January 2018

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Humans have a flair for attributing intentions, traits, agency, emotions and mental states to beings or things – either real or imagined. Whether anthropomorphising natural or abstract shapes, playing with imaginary companions, (re) constructing fictional characters and dialoguing with gods or hallucinatory presences, the attribution of an agentive mentality to human and non-human targets appears both natural and meaningful to our everyday life. The personification of inanimate, non-human, virtual or absent objects or entities seems at the core of human cognition, yet remains in many respects mysterious. To what extent is personification a conscious process whereby we extend intersubjective and narrative relations? When does this capacity emerge? What are its cognitive underpinnings and what are its effects? Is there a continuum to be traced between these different cognitive, narrative, religious and hallucinatory experiences?

Our conference aims to explore personifying dynamics and experiences through a variety of disciplines, methods and perspectives. Keynote speakers include H. Porter Abbott (University of California, Santa Barbara) Guillaume Dumas (Institut Pasteur), Nev Jones (University of South Florida), Tanya Luhrmann (Stanford University) and Marjorie Taylor (University of Oregon).

We are now taking submissions for the conference. Further details on how to apply can be found here.

‘Personification Across Disciplines’ is organised by Hearing the Voice. Thanks to Wellcome Trust funding, the conference is free to attend. 

17-18 July, 2018 – University of Kent

Keynote Speakers:Professor Helen Small, Pembroke College, University of Oxford

Professor Priscilla Wald, Duke University

This conference aims to stimulate a wide-ranging discussion about the interactions between British and American literature, education, and the sciences of the mind between 1850-1950. We welcome paper and panel proposals on any aspect of British or American literature, education and/or the sciences of the mind broadly construed.This conference is part of Dr Sara Lyons’ (PI), Dr Michael Collins’ (Co-I) and Dr Fran Bigman’s (Research Associate) AHRC-funded project, Literary Culture, Meritocracy, and the Assessment of Intelligence in Britain and America, 1880-1920. The project is an investigation of how British and American novelists understood and represented intellectual ability in the period, with a particular focus on how they responded to the rise of intelligence testing and the associated concepts of I.Q. and meritocracy. For additional information, please visit our website: https://research.kent.ac.uk/literaryculture/​ Possible topics include literature and:

• Teaching and Being Taught; pedagogical theory and practice
• Representations of Places of Learning
• Examinations, grades, scholarships, qualifications
• Inequality, Discrimination, and Exclusion in Education
• Academic Success and Failure
• Literacy and Illiteracy
• Intellectuals, Experts, Professionalism
• Autodidacticism, Informal Education
• Varieties of education: aesthetic, classical, moral, religious, scientific, technical
• Learning Styles and Types of Intelligence
• Intellectual ability and disability

As well as literature and:

• Professionalisation/ Institutionalisation of Psychology
• Social Psychology
• Developmental Psychology
• Psychometrics and personality testing
• Physiology and psychology
• Psychological Schools and Controversies
• Psychology and Philosophy
• Experimental Psychology
• Psychiatry
• Sexology
• Parapsychology
• Eugenics
• Language and Cognition

Please submit an individual proposal of no more than 350 words or an outline for a 3 paper panel proposal to sciencesofthemindconference@gmail.com by the 1 March, 2018. Papers will be limited to 20 minutes. Please include your name, a short bio, and email address in your proposal.

BSLS Executive Committee Positions

Six positions on the BSLS Executive Committee will be either vacant or up for renewal in April: Chair, Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Book Reviews Officer, Member at Large, and Early Career Member at Large. Present incumbents in two of the positions (Treasurer & Early Career Member at Large) are seeking to continue in their roles, but all six posts are open to nominations.

We especially encourage members interested in the four vacating posts: Chair, Membership Secretary, Book Reviews Officer, & Member at Large.

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 the Chair Martin Willis (WillisM8@cardiff.ac.uk) and myself, the Secretary (gjlynall@liverpool.ac.uk). Expressions of interest and proposals should be received by 23rd March at the very latest.

If you have questions about these posts, please do contact me, or any member of the committee. The sections of the Constitution relevant to this process are appended below.

Greg Lynall, Secretary

24 January 2018



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.

University of Leeds

Registration is now open for "New Historical Perspectives on Ageing and the Life Course". This free two-day interdisciplinary conference at the University of Leeds, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), will bring together speakers in the humanities and social sciences from Europe, America, and Asia to share new perspectives on the role and value of historical approaches to ageing.

We warmly invite all delegates to join us for the conference dinner at the venue at 7.30pm on Monday 19th March. Please sign-up via this link: http://signup.com/go/qJtwwyB



29 June 2018, 10:00–18:00  

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin


The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, in collaboration with the Institute for German and Dutch Philology and Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of the Free University of Berlin, invites early career scholars to take part in the 13th Forum on Literature and Science History, also known as Studientag Literatur und Wissenschaftsgeschichte, which will be held on 29th June 2018, 10 am – 6 pm, at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.


The Forum on Literature and Science History offers early career scholars an opportunity to discuss their work-in-progress themed on the history of literature and science, as well as other closely relevant topics. To maximize the impact of our discussion for participants, we especially encourage presentations of unfinished projects in various stages of development.


In this view, all accepted speakers will be requested to pre-circulate papers of 10-20 pages among all registered participants. The papers can be written in English or German. The discussion of all papers will start with comments by experts appointed by the organisers and followed by responses of the authors, each paper receiving about an hour of discussion time.


All interested early career scholars are warmly invited to apply for participation in the Forum by 31 January 2018 with a title, an abstract of up to 350 words of the proposed paper, and an indication of academic affiliation. Accepted speakers will be requested to confirm participation and pre-circulate their papers in PDF format by 3 June 2018.


Prof. Dr. Jutta Müller-Tamm, the Free University of Berlin

Dr. Donatella Germanese, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Prof. Dr. Christina Brandt, the Ruhr University of Bochum

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Kleeberg, the University of Erfurt

Dr. Johanna Bohley, the University of Jena

Dr. Jenny Willner, the University of Munich

Dr. Hansjakob Ziemer, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science


For registration please contact Lukas Nils Regeler: lukas.regeler@fu-berlin.de

Questions can also be directed to Maria Avxentevskaya: mavxentevskaya@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de

For further information, see:


Applications are now invited for the next round of both competitions, each with a deadline of 1st March 2018.

There will be three seminars in the Oxford University Science, Medicine and Culture in the Nineteenth Century series this term. For details, click below:

Oxford Seminars Spring 2018

Reviews that have appeared on the British Society for Literature and Science website in December 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 2016 onwards will be considered.

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