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The materials from our 2020 conference, which was moved online after the pandemic forced us to cancel the Sheffield event, have now been taken down. This was always the plan: the exec wanted members to be able to access materials at their own pace, but we also wanted to preserve some of the ephemerality of an in-person meeting. Contributors, too, wanted to feel confident sharing work in progress.

During the two weeks the conference was online, there were 894 visits to the site, peaking on April 17th - the day we hosted our online AGM and live keynote from Martin Willis. Video presentations (not including Martin's) were viewed a total of 319 times during this period. These numbers give only a vague sense of how many people were actually using the site, but at the very least they suggest that a healthy number of the c.110 prospective delegates to Sheffield visited at least fleetingly - and that some of the wider membership, who were not planning to travel to Sheffield, have also taken advantage. We hope that the papers, discussions, and live events - poor substitutes for the real event - were nonetheless useful and stimulating.

Our thanks are due to the thirty-six delegates who prepared and sent in presentations against a background of global turmoil; to Martin Willis for deliving a graceful keynote under pressure; to the University of Liverpool for hosting our Teams discussions; and, of course, to the organising team at Sheffield, led by Katherine Ebury and Helena Ifill. The programme of the conference-which-never-was is here, and the programme of our online offerings can be read here.

Delegates who did not send presentations in - please hold on to your abstracts! The BSLS is planning future ways of giving you a platform for your research, possibly this Winter. The BSLS remains committed to its annual meeting, and the 2021 gathering at Edinburgh Napier is currently being planned. But we have also been delighted by the uptake of the digital conference, and are thinking about ways for our future events to incorporate more online elements.

Over the next few months, I will be assembling ideas about what the society could offer to members via its site and its vimeo channel, thinking both about enhancing our research events and adding separate content. Anyone who wants to contribute to this thought process is encouraged to contact me!

Will Tattersdill
Communications Secretary

Following our brief announcement at the BSLS conference AGM last week, we are now delighted to announce that we have appointed three new Assistant Review Editors:

Iro Fillippaki (Johns Hopkins), who will have a responsibility for US presses, Joan Passey (Bristol) to assist with UK publications, and Leonie Rowland (Manchester Metropolitan) for continental European & Australasian Presses.

If you have any queries about reviews, please email bslsreviews@gmail.com

The number of applications, which were all excellent, far exceeded our expectations – and we are thrilled to see so much enthusiasm for participation in the BSLS. DO keep an eye out for positions for the executive committee which will become vacant in 2021!

In place of the Sheffield conference, which was to have started today, we have collected a large number of presentations onto a special part of the website. You can access the confauxrence here.

Please note that you must be logged in for this link to work, and that the materials will be viewable only until April 30th.

On the site you'll find:

  • 35 presentations, loosely divided into 11 theme areas. Some are videos, some are transcripts, and some are narrated PowerPoint files.
  • Details of our two live events (including a streamed keynote this Friday, 17th).
  • Publisher links, including discounts and free trials for BSLS members.

The live and discussion elements of the conference use Microsoft Teams. You should already have received an email from Greg Lynall, the society's Chair, about how to access Teams.

We understand that this provision will only be an echo of the meeting we had all planned for, but we hope it will be better than nothing! If you have any problems accessing the material, contact the communications secretary.

Industrial Action

Many members of the BSLS work at institutions affected by the current industrial action over pay, workload, and learning conditions in higher education. These issues affect the research output of the entire society.

Until the striking period ends on the 13th of March, this website will not post updates or recirculate CFPs or job offers. Such news as is in the communication secretary's email after that date will be posted then, if still relevant.

We thank international members, and members from non-striking institutions, for their patience.

This year's literary and visual landscapes [fb] symposium at Bristol will be held on the theme of 'Emotional Landscapes'. Proposals are invited from current postgraduates and early-career researchers at any institution, as well as independent researchers and non-academic practitioners (e.g. writers, artists, musicians). The deadline is 10th April 2020.

A flyer with more information on can be downloaded here [PDF].

CFP: The Eco-Georgic

From Antiquity to the Anthropocene.

The journal Ecozon@ is soliciting manuscripts of 6-8000 words for a forthcoming issue about 'The Eco-Georgic'. The submission deadline is January 15 2021, but they advise prospective contributors to get in touch with them informally ahead of time. Full details on the Ecozon@ website or on this PDF.

What do we talk about when we talk about extinction? As a concept, a process, and a specific event, as something troublingly natural and social, as both an observable but mostly unrecorded phenomenon, “extinction” carries competing and contradictory meanings. Yet in the current conjuncture, extinction operates as an emergent keyword of public life. Charged with new immediacy by the cascading effects of climate collapse, mobilised by the collective power of street movements such as Extinction Rebellion and Ende Gelände, and theorised by the nonhuman turns of the environmental humanities, Anthropocene, and multispecies studies, extinction can no longer be contained within the cabinets of natural history museums – if indeed it ever could.

Abstracts are now being solicited for a two-day symposium on the subject of Extinction in Public, to be held at Manchester Museum, October 15-16 2020. The CFP deadline is 10th March, and full details of the event can be read here.

Word reaches us that there are still some places left on this midwifery symposium which is coming up on the 28th of February in Newark, Lincs. Registration is free! If you're interested, please see this page on eventbrite for full details.

Richard Bates has asked us to spread word of this vacancy at Nottingham, finishing out an interdisciplinary AHRC grant on the life and work of Florence Nightingale.

"The role will suit a candidate with a PhD in post-1800 literature or history, social geography or digital humanities with an interest in applications to understanding health, gender or the rise of industry."

The post is fixed term until 28 Feb 2021 and pays £30,942 to £33,797 per annum pro-rata to 25 hrs per week. The deadline for applications is 28 Feb 2020. More details on jobs.ac.uk!

 

In 2020, the Cardiff ScienceHumanities group partners with the Fiction Meets Science Program, to host the summer school at their home base in Germany. The theme for 2020 is “Energies.”

Click to enlarge the flyer!

The ScienceHumanities Summer School features a week of workshops with leading scholars who have trained in a diverse array of disciplines—literature, history, philosophy, sociology, environmental science—and are doing research at the cross-section of the humanities and sciences. Students have the opportunity to engage with experienced researchers and a select cohort of peers from around the world, attending workshops on current research topics and career issues (publishing, professional network-building, etc). Professor Heidi Hutner (Stony Brook) will give the keynote address and teach one of the workshops.

In addition, you will have the opportunity to share ideas, concepts and methods with other doctoral students and begin to build a network of global contacts. The Summer School also incorporates a cultural programme focussed on the rich heritage of Bremen and the region.

The Summer School is open only to doctoral students located in universities and research centres worldwide. There are only 12 places available.

It is free to attend, but participants must be able to meet the cost of their own transport, accommodation and part of their subsistence during their stay at the HWK Institute for Advanced Study (Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg),  Delmenhorst. Advice will be given on accommodation and transport and meals will be included during the Summer School.

Two bursaries of £400 are available for students from nations with limited resources.

To express initial interest and receive an application form please email Professor Martin Willis on willism8@cardiff.ac.uk. Full details of the programme are here.

The closing date for expressions of interest is 19 February, 2020. Applications must be submitted by 28 February, 2020 and decisions will be communicated by 13 March, 2020. Participating doctoral students must be able to commit to the full 5 days of the Summer School.

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