May 2013

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2013.

‘Discovering John Lubbock’

Saturday 1st June 2013, 11am — 1pm, Bromley Museum

‘Discovering John Lubbock’ is a unique event at Bromley museum marking the centenary of Sir John Lubbock, 1st Lord Avebury. Marie Louise Kerr will be in conversation with Lyulph Lubbock, the great grandson of John Lubbock and Dr. Janet Owen, author of Darwin’s Apprentice: an Archaeological Biography of John Lubbock (2013).

Come along to find our more about Lubbock's life and archaeological work from experts in the field, raise a glass in remembrance to toast his achievements, and visit the special centenary exhibition of his collections. Signed copies of Darwin's Apprentice will be available for purchase.

Discovering John Lubbock poster June 2013

We are delighted to announce that the first joint British Society for Literature and Science and Journal of Literature and Science prize for an essay by an early-career scholar has been won by Rachel Crossland for her essay '"Multitudinous and minute": Early Twentieth-Century Scientific, Literary and Psychological Representations of the Mass'. Out of a strong field, this essay was the judges' unanimous first choice. The essay will be published in the next available issue of JLS, and its author will also receive a prize of £100.

The judges were also especially impressed by Josie Gill's essay 'Science and Fiction in Zadie Smith's White Teeth', to which they would like to give an honourable mention. The author will be invited to submit this essay too for publication in JLS.

We would like to thank all the BSLS members who submitted essays for this year's prize. We were delighted by how many submissions we received and thoroughly enjoyed reading them. Between them, they covered a tremendous range of both literary and scientific topics, from the medieval to the contemporary, with a broad range too of methods and approaches. Together, the articles admirably demonstrated the vibrancy of the literature and science community and its scholarship.

Here are the judges' endorsements of the winning essay and the runner-up:

'"Multitudinous and minute": Early Twentieth-Century Scientific, Literary and Psychological Representations of the Mass'

"Rachel Crossland’s essay is a very impressive piece of scholarship and criticism. It is elegantly written and consistently interesting, with a fine range of references and a central, persuasive argument emerging in confident prose. Crossland brings together an interdisciplinary matrix of science, literature and psychology to explore the behaviour of particles, and of individuals in large groups. Her handling of several streams of complex material – the physics of motion on the one hand and crowd theory of the other, for example – is assured and continually insightful. The essay reveals something new in the work of Virginia Woolf, but also places complex scientific ideas in new contexts and reveals new ways of considering their importance within modernity."

'Science and Fiction in Zadie Smith's White Teeth'

"Josie Gill’s essay is an original and thoughtful reading of Zadie Smith’s novel, placing it in new contexts that are both surprising and well chosen. She has brought together an excellent range of material – on genomic research, comedy, and experimentation – and moulds these into a powerful and persuasive argument. The essay is always engaging and the analysis is both perceptive and forceful. It contributes not only to scholarship on contemporary literary and scientific topics but also to the relationships between science and comic writing and between fiction and experimentation."

The BSLS is delighted to announce that three of our members are among the ten academics chosen by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council as New Generation Thinkers for 2013. Very many congratulations to Sarah Dillon, Alice Hall and Gregory Tate. To read about their work, and the rest of the New Generation Thinkers 2013, click here:

Proposals are invited for a special issue of Gothic Studies exploring
intersections between the Gothic and medical humanities.

Gothic studies has long grappled with suffering bodies, and the
fragility of human flesh in the grip of medical and legal discourse
continues to be manifest in chilling literature and film. The direction
of influence goes both ways: Gothic literary elements have arguably
influenced medical writing, such as the nineteenth-century clinical
case study. In this second decade of the twenty-first century, it seems
apt to freshly examine intersections between the two fields.

The closing years of the twentieth century saw the emergence of medical
humanities, an interdisciplinary blend of humanities and social science
approaches under the dual goals of using arts to enhance medical
education and interrogating medical practice and discourse. Analysis of
period medical discourse, legal categories and medical technologies can
enrich literary criticism in richly contextualising fictional works
within medical practices. Such criticism can be seen as extending the
drive towards historicised and localised criticism that has
characterised much in Gothic studies in recent decades.

Our field offers textual strategies for analysing the processes by
which medical discourse, medical processes and globalised
biotechnological networks can, at times, do violence to human bodies
and minds – both of patient and practitioner. Cultural studies of
medicine analyse and unmask this violence. This special issue will
explore Gothic representations of the way medical practice controls,
classifies and torments the body in the service of healing.

Essays could address any of the following in any period,
eighteenth-century to the present:

  • Medical discourse as itself Gothic (e.g., metaphors in medical writing; links between case histories and the Gothic tradition), and/or reflections on how specific medical discourses have shaped Gothic literary forms
  • Illness narratives and the Gothic (e.g., using Arthur Frank’s ‘chaos narratives’ of helplessness inThe Wounded Storyteller).
  • Literary texts about medical processes as torture/torment in specific historical and geographic contexts (including contemporary contexts)
  • Doctors or nurses represented in literature as themselves
  • Gothic ‘victims’, constrained by their medical environment
  • Genetic testing; organ harvest; genetic engineering; reproductive technologies; limb prostheses; human cloning, and more.

To date the links between Gothic and psychiatric medical discourse have
been the most thoroughly explored, so preference will be given to
articles exploring other, non-psychiatric medical contexts in the
interests of opening up new connections.

Please email 500-word abstract and curriculum vitae to Dr Sara
Wasson, Deadline for proposals: 1 October 2013.

