September 2013

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The Oxford Literature and Science seminar resumes activity this term with papers from Dr Andrew Mangham (University of Reading), Dr Cathryn Setz (St Anne's College), and Dr Peter Fifield (St John's College). The seminar will be in Seminar Room A, the English Faculty, St Cross Building, Manor Road. Details for this term are:

Friday 1 November, 2pm
Dr Andrew Mangham (University of Reading), '"The Bar of Science": Charles Dickens, G. H. Lewes and the Spontaneous Combustion of Mr Krook.'

Friday 15 November, 2pm
Dr Cathryn Setz (St Anne's College), 'Stone Age Science: Contra-Darwinian Discourse in Modernist Magazines.'

Friday 22 November, 2pm
Dr Peter Fifield (St John's College), 'Imagining Pain: Language and bodily suffering.'

Further seminars are planned for 7 February and 7 March 2014: details will appear here, and on our own webpages.
For further details, please contact Dr Michael Whitworth (Merton College).

The University of Reading has launched a new research initiative on Interdisciplinary Research into the Humanities and Science. To launch this theme, we will be holding a public roundtable discussion of Science and Storytelling at the University of Reading’s London Road campus on Wednesday 6 November at 6.30 p.m., preceded by a wine reception from 5.30 at the Museum of English Rural Life. The speakers will included Druin Burch, Sally Shuttleworth, Rebecca Stott and Tim Wheeler.

To read more about the event and the research theme itself, please visit our website, which includes a list of researchers at the University currently working at the interface of science and the humanities, with links to their own webpages.

If you are interested in finding out more about the work we are doing, please email one or both of the co-directors, John Holmes ( and Andrew Mangham (

The ninth annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science will take place at the University of Surrey, Guildford, on 10-12 April 2014. Keynote talks will be given by Professor Jim Al-Khalili (University of Surrey), Professor Bernard Lightman (York University, Toronto), and Professor Mary Orr (University of Southampton). The conference will finish with an opportunity to visit Down House, the home of Charles Darwin, on the afternoon of Saturday 12 April.

The BSLS invites proposals for twenty-minute papers, or panels of three papers, on any subjects within the field of literature and science. This year the organisers would particularly welcome proposals addressing links between science and European and world literatures, and proposals for papers or panels on teaching literature and science. However, the BSLS remains committed to supporting and showcasing work on all aspects of literature and science.

Proposals of no more than 250 words, together with the name and institutional affiliation of the speaker, should be sent in the body of messages (not in attachments) to Proposals for panels should include a separate proposal for each paper. The closing date for submissions is Friday 6 December 2013.

The conference fee will be waived for two graduate students in exchange for written reports on the conference, to be published in the BSLS Newsletter. If you are interested in being selected for one of these awards, please mention this when sending in your proposal. To qualify you will need to be registered for a postgraduate degree at the time of the conference.

Accommodation: please note that those attending the conference will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation. Information on local hotels will shortly be made available on the conference website.

Membership: conference delegates will need to register as members of the BSLS (annual membership: £25 waged / £10 unwaged). It will be possible to join the BSLS when registering for the conference online.

For further information and updates about the conference, please contact Gregory Tate ( or visit the conference website at

Ask the Mountains Their Story: an evening of science and literature

On Friday 18th October the Geological Society of London celebrates different forms of writing that address geology, climate change and scientific discovery with an evening of talks and readings celebrating the links between science and literature. Marking the end of an Arts Council England funded project investigating geology and climate change, the evening will explore global warming, oil exploration, scientific discovery and the Anthropocene through science-writing, biography, fiction and poetry. Speakers include Bryan Lovell, Sarah Day, Barbara Cooke and Michael McKimm, and the event will be followed by a drinks reception.

The event is free and open to all, but please register by emailing:

To read more about the event, go to

The new Commission on Science and Literature has announced that it will be holding its first international conference in Athens, Greece, in July 2014. To read the call for papers, click here: Science and Literature Commission cfp 1

The Women in Science Research Network is holding an international conference on Revealing Lives: Women in Science 1830-2000 at the Royal Society in London in May 2014. To read the call for papers, click here: WISRNet_Conference_Call_2014

CFP for INCS 2014

INCS annual conference, 27-30 March 2014, Houston, Texas

The annual conference of the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association (INCS) is scheduled for March 27-30, 2014, in Houston, Texas. We invite wide responses to the conference theme, "Nineteenth-Century Energies." November 15, 2013, is the deadline for proposals, which should be submitted via the conference site. Additional information about the conference is also available on the site, and questions may be sent to


We are glad to announce that, during the last International Conference of History of Science, Technology and Medicine held in Manchester in July 2013, the Science and Literature Commission was established.

The Commission has been approved by the General Assembly of the Division of History of Science and Technology of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science after the submission of a relevant proposal by an international group of scholars interested on the subject.

Among the goals of the Commission are the following:

  • To make the interdisciplinary field of Science and Literature more visible, especially among the historians of Science and Technology
  • To promote studies of Science and Literature
  • To exchange views and information with other international and national societies on Science and Literature and/or related fields.
  • To contribute to a renewed discussion of the “One Culture” thematic.

We invite everyone with an interest in Science and Literature to become a member in the Commission, by sending an email including affiliation and specific interests to George N. Vlahakis ( No membership fees are required.

We plan to organize the first meeting of the Commission next July in Athens, Greece in the form of a two-days Conference. The first circular and the call for papers will be circulated later this year.


Free symposium

Thursday 17th October 2013, 6-9 pm

Body and Mind: Mesmerism in Nineteenth Century Culture and Literature

 Barts Pathology Museum

This symposium will seek to explore the relationship between the sciences and Victorian mesmerism, psychical research and parapsychology.

This event has been kindly sponsored by the British Society for Literature and Science.


Prof. William Hughes (Bath Spa University) 'The Theatre of His Beastly Exhibitions': The Erotic Nature of Early Victorian Magnetism'

Andreas Sommer (UCL Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines) 'Mesmerism, hypnotism and the formation of modern psychology in Germany'

This event is free but tickets will need to be booked in advance. Book online here.

The event will take place at St Bartholomew's Hospital, Pathology Museum and Gallery, 3rd Floor, Robin Brook Centre, West Smithfield, London, EC1A 7BE 

Nearest tube: St Paul's

Doors open at 6pm, when there will be a chance to view the exhibits in the museum. The event will run from 6.30 - 8.30pm
The Damaging the Body website can be found here:

2nd International Conference, 24-26 April, 2014


David Herman, Alan Richardson, Patricia Waugh, Mark Rowlands, Alan Palmer, Vyvyan Evans, plus a roundtable on interdisciplinarity with Ellen Spolsky and Michael Wheeler


We invite proposals for 20 minute papers and preformed panels for the second international conference associated with the research network, Cognitive Futures in the Humanities, funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. The conference will be hosted by Durham University, on 24-26 April 2014. The purpose is to explore, and critically evaluate, new ways of working in the arts and humanities that respond to concepts developed in the sciences of mind and brain. Deadline for proposals 1st December 2013. Email as a 250-word Word file, anonymised, to

Full details of the CFP can be found at, or by contacting Peter Garratt (

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