February 2016

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Dear BSLS Members,


The Journal of Literature and Science http://www.literatureandscience.org is once again looking for reviewers to review various articles in the field of literature and science published in the last year to 18 months.

Just to remind members, the JLS is unique in reviewing journal articles rather than books in the fields of literature and science and the history and philosophy of science. As such, we believe our reviews offer scholars a truly valuable guide to some of the most recent and cutting-edge research in the field.

Please find below are a number of articles that we would like to offer members the chance to review for the Journal’s forthcoming 2016 issues. Its largely first come, first served, so do get in touch with an offer to do a specific article m.geric@westminster.ac.uk

I’d also be very happy for members to suggest other relevant articles for review that they may have come across and that aren’t listed below – please do let me know.

Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you,

Michelle Geric



Jess Keiser, “Nervous Figures: Enlightenment Neurology and the Personified Mind.” ELH 82. 4 (2015) 1073-1108.

Melissa Bailes, “The Psychologization of Geological Catastrophe in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man.” 82. 2 (2015) 671-699.

Ian Lawson, “Bears in Eden, or, This is Not the Garden You’re Looking For: Margaret Cavendish, Robert Hooke and the Limits of Natural Philosophy.” The British Journal for the History of Science 48. 4 (2015) 583-605.

Lauren Cameron, “Spencerian Evolutionary Psychology in Daniel Deronda.Victorian Literature and Culture 43. 1 (2015) 63-81.

Julie A. Smith, “Representing Animal Minds in Early Animal Autobiography: Charlotte Tucker’s The Rambles of a Rat and Nineteenth-Century Natural History.” Victorian Literature and Culture 43. 04 (2015): 725-744.

Laura Forsberg, “Nature’s Invisibilia: The Victorian Microscope and the Miniature Fairy.” Victorian Studies 57. 4 (2015) 638-666.

Michelle J. Smith and Rebecca-Anne C. Do Rozario, “Race, Species, and the Other: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in Victorian Pantomime and Children’s Literature.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 38. 1 (2016) 37-53.

Rasheed Tazudeen, “Immanent Metaphor, Branching Form(s), and the Unmaking of the Human in Alice and The Origin of Species.” Victorian Literature and Culture 45.3 (Fall 2015): 533-558.

Kari Nixon, “Seeing Things: The Dilemma of Visual Subjectivity at the Dawn of the Bacteriological Age in Strindberg’s The Father.Configurations 24. 1 (2016) 25-52.

Sari Altschuler, “From Empathy to Epistemology: Robert Montgomery Bird and the Future of the Medical Humanities.” American Literary History 28. 1 (2016) 1-26.

Heather A. Love, “Cybernetics Modernism and the Feedback Loop: Ezra Pound’s Poetics of Transmission.” Modernism/Modernity 23. 1 (2016) 89-111.

Maggie Tonkin, “‘The Time of the Loony’: Psychosis, Alienation, and R. D. Laing in the Fictions of Muriel Spark and Angela Carter.” Contemporary Women’s Writing 9. 3 (2015) 366-384.


Reviews should be 750 words long. For more details please follow the link http://www.literatureandscience.org or contact Michelle Geric m.geric@westminster.ac.uk to register your interest.



The Society is pleased to announce that the following books have been shortlisted for the 2015 Book Prize. The winner will be announced at the annual Conference in Birmingham from 7th-9th April. Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors.

Peter Capuano, Changing Hands: Industry, Evolution, and the Reconfiguration of the Victorian Body (U of Michigan Press)

Markus Iseli, Thomas de Quincey and the Cognitive Unconscious (Palgrave Macmillan)

Claire Preston, The Poetics of Scientific Investigation in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford UP)

Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett (Columbia UP)

Sean Silver, The Mind is a Collection (Penn Press)

Call for Papers

Modernism, Medicine and the Embodied Mind

15-16 July 2016, University of Bristol


The AHRC-funded network, ‘Modernism, Medicine and the Embodied Mind’, seeks to investigate the historical and discursive links between literary modernism, medical discoveries, and clinical practice, in dialogue with the insights of visual artists and art historians, dancers and dance scholars, and contemporary scientists and clinicians. Underpinning the project is the significance of phenomenology and the first-person experience of medicine, as explored in literature, theatre, dance, and the philosophy of medicine. A phenomenological approach is also applied to medical education through performance-based pedagogies.

The conference combines aesthetic criticism – which can attend to aesthetic form and engage in nuanced ways with questions of language, representation, subjectivity, and affect – with the archival emphases of cultural history and the conceptual rigour of philosophy and critical theory, to explore modernism’s specific ability to speak to seemingly unruly mental and embodied states, and the conceptual ‘black hole’ of extreme old age.

