April 2013

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Date of event: 16-17 November 2013
Venue: Queen Mary, University of London, E1 4NS
Closing date for submissions: 14 June 2013
Keynote speaker: Jeffrey Kripal (Rice University)

This meeting will explore the theme of altered consciousness in relation to popular culture, psychology, philosophy, religion, medicine and literature during the period 1918-1980.

Many literary and popular authors and performers during the mid twentieth century represented altered states of consciousness in their work, responding to and participating in research relating to such topics as interplanetary contact, ESP, clairvoyance, telepathy, mind-altering drugs, psychic therapies, spiritualisms, shamanism, erotics, 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 European, North American and non-Western sources? How did investigations cross the borders between arts, sciences, religion, education and the military?

Priority will be given to submissions that show potential for sparking discussion across disciplinary boundaries, and are accessible to a non-specialist audience.

We are especially keen to hear from women contributors, and those whose work extends beyond British and North American contexts.

Please send a talk summary of approx 300 words and author bio of approx 50 words to: altconsc@qmul.ac.uk by 14 June 2013.

Speakers accepted onto the programme will have 20 minutes to speak.

This event is generously supported by: the British Society for the History of Science, and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Centre for the History of the Emotions, and the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London.

Diversity in Speculative Fiction, Loncon 3, Call for Papers
72nd World Science Fiction Convention
Thursday 14 to Monday 18 August 2014
London, UK

Guests of Honour:
Iain M. Banks, John Clute, Malcolm Edwards, Chris Foss, Jeanne Gomoll, Robin Hobb, Bryan Talbot

The academic programme at Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, is offering the opportunity for academics from across the globe to share their ideas with their peers and convention attendees. To reflect the history and population of London, the host city, the theme of the academic programme is ‘Diversity’. We will be exploring science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all forms of speculative fiction, whether in novels, comics, television, and movies or in fanworks, art, radio plays, games, advertising, and music.

Proposals are particularly welcome on the works of the Guests of Honour, the city of London as a location and/or fantastic space, and underrepresented areas of research in speculative fiction. Examples of these may include, but are not limited to:

  • Representation of alternative sexualities
  • Speculative fiction by writers and producers of colour
  • Non-English language media and/or fandoms
  • The fantastic in unexpected places (greetings cards, pornography, opera, football stadiums)
  • Digital comics
  • The role of speculative fiction in Live Action Role-Playing
  • The fantastic in music videos
  • Speculative fiction in advertising
  • European horror

Academics at all levels are warmly encouraged, including students and independent scholars.

We welcome proposals for presentations, roundtable discussions, lectures, and workshops/masterclasses.

The deadline for submission is December 31st 2013. Participants will be notified by February 1st 2014. All presenters must be in receipt of convention membership by May 1st 2014. Abstracts will be included in the Academic Programme Book, available to download from the Loncon website. It is anticipated that an edited volume showcasing the variety of topics presented will be published.

To propose a paper, please submit a 300 word abstract to Emma England, the academic area head. To submit something other than a paper please contact her first, for an informal exchange of ideas.

Twitter: @AcademicLoncon3

Silent Spring: Chemical, Biological and Technological Visions of the Post-1945 Environment

An AHRC collaborative skills project hosted by Birkbeck, University of London

A number of travel bursaries are available for postgraduates and early career researchers to participate in this project, which uses Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring to explore the relationship between arts and science research. Building on the first workshop, which took place at the University of York in March 2013, we are delighted to announce details for the second workshop:

June 7th 2013

School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London

Confirmed speakers include: George Ttoouli (Warwick), John Wills (Kent), Amy Cutler (Royal Holloway)

Travel Bursary Deadline: Monday 29th April 2013

Please visit www.silentspringboard.org for more details, or contact the organisers by emailing silentspring2013@gmail.com.

Book prize winner

The winner of the BSLS Book Prize 2012, announced at the recent annual conference in Cardiff, is Theresa Kelley for Clandestine Marriage: Botany and Romantic Culture (Johns Hopkins UP).

Congratulations to Professor Kelley on taking this accolade, in a year with a very strong shortlist. Her book is a major contribution to the understanding of Romanticism and nature, synthesising a wide range of literary, scientific and philosophical writing on botany, and blending impressive original readings of writers such as John Clare, Mary Wollstonecraft and Percy Shelley with intricate considerations of plants from the perspective of material culture and the circulation of objects, poetic and visual tropes, and European philosophical writing during the Romantic era.

A review of the winning title will appear on the reviews pages in the near future. A blog by the author describing some of the challenges of addressing Romantic-era botany through literature and science in Clandestine Marriage can be found here.

World Congress of Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow, July 2 – 5, 2014

Panel on Scottish Science: The Literature

Heat, light, earth, life and air, mathematics, meteorology, chemistry, astronomy, geology, and physics are prominent topics, concerns, and challenges that have attracted Scottish scientists since the sixteenth century and to which they have made major and significant  contributions. This panel aims to explore the prose of these writers in the same way as we explore literary writers: the language, imagery, syntax, rhetoric, the life and times of any single figure, the culture, climate, educational institutions, and social organization which their work reflects, how the religious, economic, political, literary and artistic environment influenced them, and in turn their influence on Scottish literature and art.

If you are interested in contributing a paper to this panel, please email Marilyn Gaull, Research Professor at the Editorial Institute at Boston University, at mgaull@bu.edu.

An interdisciplinary research conference for postgraduates on Western culture from 1845 to 1945 is to be held at the University of Birmingham on Thursday 27th June 2013. To read the call for papers, click below:

InFlux Postgraduate Conference

Energy in Literature: Essays on Energy and Its Social and Environmental Implications in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literary Texts (edited by Paula A. Farca)

Call for papers on energy and energy sources in twentieth-century literary texts (any genre, any country). Scholars of all disciplines are encouraged to submit. TrueHeart academic, an independent academic publisher on people and environment, based in Oxford UK, is publishing a series entitled "Bridging Disciplines," and has expressed interest in this project.

While answers and questions to most controversial energy questions have invaded social media, academic journals, and magazines, talks on energy issues in literary texts have been almost absent from critical essays. The connection between energy and literature is important because as other social narratives, literature participates in global energy debates and could potentially illuminate some of the challenges and possibly alternatives to environmental, social, and cultural energy problems. Energy in Literature proposes to show connections in twentieth-century literary texts among energy, society, and environment. More specifically, this edited anthology will explore how authors of twentieth-century literature present energy sources ranging from coal and oil to solar, wind, nuclear, biofuels, hydropower and how these sources affect local and global communities and the environment.

Energy in Literature strives to address the following questions:

What are the most common energy sources in literary texts? What are the environmental, social, political, cultural, and economic ramifications of these energy sources?

How do authors present energy issues such as production, consumption, and conservation? Do new energy sources help or hurt communities? What problems do certain energy sources create or solve and for whom? For instance, how do constructions of dams or the effects of carbon emissions impact communities and families?

How do the authors of literary texts show the balance between people’s need for energy and their duty to preserve the environment? How do authors address pollution problems?

What ethical choices do protagonists of literary texts make about energy?

How do issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and class intersect with energy issues in twentieth-century literary texts?

Contact info:

Dr. Paula Farca (LAIS, Colorado School of Mines)


Please submit your abstracts and short biographical notes to pfarca@mines.edu by June 15th 2013. Completed papers will be due in October 15th, 2013.