May 2014

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The international Routes to Sustainability network is holding a symposium at the University of Ferrara on Routing Sustainable Development towards a Culture of Wellbeing on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 October 2014.

It will investigate sustainability and wellbeing in the domains of economics, environment, politics and culture, addressing theoretical issues and case studies in an interdisciplinary perspective, defining specific research areas, and identifying good practices of sustainable wellbeing. Proposals are invited for thirty-minute research papers on these topics. To read the full call for papers, click below:

Call for Papers Routing Sustainable Development towards a Culture of Wellbeing

Please send the title of your paper and a 300-word abstract by Friday 27 June to Paola Spinozzi,


At the recent PCST conference in Bahia, the issue of the deficit model was raised, in the session on science communication and its audiences. To stimulate the debate and to contribute to the community, the journal Public Understanding of Science would like to announce an essay competition. The essay title is as follows:

"In Science Communication, why does the idea of a public deficit always return?"

In line with the new constitution of PCST, we'd like to encourage submissions from both younger and older scholars. The implication is that authors will have to disclose their date of birth. The essay will be fast tracked to print publication in 2015 and made freely available online.

The rules:
1. Deadline for submission 15th January 2015
2. Two essays will be selected: One from authors under 36 on 15th January 2015; One from authors 36 and more on that date
3. 8000 words or less
4. The editorial team and the editorial board of PUS will select the two winners
5. Winners will be supported by peer review and published with fanfare
6. Please send submissions to Sue Howard at

We look forward to hearing from you.

Martin Bauer and Sue Howard
Public Understanding of Science

Critical Survey
Deadline: October 1, 2014

The journal Critical Survey seeks submissions of completed 4000-5000 word articles exploring literary engagements with Victorian sciences. From Darwin, to physiology, to pre-Freudian psychology, to engineering and technology, and beyond, Victorian Britain experienced rapid change – but often seemed ambivalent about whether, as Robert Browning’s Andrea del Sarto puts it, “man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” This peer-reviewed, special issue of Critical Survey will explore the relationship between literature (all genres and forms acceptable) and science in Victorian Britain through:

  • rhetorical analyses of Victorian scientific texts (e.g. Darwin’s Plots)
  • examinations of science in Victorian critical discourses about literature (e.g. The Physiology of the Novel)
  • Victorian literary representations of science
  • historically invested deployments of more recent, scientifically-minded critical trends (i.e. affect theories, cognitive theories, etc.)
  • other interactions between science and literature relevant to Victorian studies

Scientific topics may include, but are not limited to: biology, physiology, anatomy, chemistry, physics, psychology, sociology, techniques of classification, technological developments.

Please send inquiries and completed 4000-5000 word essays to Peter Katz at Articles are due by October 1, 2014, with the intent to publish in the first half of 2015.

The second meeting of the Time and Temporality Network will take place at the University of Warwick on Friday 13th June 2014. It will be a one-day workshop focusing on temporality in relation to medicine and what might be called disorderd or atypical experiences of the body and mind. ​

Speakers and respondents include:

  • John Fletcher (English, University of Warwick)
  • Ulrika Maude (English, University of Bristol)
  • Laura Salisbury (English, University of Exeter)
  • Lynne Segal (Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck College, University of London)
  • Angela Woods (Philosophy and Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Durham)

The event is free, but registration is essential. Please contact Elizabeth Barry on to book a place.

Elizabeth Barry (University of Warwick) ​

Ben Davies (University of Portsmouth)

Dr Carolyn Burdett will be giving a paper entitled ''Shareability and contagion: psychology and aesthetics at the fin de siecle" at the UCL seminar on Science and Literature at 5.30pm on Tuesday 3rd of June. As part of our series of seminars on Science and Literature, this event is taking place in UCL's Grant Museum of Zoology.Directions to this building can be found here.

Dr Burdett's paper will be followed by questions and discussion, and the meeting will conclude with a glass of wine at 7:30pm. A précis and speaker profile are appended below for your interest.

"Shareability and contagion: psychology and aesthetics at the fin de siecle"

Over the final three decades of the nineteenth century a growing interest is discernible amongst psychologists in the category of aesthetics. One strand of psychological argument attempted to restate in modern terms the quality of art’s ‘shareability’: emotions elicited by art and literature could be shared, freeing humans from the ‘monopolistic’ nature of much of life’s struggle. At the end of the century, however, shared emotions were also the focus of theories of crowds where feelings are not just shared but caught, contagiously and dangerously. This paper suggests that aesthetic sharing and contagious feeling are both of relevance to an increased pressure being brought to bear by the end of the century on the notion of sympathy - that capacity to share in others’ feelings that composed a core ethical gesture for the Victorians and was central to much of their literary effort. Using the work of the aesthetic theorist, Vernon Lee, it looks beyond the end of the century to Lee’s response to crowd theory and the value of aesthetics during World War 1 and her attempt to re-energise sympathy and replace imitative contagion by the concept of empathy.

