You are currently browsing the archive for the News category.

If you're attending the British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS) Conference, join us on Saturday 9 April, 11am-12.30pm for an in-person Davy Notebooks Project transcribe-a-thon! We have 20 places available - please reserve yours today. The event will be held in Room G3 of the conference venue.

Over the course of this one-and-a-half-hour event, you'll hear more about the project from the team (including Professors Sharon Ruston and Frank James) and have the opportunity to contribute transcriptions of a previously untranscribed Davy notebook. This is an excellent opportunity to acquire or develop skills to read and transcribe early nineteenth-century manuscripts. We'll also have a limited number of print copies of the Ambix special issue 'New Studies on Humphry Davy' (2019) to give away on the day, on a first-come-first-served basis.

No prior experience or preparation is necessary, and questions/discussion will, of course, be very warmly welcomed. We hope to see you there!

Please note that all attendees must be BSLS Conference delegates, and that you'll need to bring your own laptop to participate.

If you have any questions, please write to us at davynotebooks at lancaster dot ac dot uk.

Our Zooniverse project page is here:


BSLS member Daniel Cordle, who works on nuclear literature and culture, has written a blog piece on the resurrection of long-buried fears of nuclear war during the Ukraine crisis: 'Long After Midnight: On Our New Nuclear Fears, Feb/Mar 2022.' Daniel reflects on the emotional toll of thinking about nuclear war (and on how writers have tackled that in the past), but argues that, even though nuclear war is hard to hold in the mind, it's imperative to remember what's at stake.

Dear BSLS Members,


The Journal of Literature and Science 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. Its largely first come, first served, so do get in touch with an offer to review a specific article by emailing Michelle at

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: or contact me at to register your interest.


Donovan E. Tann, “Experimental Science and Speculation in Cavendish’s Convent of Pleasure.” Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 60. 3 (2020): 463-483.

Christian Lewis, “‘A Malady of Interpretation’: Performances of Hypochondria in Jane Austen.” Nineteenth Century Studies 32 (2020): 22-37.

Adam Kozaczka, “The precariousness of human life: Jane Austen, pandemic, and the coping mechanisms of nineteenth-century literature.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 43:5, (2021): 541-546.  

Paul Giles, “‘By Degrees’: Jane Austen’s Chronometric Style of World Literature.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 75. 3 (2020): 265–293.

Anirudha Dhanawade, “Crystals, Crystallization, and Crystallography in Hegel, Stendhal, and Ruskin.” Nineteenth Century Studies 32 (2020): 1–21.

Yan Rae X.  “Natural history, homeopathy, and the real horrors of Le Fanu’s Carmilla.Nineteenth-Century Contexts 43. 4 (2021): 403-416.

Adelene Buckland, “Charles Dickens, Man of Science.” Victorian Literature and Culture 49. 3 (2021): 423–455.

Andrew Bishop, “Making sympathy “vicious” on The Island of Dr. Moreau.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 43. 2 (2021): 205-220.

Jayne Hildebrand, “Environmental Desire in The Mill on the Floss.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 76. 2 (2021): 192–222.

Gregory Tate, “Evolution, Idealism, and Individualism in May Kendall's Comic Verse.” English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920 63. 3 (2020): 429-451. 

Michael Thomas Gaffney, “The Birth of the Ice Age: on Narrative and Climate History in the Nineteenth Century.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 42. 5 (2020): 567-580.

Gordon Bates, “Arthur Conan Doyle in Mesmeric Edinburgh and Hypnotic London.” Victoriographies 11. 3 (2021): 314-330.

Sophia C. Jochem, "Fungi and the City: Charles Dickens’s Urban Poetics of Decay." Dickens Quarterly, 39. 1 (2022): 42-61. 

Laura Dassow Walls, "The Sphinx at the Crossroads: Transcendentalism Meets the Anthropocene." ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture 67. 3 (2021): 697-730. 

Tyson Stolte, "The Meaning of Matter: Atoms, Energy, and the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám." Victorian Studies 63. 3 (2021) 354-376.

