November 2017

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Assistant review editors are wanted to join an expanded reviews team for BSLS Reviews, the reviews section of the British Society for Literature and Science website, <https://www.bsls.ac.uk/reviews/> We aim at comprehensive coverage of the literature and science field, and related areas, with reviews published within ten months of book publication date, and updates on at least a monthly basis. Last year we published over sixty reviews, and in the current year we are on track for over a hundred. Assistant review editors will monitor the output of major academic publishers, and superintend the commissioning process from beginning to end. Applications should include academic background, together with a sample of your own writing, and should be sent by 5.00pm on 15th December 2017 to the BSLS Book Reviews Editor, Dr Gavin Budge on <G.Budge@herts.ac.uk>.​

CFP DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JANUARY 5 2018

Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities 2018
University of Kent, 1-4 July

Keynote Speakers
Maaike Bleeker, Utrecht University
Margrethe Bruun Vaage, University of Kent
Eric Clarke, Oxford University
Amy Cook, Stony Brook University

Organisers: Melissa Trimingham and Nicola Shaughnessy, in association with the Centre for Cognition, Kinaesthetics and Performance.

Call for Papers

Building on the conferences associated with the network Cognitive Futures in the Humanities in Bangor (2013), Durham (2014) and Oxford (2015), Helsinki (2016) and Stony Brook (2017) the 2018 conference aims once again to bring together a wide array of papers from the cognitive sciences, philosophy, literary studies, linguistics, cultural studies, critical theory, film, performance, theatre and dance studies, the visual and sonic arts, musicology and beyond. In accordance with the original purpose of the network, the aims of the conference are:

-to evolve new knowledge and practices for the analysis of culture and cultural objects, through engagement with the cognitive sciences;

-to assess how concepts from the cognitive sciences can in turn be approached using the analytical tools of humanities enquiry (historical, theoretical, contextual);

-to contest the nature/culture opposition whose legacy can be identified with the traditional and ongoing segregation of scientific and aesthetic knowledge.

Topics relevant to the conference include (but are not limited to):
Cognitive neuroscience and the arts       Interdisciplinary methodologies
Cognitive poetics                      Theory of mind
Conceptual blending                Cognition and narrative
Spectatorship and participation         Empirical aesthetics
The 4 Es                            The science of creativity
The social mind                 Material culture

Submission details
Please send 250-word proposals to  cogfutures@kent.ac.uk by 5 January 2018. As well as 20-minute papers, we welcome contributions in a variety of formats, for example workshops, performance presentations, and posters. Abstracts should be included as Word file attachments. Please indicate clearly in your email whether your abstract is to be considered for a paper or as part of a panel, including the name of presenter(s), institutional affiliation(s) and email address(es). Proposers can expect to hear if their abstract has been accepted by 1 February 2018, and registration will open soon afterward.

Organising committee
Shaun May, Nicola Shaughnessy, Melissa Trimingham, Freya Vass-Rhee

Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities Steering Group
Amy Cook (Stony Brook University)
Karin Kukkonen (University of Oslo)
Peter Garratt (Durham University)
John Lutterbie (Stony Brook University)
Ben Morgan (University of Oxford)
Sowon Park (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Merja Polvinen (University of Helsinki)
Nicola Shaughnessy (University of Kent)

Helen Mort and Jason Taylor will be hosting an evening event of poetry and neuroscience at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on 2nd December. Click below for details:

Oxford University Museum Poetry Event

Dr Emily Alder (Napier University) is in the process of putting together two panels for BSLS 2018 and invites proposals for either of the following topics:
1. Gothic and science (fairly broadly, to promote BSLS/ International Gothic Association links - if you are like me both a BSLS and IGA member it would be particularly good to hear from you!)
2. Frankenstein and science (with one eye on the bicentenary)
If you are interested in joining either panel, please get in touch with Emily by 1st December at em.alder@napier.ac.uk

