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BSLS will be proposing two panels to the ‘English: Shared Futures 2’ conference in Manchester next year, and seeks members to represent us, following the Society’s successful panel at the first ‘Shared Futures’ in 2017. The first will be a general panel on the latest research in literature and science, consisting of 5 x 10-minute papers followed by Q&A. There is no theme for this panel, but we particularly welcome papers on literature and science in relation to recent trends/topics in the field, such as popular literature, children’s literature, decanonizing and decolonizing, and the environment. The second is a roundtable, ‘Turning English into STEAM: what can English do with Science - for schools, universities and the public?’, which will seek to showcase (and encourage further) outward-facing work by our members, and will involve 5 speakers.
 
We would like the panels to demonstrate the full breadth of what we do as literature and science scholars, and to involve researchers at all career stages. For those without permanent positions or access to research funds, BSLS will provide bursaries for travel/ accommodation/ registration fees.
 
Please send a title, 100-word description, and brief biog (which includes details regarding your career stage) to the Chair of BSLS, Greg Lynall (g.j.lynall@liverpool.ac.uk), by Monday 23 September.
 
Details regarding the conference itself can be found at <https://www.englishsharedfutures.uk/>
 

 

The ERC-funded project Diseases of Modern Life: Nineteenth Century Perspectives is pleased to announce the launch of its database for researchers. The database contains a list of over 3000 references, gathered together by researchers on the project. The majority of these are primary sources, with a small selection of secondary sources which provide historical context, from seven of the thematic strands explored by the project: Finance and Speculation, Diseases of Professions and Occupations, Addiction, Climate and Health, Education and Overpressure, Nervous Diseases, Technology and New Inventions. Primary sources range from newspaper and journal articles to printed books, from across the long nineteenth century. 
 
The entries will be helpful for research ranging across nineteenth-century medicine, science and culture. It can be accessed online or downloaded for full functionality at the following link: https://diseasesofmodernlife.web.ox.ac.uk/database. Please share this far and wide! 

Extinctions and Rebellions

Saturday 16th November 2019

University of Liverpool

Organisers: Anna Burton and Sally Blackburn-Daniels

“We are at a time in history where everyone with any insight of the climate crisis that threatens our civilisation – and the entire biosphere – must speak out in clear language, no matter how uncomfortable and unprofitable that may be.”

In 2019, extinction is no longer the province of dinosaurs, the Dodo, or species far away in space and time. As Greta Thunberg argued in her Davos speech earlier this year, and as the ongoing socio-political efforts of the Extinction Rebellion suggest, extinction of the human (as well as the non-human) is an immediate concern and a very possible outcome of the climate crisis, unless significant action is taken by all. With this in mind, the ‘Extinctions and Rebellions’ symposium will think about the varied cultural discourses of extinction, past and present. It will not only be a platform to discuss current environmental and ecological concerns of the Anthropocene in the cultural imagination, but it also offers a space to think about how previous literary and scientific forms have imagined extinction as a process or finality, and how these conversations speak to and could offer a means to think about our current climate crisis. Moreover, we will explore ‘extinction’ and ‘rebellion’ as they pertain to questions of literary form and scientific theory and practice. This one-day event will allow postgraduates, early-career researchers, and academics to think about how the sciences and humanities can work together, inform, and facilitate the “clear language” needed to rebel against human and non-human extinction.

The questions presented by this symposium theme are relevant to all researchers, and we welcome delegates from varied career stages to allow for a diverse discussion. However, ‘Extinctions and Rebellions’ will also focus on how researchers in the earlier phases of their career can start (or continue) to think about the relevance and impacts of their work. The question of ‘Impact’ for REF2021 is one often discussed by established academics, but through a ‘Literature, Science, and Impact’ roundtable, this event will encourage postgraduates and ECRs to discuss the ways in which this field and their work can create changes to thinking and behaviours, and what this can mean for their future research too.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Non-human Species and Ecological Biodiversity
  • Climate Crisis, Environmentalism, and the Anthropocene
  • Imagining the End of the World and/or the Apocalypse
  • Scientific Extinctions (discourses that have been disproved or are no longer relevant)
  • Extinct or Dormant Literary Forms (which have a bearing on science)
  • Transhumanism and/or Posthumanism (ways of extending life and humanity beyond extinction using technology)
  • Creative writing and Extinction

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers. Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to bslsrebellions@gmail.com by Monday 23rd September 2019, accompanied by a short biography (100 words). We are also seeking a couple of  kind volunteers for the Impact Roundtable, so if interested in participating, please get in touch!

