October 2013

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Cannibal Modernisms

King’s College London Programme in Comparative Literature Annual Graduate Conference,  7th-8th November, 2013.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Xudong Zhang, Professor of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature, New York University.

"Politics of the Flesh:  The Animal in Redefining the Human in Modern Chinese Literature and Ideology"

 Cannibal Modernisms will be two-day conference exploring the metaphorical implications of cannibalism in relation to literature. Taking as a starting point  poet and polemicist Oswald de Andrade’s Manifesto Antropófago (1928), which uses the metaphor of cannibalism to describe Brazilian artists’ capacity to absorb and reconstruct a dominant European culture, we will expand the scope to encompass a wider investigation of cannibalism as a metaphor for literary practices. Literature as form is one that thrives on autophagy as a means of regeneration; in fact, we could say that literature has always had the capacity to imbibe, reinvent and “make new” even before the advent of modernism codified these terms in ways now familiar. Thinking about literature, and by extension, critique, through the lens of these cannibalistic tendencies offers an array of possible approaches, ranging from literary, artistic, or theoretical cannibalism as a strategy of political resistance, recuperation,devouring genres, the text as Corpus, textual mutilation, regurgitation and plagiarism, book materiality and decay, mimicry, “trash” theory,  immanent or absorbed readings, self-erasure and anonymity, allegories of the human, the post-human and trans-human conditions, and frontiers between self and other.  Conference details will be updated on http://cannibalmodernisms.wordpress.com

Registration: Please send an email to cannibalmodernisms@gmail.com confirm a place on both or either days by October 31st, 2013. There is no charge to attend. 

Keynote Speaker: Xudong Zhang

It is with great pleasure that we announce our keynote speaker, Professor Xudong Zhang, Professor of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature at New York University, where he is also Chair of the Department of East Asian Studies. Xudong Zhang’s teaching and research focuses on modernism and modernity within and beyond the Chinese context. He is author of several books, including: Chinese Modernism in the Era of Reforms: Cultural Fever, Avant-Garde Fiction, and New Chinese Cinema; and Postsocialism and Cultural Politics: The Last Decade of China’s Twentieth Century. He has also edited Whither China? Intellectual Politics in Contemporary China. and co-edited (with Arif Dirlik) Postmodernism and China.  In Chinese, he is the author of The Order of the Imaginary: Critical Theory and Modern Chinese Literary Discourse, Traces of Criticism: Essays on Theory and Cultural Politics and Cultural Identity in the Age of Globalization: A Historical Rethinking of Western Discourses on Universalism.  He has translated into Chinese Walter Benjamin’s Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism; co-translated (with Ban Wang), Illuminations, and edited The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism: Selected Essays of Fredric Jameson. Professor Zhang’s visit to King’s College is kindly sponsored by the Lau China Institute at King’s College London.


Thursday, 7th November, 2013; Virginia Woolf Building 6.01

12.30pm – 1.20pm Registration and Lunch (provided) 

1.20pm Welcome

1.30pm – 3.00pm

Panel 1: A Recipe for the Modern: Constructing Modernities  

Veronica Frigeni (Kent), Between redemption and justice: Walter Benjamin’s parasitical modernity

Jennifer Dorothy Lee (NYU), Cannibalizing Beauty: Gu Cheng’s Bildung and the New Poetry in 1980s China

Mary Horgan (KCL), Money Made New: Ali Smith’s Cannibalistic, Numismatic Modernism

3.00pm – 3.15pm Coffee Break

3.15pm – 4.45pm

Panel 2: Cooking the Books: Cannibalistic Creative Strategies

Teodor-George Borz (Edinburgh), Deconstruction as a Practice of Sparagmos

Mario Semiao (ULICES/Dalarna), ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal’: On the Pictorial Cannibalism of Gabriel Josipovici

Patricia Silva McNeill (QMU/CES Coimbra): Brazilian Modernism as Alternative Modernism: a Case Study in Modernism as a Transcultural Phenomenon

Friday, 8th November, 2013; River Room, Strand Campus

9.00am – 9.45am Breakfast and Registration

9.45am – 11.15am

Panel 2: Phagic Frontiers: Boundaries Between Subject and Object

Tiffany Yun-Chu Tsai (Irvine), The Melancholic Consumption of the Object: Cannibalism in Republic of Wine

Mahruba Mowtushi (KCL), Textual Cannibalization: Early 20th century Bengali adventure fiction of Hemendrakumar Roy and Bibhutibhusan Banerjee.

Jimmy Packham (Bristol), Cannibal lector: Herman Melville and Cannibalistic Inscriptions

 11.15am – 11.30pm Coffee Break 

11.30am – 1.00pm

Panel 2: Self-Determination or Self- Destruction?-(Re)Imagining National/Cultural Identity

Olayinka Agbetui Fifl (Indiana), Osirism: Self Erasure and Reassemblage in Christopher Okigbo’s ‘Labyrinths’

Todd Foley (NYU), Cannibal Cats: Animality and National Salvation in Lao She’s Cat Country

Stewart Sanderson (Glasgow), Cultural Cannibalism and the Modern Scottish Renaissance 

1.00pm – 1.45pm Break

1.45pm – 3.15pm 

Panel 3: Sick to the teeth: Cannibalistic Forms of Resistance and Rejection

Mason Golden, Catastrophe and Betrayal in Heiner Müller and Bertolt Brecht

Sasha Panaram (Duke), Underground Men: Spatial and Racial Intersections in Invisible Man and ‘The Man Who Lived Underground’

Julian Suddaby (NYU), (In)digesting the English: Lao She’s ‘Little Po’s Birthday’ and the malabsorption of a literary mode

