April 2017

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The winner of the 2016 Book Prize is Ursula K. Heise's Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species (University of Chicago Press). This remarkable, lucid examination of how contemporary culture produces understandings of imperilled nature breaks new ground in its thinking about environmental crisis -- local and global -- and, particularly, the terms in which we see species loss. This original undertaking brilliantly connects multiple fields of enquiry, philosophical, literary, scientific, political, and investigates genres such as the elegy, the database, and speculative fiction. On matters such as global warming, biodiversity, conservation, non-human justice and the anthropocene, Heise's thesis is challenging, nuanced and elegantly reasoned, and Imagining Extinction looks set become a celebrated reference point while revealing new directions for the study of culture and biology, literature and science.

This trans-Atlantic, 2-panel event pairs a panel at the British Society of Literature and Science (BSLS) in Bristol in April 2017 with a roundtable at the annual conference of the Association of Community College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) at the Congress of Learned Societies in Toronto in May 2017.


Four papers were presented at the BSLS, and were video recorded and will be the impetus for discussion at the ACCUTE panel. You are welcome to view the BSLS papers here, and participate in the respondent discussion at the ACCUTE Annual Conference. The ACCUTE panel will be on Monday May 29th from 8:45-10:15 am at Ryerson University, Victoria room 104. It is open to the public.


Link to video:



Verity Burke, (Start: 3:45) Doctoral Candidate in English, University of Reading, "The Intermedial Museum in the Nineteenth Century.” [Presentation slides (PDF)]

John Holmes, (Start: 20:15) Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture, University of Birmingham, Poetry and Architecture in the Natural History Museum” [Presentation Handout (PDF)]

Janine Rogers, (Start: 36:05) Professor of Medieval and Sixteenth-Century Literature, Mount Allison University, “Cultural History as a Resource for Science Museumship and Outreach.” [Presentation slides (PDF)]

Sophie Thomas, (Start: 56:10) Associate Professor of English Literature, Ryerson University, “The House-Museums of John Hunter and John Soane (a comparative anatomy).” [Presentation slides (PDF)]

Discussion (Start: 1:10)

A workshop at The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh

29th May 2017

Keynote: Professor Peter Middleton, University of Southampton

'Poetry at the Frontiers of Physics'


We are delighted to announce the launch of a new series of books entitled Explorations in Science and Literature, to be published by Bloomsbury. Here is the call for proposals:

Explorations in Science and Literature

We look forward very much to hearing your ideas for exciting new books in our field that speak to audiences across literary scholarship and the sciences.

John Holmes, Anton Kirchhofer and Janine Rogers (editors)

Here is the schedule for this term's seminars on Science, Medicine and Culture in the Nineteenth Century at St Anne's College, Oxford:

  • Wednesday 10 May 2017, 5.30 – 7.00 Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College.
    Professor Ursula Martin, University of Oxford - Ada Lovelace in her Mathematical Context
  • Wednesday 25 May 2017, 5.30 – 7.00 Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College.
    Dr James Emmott, Oxford Brookes University - On the Stratification of Language
  • Wednesday 7 June 2017, 5.30 – 7.00  Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College.
    Professor Oliver Zimmer, University of Oxford -  Time Tribes: How the Railways Made Communities (1840-1900)

For more details, click here.

BSLS members are invited to submit items suitable for inclusion by Word attachment to jennihalpin@gmail.com. Please direct them to me by Monday, May 1. Notices referring to the past three months’ activities are welcomed.

I especially encourage you to send:

  • Notices of new books (including monographs and edited volumes) published by members;
  • Brief reports on science and literature events, seminars, conference panels, keynotes, and symposia organized by (or otherwise participated in by) members;
  • Funding awards in relevant areas;
  • Members’ completed PhDs (with note of title and awarding institution);
  • Festivals, exhibitions, public talks, media appearances, and other public engagement in the field by members; and
  • Forthcoming events to publicise, with CFPs, links, contact information, etc.

Please hold off on announcements of forthcoming books; in the shift to quarterly publication we focus on books members will find available when the Newsletter is published. However, I would like to underscore that a JPEG of a book's cover will look well in the Newsletter and is invited along with the Word document indicating publication information and an abstract of several sentences length.

Be mindful that the Society broadly defines ‘science’ to include areas such as medicine and technology. Hold items under 250 words, please, and note that memberships should be up to date for items to be included in the Newsletter. For details of renewals please contact the Membership Secretary, Jessica Roberts (j.roberts@edu.salford.ac.uk).

Jenni Halpin, Newsletter Editor

Reviews that have appeared on the British Society for Literature and Science website in March 2017

A list of books for which we are currently seeking reviewers can be found here.

Please email Gavin Budge on <G.Budge@herts.ac.uk> if you would like to propose a book for review  - anything published from 2013 onwards will be considered.

This is a list of books that are currently in the process of being reviewed.

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