The studentship is one of four Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs) offered this year by the SWW Consortium. Successful students will take up their awards in September 2018.  Potential students should contact the academic supervisor listed below in the first instance, with a view to submitting their application as part of the open competition for a SWW DTP studentship, which opens on Monday 27th November 2017 and closes on Thursday 11th January 2018, 11.59pm GMT.  Please note that the deadline for expressions of interest to the academic supervisor is 14th December 2017.

https://www.sww-ahdtp.ac.uk/sww-dtp-collaborative-doctoral-awards-cdas/

Thomas Hardy, Victorian Studies, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies

Hardy, Dorset and the wider world

The project, a collaboration between Exeter, Southampton, Dorset County Museum (DCM) and Dorset History Centre (DHC), will explore Thomas Hardy’s involvement in the social, legal and political worlds of Dorset and examine ways in which Hardy draws on these experiences in his fiction, often to social ends.  It will make a substantial contribution to Victorian Studies and to Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, allowing the student to track with new precision, and in unprecedented detail, relations between the regional, national and international.  The project would also enjoy support from Exeter’s new Digital Humanities Lab.

It will be a timely and important project for Dorset County Museum’s HLF-funded redevelopment as part of its vision for Tomorrow’s Museum for Dorset, and for DHC which is awaiting the outcome of an HLF bid ‘Securing the Past’ to extend and refurbish DHC as well as conduct a major programme of public engagement.  The project will be central to Exeter’s Centre for Literature and Archives (CLA) and the Centre for Victorian Studies (CVS), and Southampton’s Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research(SCNR).  There is also scope for involvement with Exeter’s Centre for Medical History and Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health and Southampton’s Research Centre for Medical and Health Humanities.  The student would have the opportunity to become involved with the REF2021 Impact Case Study 'Promoting the Preservation, Presentation and Public Understanding of the work of Thomas Hardy', which Richardson is leading, and to inform the work of the Hardy Country Steering Group whose members currently include Exeter, the National Trust, DCM, Dorset AONB, the Thomas Hardy Society and Bath Spa University.   They would also have the opportunity to attend the annual BAVS conference (at Exeter in August 2018) and SCNR’s next international conference (September 2018), ‘Regionalism in the Long 19th Century’.

Dorset County Museum is an independent museum. Owned and managed by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, of which Hardy was a member, it receives financial support from Dorset County Council and West Dorset District Council. Dorset History Centre (DHC) is the home of the Joint Archives Service (JAS) for Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole and it also holds the Dorset Local Studies and Dorset Authors library collections.

DCM holds the Thomas Hardy Archive and Collection, the largest Hardy collection in the world, recently selected for the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Programme register. It includes over 5000 unpublished letters to Hardy which reveal Hardy’s involvement in a global network, engaged in a wide range of debates; it also includes drafts of letters from Hardy, often pencilled on correspondence he received.  DCM also holds the Dorset County Chronicle, from which Hardy took notes, and DCM’s original manuscripts of The Woodlanders, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Under the Greenwood Tree are stored at DHC.  Under-researched collections at DHC range from the records of the borough authority to the records of the courts (Petty Sessions and Quarter Sessions), prisons and hospitals.  The Quarter Sessions archive – the quarterly records of the courts which dealt with a huge range of civil and criminal matters – provides a cross section of contemporary life.  The student would gain valuable experience in the management of archives and museum collections and in advising on exhibitions and outreach and public engagement projects, and they will develop expertise in the care, description and analysis of manuscript materials. They would be trained by the organisations’ archivists and curators and would gain a wide range of transferable skills.

The student would draw on the expertise of Professors Angelique Richardson and Mary Hammond, including Hammond’s co-edited Rural-Urban Relationships in the Nineteenth Century: Uneasy Neighbours? (Routledge, 2016) and Richardson’s forthcoming The Politics of Thomas Hardy Biology, Culture and Environment.  Both supervisors have extensive experience supervising PhD students, including Collaborative Doctoral Award holders.   The student would join dynamic and supportive research communities at Exeter and Southampton and DCM and DHC will support the student by providing advice and guidance on the collections and a welcoming working environment.