3.15pm – 3.30pm Coffee Break

3.30pm – 5pm

Panel 4: The Purgation of the Self: Literary Auto-Erasure 

James Bainbridge (Liverpool), ‘The bird, the fox, the quarry, the kill’: self-erasure and anonymity in the works of A.S.J. Tessimond

Tom Geue (Trinity, Oxford), Starving the author: cannibalism and self-erasure in Juvenal, Satire 15

Peter Jones (NYU), John of Salisbury’s Nugifluus and the Culture of Laughter at the Court of Henry II

5pm – 6.30pm Keynote Lecture, JKTL Nash Theatre

Prof. Xudong Zhang (NYU), Politics of the Flesh:  The Animal in Redefining the Human in Modern Chinese Literature and Ideology

6.30pm – 7.30pm Wine Reception, River Room

Women's Scientific Travelling Before 1850: An Interdisciplinary Workshop

Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, London, UK

27-28 June 2014

Speakers to include:

Professor Barbara Gates (University of Delaware), Professor Londa Schiebinger (Stanford University), and Professor Ann Shteir (York University, Ontario, Canada)

Scholars have long been familiar with the scientific endeavours of late 19th-century women travellers like Isabella Bird and Mary Kingsley, but these figures have generally been assumed to be pioneers, blazing a new path for scientifically inclined women. Recent research, however, has begun to uncover Bird and Kingsley's many predecessors in the 18th- and early 19th-centuries - women such as Maria Riddell, Maria Graham and Sarah Bowdich, whose journeys to regions such as the West Indies, South America and West Africa were productive of scientific knowledge and debate across a range of disciplines.

This two-day workshop, organised by Nottingham Trent University's Centre for Travel Writing Studies and sponsored by the British Academy, seeks to shed further light on women's scientific travelling in the period before 1850. We accordingly welcome proposals for papers which explore any aspect of the intersections between women, science, travel and travel writing at this date, including (but not limited to): women who travelled in scientific spirit, conducting fieldwork or other forms of research; women who used travel writing as means of engaging with or contributing to contemporary scientific debate; the discursive and rhetorical obstacles faced by scientifically inclined women; the wider intellectual and cultural networks which enabled and assisted women's participation in contemporary science; and women's role as travellers between different scientific communities and audiences.

Papers will be delivered in English, but we welcome proposals on non-Anglophone travellers and travel writing. To offer a paper, or register for the event, please contact Carl Thompson
(carl.thompson@ntu.ac.uk<mailto:carl.thompson@ntu.ac.uk>) by the deadline of Jan 31 2014.

The deadlines on the call for papers for the European Society for the History of Science conference in Lisbon in September 2014 have been extended as follows:

Symposia Submission (theme and rationale of symposium and abstract of papers) – 10 Jan 2014

Decision regarding accepted symposia – 10 February 2014

Abstract Submission for stand-alone papers)– 10 March 2014

Decision regarding accepted papers – 10 April 2014

To read the original call, click here. For more information, visit  http://www.eshs.org/

A group of poets will be reading at the Science Museum in London on Wednesday 30th October from 7.30 in the evening. Join Simon Barraclough, Lorraine Mariner, Mick Delap, Sarah Westcott, Richard Barnett, Dominic McLoughlin, Malene Engelund, and Kelley Swain to explore space and science through verse. For more details, click here.

The Centre for the Study of Science and Imagination at the University of Westminster is holding a two-day event on Staging Science on December 6th and 7th, including a roundtable, a colloquium and a performance of the Pepper’s Ghost Illusion with Charles Dickens’s ‘The Haunted Man’. For more details, and to reserve places, click here: STAGING SCIENCE


Call for papers: Postgraduate Medical Humanities Conference

The Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter will be holding an interdisciplinary medical humanities conference for postgraduate researchers on the 24th and 25th July 2014.

This conference aims to bring together researchers from a variety of disciplines in a manner that reflects the broad scope of exciting research being carried out in the field of the medical humanities at present. As such we welcome abstracts on any aspect of the medical humanities from postgraduates working in all disciplines, including but not restricted to English Literature, History, Film, Classics and Art History.

The conference will provide a forum for postgraduate scholars to exchange ideas and share their research in a friendly and engaging environment. The event will also allow delegates to discuss their work with senior academics in the field including keynote speakers and other members of the Exeter Centre for Medical History.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Anne Borsay, Swansea University

Dr Angelique Richardson, University of Exeter

The event will close with a roundtable session drawing together the themes arising from the conference and reflecting on future directions of research in the medical humanities.

We invite applicants to submit abstracts of up to 300 words for 20 minute papers (previously unpublished), sent to pgmedhums@exeter.ac.uk by Friday 28th March 2014 with the “subject” of the email as ‘PGMH conference abstract’.

Once the deadline has passed a panel will review the abstracts anonymously and applicants will receive a decision and feedback on their submissions. If your paper is not selected we very much hope you will still be able to attend the conference and participate in the discussion.

We hope to be able to offer a small number of travel bursaries which will be announced closer to the event.

The BSLS executive has appointed two new international officers to sit on the executive committee. We are delighted to announce that Janine Rogers (Mount Allison University) and Folkert Degenring (Universität Kassel) have agreed to take up these new posts. Their role will be to promote the work of the BSLS in fostering research in the field of literature and science in North America and Europe respectively, and to help the BSLS to serve the needs of North American and European scholars in this field.

If you would like to contact either Janine or Folkert, you will find their details on the BSLS Contacts page.



The RGS-IBG and the Royal Society have been awarded an AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP), which will support three doctoral studentships each year for three years from 2013. 

Academics from universities with potential projects, or with an interest in discussing opportunities, please contact Dr Catherine Souch at the RGS-IBG or Keith Moore at the Royal Society.

The 2013 call for proposals is now open: download deadlines and submission details (PDF).