August 2017

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A one-day international and cross-disciplinary conference exploring the intersections of the work of J.G. Ballard and the sciences.

25 November 2017
LAB 109, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

Key Note Speaker: Christopher Priest

Hosted by the Anglia Ruskin Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy (CSFF)

"Science and technology multiply around us. To an increasing extent they dictate the languages in which we speak and think. Either we use those languages, or we remain mute." J.G. Ballard

From The Drowned World’s early meditations on ecology, to the provocative prosthetics of Crash, through to the psychopathologies at work (or rather play) in Cocaine NightsSuper-Cannes and Kingdom Come, the writings of J.G. Ballard are in constant dialogue with the discourses of science and technology. As a result, his novels and short stories function as vast indexes of scientific innovation and enquiry, immersing the reader in the complex yet often beautiful languages of biology, chemistry, zoology, medicine, botany, neuroscience, bioethics, anatomy, biotechnology and psychology, to name just a few.

Papers are invited on all aspects of the intersections between J.G. Ballard and science. Proposals are welcomed from researchers at all stages of their career, including postgraduate students, independent scholars and creative writers.

Please send proposals or abstracts of up to 300 words along with a short biography to Jeannette Baxter by 31 August 2017.

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.

Please find below a number of articles that we would like to offer for review in the Journal. The list is by no means definitive; there’s such a lot of fascinating work out there, so please do let me know if there’s an article not on the list that you’d like to review.

It’s largely first come, first served, so do get in touch with an offer to do a specific article m.geric@westminster.ac.uk

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

 

SUGGESTED ARTICLES:

K. Kelly, “‘Experience has not yet learned her letters’: Narrative and Information in the Works of Francis Bacon.” Configurations24.2 (2016): 145-171.

L. Johnson, “‘Life Beyond Life’: Reading Milton’sAreopagiticathrough Enlightenment Vitalism.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 49.3 (2016): 353-370.

Rachel Trubowitz, “Reading Milton and Newton in the Radical Reformation: Poetry, Mathematics, and Religion.” ELH 84. 1 (2017): 33-62.

Paul Gilmore, “Charles Brockden Brown’s Romance and the Limits of Science and History.” ELH 84. 1 (2017): 117-142.

S. Thomasen and H. K. Sørensen, “The Irony of Romantic Mathematics: Bridging the Historiographies of Literature and Mathematics.”Configurations24.1 (2016): 53-70.

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

Gowan Dawson, “Dickens, Dinosaurs, and Design.” Victorian Literature and Culture 44. 4 (2016): 761-778.

Franziska E. Kohlt, “‘The Stupidest Tea-Party in All My Life’: Lewis Carroll and Victorian Psychiatric Practice.” Journal of Victorian Culture 21. 2 (2016): 147-167.

Jim Endersby, “Deceived by Orchids: Sex, Science, Fiction and Darwin.” The British Journal for the History of Science 49 (2016): 205-229.

Eleanor Dobson, “Gods and Ghost-Light: Ancient Egypt, Electricity, and X-Rays”. Victorian Literature and Culture 45.1 (2017): 119-35.

Clare Stainthorp, “Activity and Passivity: Class and Gender in the Case of the Artificial Hand.” Victorian Literature and Culture 45. 1 (2017): 1-16.

Wilhelm, “The Utopian Evolutionary Aestheticism of W. K. Clifford, Walter Pater, and Mathilde Blind.”Victorian Studies 59. 1 (2016): 9-34.

Tyson Stolte, “‘The Infinite within the Finite’: Victorian Prosody and Orthodox Theories of Mind.” Victorian Poetry 54. 3 (2016): 245-274.

L. Lieberman & R. R. Kline, “Dream of an Unfettered Electrical Future: Nikola Tesla, the Electrical Utopian Novel, and an Alternative American Sociotechnical Imagery.” Configurations 25. 1 (2017): 1-27.

Cassandra Laity, “Eco-Geologies of Queer Desire: Elizabeth Bishop’s Love Poetry and Charles Darwin’s Beagle Geology Travel Narratives.” Contemporary Women's Writing 10. 3 (2016): 429-450.

Jeffery Blevins, “Absolutism, Relativism, Atomism: The ‘small theories’ of T.S. Eliot.”  Journal of Modern Literature 40. 2 (2016): 94-111.

Caracheo, “The Measurement of Time: Mann and Einstein’s Thought Experiments.” Configurations 25. 1 (2017): 29-55.