Confirmed keynote speaks include:

Professor Havi Carel (University of Bristol)

Professor Maud Ellmann (University of Chicago)

Professor Laura Marcus (University of Oxford)

Among the questions the conference seeks to address are:

  • What can be learned from the fact that modernist formal innovations developed in dialogue with late nineteenth and early twentieth-century medical discoveries and evolving therapeutic practices in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and psychiatry? What are the implications of this for intellectual enquiry and clinical practice?
  • How might realist and humanist models of narrative and self be inadequate, injurious or counter-therapeutic in understanding experiences and events such as the radical contingency of brain injury, neuro-degeneration, certain kinds of psychiatric illness, and the epistemological and ontological uncertainties experienced in the period approaching death?
  • The turn of the twentieth century is also a period of intense formal experimentation in the visual arts and in dance. How can these radical aesthetic transformations be understood as responses to contemporary medical discoveries and the evolved conception of the self that these discoveries engendered? How did medical ideas affect new modes of representation in the visual arts and in dance?
  • What specific issues and challenges do chronic and terminal conditions of body and mind present to both patients and doctors? How might modernist modes of enquiry and representation offer alternative ways of understanding, treating and living with conditions that are resistant to the ideas of overcoming and amelioration typically articulated within conventional narrative and linguistic frameworks? How can such methods influence illness narratives and narrative medicine?
  • How might the insights of modernist form and phenomenological philosophy be applied to the conditions, experiences and perspectives of ageing? How might they offer new ways to think about the continuation and integrity of the self in extreme old age and dementia?
  • How might nosological classifications be reassessed through engagements with philosophical perspectives such as phenomenology and the emphasis on selfhood and subjective experience found in literary, theatrical and cinematic representations?
  • How might performance-based methodologies be applied to the development of medical pedagogy and the context of clinical care?

Cultural Programme

Jonathan Heron, international theatre practitioner and scholar, will inaugurate his new performance piece, which will be staged at Bristol's Wickham Theatre on 15 July 2016 for conference delegates. A performance that unmakes and remakes itself, Rosemary is the outcome of Jonathan Heron’s five-year collaboration with the Beckett actor and renowned scholar Rosemary Pountney. Addressing the experiences of ageing, dying and bereavement, this new commission has been especially created for the AHRC-funded ‘Modernism, Medicine and the Embodied Mind’ project at the universities of Bristol, Exeter and Warwick.

On 16 July 2016, the artist Deborah Robinson will inaugurate her new exhibition, Like a Signal Falling, at Glenside Psychiatric Hospital Museum in Bristol. The exhibition has been created for, and taken its inspiration from ‘Modernism, Medicine and the Embodied Mind’. All conference delegates are warmly welcome.

The conference will take place in the historic site of Goldney Hall, situated in the Clifton area of Bristol.  Some accommodation will be available in the Hall, which boasts beautiful and extensive eighteenth-century gardens, including a Grade 1-listed grotto, amid a city-centre location.

Please send abstracts of 250 words to modernism-medicine@bristol.ac.uk. The deadline for abstracts is 28 March. Delegates will be notified of the outcome by 11 April.

Visit the project website at: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/research/modernism-medicine/

The CFP is for a special issue of the journal Cogent Humanities on Ecotheory and the Premodern.

The link is here:  http://explore.cogentoa.com/call-for-special-issues/eco-theory-and-the-pre-modern

Two posts on the BSLS Executive Committee will become vacant this April 2016: Secretary (Peter Middleton is standing down), and International Officer (Folkert Degenring is standing down). If you are interested in taking on either of these posts or have questions about them, please do contact me, or any member of the committee. The sections of the Constitution relevant to this process are appended below.

If we receive more than one formal nomination for the posts there will be an election by secret ballot during the AGM.

Any member of BSLS is eligible for these posts and can propose themselves or someone else. Each proposed candidate will also need two nominations from members of BSLS, and these proposals and nominations should be sent to our current Chair Martin Willis (willisM8@cardiff.ac.uk) and myself, the current Secretary (p.middleton@soton.ac.uk).

Could expressions of interest or proposals be sent as soon as possible please, and ideally before March 31, 2016.

Peter Middleton, Secretary.



4.1 There shall be an Honorary President, whose appointment is for an unlimited period.
4.2 There shall be an executive committee, consisting of: Chair; Secretary; Treasurer; Membership Secretary; Communications Officer; and not more than three Members at Large.

4.2.1 The role of the Chair is to oversee the fulfilment of the Society’s aims.
4.2.2 The role of the Secretary is to document meetings and other aspects of the Society’s activities, particularly to prepare minutes of Committee meetings and General Meetings, and to put them forward for approval.
4.2.3 The role of the Treasurer is to be signatory to the Society’s bank account(s); to present accounts for approval at the AGM.
4.2.4 The role of the Membership Secretary is to receive and process membership applications, to obtain fees from existing members, to pass on money to the Treasurer, and to maintain a membership database.
4.2.5 The role of the Communications Officer is to develop electronic resources; to manage and maintain an e-mail list, and to liaise with the Membership Secretary in relation to membership of the list.

