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Thursday June 27, 9:00-18:00 BST --- Online & In-person (University of Edinburgh)

A one-day symposium exploring how the concept of 'sex' was theorised at the turn of the 20th century.

‘Fin de Sexe?’ is a one-day symposium that explores how sex, broadly construed, was theorised at the turn of the twentieth century. In doing so, it will place particular emphasis on how sexual types and practices emerged from, and between, scientific and ‘non-scientific’ disciplines. Panels will explore the diverse feelings and representations these modes of thinking about sex invited from such writers, those being written about, and their inevitable intersections.

The keynote, delivered by Professor Heike Bauer (Birkbeck, University of London), will explore the intersections between animal history and the modern history of sexuality.

About the Speaker:

Heike Bauer is Professor of Modern Literature and Cultural History, and Head of Research, Innovation and Knowledge Exchange of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Birkbeck, University of London. She has published widely on literature and the modern history of sexuality, the intersections between queer and animal histories, and the rise of queer and feminist graphic novels. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, member of the AHRC Peer Review College, advisory group member of Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Studies (BiGS), co-convenor of the History of Sexuality Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, and member of the editorial boards of Australian Feminist Studies, History of the Human Sciences, and Gender & History.


This event is free to attend, but please reserve your space via Eventbrite.

This event is co-organized by Claudia Sterbini and Ash Jayamohan at the University of Edinburgh.

A conference organised by Japan Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan, and the Commission on Science and Literature (DHST/IUHPST) Saturday 2 March 2024 (12:30-18:30) How does the study of historical scientific and literary connections contribute towards Japanese scholarly reception of anglophone literature? And how do Japanese literary and critical texts reflect these interrelated scientific and literary influences? This one-day conference, organized by Japan Women’s University (JWU), Tokyo, and the Commission on Science and Literature (CoSciLit), aims to consider these questions and to discuss the opportunities that the field of science and literature affords literary scholarship in Japan. 


Programme and registration now available. To register your (online or in person) attendance please go to:

For 2024, the annual conferences of the British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS) and the European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (SLSAeu), together with the biennial conference of the Commission on Science and Literature (CoSciLit), will be combined into a single meeting. This will be the first time that these three societies have joined together to share research at the many intersections of literature and science. 

Registration is now open.

  • In person, waged  £250
  • In person, unwaged £150
  • In person or online, hardship fund recipient £0
  • Online, waged £80
  • Online, unwaged £40

 There are also options to sign up for our conference dinner (vegan set menu) at Birmingham's award winning Asha's Indian Restaurant on Thursday April 11 and for trips to our BIFoR FACE forest research facility and the Ruskin Land forest site on Saturday April 13.       

Please note: There are only twenty places available on the visit to Ruskin Land and the BIFoR FACE site on Saturday 13 April, so if you would like to join this trip you should register as soon as possible.

The BSLS has very kindly agreed to subsidise the first forty bookings for the conference dinner made by unwaged delegates attending in person, so if you are one of these delegates and would like to join us for the dinner you may want to book soon too.

Friday 30 October: 16.30-18.00 (London); 17.30-19.00 (Rome); 11:30-13.00 (New York)
The focus of this workshop revisits and reconsiders the diverse literary forms that comprised early modern, natural philosophical knowledge and practice. From narrative poetry and allegorical romance, to philosophical theatre and thought experiments in prose, forms of ‘imaginative’ literature broadened the directions of natural philosophical pursuit and created new intellectual possibilities. This multi-disciplinary workshop teases out some of these complex threads, reflecting further on the place of imaginative literature within early modern natural philosophy. 

Speakers and papers 

Debapriya Sarkar (University of Connecticut): The Romance of Scientific Method 

Liza Blake (University of Toronto): Magnetic Physics and Theatrical Psychology: William Gilbert and Ben Jonson's Magnetic Lady 

Kathryn Murphy (University of Oxford): The Edge of the Self at the Limit of the World: Nathaniel Fairfax’s Thought Experiments 

This free event is organised by Cassie Gorman (Anglia Ruskin University), one of the Directors of Scientiae. To register, please email Cassie at and you will receive a link to join the workshop on Zoom. Please do not share this link. Note that we will be recording the workshop in its 90-minute duration. You can find details of past events in the series here:

Science meets poetry is exclusive to EuroScience Open Forum and now celebrates its tenth year. The year 2016 is one of important anniversaries: 400th since the death of Shakespeare and Cervantès, 500th since the publication of More’s Utopia. Manchester, as the birthplace of the industrial revolution, looms large in the poetry of our times. Wordsworth who fled pollution to the Lake District can be cast as a forerunner of the ecologist-poets. Chemistry was vital for addicts such as Thomas de Quincey. Today, we even have poetry inspired by graphene. British poets and scientists have never been ignorant of science, as exemplified by Humphry Davy, who kept a laboratory notebook also containing his verse. We have evidence that Shakespeare knew about Tycho Brahe, his contemporary. Did his knowledge extend to the controversy between Tycho and Johannes Kepler surrounding the heliocentric theory? And what were his views on astrology?

View the whole schedule here.

Registration is now open for this FREE interdisciplinary conference.

'The Body and Pseudoscience in the Long Nineteenth Century' Conference

18 June 2016, Newcastle University

'Sciences we now retrospectively regard as heterodox or marginal cannot be considered unambiguously to have held that status at a time when no clear orthodoxy existed that could confer that status upon them' (Alison Winter, 1997). The nineteenth century witnessed the drive to consolidate discrete scientific disciplines, many of which were concerned with the body. Attempts were made to clarify the boundaries between the 'scientific' and the 'pseudoscientific', between 'insiders' and 'outsiders'. This conference asks what became lost in separating the orthodox from the heterodox. What happened to the systems of knowledge and practice relating to the body that were marginalised as 'pseudoscience'? Was knowledge and insight into the human condition lost in the process? Or is it immortalised within the literature of 'pseudoscience'?

This interdisciplinary conference considers how different discourses of the body were imagined and articulated across a range of visual and verbal texts (including journalism, fiction, popular science writing, illustration) in order to evaluate how 'pseudoscience' contributed both to understandings of the body and what it is to be human and to the formation of those disciplines now deemed orthodox.

Please visit the website for more details of how to register and to view the provisional programme.

You are warmly invited to join us on Tuesday 2 June, when Professor Angelique Richardson (Exeter) will be addressing our Seminar with her paper entitled: ‘Hardy and the Scientific Imagination’.

We begin at 5:30pm in Room G24, Foster Court, University College London, Malet Place, London WC1.
Directions to this building can be found here:
Professor Angelique Richardson's paper will be followed by questions and discussion, and the meeting will conclude with a glass of wine at 7:30pm.
‘Hardy and the Scientific Imagination’.

This talk will explore ways in which Thomas Hardy took up aspects of science in his novels and poetry.  Considering his definition of science, and its role in fiction, it will focus in particular on his treatment of mind body relations during the 1870s and 1880s when the leading scientists and philosophers of his day were grappling with similar questions.

Professor Angelique Richardson (Exeter): Angelique Richardson is Associate Professor of English at the University of Exeter. Her books include Love and Eugenics in the Late Nineteenth Century, 2003, and, as editor, Women Who Did: Stories by Men and Women, 1890-1914, 2005, and After Darwin: Animals, Emotions, and the Mind, 2013. Her monograph Thomas Hardy and the Politics of Biology: Character, Culture and Environment is forthcoming.

Friday 1 May, 5:30 to 7:00pm
Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PW

Robert Boyle's air-pump experiments in 1659 provoked a lively debate over the possibility of a vacuum. The air-pump, a complicated and expensive device, became an emblem of the new experimental science that was promoted by the Royal Society. However, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes challenged both the validity of Boyle’s experiment and the philosophical foundations of this new approach to science. In their controversial book Leviathan and the Air-Pump (1985) Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer took up Hobbes’s case, arguing that experimental findings depend for their validity on the scientific culture in which they are made.

The historian of science David Wootton will review this controversy and present a new view of the dispute between Boyle and Hobbes. His lecture will be followed by a reply from Michael Hunter, the biographer of Robert Boyle. The discussion will be chaired by Ritchie Robertson (Taylor Professor of the German Language and Literature).

The discussion will be followed by a drinks reception. The event is free and open to all, but registration is recommended. Please visit to register.