Amanda Paxton, "The Hard Math of Beauty: Gerard Manley Hopkins and "Spectral Numbers". Victorian Studies 63. 2 (2021): 246-270. 

Mark Celeste, “The “bond of the sea”: Conrad, Coal, and Entropy.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 42. 5 (2020): 509-522.

Anastasia Klimchynskaya, "The Laboratory of the Mind’s Eye: Scientific Romance as Thought Experiment and Jules Verne’s Extraordinary Voyages." Configurations 29. 3 (2021): 289-320. 

Ulf Houe, "The Protoplasmic Imagination: Ernst Haeckel and H. P. Lovecraft.” Configurations 30. 1 (2022): 47-76. 

Kevin Hart, “‘Nondescript Specimens’: Herbert Spencer's Social Theory in Ulysses.” James Joyce Quarterly 57. 3 (2020): 319-335..

Justin Prystash, “Leaning from the Human: Virginia Woolf, Olaf Stapledon, and the Challenge of Behaviorism.” Configurations 28. 4 (2020): 433-457. 

Rebekah Taylor-Wiseman, "Spring and All’s Anthropocenic Collage: Compressed Time, Deep Time, and the Urgency of Imagination." William Carlos Williams Review 38. 1 (2021): 1-20. 

Yanfang Tong, “Memory as Imagination: Mind Science in Bellow's Short Fiction.” Interdisciplinary Literary Studies 22. 3 (2020): 240-261.

Hannah Cooper-Smithson, "Toward a Pandemic Poetics: Contamination, Infiltration, and Dispersal in Inger Christensen’s Alphabet." Configurations 29. 4 (2021): 405-416. 

Moritz Ingwersen, "Media Exposure: Communicable Disease and Communication Networks in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Don DeLillo’s White Noise." Configurations 29. 4 (2021): 417-433. 

Emily Horton, “‘What’s Real?’: Digital Technology and Negative Affect in Jennifer Egan’s Look at Me and The Keep.” Contemporary Women's Writing 15. 2 (2021): 226–243.

Karen Ya-Chu Yang, "Female Biologists and the Practice of Dialogical Connectivity in Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer." Journal of Modern Literature 45. 1 (2021): 74-86. 

This special issue of Interdisciplinary Science Reviews is intended to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines—including geology, archaeology, palaeontology, literature, physics, and history—to provide new perspectives on the question of heterodoxy in palaeoscience from the eighteenth century to the present. While we welcome research on classic subjects like cryptozoology, creationism, and continental drift, we encourage works that focus on heterodoxy and palaeoscience in the context of non-Christian cultures, the Global South, and sociocultural inequalities. Subjects authors may address include but are not limited to:

  • what forms of palaeoscience have been considered heterodox; what groups of people have been drawn to them (including lenses of race, class, and gender); when; and why
  • what types of evidence proponents have gathered to substantiate highly controversial claims, and where and how they have communicated these claims
  • what relationships these figures have had with the mainstream scientific community, particularly in centres of production like journals, laboratories, and universities
  • how heterodox figures and heterodox palaeoscience itself have utilized or been depicted in the media, including novels, poetry, film, local news, and videogames
  • how heterodoxy becomes orthodoxy, and orthodoxy becomes heterodoxy

The abstract deadline for this issue is 6 May 2022. Full information, including how to submit, can be found at this link.

News reaches us of an AHRC-funded studentship at Keele University, part of the NW doctoral consortium, entitled Inheriting Erasmus Darwin’s The Temple of Nature: Family History, Evolutionary Thought, and Public Debate. The project makes a timely contribution to research on science, poetry, and evolutionary theory through Erasmus Darwin’s pioneering philosophical poem The Temple of Nature (1803) while also further exploring the relationship between Erasmus and the legacies of his grandson, Charles Darwin. This project will extend understanding of the original social and intellectual contexts of The Temple of Nature in order to re-think the significance the Darwin family acquired in scientific and wider public debates about inheritance following the publication of Origin of Species (1859) and other evolutionary works.

The studentship runs from September 2022; applications are due on 2nd Feb 2022. Full information is here!