Academic contact: Professor Angelique Richardson, University of Exeter – A.Richardson@exeter.ac.uk

Partner contacts: Dr Jon Murden, DCM Director – director@dorsetcountymuseum.org and Sam Johnston, DHC County Archivist  –  s.j.johnston@dorsetcc.gov.uk

There is no First or Last
Only Equality
And who would rule
Joins the majority.

—Mina Loy

Mathematics and Modern Literature is a collaborative, interdisciplinary conference exploring the ways in which writers active between the late nineteenth century and the twenty-first century engage with, represent or reflect upon mathematics in their work.

We are delighted to announce that our keynote speakers for this event will be Dr. Nina Engelhardt (The University of Cologne) and Professor Tim Armstrong (Royal Holloway, University of London). Dr. Nina Engelhardt is a lecturer in English and American Studies at The University of Cologne and has published on the topic of mathematics and science in modernist literature, particularly the works of Thomas Pynchon. Her monograph Modernism, Fiction and Mathematics is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press. Professor Tim Armstrong is based within the Department of English at Royal Holloway, University of London. His recent publications include The Logic of Slavery: Debt, Technology and Pain in American Literature and Modernism: A Cultural History. Professor Armstrong is also the co-editor of the Edinburgh University Press series Edinburgh Critical Studies in Modernist Culture, one of the organizers of the long-running London Modernism Seminar, and a member of the executive committee for the British Association for Modernist Studies (BAMS).

On the face of it, few activities, disciplines or modes of thinking seem as disparate or as incommensurable with one another as those of mathematics and literature. If, according to a common, broadly ‘Platonic’ conception of the subject, mathematics insists upon rigor and exactitude in order to discover eternal, objective and universal truths, literature is often imagined as addressing itself to that which is irreducibly human, subjective, particular or contingent. Where the one may be lauded for yielding access to a neutral, unchanging domain of that which is the same forever and for all, the other might be celebrated as the privileged medium of that which differs, or of that which is true or real for us as creatures of material, historical, cultural, intellectual and linguistic change.

Just as this sketch of ‘literature’ will not suffice—failing, as it does, to take account of the significant and often dramatic ways in which our conception of literature and the literary has shifted since the late nineteenth century—so the opposing caricature of mathematics proves inadequate to register the crises and developments that affected the field—and the ways in which mathematicians and others understood it—over the same period.

As historians of mathematics such as Herbert Mehrtens and Jeremy Gray have suggested in recent decades, mathematics at the turn of the twentieth century may be seen to have been in the midst of a critical and pervasive ‘modernist transformation,’ roughly contemporary with the modernist movements in the arts with which we are generally more familiar. Rooted in developments during the nineteenth century, including the invention of non-Euclidean geometries as well as the elaboration of set theory, ‘modern’ or ‘modernist’ mathematics was subsequently characterised by its tendency to trouble or to break with established notions of mathematical truth, representation, intuition and meaning. As their subject became increasingly abstract and axiomatic in its approach, mathematicians laboured through what became known as the subject’s ‘foundational crisis,’ impelled by an anxious sense of the need to devise or discover a new, firmer footing for the science.

By 1931, the foundational crisis in mathematics had largely petered out, while any residual hope of placing mathematics solidly upon a provably complete and consistent set of axioms was dispelled by the work of Kurt Gödel. However, the field of mathematics has continued to experience profound developments since its ‘foundational crisis,’ from algebraic geometry, topology, group theory and category theory to probability, chaos theory, cryptography and computer science. In addition to ‘modernist’ mathematics, then, Mathematics and Modern Literature also sets out to explore how writers have engaged with later developments in the science, up to and including the influence of (big) data, code and algorithmic technologies upon contemporary literature.

