2012 Conference

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If you're making an extended stay in Oxford, some of the following events and places may be of interest. See also the Oxford City Guide and Visit Oxfordshire websites.

Museum of the History of Science, Broad St, OX1 3AZ: ‘Time Machines’. Open 12.00-17.00, and 10.00-17.00 on Saturdays.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Park Rd, OX1 3PW. Open 10.00-17.00. http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/

Pitt Rivers Museum (entrance via the Museum of Natural History). Open 10.00-16.30. http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/

Ruth Simons, ‘Drawing a Line’, exhibition at the North Wall Gallery, South Parade, Summertown, OX2 7NN. Open 11.00-16.00.

The Factory and Creation Theatre present The Odyssey, Norrington Room, Blackwell’s Bookshop, Broad Street.

Online booking for the BSLS 2012 conference is now available here:


Please note that if you wish to book for the conference dinner at Merton, you must do so by Friday 30th March. (Because of the Easter break, the college needs notice of numbers far in advance.) Please note also that the price of the dinner is not inclusive of drinks.

The conference programme is now available here (at a slightly different address from the one previously ciruclated):


BSLS 2012 Workshop Proposal “Experiments in Theatre: New Directions in Science and Performance”

In 2002, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews published a special issue on Theatre and Science that became the springboard for key debates that have helped to shape and define the field. Since then, several new books and dozens of articles have significantly expanded the scholarship on theatre and science, while a steady flow of new work for the stage has shown that the interactions between science and theatre continue to surprise, delight, and provoke audiences and readers around the world.

Now, a decade on, we plan to hold a workshop that will bring together scholars and practitioners engaging with theatre and science to explore new developments, directions, and explorations in this ever-expanding field. This is an opportunity to share work in progress and get feedback on it, take stock of current trends in the field and suggest new ones.

Format: participants will distribute their papers ahead of the workshop, allowing them to be read beforehand so that on the day we will only need brief summaries from each participant and can devote most of the session to discussion, questions and answers, and targeted responses. We will encourage audience participation in the Q and A.

Topics the workshop might explore include (but are not limited to):

  • How has the field evolved and expanded away from the focus on text-based “science plays” like Stoppard’s Arcadia, Wertenbaker’s After Darwin, and Frayn’s Copenhagen to a greater emphasis on performance in its broadest sense, through such diverse practitioners as Complicite (A Disappearing Number), Punchdrunk (Faust), Athletes of the Heart (Yerma’s Eggs), and Clod Ensemble (Performing Medicine)?
  • How do theatre and scientific experimentation intersect and cross-fertilize each other?
  • How has theatre engaged with relatively recent scientific findings and debates, such as those over climate change and global warming?
  • What new modes of performance has the interaction of science with theatre generated?

Please send expressions of interest, a title and an abstract to the convenors below by 30 December 2011.

Convenors of the Workshop
Dr Carina Bartleet (Senior Lecturer in Drama, Oxford Brookes University), c.e.bartleet@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Kirsten Shepherd-Barr (University Lecturer in Modern Drama, University of Oxford),

The British Society for Literature and Science invites proposals for papers and panels to be delivered at its seventh annual conference, to be held at the English Faculty, University of Oxford, 12-14 April 2012. The deadline for receipt of proposals is Monday 5 December 2011; we anticipate that announcements about acceptances/rejections will be issued 9 January 2012.

Plenary speakers will include Professor Jonathan Sawday (St Louis University), author of The Body Emblazoned: Dissection and the Human Body in Renaissance Culture (1995) and Engines of the Imagination: Renaissance Culture and the Rise of the Machine (2007), among other works.

There is no theme for this year’s conference, and we hope to receive a wide range of proposals covering a wide range of historical periods. Those unfamiliar with the BSLS may wish to look at past conference programmes and at the short-listed titles in successive book-prize competitions. We would particularly welcome papers that reflect on the state of the field. This might include the state of the field in relation to particular kinds of literature and historical periods; the differences in critical practices in relation to different kinds and periods; differences between British, continental European, and North American approaches; forms of historicism; and the relation of literature and science to neighbouring fields, such as literature and medicine, ecocriticism, evocriticism and other forms of criticism inspired by evolutionary biology.

In addition to regular panels, we would like to hold a series of workshops on the state of the field. Possible topics are: poetry; fiction; drama; teaching literature and science; historicism; dialogues between practitioners in different historical periods. We seek short (ten-minute) position papers defending or criticising particular approaches, or raising larger questions. If you are interested in offering such a paper, please contact the conference organiser by Monday 21 November. Within the workshop segment we also hope to have panel or panels on teaching literature and science: again, if you wish to offer an account of your teaching practice, please contact the conference organiser.

Thanks to a generous donation, there will be a bursary of £150 awarded to a graduate student on the basis on the paper proposals. The student must be registered for a masters or doctoral degree on 9 January 2012.

Proposals for papers of 15-20 minutes, and for panels, should be sent in the body of the email text (no attachments, please), to bsls.2012@yahoo.co.uk. They should consist of: the title; a proposal of no more than 300 words; the title again; the name, postal address, and email address of the proposer; and, if you are applying for the graduate student bursary, the email address of your supervisor or other person who will be able to confirm that you are a registered student.

Accommodation: please note that those attending will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation. As in previous years, we anticipate that the conference will begin at about 1pm on the first day and conclude at about 2pm on the last.

Membership: in order to attend the conference, you must be a paid-up member of the BSLS for 2012. We anticipate that it will be possible to pay the £10 annual membership fee when paying the conference fee online.

Proposals and other enquiries should be sent to the conference organizer, Dr Michael Whitworth, on bsls.2012@yahoo.co.uk.