Following the success of the JLS/BSLS essay prize in previous years, The JLS and the British Society for Literature and Science would like to announce the 2019 prize for the best new essay by an early career scholar on a topic within the field of literature and science.

Essays should be currently unpublished and not under consideration by another journal. They should be approx. 8,000 words long, inclusive of references, and should be send by email to both Will Tattersdill, Communications Officer of the BSLS (w.j.tattersdill@bham.ac.uk), and Martin Willis, Editor of the JLS (willism8@cardiff.ac.uk), by 12 noon on Friday, 30th August, 2019

The prize is open to BSLS members who are postgraduate students or have completed a doctorate within three years of this date.

The prize will be judged jointly by representatives of the BSLS and JLS. The winning essay will be announced on the BSLS website and published in the JLS. The winner will also receive a prize of £100.

Read previous prize winning essays in the JLS: www.literatureandscience.org

(The judges reserve the right not to award the prize should no essay of a high enough standard be submitted.)

Registration is now open for Beastly Modernisms

An international conference on the animal turn in modernist studies.

University of Glasgow (12-13th September 2019)

You can register here! We welcome delegates from across the arts, animal studies, and beyond, at all levels of study. 

Our programme is available on our website

Follow us @BeastlyMods

Contact us: beastlymodernisms@gmail.com

If you are a postgraduate student based in Scotland attending as a delegate, and would like to be considered for the Scottish Network of Modernist Studies student travel bursary please email us to register your interest.

The Journal of Literature and Science http://www.literatureandscience.org is once again looking for reviewers to review various articles published in the last year to 18 months in the field of literature and science.

Please find below a number of articles that we would like to offer for review for the Journal’s forthcoming 2019 Winter issue. Its largely first come, first served, so do get in touch with an offer to review a specific article by emailing Michelle Geric m.geric@westminster.ac.uk

I would also be very happy to receive suggestions for other relevant articles for review that aren’t listed below – please do let me know.

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:

Sandra Robinson. “Databases and Doppelgängers: New Articulations of Power.” Configurations 26. 4 (2018): 411-440. 

Valerie O'Brien. “‘A Genius for Unreality’: Neurodiversity in Elizabeth Bowen's Eva Trout.” Journal of Modern Literature 42. 2 (2019): 75-93.

Lorenzo Servitje. “Of Drugs and Droogs: Cultural Dynamics, Psychopharmacology, and Neuroscience in Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange.” Literature and Medicine 36. 1 (2018): 101-123.

Kurt Beals, “‘Do the New Poets Think? It's Possible’: Computer Poetry and Cyborg Subjectivity.” Configurations 26. 2 (2018): 149-177. 

Ursula K Heise. “Science Fiction and the Time Scales of the Anthropocene.” ELH 86. 2 (2019): 275-304.

Jocelyn Rodal. “Patterned Ambiguities: Virginia Woolf, Mathematical Variables, and Form.” Configurations 26. 1 (2018): 73-101.

Christy Rieger. “Chemical Romance: Genre and Materia Medica in Late-Victorian Drug Fiction.” Victorian Literature and Culture 47. 2 (2019): 409-437.

Pascale McCullough Manning. “The Hyde We Live In: Stevenson, Evolution, and the Anthropogenic Fog.” Victorian Literature and Culture 46. 1 (2018): 181–99.

Katja Jylkka, “‘Witness the Plesiosaurus’: Geological Traces and the Loch Ness Monster Narrative.” Configurations 26. 2 (2018): 207-234.

Thomas M. Stuart, “Out of Time: Queer Temporality and Eugenic Monstrosity.” Victorian Studies 60. 2 (2018): 218-227.

Larsen, Haley. “‘The Spirit of Electricity’: Henry James's In the Cage and Electric Female Imagination at the Turn of the Century.” Configurations 26. 4 (2018): 357-387. 

Elisavet Ioannidou. “Neo-Victorian Visions of the Future: Science, Crime, and Modernity.” Victoriographies 8. 2 (2018): 187-205. 

Mary Kuhn, “Dickinson and the Politics of Plant Sensibility.” ELH 85. 1 (2018): 141-170.