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

Cedric Van Dijck, “Time on the Pulse: Affective Encounters with the Wristwatch in the Literature of Modernism and the First World War.” Modernist Cultures 11. 2 (2016): 161-178.

Kirsty Martin, “Modernism and the Medicalization of Sunlight: D. H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, and the Sun Cure.” Modernism/modernity 23. 2 (2016): 423-441.

Michael Allan, “Re-Reading the Arab Darwin: The Lewis Affair and Naguib Mahfouz’s Palace of Desire.” Modernism/modernity 23. 2 (2016): 319-340.

Joseph Darlington, “A Non-Euclidean Novel: Christine Brooke-Rose’s Such and the Space-Age Sixties.” Journal of Modern Literature 40. 2 (2016): 147-164.

Christopher D. Kilgore, “Bad Networks: From Virus to Cancer in Post-Cyberpunk Narrative.” Journal of Modern Literature 40. 2 (2016): 165-183.

Though Émile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Georg Simmel are generally regarded as the “founders” of sociology as a discipline, sociological theory was actually rooted in nineteenth-century culture as intellectuals and scientists attempted to make sense of the political, economic, and social dislocations brought about by the Industrial and French Revolutions. Auguste Comte (who coined the term “la sociologie” in 1838), John Stuart Mill, Harriet Martineau, George Henry Lewes, Karl Marx, Henry Mayhew, Herbert Spencer, and Charles Booth were among the primary exponents of “the scientific study of society” during the Victorian era; significantly, their work often responded to or was informed by myriad literary authors and forms.

 

This volume represents the first collection of essays to illuminate the historically and intellectually complex relationship between literary studies and sociology in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain. As Samuel Kerkham Ratcliffe noted in a December 1909 paper read before London’s Sociological Society, “Sociology and the English Novel,” the “difficulty is not to discover sociology in fiction, but to find anything therein that is without sociological value and meaning.” This point has been more recently amplified by Wolf Lepenies, in Between Literature and Science: The Rise of Sociology, and Krishna Kumar, in “Sociology and the Englishness of English Social Theory,” who both have sought to account for Britain’s relatively slow professionalization of sociology before 1950 by citing the fact that “for the English their poets, novelists, and literary critics seemed to be doing a more than adequate job of analysis and criticism of the novel problems of nineteenth-century industrial society” (Kumar 55). With these observations in mind, we invite essays that will help to address some key questions.  How, precisely, did Victorian and Edwardian literary texts did help to develop and formalize the discipline of sociology? How did emergent sociological discourses and practices shape the literature of the nineteenth- and early-twentieth century?  To what degree were literature and sociology offering competing systems for analyzing the society they purported to represent?

 

We welcome papers that consider the sociological provenance of specific Victorian and Edwardian cultural objects and practices or papers that explore how various social theories and theorists were inherently tethered to or inspired by the literary. We especially encourage submissions that explore problems in and of the social through the “contact zones”  of literary studies and sociology. Essays might examine one or more specific examples of “the scientific study of society” and consider the degree to which these proto-sociological texts are themselves amenable to rhetorical, ideological, formal, historical or other permutations of “literary” analysis.  Contributors might discuss how specific literary works represent persons, institutions, or methods of thought associated with sociological theory and practice, and/or whether such literary works contributed to an emergent sociological discourse (or discourses). We also invite papers that explore how nineteenth- and early-twentieth century literary texts contributed to the expansion of sociology as a discipline and/or anticipated the later theoretical interventions of Erving Goffman, Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens, etc.  In addition, sociological accounts of the role of literature in the formation of national identities, classes, or class fractions in Victorian or Edwardian England would be welcome.  This list is meant to be suggestive rather than exhaustive.

 

We are currently soliciting proposals (300-500 words, plus one-page CV) for essays of roughly 6000-8000 words. Proposals should be sent to apionke@ua.edu by or before December 15, 2017.

 

Maria K. Bachman, Professor and Chair

Department of English

Middle Tennessee State University

 

Albert D. Pionke, Professor

Department of English

University of Alabama

BSLS members will remember Professor Sharon Ruston’s excellent plenary lecture on Davy at our 2016 conference in Birmingham.  Sharon’s new 4-week MOOC, Humphry Davy: Laughing Gas, Literature, and the Lamp, starts on 30 October.  The course draws on her research as co-editor of Davy’s Collected Letters and her work on Romantic-era literature and science, and is free.  For more information and to register interest, see https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/humphry-davy

Reviews that have appeared on the British Society for Literature and Science website in July 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 2015 onwards will be considered.

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