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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   


Call for Papers

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

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 by 30 November 2017. 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 5 January 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)

Configurations, the journal of SLSA (The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts) is seeking submissions for a special issue on Science Studies and the Blue Humanities, edited by Stacy Alaimo. We are interested in essays, position papers, provocations, and artist statements that explore the significance of science studies for the development of the blue humanities. As oceans and bodies of fresh water increasingly become sites for environmentally-oriented arts and humanities scholarship, how can the emerging blue humanities best engage with the theories, questions, paradigms, and methods of science studies? How do questions of scale, temporality, materiality, and mediation emerge in aquatic zones and modes? How can literature, art, data visualization, and digital media best respond to the rapidly developing sciences of ocean acidification and climate change as well as the less publicized concerns such as the effect of military sonar on cetaceans? Work on postcolonial/decolonial science studies, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), indigenous sciences, and citizen science especially welcome. Please submit 5,000-7,000 word essays; 3,000 word position papers or provocations; or 2,000 word artist statements (with one or two illustrations or a link to a digital work); to Stacy Alaimo,, by February 1, 2018, for consideration. All essays will be peer-reviewed, following the standard editorial procedures of Configurations.

Ordering knowledge, from Bacon to the Shelleys

International conference

16-17 March 2018

University of Strasbourg

Organised by Pôle Grand-EST-SEAA XVII-XVIII (Société d’Etudes Anglo-Américaines du XVIIe et XVIIe siècles) in collaboration with IDEA (Interdisiciplinarité dans les Etudes Anglophones, Univ. de Lorraine) and SEARCH (Savoirs dans l’Espace Anglophone : Représentations, Culture, Histoire, Univ. de Strasbourg).

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Laurence Talairach-Vielmas (Centre Alexandre Koyré, University of Toulouse)

Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest)

Organising committee:

Anne Bandry-Scubbi (Université de Strasbourg)

Jean-Jacques Chardin (Université de Strasbourg)

Richard Somerset (Université de Lorraine)

Proposals of around 300 words should be sent by Monday 2 October to and

In his 1667 tract publicizing and promoting the newly-created Royal Society, Thomas Sprat argued that while the Baconian experimental methods championed by the Society’s members imposed upon them “a close, naked, natural way of speaking” and “a constant Resolution, to reject all the amplifications, digressions, and swellings of style,” the austerity of this linguistic recommendation would not imply a distancing of philosophical and literary cultures. Beyond the stylistic debate around the desirability or not of ornamentation in language, the experimental method would benefit poetry by improving the justness of perceptions: it was thus expected that knowledge of “the Works of Nature” would prove “one of the best and most fruitful Soils for the growth of Wit.” For Sprat, the weak natural knowledge of the Ancients had produced a literature of limited imaginative scope; but the resources in imagery of the more fortunate Moderns were about to be replenished by “the charitable assistance [of] Experiments.” The images thus derived from observation were natural not conventional since “they proceed from things that enter into all men’s Senses” and which are therefore “nearest to their Nature.” The perceiver who ignores empirical method and relies only on immediate sense impressions is condemned to see with the eyes of convention and therefore to fail to perceive nature truly, or to discern its true beauties.

In his ‘A Defence of Poetry’ written just over a hundred and fifty years later, Percy Bysshe Shelley also insisted on the convergent pathways of science and poetry; only for him it was the poet who was to be in the driving seat. To thinkers influenced by German Idealism at the end of the eighteenth century, the experimentalists’ attempts to side-line the perceiving mind in the knowledge-building process could only result in distorted understanding. It was in fact the combination of perceptive acumen guided by richness of insight that was best apt to “defeat the curse which binds us to be subjected to the accident of surrounding impressions.” Poetry and science alike, when pursued by such minds, enable us to see beyond familiar appearances and to become “the inhabitants of a world to which the familiar world is a chaos.” Each “creates anew the universe, after it has been annihilated in our minds by the recurrence of impressions blunted by reiteration.” For Shelley and the Romantics generally, failure to accept the operative function of the agent will leave us the slaves of the appearances, and incapable of perceiving – far less understanding – the living spark at the heart of nature that is simultaneously the true object of enquiry for the natural philosopher, and the ultimate subject of expression for the poet.

At the one extreme, then, stands the apologist for the new science holding out to men of letters the promise that philosophical and cultural renewal go hand in hand, with the former promising to nourish the latter; at the other extreme, a similar gesture is made in the opposite direction, inviting the natural philosopher to revive and correct his inadequate conceptions by drinking at the fountain of poetic insight. But however opposed their prescriptions, Sprat and Shelley shared the assumption that ‘knowledge’ and ‘culture’ can and should cooperate. Any attempt definitively to separate them would destroy both.