4.3 Where it proves impossible to fill posts, one member may hold two, but no more than two posts.
4.4 Signatories for the society’s bank account(s) shall be the Treasurer and any other committee member.
4.5 The membership of the Executive Committee shall be determined by elections held at the annual general meeting of the society. Members wishing to stand for election should be nominated by two members of the society before the start of the AGM. Where there is more than one candidate for any post, election shall be held by a ballot on the basis of a single transferable vote.
4.6 Members of the Executive Committee shall serve three-year terms of office.

The BSLS is pleased to announce that we have made two awards in this year's Postgraduate Conference Fund competition. Ryan Sweet, a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter, has been awarded a bursary towards the cost of presenting his research at the Decolonizing Critical Animal Studies conference at the University of Alberta, Canada. Maria Avxentevskayato at Freie Universitat Berlin has been awarded funding to participate in the 2016 Scientiae conference in Oxford. Congratulations to both our winners.

Call for Papers and Panels: Science in Public 2016
University of Kent, Canterbury, 13-15 July 2016

The annual Science in Public conference is an occasion for cross-disciplinary debate and discussion and a forum for sharing all work considering the relationships between science, technology, medicine and their multiple publics. We welcome submissions from scholars of, for example, science communication, history of science, science policy, geography, psychology, literature, social or cultural studies and practitioners of communication, engagement or the arts in relation to science. Papers may relate to science in mass media, museums or online spaces; public engagement and participation; popular science and its histories; science, publics and policy; and science in fictions, art and cinema.

The theme for this year’s conference, hosted by the Centre for the History of the Sciences at the University of Kent, is Science in Public: Past, Present and Future. We therefore particularly welcome papers, panels, projects and sessions that can draw on and speak to questions about science and the public across different time periods or that consider how historical studies might influence current thinking, or vice versa. Opening and closing plenary sessions supporting this theme are from the interdisciplinary projects Constructing Scientific Communities (with Professors Sally Shuttleworth and Chris Lintott) and Unsettling Scientific Stories. We will also, on the Thursday, have a strand focusing on comedy and science communication, including: a panel session looking at its history, role and pitfalls; a workshop for those who would like to use comedy in their own communication activities; and a SiP-themed comedy gig.

We welcome traditional papers and panel sessions and innovative formats, including discussion, performance or practice-based workshops. We aim to minimise registration costs as far as possible.

Our thanks go to the British Society for the History of Science for supporting this conference, allowing us to subsidise student costs and include our plenary sessions. Historians of science unable to travel to Canada for the Three Societies Meeting this June are very much encouraged to join us and other BSHS members in Canterbury instead (or as well!).

Abstracts: send abstracts of about 250 words, enquiries and queries to Rebekah Higgitt (r.higgitt@kent.ac.uk).
Deadline: 11 April 2016

Please share this call for papers widely across your networks. The hashtag is #SiP2016 and details can be found online at http://scienceinpublic.org/science-in-public-2016/. ​

An international conference at Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

20 - 22 May 2016

Many fields of culture, especially art and literature, religion and science, rely on the visual imagination. Its importance for our mental life has long made it a subject of interest to philosophers, and more recently it has been studied by psychologists, cognitive scientists, and now neuroscientists. This conference, which is the culmination of the AHRC-funded research project, ‘The Eye’s Mind: a Study of the Neural Basis of the Visual Imagination and of its Role in Culture’, will for the first time bring together specialists in all these areas with a view to laying the foundations for a new understanding of this vital human capacity.

To achieve this challenging goal the organisers seek proposals from specialists of graduate level and above in any relevant area to join the existing panel of keynote speakers in presenting their own research. Possible contributions would include: studies of the role of visual imaginative experience in any field of culture, analyses of the theoretical issues raised by imagery in the domains of philosophy and psychology, relevant work in cognitive science or neuroscience. Keynote speakers include Michael Tye (philosophy), Joel Pearson (neuroscience), Paul Broks (psychology), John Onians (art history), Adam Zeman (neurology).

Potential presenters should submit 250 word abstracts to m.mackisack@exeter.ac.uk by 29th February 2016 indicating whether platform or poster presentation is preferred. The registration fee will be kept to a minimum to cover costs, at around £150. Bursaries may be available for junior delegates. For more information the Eye’s Mind project, see http://medicine.exeter.ac.uk/research/neuroscience/theeyesmind/

The Commission on Science and Literature (CoSciLit) has launched its new website. Click here to take a look. The website includes the list of the newly elected Officers of the Commission, and the call for papers for the next CoSciLit conference to be held in Pöllau, Austria on 7-9 September 2016.


The European Journal for English Studies will be publishing a special issue on Poetry, Science and Technology, edited by Irmtraud Huber (Berne) and Wolfgang Funk (Mainz). The deadline for proposals is 31 Oct 2016; the deadline for completed articles is 31 March 2017. In addition to the Editors' judgements, EJES follows a rigorous double blind peer-review process. To read the call for papers in full, click below

EJES CFP Poetry Science and Technology


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