April 2021

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3rd Lecture
Commission on Science and Literature DHST/IUHPST

The Commission on Science and Literature DHST/IUHPST is very glad to announce a series of virtual open lectures on “Literature and the Pandemics in Historical Perspectives” to be given by distinguished scholars in the field. The third lecture is as follows:

21st APRIL  14.00 UK Time (15.00 CET) (16.00 Greek  Time)
 Dr Lukas Engelmann, University of Edinburgh:

 The Outbreak Narrative in the Science of Epidemics: Plague, AIDS and Covid-19

Dr. Lukas Engelman is a historian of medicine, Chancellor’s Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the School of Political and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Recently, with Dr. Christos Lynteris, he published the book Sulfuric Utopias, MIT Press, 2020.


The virtual lectures will be given at 14.00 UK Time  (15.00 CET). They will be hosted by the M.Sc. program “Science Communication” of the Hellenic Open University and they are jointly organized with the University of Birmingham.

George Vlahakis and John Holmes, CoSciLit President and Secretary

Dear members,

Thank you all for making the sixteenth annual conference another successful BSLS event! It might not have been quite the same as the real thing, but there was still much to cherish from our online conversations (both live and asynchronous). Whilst the conference closes today officially, the webpage and Teams site will still be accessible until the end of April, so feel free to use the Teams channels to keep discussions going.

Keep safe for the rest of 2021, and we look forward to seeing you at the annual conference in Manchester next year (and at the online Winter Symposium in the meantime).

All the best,

BSLS Executive Committee

The BSLS is delighted to announce the winner of its Book Prize for 2020: Biofictions: Race, Genetics and the Contemporary Novel (Bloomsbury Academic) by Josie Gill.

Josie Gill’s study of race and genetics in late twentieth and early twenty-first century fiction is critically engaged with science and its contexts, lucidly written, and politically urgent. Covering novels by, among others, Zadie Smith, Kazuo Ishiguro, Octavia Butler, and Colson Whitehead, it argues that the idea of race in genetic science is a biofiction, ‘an idea constituted through the complex entanglement of scientific and fictive forms.’ It takes in the sciences relevant to ancestry, human genomic diversity, epigenetics, and examines their relations to the changing social contexts for concepts of ‘race’ and anti-racist politics. In doing so, it illuminates how concepts of ‘race’ remain latent even when contemporary genetic science seems to have undermined the concept. Wearing its scholarship lightly, this outstanding study welcomes both the specialist in contemporary literature, the general reader, and, we hope, readers from the sciences.

Biofictions is available on open access funded by Knowledge Unlatched.


You can access the conference on this page!

To do so, you will need to be a BSLS member and logged in.

Dear members,

We’re very excited to be welcoming you to the annual conference on Thursday.

Access to the conference webpage will be sent out on Thursday at 9am BST. A link to the Microsoft Teams site will be included on the webpage - all members have been granted access already, but the link will help you to locate the conference Teams, if you’re struggling to find it at present.

The panel Teams channels will go live from 9am BST on Thursday 8th April. The official welcome will be at 3pm BST on Thursday, in the ‘Welcome’ channel.

In advance of the main conference, there’s an ECR Pre-Conference ‘Show and Tell!’ Event (7pm BST Wednesday 7th April):

If you're an Early Career Researcher, please come along to this pre-conference social event for some light networking and an opportunity to meet the rest of the community. Bring with you an image that bears in some way on the subject of your research. This could be something you're working on right now - a text, object, or artwork. You'll have just a few moments to introduce your image and yourself informally. This is not an official presentation, and participation is completely optional. Some of the BSLS committee will be along to welcome you as well! When the time comes, connect to Wonder via this link.

Do look out for the announcement on Thursday morning, and we look forward to seeing you very soon!

BSLS Executive Committee

The executive committee are busy preparing the online platforms ready for the annual conference next week, and we'll be issuing the confirmed conference programme after the Easter weekend. All current members should now have access to the conference MS Teams. If you're a new member, you should have received an email inviting you to join the Teams site - do check your junkmail if this doesn't seem to have arrived yet.

We look forward to seeing you next week - more information soon!