Doreen Thierauf. “Tending to Old Stories: Daniel Deronda and Hysteria, Revisited. Victorian Literature and Culture 46. 2 (2018): 443-465.

Sara Brio. “The Shocking Truth: Science, Religion, and Ancient Egypt in Early Nineteenth-Century Fiction.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 40. 4 (2018): 331-344.

John Rogers. “Newton's Arian Epistemology and the Cosmogony of Paradise Lost.” ELH 86. 1 (2019): 77-106. 

Alexander Jakobidze-Gitman. “The Rise of Machines in Reformation Nuremberg: Jakob Ayrer's ‘Fastnachtspiel of Fritz Dölla with His Bewitched Fiddle’.” Configurations 26. 4 (2018): 441-469. 

I would also like to draw the attention of potential reviewers to the recent issue of Literature and Medicine which is themed “Chemistry, Disability, and Frankenstein” (volume 36, no. 2, 2018). Please do get in touch if there is an article from this issue that you would like to review.

Word follows of a fundraising campaign which is not officially connected to the BSLS, but in which BSLS members might be interested:

Charles Lyell (1797 - 1875) is well known for his part in the Darwinian evolutionary debates, his travels to America and his role in convincing readers of the significance of 'deep time'. During the past decade, Lyell's geographical theory of climate and his subdivisions of recent geological periods have gained renewed attention in connection with discussions of climate change and the Anthropocene. The Lyell archive is almost certainly the most important manuscript collection relating to nineteenth century science still in private hands.  At its core are 294 notebooks, which provide a daily record of Lyell's private thoughts, reading notes, travels, field observations and conversations from the mid-1820s to his death half a century later.

In order for the family to meet inheritance tax, the Lyell notebooks were sold to an unknown foreign buyer towards the end of last year. Fortunately, the UK government has imposed a temporary export ban to enable fundraising to purchase these remarkable documents, conserve them, and make them available on-line for free to the public. The University of Edinburgh Library, which already has the largest collection of Lyell material, is organizing the campaign. The website for this became active at the end of last week. The sum required is £1,444,000; major donors have already pledged more than a third of the total needed.

The temporary export ban has an initial deadline of 15th July, so time is extremely short.  If significant progress is made, then it may be extended until 15th October. Therefore, all who are interested are asked to pledge a donation, which will only be collected when the required amount is achieved. For more information about the notebooks and to make a pledge, please click on https://www.ed.ac.uk/giving/save-lyell-notebooks/pledge-to-save/

If you, your students and friends can give anything to this campaign--even five pounds or a pound--it will make a big difference, not least in showing larger donors that there is substantial public interest and concern. It would be great if we can get the donor count over 1000.

I'd appreciate it if you could pass on this message to anyone who might be interested, and to any other relevant lists.

Jim Secord (jas1010@cam.ac.uk)
Professor of History and Philosophy of Science
Director, Darwin Correspondence Project
University of Cambridge

Thanks to the support of the Institute of Modern Languages Research at the University of London (@IMLR_News), the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (@asmcf), the British Society for Literature and Science (@TheBSLS), and the Centre for Environmental Humanities at the University of Bristol (@UoBrisCEH), we were able to hold a workshop for early career researchers working on French and Francophone contexts (day one), followed by a widening participation event for teachers and A-Level students (day two).  Day one involved the speakers and four participants, which proved to be advantageous for focussed discussion of the papers as work-in-progress for a forthcoming special issue edited by Daniel Finch-Race, which will be the primary academic publication from the event. On day two, four workshops were delivered to nine teachers and A-Level learners: close readings of literary texts (session one) and films (session three) bracketed parallel workshops on translation (session two).

Day one began with a panel on nineteenth-century French texts. James Illingworth approached George Sand’s volcanic imagery as an instance of eco-feminism avant la lettre. Sarah Jones considered Emile Zola’s interest in madness and hysteria. Arthur Rose returned to Zola’s Germinal as a source text for thinking about coal use in the Anthropocene. After a short break, Keir Waddington delivered an excellent keynote on trends in French environmental historiography as part of an argument that sought to recover the role of topography in thinking about environmental health. After lunch, there were two presentations on twentieth-century francophone writing. Joe Ford’s close reading of key passages in Albert Camus’ L’Étranger showed how the narrative plays with subject positions to problematize the protagonist’s agency. Holly Langstaff reflected on the animal presence that persists across Maurice Blanchot’s oeuvre, particularly his ‘mouche importune’. In the final session, Frances Hemsley considered how contemporary Rwandan testimonial writing demonstrates the entwinement of insect-eradication campaigns with the forced displacement of groups during the late colonial period. Kasia Mika introduced us to the ‘cholera chronotope’ as a mode for considering time and place in activist documentaries about UN peacekeepers introducing cholera into Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