How do writers during this period encounter, understand and interact with mathematics, whether basic, elementary or advanced, whether ‘classical’ or ‘modern(ist)’? To what extent do they negotiate contemporary developments within the field of mathematics? How have authors engaged with the the invention of computational machines and computer programming language, and how have interpretive practices, such as digital humanities, shaped the way we read and interpret texts? What is at stake when we read for quantity?  How are mathematical objects, symbols, concepts and ideas invoked, adapted, deployed, emulated, played with or transformed in literary texts? What kinds of meanings, implications or significance—political, philosophical, social, religious, magical, affective or otherwise—do mathematics and mathematical objects, processes and ideas have for writers? To what extent are these meanings, implications and ideas reproduced, subverted or critiqued in their work?

This conference invites papers on topics that might include, but are not limited to:

  • mathematics and politics
  • mathematics and gender
  • biopolitics / (big) data / code / algorithms
  • digital humanities and the implications for reading / interpreting texts
  • the concept of universality / objectivity / neutrality in literature and mathematics
  • mathematics, literature and affect
  • mathematics and the everyday / extraordinary.
  • mathematics and pedagogy
  • mathematics and the concept of genius / amateurism
  • ‘modernist’ mathematics and its relations to literary and artistic modernism(s)
  • mathematics and form
  • mathematics and style
  • mathematics, literature and truth / proof or measurement / verification
  • mathematics and magic / mysticism
  • the relations between quality and quantity
  • representations of mathematicians and the institution of mathematics
  • mathematics and experimentation
  • mathematics as language / language as mathematics
  • mathematics and poetic meter / rhythm
  • the meanings and aesthetics of mathematical symbols
  • methodologies of literature and mathematics studies

The conference also welcomes contributions that address mathematics in painting, sculpture, music, dance and architecture—in addition to or alongside literature—during the same period.

Please send proposals (250-300 words) for fifteen-minute papers to mathmodlit@gmail.com by 5th February 2018. Please include a short (100-150 word) biography with your abstract. Notification of decision will be made by 19th February 2018.

Panel submissions will also be considered and should be 45 minutes in length. Please send 750-800 word abstract for panel submissions plus individual biographies. Please note that all male panels will not be accepted.

Lunch, refreshments and a wine reception will be provided on both days. Further details will be released in due course, and registration will open in February 2018.

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To read the first issue of the Journal of Science & Popular Culture, click here.

Friday 29 June 2018, Saturday 30 June 2018, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln

(Conny Stuart Hall Building)

The Monster Conference is a two-day, interdisciplinary conference, hosted by Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln, celebrating the afterlife and reception of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in the year of the 200th anniversary of its publication.

Confirmed Keynoters: Angela Wright (Professor in English Literature, University of Sheffield), Marc Hanheide (Reader in Computer Science, University of Lincoln)

The continuing fascination with all things Monsters is partly due to the critical and popular reception of Shelley’s creature, termed a “new species” by its ambitious but over-reaching creator who thinks of himself as a scientist. The creature’s life is bodged from the start. The goal of this conference is to examine the legacy of Shelley’s novel as well as the different incarnations of monsters in contemporary research and teaching contexts. Attempting to explain the appeal of the story offers a unique opportunity to promote dialogue between disciplines.

The title of this conference is deliberately left ambiguous to allow for an interdisciplinary exploration of monstrosity and the monstrous. These concepts apply, in the first instance, to social and cultural threats; i.e. to behaviours and (visual) qualities which are deemed socially and culturally unacceptable because they are perceived as amoral or unimaginable. The afterlife and reception of Frankenstein not only brings many opportunities for academic research to intersect with popular culture, but also brings into focus pertinent theoretical and methodological challenges relating to how monstrosity and the monstrous get taught at universities and in schools.