Dr Carolyn Burdett is senior lecturer in literature and Victorian studies at Birkbeck, University of London. She was recently awarded a Leverhulme research fellowship to pursue research on her current monograph, Coining Empathy: Psychology, Aesthetics, Ethics, 1870-1920.

The final Oxford Literature and Science seminar of the academic year will be at 2pm, Friday 23 May, in Seminar Room A, English Faculty, St Cross Building, Oxford. Our speaker is one of the convenors of the seminar series, Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, and her paper "Evolution and Nineteenth-Century Theatre" derives from her recent major research project.

Progress Theatre in Reading are staging Juliet Aykroyd's play Darwin and Fitzroy in September. They are auditioning on Sunday 18th May for the lead roles. If you fancy playing the Beagle's captain or his most famous shipmate, click here for more information.



ELINAS Inaugural Conference on Physics and Literature: Theory – Popularization – Aestheticization in Erlangen, Germany, May 29th - June 1st

Can physics be poeticized? Is there a specific rhetoric to its language? Physics and literature appear to offer two diametrically opposed ways of viewing and representing the world. Yet in combination they have great potential for development. ELINAS, the Erlangen Research Center for Literature and Natural Science, is an interdisciplinary forum dedicated to the exchange of knowledge between physics and literature. Its field of inquiry includes both the significance of language and metaphors in physical research and the discursive and narrative processes in literary representations of natural scientific

Physics and Literature: Theory  – Popularization – Aestheticization, ELINAS' inaugural conference, will take place in Erlangen, Germany, from May 29th to June 1st. Invited speakers include scientists and humanities scholars as well as poets and novelists, amongst others Brian Schwartz (Physics, New York), Jay Labinger (Chemistry, California Insitute of Technology), Arkady Plotnitsky (English, Purdue), Dirk Vanderbeke (English, Jena), Susan M. Gaines (writer-in-residence, Fiction Meets Science, Bremen), and Durs Gruenbein (poet, Rome).

There is no conference fee. Registration is open until May 23rd.

For information on how to register, a full conference programme, and further information visit ELINAS' conference website.

The BSLS has voted to hold an annual one-day symposium in addition to its annual conference. Unlike the conference, the symposium will be on a specific theme each year. The BSLS will make a budget of £500 available to members each year in the first instance to fund the symposium. The theme of each symposium will be announced after that year’s conference, and the symposium itself will be held in or near the following December.

BSLS members are invited to put in proposals to host the first BSLS symposium in December 2014 on the theme of Teaching Literature and Science. The theme is deliberately broad, so applicants are welcome to interpret it as they like, including focussing in on some aspect of it if they wish. Proposals should include:

  • a statement of up to 500 words setting out the rationale for the event and how it interprets the over-arching theme
  • contact details for the organiser(s)
  • the venue(s) and date of the symposium
  • a provisional programme including provisional or confirmed speakers and panels
  • a clear budget explaining how the grant will be spent.

A small registration fee may be set for the symposium if required; if it is, this should be justified in the proposal. The BSLS will be named as the official sponsor of the event, but it will not take on further financial liability beyond the grant itself.

Applicants must be members of the BSLS both when the application is made and when the symposium is held. International members of the BSLS are welcome to apply for the awards. Applications should be emailed as a Word document to the Chair of the BSLS, John Holmes ( by 14th July 2014. Applications will be considered by the BSLS Executive Committee. The award will be made to the application which the Committee judges as best fulfilling the overall aims of the BSLS and serving its members and the academic community as a whole. Successful applicants will be informed by the end of July. Queries about the scheme may be directed to John Holmes, but no correspondence will be entered into about the decisions of the Committee. Serving members of the BSLS Executive Committee are not eligible to apply for the grant. They may be included in the proposal for the symposium as participants, but they may not receive any of the award money either as costs or fees.

Monday 5 May 2014, 5.15pm

Victorian Graduate Seminar: Tatiana Kontou (Oxford Brookes), ‘Florence Marryat’s Kore: Spiritualist and Literary Influences'. LOCATION: History of the Book Room, St Cross Building.

Wednesday 7 May 2014, 5pm

Astor Visiting Lectures: Professor George Levine, ‘Victorian finance and death: Money in Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend’. There will be a drinks reception following the lecture. LOCATION: Lecture Theatre 2, St Cross Building.

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