On day two, Langstaff, Illingworth, Ford, Rose and Finch-Race delivered four one-hour workshops on how the environmental humanities and medical humanities can be used in teaching A-Level French. The close-knit audience was exceptional: each of the ECRs delivering the workshop commented upon the engagement of the teachers and learners. At the end of the day, the audience’s feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with several people referring to how the sessions provided the means and motivation to develop their work.

Arthur Rose

Tags:

Friday 10 May 2019
9:15-16:45
University of Bristol – 10 Woodland Road
#EnviroMedicalHumanities

This free conference will feature eight papers by early-career researchers and a keynote by Professor Keir Waddington (@keir_waddington).

On the following day, Saturday 11th, five of the speakers will be at the University of Bristol's School of Modern Languages to deliver masterclasses for teachers and pupils.

These activities are supported by the Institute of Modern Languages Research at the University of London (@IMLR_News), the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (@asmcf), the British Society for Literature and Science (@TheBSLS), and the Centre for Environmental Humanities at the University of Bristol (@UoBrisCEH).

You are welcome to register on Eventbrite for as much of the programme as you like:
www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/enviro-medical-approaches-to-modern-francophone-culture-tickets-60885766968.

9:15, Welcome
Dan Finch-Race

9:30, Panel 1 James Illingworth (Exeter) – George Sand's Volcanic Imagination
Sarah Jones (Oxford) – Zola: Medicine and Madness
Arthur Rose (Bristol) – Coal Politics: Receiving Émile Zola's Germinal

*11:00, Break

11:30, Keynote Keir Waddington (Cardiff) – A Flat Past? History, Environment, Topography and Medicine

*12:30, Lunch break

13:30, Panel 2 Joseph Ford (IMLR) – Towards an 'Environmental Ethic' in the Literary Writing of Albert Camus
Beatrice Ivey (Stirling) – Remembering Natural Disasters with Nathacha Appanah and Nina Bouraoui
Holly Langstaff (Oxford/Warwick) – 'Une mouche importune': Reading Insects in Maurice Blanchot

*15:00, Break

15:30, Panel 3 Frances Hemsley (Bristol) – Health and Environment in 'New' Rwandan Testimonial Literature
Kasia Mika (Amsterdam) – Cholera Chronotopes: Living in and through 'the Time of Cholera'

16:30, Closing remarks
Dan Finch-Race

Half-day international symposium. Friday 7 June 2019 at 2-8 pm. Free admission.

The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS

Founded in 1799, the Royal Institution became the home of science education and the site of scientific discoveries and technological innovations which changed the world. In its early years, this remarkable scientific agenda was accompanied by an equally impressive programme of literary education, as luminaries such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Campbell and Sydney Smith took to the lecture podium to dazzle the fashionable male and female audiences of London with the latest advances in literary criticism and aesthetics. Science, poetry and philosophy combined in the work of the ‘chemical philosopher’ Humphry Davy and his literary friends, making the Royal Institution a centre of Romanticism as well as a focal point of the thriving public lecture culture of the time. This half-day symposium with talks by leading scholars will restore the forgotten literary history of the Royal Institution and highlight its unique interdisciplinary contribution to British Romantic culture.

Speakers: David Duff (Queen Mary University of London), Frank James (Royal Institution), Hattie Lloyd Edmondson (Science Museum), Seamus Perry (University of Oxford), Sharon Ruston (University of Lancaster), Sarah Zimmerman (Fordham University)

The event will conclude with a wine reception to celebrate the launch of Sarah Zimmerman’s new book The Romantic Literary Lecture in Britain (Oxford University Press), based partly on research done at the Royal Institution.

The event is free and open to everyone, including members of the public.

Click here for further details and to register for a free place

Organisers: David Duff d.duff@qmul.ac.uk; Sarah Zimmerman Zimmerman@fordham.edu

Sponsored by the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar, the Fordham Romanticism Group, Queen Mary University of London, and the Royal Institution of Great Britain

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