The organisers welcome proposals for papers (20 minutes) and panels (three 20-minute papers) as well as teaching workshops (30 minutes) from a range of disciplines. Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Gothic Studies
  • Reception Studies (afterlife of Frankenstein)
  • ‘Monsters’ as a metaphor (Monstrosity, the Monstrous)
  • Monsters in Literature written for children and/or young adults
  • Monsters in visual culture and performance art
  • Horror Movies for adults and/or for children and/or young adults
  • The Post-human, technology and robot-human interaction
  • Disability Studies
  • Wellbeing
  • ‘Monsters’ in teaching contexts
  • Popular Culture

Abstracts of up to 300 words along with a short biographical note (100 words in the same Word document) should be sent to sibylle.erle@bishopg.ac.uk by 31 January 2018. Ideas for poster presentations are also welcome, particularly from postgraduate students. All proposals will be anonymously peer-reviewed.

 
19-20 March 2018
Weetwood Hall, University of Leeds, UK
 
In recent decades, global research activity around ageing and the life course has grown exponentially. Work in the clinical sciences, and in the established field of gerontology, has explored the challenges and opportunities of ageing through investigations focusing on biological and biosocial elements. More recently, scholars in the humanities and the social sciences working in the field of ageing studies have been turning their attentions to the topic, offering interdisciplinary cultural and social analyses that are theoretically, politically, and empirically engaged. Within this category, a number of scholars across academic disciplines including history of medicine, philosophy, film studies, literature, law, sociology, psychology, and anthropology – and in the cross-disciplinary field of medical humanities – are united by a shared interest in historical perspectives on youth, ageing, and old age.
 
This two-day conference will bring together scholars whose work engages with the past, to share new perspectives on the role and value of historical approaches to ageing across disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences. Several key questions will frame the event:
 

 

  • What can historical research on ageing and the life-course in the humanities and social sciences offer that is distinctive from modes of enquiry in these areas in the clinical sciences?
  • To consider ageing in historical contexts is to encounter issues of disciplinary boundaries and hierarchies, dominant histories, and canonicity. What is the specific nature of these challenges, and how might they be navigated?
  • Is it enough to reconstruct historical, socio-cultural contexts of ageing? Or should historical projects also develop innovative approaches that will address present-day issues?
  • How might scholars in the humanities and social sciences whose work includes historical approaches work together across disciplinary boundaries?
  • Who are the audiences for historical research in ageing? How might we communicate effectively with the academic sciences, with non-academic audiences, and with policy-makers and public-health organisations?
  • What are the broader implications of this kind of work for developing further knowledge and understanding of the role of historical approaches to the study of human health, disability, disease, minds, and bodies?

 

 
We invite contributions in the form of 20-minute papers from scholars at any career stage, and from any discipline in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, broadly construed. Proposals from doctoral and early-career researchers are particularly welcomed. To submit a proposal, email an abstract of 250-300 words, together with a brief biographical note of no more than 150 words to Dr Catherine Oakley (C.M.C.Oakley@leeds.ac.uk), by 30 November 2017.
 
Papers might engage with the questions outlined above from a particular disciplinary perspective. Further topics could include, but are not restricted to:
 

 

  • Senescence and old age
  • Rejuvenation and anti-ageing
  • Childhood, adolescence, and youth
  • Ageing and scientific technologies
  • Families and intergenerational relationships
  • Age and demographic change
  • Ageing in visual and material cultures
  • Ageing, gender, sex and sexuality
  • Work, retirement, and pensions
  • Ethics of ageing
  • Age, ageing, and youthfulness in popular culture
  • Global perspectives on age and ageing

 

 
Confirmed keynote speakers include Dr Hyung Wook Park (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) whose recent book Old Age, New Science posits a close relationship between the emergence of gerontology and changing social perspectives of ageing in the first half of the twentieth century.
 
The conference is being organised as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project “Endless Possibilities of Rejuvenation: Defying Ageing, Defining Youth in Britain, 1919-1948”, led by Dr James Stark at the University of Leeds.

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