May 2015

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You are warmly invited to join us on Tuesday 2 June, when Professor Angelique Richardson (Exeter) will be addressing our Seminar with her paper entitled: ‘Hardy and the Scientific Imagination’.

We begin at 5:30pm in Room G24, Foster Court, University College London, Malet Place, London WC1.
Directions to this building can be found here:
Professor Angelique Richardson's paper will be followed by questions and discussion, and the meeting will conclude with a glass of wine at 7:30pm.
‘Hardy and the Scientific Imagination’.

This talk will explore ways in which Thomas Hardy took up aspects of science in his novels and poetry.  Considering his definition of science, and its role in fiction, it will focus in particular on his treatment of mind body relations during the 1870s and 1880s when the leading scientists and philosophers of his day were grappling with similar questions.

Professor Angelique Richardson (Exeter): Angelique Richardson is Associate Professor of English at the University of Exeter. Her books include Love and Eugenics in the Late Nineteenth Century, 2003, and, as editor, Women Who Did: Stories by Men and Women, 1890-1914, 2005, and After Darwin: Animals, Emotions, and the Mind, 2013. Her monograph Thomas Hardy and the Politics of Biology: Character, Culture and Environment is forthcoming.

Registration is now open for a one-day conference on the subject of 'Romanticism and the South West', a conference which re-assesses the importance of the South West in Romantic thought and writing.

The conference aims to explore the importance of the South West for Romantic writers, with a particular emphasis on the following topics:

  1. Ecologically aware writing and protoenvironmental thought;
  2. The role of the South West in an era of scientific development and discovery;
  3. The South West as a centre for reform movements and radical politics, as well as a region connected to slavery and imperialism;
  4. Romantic afterlives in the South West.

For more information please visit

BSLS members are invited to send in proposals to host the second BSLS one-day symposium in November or December 2015.

At the AGM, the BSLS membership voted again to support, in addition to the annual conference, a one-day symposium in November or December 2015 on any theme related to the recent conference or the research interests of the BSLS. A budget of £500 will be made available to members to fund the symposium.

The first Winter Symposium was held last year on the subject of Teaching Literature and Science, at the University of Westminster. Details can still be found on the BSLS website.

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, Martin Willis (, and copied to the Secretary Peter Middleton ( by Friday 17th 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 as soon as possible after the deadline.

Queries about the scheme may be directed to Martin Willis, 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.

This year's annual guest lecture at the centre for Interdisciplinary Research into the Humanities and Science at the University of Reading will be given by Prof Michael Ruse from Florida State University:

Title: Is Evolution a Religion? A View From Literature

Venue: The Harborne Lecture Theatre, University of Reading (Building 31 on the campus map)

Date: Tuesday 26th May

Time: 2.00 – 3.30 p.m.

This is a free public lecture and everyone is welcome. For more information, contact John Holmes, co-director of the IRHS (

At the 2015 AGM several members of the Executive Committee came to the end of their tenure, and new members were elected.

This is the membership of the Executive Committee for 2015-2016.

Chair: Martin Willis (University of Westminster) –

Secretary: Peter Middleton (University of Southampton) –

Treasurer: Michael Whitworth (Merton College, University of Oxford) –

Membership Secretary: Jessica Roberts (University of Salford) –

Communications Officer: Josie Gill (University of Bristol) –

International Liaison (Europe): Folkert Degenring (University of Kassel, Germany) –

International Liaison (North America): Janine Rogers (Mount Allison University, Canada) -

Book Reviews Editor: Gavin Budge (University of Hertfordshire) -

Member-at-large & Newsletter Editor: Jenni Halpin (Savannah State University, USA) -

Member-at-large: Peter Garratt (University of Durham) -

Postgrad/ECR Member-at-large: Ros Ambler-Alderman (University of Southampton) -

Explore the humble beginnings of the citizen science movement

From classifying the cosmos to tracking British bees, citizen science has captivated the imagination of the British public; online platforms such as Zooniverse have over 1 million participants. But, you might be surprised to hear that this isn't a new thing. Long before the internet put data at our fingertips, researchers capitalised on the power of many.