Silent Spring: Chemical, Biological and Technological Visions of the Post-1945 Environment: An AHRC collaborative skills project hosted by Birkbeck, University of London

June 7th 2013, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London

Rachel Carson’s classic polemic Silent Spring celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012: it still stands as one of the most influential texts on the damage caused to the natural environment by chemicals and nuclear fallout in the twentieth century. Taking Carson’s book as its starting point, this interdisciplinary postgraduate workshop aims to explore how a growing awareness of the biological, chemical and technological changes to the environment has shaped cultural explorations of nature and landscape in the post-1945 period, through visual art, literature and film.

Each participant will have the chance to join a specialised focus group during the afternoon session before reuniting for the final part of the day:

Group 1: Researching Silent Spring (led by John Wills, School of History, University of Kent)

Group 2: The Importance of Fieldwork for Writers (led by George Ttoouli, Warwick Writing Programme, University of Warwick)

Group 3: Agency, Animation and Nature (led by Amanda Rees, Department of Sociology, University of York)

The workshop will be followed by poetry readings and a wine reception. Registration also includes lunch and coffee. To register, please email listing your institution (if any) and a sentence or two about your work, as well as ranking your focus group preferences. For further details and the full schedule, please click here.


As some of you will already know, the Journal of Literature and Science has now moved to the University of Westminster With that move, Martin Willis, our Editor-in-Chief, has kindly asked me to take over as reviews editor. The Journal reviews section does not review books, but, quite uniquely, focuses attention instead on journal articles published in the field in the last year to 18 months. Below are a number of articles that we would like to offer members the chance to review for the Journal’s forthcoming issues in 2013. Its largely first come, first served, so do get in touch with me with an offer to do specific articles. I’d also be very happy for members to suggest other relevant articles for review that they may have come across and that aren’t listed below. Do let me know.

Many thanks and look forward to hearing from you,

Michelle Geric



The following articles are available for review for inclusion in forthcoming issues of the Journal of Literature and Science. The JLS is unique in reviewing journal articles rather than books in the fields of literature and science and the history and philosophy of science. Reviews should be 750 words long and should offer both a description of the article as well as an analysis of its achievements. For more details please follow the link or contact Michelle Geric to register your interest. If you would like to review a relevant article that does not appear in the list below, please also contact Michelle. The JLS would be perfectly happy to consider alternatives to those listed here.

Tami I. Spector, ‘Nanoaesthetics: From the Molecular to the Machine’, Representations 117. 1 (Winter 2012): 1-29.

Colin Milburn, ‘Greener on the Other Side: Science Fiction and the Problem of Green Nanotechnology’, Configurations 20. 1-2 (winter-Spring 2012): 53-87.

Uppinder Mehan, ‘Postcolonial Science, Cyberpunk and The Calcutta Chromosome’, Intertexts 16. 2 (Fall 2012): 1-14.

Jay Clayton, ‘The Ridicule of Time: Science Fiction, Bioethics, and the Posthuman’, American Literary History 25. 2 (Summer 2013): 317-343.

Daniel King, ‘Consulting Physicians: The Role of Specialist Medical Advisers in Cormac McCarthy's Contemporary Fiction’, Literature and Medicine 30. 2 (Fall 2012): 339-355.

Sherryl Vint, ‘Archaeologies of the “Amodern”: Science and Society in Galileo’s Dream’, Configurations 20. 1-2 (winter-Spring 2012): 29-51.

Ian Burney, ‘Our Environment in Miniature: Dust and the Early Twentieth-Century Forensic Imagination’, Representations 121. 1 (Winter 2013): 31-59.

C. R. Resetarits, ‘Experiments in Sex, Science, Gender, and Genre: Hawthorne’s "Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment," "The Birthmark," and "Rappaccini’s Daughter’, Literary Imagination 14 (2012): 178-193.

Jessica Kuskey, ‘Our Mutual Engine: The Economics of Victorian Thermodynamics’, Victorian Literature and Culture 41, (2013): 75-89.

Simon Goldhill, ‘A Writer's Things: Edward Bulwer Lytton and the Archaeological Gaze; or, What's in a Skull?’, Representations 119. 1 (Summer 2012):. 92-118.

Maurice Hindle, ‘Humphry Davy and William Wordsworth: A Mutual Influence’, Romanticism 18.1 (2012): 16-29.

Zackariah C. Long, ‘Toward an Early Modern Theory of Trauma: Conscience in Richard III’, Journal of Literature and Trauma Studies 1. 1 (Spring 2012): 49-72.


Michelle Geric

Lecturer in English Literature

Reviews Editor for the Journal of Literature and Science

Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies

University of Westminster

32-38 Wells Street



Joanne Ella Parsons (Bath Spa) and Sarah Chaney (UCL) have won a BSLS small grant to stage a public symposium, 'Body and Mind: Mesmerism in Nineteenth-Century Culture and Literature', in the autumn.  The event is open to the public and is part of the Damaging the Body seminar series.  It will take place at Bart's Pathology Museum, London.

A call for applications for the summer round of the BSLS Small Grants Scheme will be posted soon.

Fondazione Lanza, a Center of Advanced Studies in Ethics (Padua, Italy), in collaboration with the Chair of History of Medicine at the University of Padua and the Chair of Medical Humanities at the Marmara University in Istanbul, is pleased to announce the first edition of the Summer Course on Medical Humanities, that will take place in Padua and Venice from Sunday 8 to Friday 13, September 2013.


Medical Humanities and Bioethics; Charity and Its Artistical Interpretations; Medical History and Medical Humanities; Painting, Literature, Sculpture, Architecture, Cinema and Medicine; Arts, Medicine and Psychiatry.

General Information:

To see the complete programme, to apply, and for logistic information, please, visit the following website:

Application fee:

650,00 euro (comprising lectures, guided tours, local transfers, and teaching materials). Accommodation, travel, and meals expenses are not included.


Application Form until 31 May 2013 - Payment: until 15 July 2013