently unpublished and not under consideration by another journal.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 (, and Martin Willis, Editor of JLS (, 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 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.

The shortlist for the BSLS prize for the best book in the field of literature and science published in 2012 is as follows:

The winner of the prize will be announced at the Society's annual conference in Cardiff in April.

Victorian Body Parts

Call for Papers

Victorian Body Parts

St Bartholomew’s Pathology Museum, Clerkenwell, Saturday 14th September 2013

Keynote Speakers: Dr Katharina Boehm (Universität Regensburg), Dr Kate Hill (Lincoln) and Dr Tiffany Watt-Smith (QMUL)

 “Mr Wegg, if you was brought here loose in a bag to be articulated, I'd name your smallest bones blindfold equally with your largest, as fast as I could pick 'em out, and I'd sort 'em all, and sort your wertebrae, in a manner that would equally surprise and charm you.” (Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend, 1865)

Why were the Victorians so interested in atomizing the body? What was causing nineteenth-century bodies to come apart at the seams? From articulated bones to beating hearts, from wooden legs to hair bracelets, from death masks to glass eyes, the Victorian body was chattering with its own discorporation.

The results of this fragmentation are successors to the recent scholarly work on material culture in examining the atomisation of the body as a symptom of being surrounded by the commodities generated by the nineteenth century. From objects under glass domes to pieces of the body in glass cases (authentic specimens of which fill St Bartholomew’s Pathology Museum), commodification and dissection have much in common.

This conference thus seeks to explore, develop and enrich perspectives on the numerous and varied ways in which the Victorians approached their anatomy, bringing together postgraduate, early career and established researchers to consider why body parts provided such an urgent and stimulating focus within the nineteenth-century cultural imagination.

Possible topics could include, but are by no means limited to:

§  Mementos of the body and the culture of mourning

§  Disability and the “substitution” of the body part

§  Dress and the exaggeration of, or emphasis on, elements of the body

§  Darwin and bodily means of expression in science

§  The “queering” of the body part

§  Measuring the body: deviation from the standards of Western patriarchy

§  Preserving the body: collecting and museum cultures

Proposals of up to 300 words should be sent to by Friday 31st May 2013.

Blog:                          Twitter: @victbodyparts


Darwin and Gender

Today marks the launch of a major new set of online, free to access resources developed by the Darwin Correspondence Project (Univ. of Cambridge) on the theme of 'Darwin & Gender'. The themed resources cover a broad range of issues of interest to students and researchers of women's and gender history and give access to a huge body of primary materials.

More details and direct access to the resourceshere:

In a new review essay just posted on Valeria Tinkler-Villani and C.C. Barfoot (eds.), Restoring the Mystery of the Rainbow: Literature’s Refraction of Science (Rodopi, 2011), Professor Nick Battey, Head of Environmental Biology at the University of Reading and Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded Science in Culture project Cultivating Common Ground, gives a scientist's perspective on the field of Literature and Science.