April 2015

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The Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster is pleased to offer two studentships to prospective PhD students to begin in September 2015.

In the UK Government’s REF 2014 assessment of research activity, English at Westminster was ranked 28th out of 89 departments in Britain, with 79% of its work judged to be of world leading or internationally excellent quality. In terms of research publications, English Literature and Language at Westminster was ranked in the top 20 UK departments, with around a third of the work judged to be world leading.

Based in the heart of London, we have a lively research culture consisting of conferences and research seminars, and the work done in our two research centres, the Institute of Modern and Contemporary Culture (http://instituteformodern.co.uk/) and the Centre for the Study of Science and the Imagination (http://www.sci-mag.squarespace.com/).

Applications are invited for the following awards for up to three years of full-time study:

One fee waiver (Home/EU rate) and £10,000 per year for three years.

One fee waiver (Home/EU rate) and £5,000 per year for three years.

We are looking for high-quality prospective doctoral students who will contribute to at least one of the following core areas of research in the department:

Ÿ          English Language and Linguistics

Ÿ          Literature and Science

Ÿ          Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture

Successful candidates will be expected to carry out a number of hours of duties in the department as part of their training and development.

Eligible candidates will hold at least an upper second class honours degree and a Master’s degree. Candidates whose secondary education has not been conducted in the medium of English should also demonstrate evidence of appropriate English language proficiency, normally defined as 7.0 in IELTS (with not less than 6.5 in any of the individual elements). Read more about our entry requirements at http://www.westminster.ac.uk/courses/research-degrees/entry-requirements

Application deadline:

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 31 May 2015.


Prospective candidates wishing to informally discuss an application should contact Dr Leigh Wilson (wilsonl@wmin.ac.uk).

How to apply:

Information on how to apply:


William Noble Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Liverpool

For more details please click on the link below-


The Centre for the History of the Sciences, University of Kent, offers a fully-funded PhD to work with Dr Rebekah Higgitt.  Literary angles on the following suggested topics are welcome (the final topic is specifically textual in nature):

  • History of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and Royal Greenwich Observatory, especially in the 20th century
  • Science and/or scientific training in the Navy, 18th/19th centuries
  • Museology and history of science
  • History of astronomy and observational sciences in the 18th/19th centuries
  • Scientific institutions and government funding in the 19th century
  • Science and the public in the 18th/19th centuries, including museums, publishing, performance, biography and satire

Closing date for applications is 29 May 2015.  For further information see http://www.kent.ac.uk/history/postgraduate/funding/index.html

Informal enquiries to Dr Higgitt (R.Higgitt@kent.ac.uk) are welcome.


The University of Bristol invites applications to a full-time permanent Lectureship (Lecturer B) in Medical Humanities. Candidates who can demonstrate excellence in the teaching and research of Medical Humanities as it intersects with any area or period of English Literature are eligible to apply. For more information please follow this link.

Friday 1 May, 5:30 to 7:00pm
Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PW

Robert Boyle's air-pump experiments in 1659 provoked a lively debate over the possibility of a vacuum. The air-pump, a complicated and expensive device, became an emblem of the new experimental science that was promoted by the Royal Society. However, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes challenged both the validity of Boyle’s experiment and the philosophical foundations of this new approach to science. In their controversial book Leviathan and the Air-Pump (1985) Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer took up Hobbes’s case, arguing that experimental findings depend for their validity on the scientific culture in which they are made.

The historian of science David Wootton will review this controversy and present a new view of the dispute between Boyle and Hobbes. His lecture will be followed by a reply from Michael Hunter, the biographer of Robert Boyle. The discussion will be chaired by Ritchie Robertson (Taylor Professor of the German Language and Literature).

The discussion will be followed by a drinks reception. The event is free and open to all, but registration is recommended. Please visit www.torch.ox.ac.uk/airpump to register.


This event is co-hosted by the Enlightenment Programme at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, the Museum of the Natural History and the Museum of the History of Science.

The next session of the reading group will take place on Monday 20 April at 6.00pm at the Lit and Phil Library, Newcastle upon Tyne. Everyone is welcome, refreshments provided.
Dr. Peter Garratt, Durham University, will introduce two readings on:
The Science and Art of Atmosphere
Clouds turn the eye upwards towards the indeterminate, towards the gathering possibility of structure and form (substance on the verge of formalization or singular structuration). Clouds trouble and fascinate early nineteenth-century aesthetic and scientific observational practices: as Mary Jacobus points out, they ‘paradoxically serve to abolish the representational realm altogether’. The cloud, in its substanceless bearing that somehow combines lightness and weight, signals mood, omen, prophecy, delight, sublimity, while challenging ‘the phenomenology of the visible’ itself. These two readings, from Jacobus and Ruskin, elaborate upon the difficult pleasures of cloud-gazing in relation to a range of writers and painters including Turner, Constable, Wordsworth, Shelley, and John Clare    

1)      John Ruskin, ‘Of Truth of Clouds’, Modern Painters I (1843).

2)      Mary Jacobus, ‘Cloud Studies: The Visible Invisible’, Gramma: Journal of Theory and Criticism 14 (2006): 219-247. Reprinted as chapter 1 of her recent book Romantic Things: A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud (Chicago, 2012).


The readings are available at http://scienceandpseudoscience.wordpress.com


For further information please contact Pat Beesley at p.beesley@ncl.ac.uk


The British Society for Literature and Science and the Journal of Literature and Science would like to announce our annual prize for the best new essay by an early career scholar on a topic within the field of literature and science. The deadline for this year's prize will be 19th June, in order to give members time to revise papers presented at the BSLS conference should they wish to.

Essays should be currently unpublished and not under consideration by another journal. They should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words long, inclusive of references, and should be send by email to both John Holmes, Chair of the BSLS (j.r.holmes@reading.ac.uk), and Martin Willis, Editor of JLS (m.willis@westminster.ac.uk), by 12 noon on Friday, 19th June, 2015.

The prize is open to BSLS members who are postgraduate students or have completed a doctorate within three calendar years of the deadline date. The Prize committee will consider on a case by case basis whether to accept submissions from anyone whose doctorate was completed more than three years prior to the deadline but whose career has been interrupted during that time (due to illness, maternity leave, etc.). Those who have submitted to the essay prize in previous years are very welcome to submit again. This includes any previous prize winners or honourable mentions.

To join BSLS (only £10 for postgraduates and unwaged members), go to https://www.bsls.ac.uk/join-us/.

The prize will be judged jointly by representatives of the BSLS and JLS. The winning essay will be announced on the BSLS website and published in JLS. The winner will also receive a prize of £100. The judges reserve the right not to award the prize should no essay of a high enough standard be submitted.

The winning essays to date have been Rachel Crossland’s ‘”Multitudinous and Minute”: Early Twentieth-Century Scientific, Literary and Psychological Representations of the Mass’, published in JLS, 6.2 (2013), and Emilie Taylor-Brown's ‘(Re)constructing the Knights of Science: Parasitologists and their Literary Imaginations’, published in JLS, 7.2 (2014). Josie Gill’s essay, ‘Science and Fiction in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth’ received an honourable mention from the judges and was published in JLS, 6.2 (2013). To read these essays, visit www.literatureandscience.org.