The current institutional norm that places science and literature in non-communicating disciplinary spaces is thus a recent development. Emerging in the late nineteenth century, it was less the result of epistemological divergence than of the politics of institutionalisation and specialisation. The implications for the historian are far-reaching. It does not suffice merely to notice the difference of prior epistemological arrangements in order to understand their operation; we need to attempt to think through the appropriate prisms. Thus, rather than anachronistically seeking interactions between ‘Literature’ and ‘Science,’ it may be more fruitful to treat the ‘knowledge’ of the period in holistic terms: a complex whole requiring the input of an ever-broader range of specialists but also the policing or structuring input of political, social and cultural authorities capable of bestowing status and value.

Following this orientation, the conference aims to re-examine the norms and modes of knowledge-production in the period after the introduction of ‘scientific method’ but before the definitive fragmentation of the sciences and the humanities into distinct disciplinary fields. It seeks to relate those norms to broader political, institutional and epistemological considerations, and by so doing to sketch out the contours of the period’s continued aspiration to a holistic knowledge economy. A fuller sense of this persistence is essential to the present-day historian’s attempts to retrieve the cultures of the past in their full complexity, and to the aptitude of academics in general to situate their own practices in a broader disciplinary history.

Potential themes for conference papers include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Taxonomies of knowledge and their representation; changing taxonomical order
  • Early phases in the emergence of ‘intermediary’ disciplines, notably the ‘historical sciences’ (geology, palaeontology, anthropology) and the ‘scientific humanities’ (philology, antiquarianism/archaeology). The place of ‘civil history’ in this spectrum
  • Institutional framing of disciplinary practices; their interactions
  • Modes of exchange and dissemination of culture and knowledge; networks of influence
  • The emergence of disciplines and the emergence of national identity
  • Ancient learning versus modern method: polemics, debates and satire
  • The ‘man of letters’ and the ‘man of science’ as citizens of the ‘republic of letters’
  • Women in the knowledge economy
  • Cross-fertilisation of generic codes
  • Disciplines, education and social status
  • University curricula; dissenting academies

Case studies of representative figures, working across a range of disciplinary specialisms

The Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University has extended its application period for Visiting Fellowships under the theme of ‘Imagining Science and Technology 200 Years after Frankenstein’ until 23 June 2017

Interdisciplinarity in Practice: Medical Humanities Research Workshop for PGRs

Thursday 7th September, University of Leeds, 11am – 6pm
We warmly invite participants for a one-day workshop addressing the scholarly challenges and collaborative opportunities surrounding postgraduate research in the medical humanities.
Increasing numbers of postgraduate students from a wide range of disciplines are undertaking work on human health, wellbeing, disease, and the body that entails interdisciplinary approaches. Conducting PhD research across disciplinary boundaries offers significant opportunities for innovative scholarship, but it can also present practical and intellectual challenges for those at the earlier stages of their academic careers.
This workshop, supported by the AHRC, will bring together postgraduate students in the medical humanities for interactive sessions and open discussion on research skills and professional career development in the field. Session leaders include Dr Emily T. Troscianko (Oxford), Dr Victoria Bates (Bristol), Dr Sam Goodman (Bournemouth), Dr James Stark (Leeds) and Dr Catherine Oakley (Leeds), with a keynote address from Professor Jane Macnaughton (Durham).
Session topics will cover: 
  • Undertaking an interdisciplinary PhD
  • Research methodologies
  • The disciplines of the medical humanities and disciplinary “identity”
  • Adapting your work for different audiences
  • Collaboration within and beyond academia
  • Positioning yourself for job and funding applications
  • Publishing in the field

For more details and the application process, see here. Please address any queries to Dr James Stark (

SYROS, 5-8 JULY 2017
“Beyond Nature in Science and Literature”
The International Commission on Science and Literature DHST/IUHPST, the Hellenic Open University and the Institute of Historical Research/ National Hellenic Research Foundation organize a two-days’ workshop to study “Beyond Nature in Science and Literature”. The CoSciLit workshop is a new addition to the very prestigious “Hermoupolis Seminars” which have been organized for more than 30 years every July on Syros Island.
This workshop follows the successful 1st workshop organized in 2016 on the theme of "Nature(s), Humans and God(s) in Literature. Representations" and it will be part of series of workshops which will be organized with a specific theme every July. The venue of the workshop will be the “Historical Archives of the State” in the Town Hall of Hermoulis. Hermoupolis was once the capital of Greece and a city of great cultural, scientific and industrial heritage. Syros Island is very close to Piraeus by boat and an ideal place for a high quality, inexpensive summer visit.
Those who are willing to participate in the workshop with a presentation may ask further information and/or submit an abstract of max. 200 words sending an email to until 31st May 2017.
Languages: English, Greek, French, German.
For participants giving a paper there will be a modest fee of 50 Euros and for those who will attend without a paper a fee of 40 Euros to cover administrative expenses. There will be some hotels with reduced prices on offer for the participants but there are plenty of places, in Hermoupolis or close by, at very convenient prices.