This event is co-hosted by the Enlightenment Programme at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, the Museum of the Natural History and the Museum of the History of Science.

British Society for Literature and Science
Symposium on Teaching

University of Westminster, Regent Street, London – 8th November, 2014

CALL FOR PAPERS AND PARTICIPATION – REMINDER DEADLINE 10th OCTOBER (open registration details to follow)

Literature and Science is currently gaining popularity amongst undergraduates, but opportunities for discussing how – and why – to teach it remain thin on the ground. This one-day symposium, led by the British Society for Literature and Science with support from Westminster’s Centre for the Study of Science and Imagination, is designed to help further that discussion.

We are keen to hear from as many different perspectives as possible, and therefore invite contributions from anyone with experience as a teacher, postgraduate teaching assistant, student, or administrator of an undergraduate course on (or containing elements of) Literature and Science, broadly defined.

For this event, we have adopted a different format from the standard academic twenty-minute conference paper, and will ask speakers to present in a more informal tone and for different lengths of time depending on the session. These shorter, less formal presentations will minimise preparation time for speakers as well as increasing discussion time for all participants.

With this low-preparation, discursive format in mind, we warmly solicit expressions of interest (not more than 200 words, including a brief biography and details of experience with Literature and Science teaching) from potential speakers. These should be sent to Dr. Will Tattersdill ( not later than October 10th 2014. Subjects we are anxious to discuss include, but are not limited to:

Why Literature and Science is worth teaching to undergraduates (and why it might not be)
Reflections on how, if at all, Literature and Science needs to be taught differently from other undergraduate programmes.
Particular difficulties encountered in convening a Literature and Science course, be they conceptual, administrative, logistical, or pedagogical.
Experiences collaborating with academic staff from other disciplines, including the sciences.
Student reactions to Literature and Science material, positive and negative.
We are committed to inviting contributions from those teaching literature and science across all historical periods, working across international educational contexts as well as within the British higher education system. There will be invited speakers as well as this open call, and current undergraduates will hopefully be among the delegates.

Many of us teach literature and science on our own initiative, coping individually with both the joys and challenges raised by the endeavour. This is an important chance to consolidate those experiences and build strategies – and collegial networks – which will continue to drive the field forward at its grass roots: undergraduate teaching.

Cian Duffy (St. Mary’s)
Allyson Purcell-Davis (St. Mary’s)
Janine Rogers (Mt. Allison)
Will Tattersdill (Birmingham)
Martin Willis (Westminster)

The tenth annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science will take place at the University of Liverpool, on 16-18 April 2015. Keynote talks will be given by Professor Keith Barnham (Imperial College London), Dr Patricia Fara (University of Cambridge), and Dr Claire Preston (Queen Mary University of London).

The BSLS invites proposals for twenty-minute papers, or panels of three papers, on any subjects within the field of literature and science. In addition, ‘flash talks’ of up to 7 minutes on any topic are invited for a special plenary session. Other formats are also welcomed, but please email your suggestion to the organisers (via for consideration, well in advance of the submission deadline.

This year the organisers would particularly welcome proposals addressing the themes of light, optics, vision and colour, and proposals for papers, panels or roundtables on engaging the public with literature and science research. However, the BSLS remains committed to supporting and showcasing work on all aspects of literature – including comparative literature and European and world literatures – and science, medicine and technology.

Proposals of no more than 250 words, together with the name and institutional affiliation of the speaker, and a biographical note of around 50 words, should be sent in the body of messages (not in attachments) to Proposals for panels should include a separate proposal and biographical note for each paper. The closing date for submissions is Friday 5 December 2014.

The conference fee will be waived for two graduate students in exchange for written reports on the conference, to be published in the BSLS Newsletter. If you are interested in being selected for one of these awards, please mention this when sending in your proposal. To qualify you will need to be registered for a postgraduate degree at the time of the conference.

Accommodation: please note that those attending the conference will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation. Information on local hotels will be made available soon on the forthcoming conference website.

Membership: conference delegates will need to register as members of the BSLS (annual membership: £25 waged/ £10 unwaged). It will be possible to join the BSLS when registering for the conference online.

For further information and updates about the conference, please contact Greg Lynall ( A conference website will be available in due course.

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