Join the Constructing Scientific Communities team for an informal discussion-based event. Learn how 19th-century models are offering ways of harnessing this huge popular interest, and how these models are helping to advance science.

  • Free to attend, no registration required
  • Seats allocated on a first-come-first-served basis
  • Doors open at 6pm


Professor Sally Shuttleworth - Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford
Professor Chris Lintott - Professor of Astrophysics & Citizen Science Lead, University of Oxford
Dr Berris Charnley - Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Constructing Scientific Communities

Chaired by Katherine Mathieson, Director of Programmes, British Science Association

For more information please go to

The term simultaneity is used in a variety of contexts to denote phenomena of “same-time-ness” – in daily life as well as in specific scientific fields like physics, technology, or ergonomics (among many others). However, despite its widespread occurrence, the term does not specify whether the state described is one of mere temporal concurrence or rather of temporal concordance, and therefore whether synchronicity is involved or not; it also does not clarify whether the events perceived as simultaneous are exactly so in every aspect and moment of time, or just at several coinciding moments during a larger time span (as e.g. with concordant beginnings and endings of dance sequences); nor does it explain whether the simultaneous states are all likewise real (in a temporal and local presence) or only potentially or virtually at the same time, as not-yet-actualized superimposed states.

What do we mean when we say that something is happening “at the same time”? How can we define and understand simultaneity before, with and after the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics?While simultaneity and synchronicity are clearly different modes of temporal concurrence, we might ask about how this differentiation is to be defined exactly, and if synchronicity always implies simultaneity as well, or if there can be synchronicity without simultaneity (e.g. synchronous sequences in different times). Furthermore, what kind of temporal concurrence is intrinsic to superimposed states? Which ontological questions arise with regard to superposition? One of the main research interests concerns the problematic questions underlying different theories of temporal concurrence. Do some concepts actually deny the possibility of absolute simultaneity? Do sociological constellations of “same-time-ness” entail political or ethical questions?

This international conference aims to discuss ontological as well as phenomenological concepts of “same-time-ness” from as many disciplines as possible. Although the main focus lies on theories of the 20th and 21st century, a retrospective analytical look into the history of understandings of simultaneity is encouraged as well.

For more information, see the full cfp_concepts of simultaneity. Deadline for submissions 20 June 2015.

The Société des Études romantiques et dix-neuviémistes will be holding its 2016 Congress in Paris on the theme of The 19th Century in the Future: Thinking, representing and imagining times to come during the 19th Century. To download the call for papers in English and French, click below:


Appel Congres SERD Le XIXe siecle au futur

A British Academy-funded workshop will be held in Cambridge on analogy in literature and science, 3-4 September 2015.  How do we identify and select analogies in and between our primary sources, and how do we use analogies in our own arguments? Which ideas about analogy can we usefully borrow or adapt from cognate areas?  Workshop speakers will include Professor Dame Gillian Beer and Professors Daniel Brown, Peter Middleton, Janine Rogers, Sharon Ruston, Michael Whitworth, and Martin Willis, among others.

Two bursaries are offered to PhD students currently registered at a UK HEI who wish to attend the workshop.  The bursaries will include overnight accommodation at Churchill College, dinner with the speakers on the 3rd, and up to £100 to cover travel costs.  If you would like to apply for a bursary, please send a 1-page CV and a short description of how the workshop’s topics are relevant to your doctoral research (not more than 300 words) to the organiser, Alice Jenkins: alice.jenkins[at], by 31 May 2015.


The ELINAS centre at the Friedrich-Alexander University at Erlangen-Nuremberg is hosting a series of lectures on Narrating Science. To see the full programme, click below:

Flyer ELINAS-RV-Narrating Science

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