In 1880, Mason Science College opened in Birmingham, offering a university-level education. At the opening ceremony, the biologist T. H. Huxley gave an address on ‘Science and Culture’ which would become foundational for subsequent discussions of the relationship between the humanities and science in education. Huxley declared that ‘No child born in Birmingham, henceforward … need fail to obtain, not merely the instruction, but the culture most appropriate to the conditions of his life’. Mason College was to be a new kind of university, centred on science, modern languages and modern literature rather than theology or classics. Twenty years later it would be incorporated into the new University of Birmingham, becoming the core of the first independent civic university to be awarded full university status.

What was it like to be a part of this radical new experiment in education? Who were the first students at Mason College? How did they gain the ‘instruction’ and the ‘culture’ that would equip them for their lives ahead? What did they make of student life and the opportunities it gave them? And what contribution did they go on to make to the intellectual, cultural and political life of Birmingham and the United Kingdom?

As part of the University of Birmingham’s student-facing UoBe Festival, John Holmes, Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture at Birmingham, will be chairing an online discussion with an international panel of experts on Mason College. The speakers will be Dr Abigail Droge from Purdue University, Indiana; Dr Anne Rodrick from Wofford College, South Carolina; and Dr Clare Stainthorp from Queen Mary University of London. This session is jointly organised with and hosted by the 19th-Century Centre at Birmingham.

The session runs from 3.00 to 4.30 on Monday 24th January on Zoom. To register, please follow this link, log in, and book: If you have difficulty booking through the link, please email John Holmes ( for the details of the Zoom meeting. 

Tuesday 4th to Friday 14th January, 2022
4pm to 5.30pm UK time
Online, international, and free

Nine interdisciplinary conversations about land, sea, and sky from the Glorious Revolution to the Great Exhibition, featuring…

Tuesday 4th January: Elizabeth Carolyn Miller on periodizing extraction, and Fredrik Albritton Jonsson on fossil fuels and fossil science

Weds 5th: Jan Golinski on ideas about climate change in the North Atlantic world, and Lynn Voskuil on tracking globally mobile plants

Thurs 6th: Alexander Dick on islands, coastlines, and Scotland’s double colonial history, and Sarah Spooner on landowners, enclosure, and access to the countryside

Fri 7th: William Cavert on the business of killing vermin, and Jesse Oak Taylor on the necroaesthetics of Victorian natural history

Mon 10th: Steven Mentz on competing identities aboard ships at sea, and Miles Ogborn on the role of the Jamaican landscape in the uprising of 1831–32

Tues 11th: Clare Hickman on the use and experience of scientific gardens, and Charles Watkins on attitudes to trees newly introduced to Britain

Weds 12: Erin Drew on concepts of environmental justice, and Katrina Navickas on trespass into manorial wastes in England

Thurs 13th: James Fisher on how to control land and labour through accounting, and Jodie Matthews on engineered water in literature

Fri 14th: Carl Griffin on vernacular environmental knowledges and enchantments, and Paul Readman on antiquarianism, history-writing and the embodied experience of landscape

Environment and Culture in Britain, 1688–1851 brings together distinguished scholars in a series of conversations at the cutting edge of new research. The forum is free, online, and open to all. It will be much more discursive than a standard conference. There will be no formal presentations. Instead, in each daily roundtable, two writers whose shared interests cross disciplinary boundaries will discuss puzzles and insights arising in their current research. Their dialogue will be the starting point for open-ended conversation with a live international audience.

The forum is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Please visit for more details.

CFP: Blue Extinction

Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre (ShARC)
7-8th July 2022

Aquatic species are threatened with extinction at an unprecedented rate due to the combined effects of overfishing, pollution, climate change, acidification, and other human impacts. Yet blue ecosystems have remained an overlooked and neglected subject of enquiry in animal studies, where the focus has tended to be on terrestrial – or green – habitats. The extinction of aquatic organisms poses particular perceptual, epistemological, and affective challenges: many of the species that are disappearing were never apparent, or known, to us in the first place. And those that we are aware of are often considered to be impossibly remote from, and alien to, human life, making it difficult to consider their lives grievable in a traditional sense.