Keynote Speaker: Professor N. Katherine Hayles (Duke University)

In 2018 Cardiff University’s ScienceHumanities research group will host a week-long International Summer School dedicated to the examination of the relations between the humanities and the sciences.

The Summer School programme features workshops from leading scholars in literature and science, the histories of science and medicine, and the philosophy of science from across the UK and Europe. It is designed to give you access to significant researchers in the field, and professional development opportunities on publishing, public engagement, and archival research.

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 Cardiff as both a Welsh and British city.

The Summer School is open only to doctoral students located in universities and research centres outside the UK. 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 in Cardiff. Advice will be given on accommodation and transport and some 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 Further information can be found on the ScienceHumanities website at:

The closing date for expressions of interest is 29 September, 2017. Applications must be submitted by 30 November, 2017 and decisions will be communicated by 31 December, 2017. Participating doctoral students must be able to commit to the full 5 days of the Summer School.

The Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University presents

Imagineers in Circus and Science: Scientific knowledge and creative imagination

Tuesday 3 - Thursday 5 April 2018


Scientists seek to investigate the ways in which nature works and to ask how humanity can best comprehend different aspects of the universe. By challenging conventional wisdom, scientists can act as rebels against the status quo and common sense. In cultural and fictional contexts, they may appear and behave like artists: creative, skilled craftsmen; ‘imagineers’ and bewildering performers. These fictional scientists do not merely domesticate the unknown and the uncanny, they also invent and stage it.

One of the most productive breeding grounds for the invention, amalgamation, and staging of scientific knowledge and creative imagination has been the circus and related cultural phenomena, such as freakshows, carnivals, and 19th-century ‘scientific’ museums. These sensational, kaleidoscopic institutions present(ed) manifold wondrous exhibits, including automatons, wax figures, and mummies, but they also presented scientific discoveries. Barnum’s American Museum, for example, made hundreds of previously unseen specimens accessible to a broad audience.

Exhibitions and shows of this type united science with mystery, acted as mediators of knowledge, and were often the primary public source of information about the current state of scientific research. They are reminders that science and its pursuits are matters of perspective, and the product and producer of good stories. What do these stories tell us about the “two cultures” of the humanities and science?

Conference speakers

  • Professor Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (Emory University) (Provisional)
  • Professor Jane Goodall (University of Western Sydney)
  • Professor Richard Weihe (Accademia Teatro Dimitri/SUPSI Verscio, Switzerland)

Call for papers

We welcome proposals for individual, 20-minute papers addressing any aspect of science and the circus (and related phenomena) including:

  • Cultural and literary studies
  • Circus studies, Theatre and performance studies
  • Indigenous literatures from around the world and their relation to science and performance
  • Posthumanism
  • Zoopoetics, animal art and critical animal studies
  • Intersections of aesthetic and scientific treatments of cultural issues
  • Imaginaries of technology and performance (e.g. in films)
  • Museology, and applied art and science

While this conference is concerned primarily with culture and literature, we envisage it as a multi-disciplinary event and will welcome proposals from any disciplinary perspective.

The conference will be held at the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, from the 3rd to the 5th of April, 2018. Please submit an abstract (200 words max.) and a brief bio (100 words max.) as Word documents by 31 July 2017 to the conference convenor, Dr Anna-Sophie Jürgens, at

Accepted papers will be announced by 1 September 2017. Selected papers from the conference will be published in a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal.


For inquiries about the conference, please email Dr Jürgens or

This year at the BSLS Annual Conference in Bristol members of the society will be part of an experimental format linking panels, conferences, learned societies and countries. The panel “Collective Knowledge: Museums, Scientific Inquiry, and Literature” (Friday, April 7 at 9am) is part of a trans-Atlantic, 2-panel event that pairs a panel at the British Society of Literature and Science (BSLS) in Bristol in April 2017 with a roundtable at the annual conference of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities in Toronto in May 2017. The structure of the event is described in the link to the ACCUTE blogsite here:


We hope many of you will be able to join us for this panel at the BSLS conference. We will also post a link to the videos when they become available online.


BSLS Executive Committee Positions
Three positions on the BSLS Executive Committee will be either vacant or up for renewal in April: International officer (North America), Communications officer, and Member at Large. Present incumbents in two of the positions (Communications officer, and Member at Large) are seeking to continue in their roles, but all three posts are open to nominations.
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 ( and myself, the Secretary ( Expressions of interest and proposals should be received by 2nd April 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
13 March 2017
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.

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