Recent work in the blue humanities has seen a growing emphasis on nonhuman life and multispecies ecologies (Alaimo; DeLoughrey; Neimanis; Shewry). In the field of extinction studies, there has also been an increasing focus on untold, unloved, and invisible lives (Bastian; Bird Rose; Heise; Van Dooren). Building on these approaches, this two-day symposium will examine the subject of aquatic biodiversity loss from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

It will ask: what kinds of narratives and modes of storytelling are best suited to the subject of blue extinction? What impact does the actuality of extinction have on ideas of literary representation and interpretation? What role might literary methods such as close reading play in helping us to imagine and come to terms with extinctions which occur largely out of sight (Bastian)? Can an awareness of blue extinction foster new affective and ethical relations with forms of life that are often considered to be monstrous or alien (Helmreich)? Might an attentiveness to past marine extinctions, and their cultural representations, be useful to us in our present age of biodiversity loss? And can collaborations between the humanities and the sciences yield new perspectives on blue extinction along with ways to combat it?

Possible topics for papers include, but are not limited to:
- Literary and artistic representations of marine life / marine biodiversity loss
- Blue extinction and questions of form and method (e.g. aesthetic, material, biological)
- Changing oceanic environments and human extinction
- Past extinctions: remains and material traces; fossils, museum collections, archives
- The future of blue extinction: predicted extinctions, imagined alternatives
- Marine life in ‘the Oceanic South’ (Samuelson and Lavery)
- World-Systems approaches to blue extinction
- Connections between oceanic degradation and colonial violence
- Queer, feminist, and trans-inclusive approaches to aquatic biodiversity
- Black and Indigenous perspectives on aquatic life
- Aquatic life, resilience, and survival
- Aquatic biodiversity and apocalyptic narratives (e.g. the ‘jellypocalypse’)
- The (in)visibility of blue extinctions
- The impact of extinction on coastal environments and communities

Abstracts of up to 350 words should be sent to Rachel Murray and Vera Fibisan at by the 4th of February 2022. Participants will be notified by the 28th of February 2022. We particularly welcome abstracts from PGRs, ECRs and researchers from underrepresented backgrounds.

The symposium will take place online and in-person at the University of Sheffield and participants can choose their mode of attendance. Registration fees will only apply to in-person delegates. The intended outcome of this symposium is an edited collection entitled ‘Blue Extinction’, which will be considered for publication in the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature series.

The School of English at the University of Leeds is advertising a full-time, permanent lectureship in Medical Humanities

We are looking for candidates with a background in English Studies (including English Literature, English Language, Theatre Studies and Creative Writing) and strong research interests in any area of Medical Humanities.

Deadline: Sunday 28 November

Further information: Please see

Bio-Lit Talks is an online, four-event series exploring the interactions and intersections between Biology and Literature.

Structured as a four-event series and focusing on a new topic each week, join us as we delve, digress, and dissect into words of authors and mechanisms of pathogens: from Scottish texts of the 16th century to contemporary prose, Victorian texts, and Latin American literature - witness easily digestible discussions on the plague, cholera, sexually transmitted infections, and novel pathogens.

Organised by doctoral researchers at the University of Glasgow and featuring authors, researchers, and academics, this free event series is open to Literature lovers, Science enthusiasts and everyone in between!

For more information and to register, please visit Eventbrite:

List of events:

Wednesday, 10/11/21, 7-8 PM (GMT) - Novel Monsters: Exploring the Threat of Emerging Pathogens and their Depiction in Contemporary Literature

Wednesday, 17/11/21, 7-8 PM (GMT) - Society, Sex, and Science: Understanding Syphilis and its Portrayal in the Victorian Era

Wednesday 24/11/21, 7-8 PM (GMT) - Poetry, Pestilence, and Prescriptions: Plague Biology in 16th-century Scottish Poetry and Medical Manuscripts

Wednesday 01/12/21, 7-8 PM (GMT) - Heartaches and Stomach Pains: Infectious Disease in Latin American Literature

« Older entries § Newer entries »