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Annual Conference of the German Association for Postcolonial Studies (GAPS)

University of Oldenburg, 13-15 May 2021

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Warwick Anderson, U of Sydney
Pettina Gappah, author of Out of Darkness, Shining Light
Josie Gill, U of Bristol
Graham Huggan, U of Leeds
Jaspreet Singh, author of Helium
Banu Subramaniam, U of Massachusetts Amherst

Science is at the heart of some of the most vexing questions facing postcolonial studies today: think, for instance, about the role of science in struggles for environmental justice, in postcolonial responses to the debate about the concept of the Anthropocene, in cultural and political responses to pandemics from HIV/AIDS to the coronavirus, or in the imagination of postcolonial futures in contemporary science fiction. Science – itself a heterogenous set of concepts, practices, settings, and knowledges – often occupies a profoundly contradictory position in such debates: it may be referenced, all at once, as cause of environmental degradation, but also medium of diagnosis, and as remedy; it is historically connected to histories of colonial oppression but also to the promises of post-independence modernism; it has sometimes been co-opted by parochial nationalism, yet science education also promises improvement and emancipation for marginalized and disenfranchised people.

Since the late 1980s, science and technology studies (STS) have critically interrogated the (self-) image of science as a unified practice – universal, objective, and culturally neutral. From the acrimonious opposition of science and cultural studies during the “science wars” of the 1990s, recent scholarship has moved to more nuanced understandings of the entanglements of science and its cultural contexts. Where early proponents of postcolonial STS concentrated on rehabilitating indigenous knowledge vis-à-vis “Western” science, more recent approaches have questioned this dualistic opposition and instead argued for a critical geography of scientific production.

Yet the cultural imagination of this connection has rarely been made a focus of research. This is true for the incisive research in the social sciences and anthropology on the ambivalent relation of science and postcolonial modernities, as well as for the burgeoning debate about literature and science in literary criticism, which has often retained a focus on European and American texts. While genres such as postcolonial science fiction and Afrofuturism have already been recognized in this context, the range and variety in which the nexus of science and culture is addressed and represented in postcolonial narratives across the anglophone world remains underexplored.

Against this background, the conference seeks to facilitate conversations on science and culture in postcolonial contexts that bring together different disciplinary perspectives such as postcolonial literary scholarship, science and technology studies, literature and science studies, history and philosophy of science, and the environmental humanities. This critical reflection will provide new perspectives on themes and debates such as postcolonial science fiction, the Anthropocene, new materialism, bio-colonialism, and global disparities in scientific mobility. We encourage a broad understanding of ‘postcolonial narratives’ and invite contributions that explore entanglements of science, literature and culture across different genres and media forms, including literature, film and other visual media, and public discourse.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Representations of the role of science in social/political conflicts:

-           Questions of environmental justice

-           The corona-crisis, HIV/AIDS, and other pandemics and public health crises

-           Biotechnology/bioprospecting/biopiracy

-           Nuclear (weapons) technology; nuclear testing, waste, and resource extraction

-           Class/caste conflicts over science education

-           Science, colonialism and neo-colonialism

-           Science, culture, and religion

-           Science and the global economy

  • Roles and relations of the sciences and the humanities in the Anthropocene debate
  • English as “the language of science”
  • Postcolonial and transcultural perspectives on science education
  • Science and culture in the EFL-classroom
  • Science and nationalist movements
  • Colonies as “laboratories of modernity” (Paul Rabinow)
  • Narrating knowledge practices in different historical and cultural settings
  • Science, narrative, and indigenous knowledges
  • Postcolonial perspectives on the “globalization of knowledge”
  • Postcolonial technoscience and biopolitics
  • Postcolonial perspectives in/on the medical humanities
  • Professional and intellectual migration, global disparities of knowledge production
  • Scientist characters in postcolonial fiction
  • Postcolonial science fiction, Afrofuturism
  • Historical fiction, (postcolonial) revisions/rewritings of the history of science

Please submit abstracts (300 words) and a biographical note (150 words) by December 31, 2020 to by December 31, 2020. For further details, please check the conference website:

Work in progress in anglophone postcolonial studies – including M.A./M.Ed., PhD and Postdoc projects as well as ongoing research projects in general – can be presented in the “Under Construction” section of the conference, for which poster presentations are also welcome. Submit abstracts for project presentations to by March 1, 2021.

Please note that all speakers except invited guests and students must be members of GAPS. A limited number of travel bursaries are available for emerging scholars, part-time or currently unemployed speakers who are, or will become, members of GAPS. If you wish to apply for a travel bursary, please indicate so via e-mail to the conference organizers by March 1, 2021.

Conference Organizers:

Anton Kirchhofer (
Karsten Levihn-Kutzler (

We are delighted to announce that the Symbiosis network will be holding its next conference online on 9th, 11th and 13th November from Oxford University Museum of Natural History, supported by the University of Birmingham. The theme of the conference is Symbiosis: Art and Science in Natural History Museums and Collections. To see the programme and register for the different sessions, click here.

The sixteenth annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science will be held online from 8 to 10 April 2021, with ongoing access to posted papers through to the end of April for BSLS members. The conference will consist of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous events.

The BSLS invites proposals for 15-minute papers, panels of three papers, or special roundtables on any subjects within the field of science (including medicine and technology), and literatures in the broadest sense, including theatre, film, and television.

Please send an abstract (200 words) and short biographical note (50 words) in Word or pdf format to by no later than 18.00 GMT on Friday 11 December. Please put your surname then a brief title in the name of the file. Proposals will be reviewed anonymously. Notices of acceptances should be expected by 18 January 2021. 

Presentations of accepted papers can be shared as:

  • short videos (preferably under 15 minutes and 300 MB; we recommend .mp4 but will accept any widely-used format),
  • PowerPoints with or without audio narration (under 300 MB), or
  • PDFs of text (2500 words, maximum, excluding citations).

Membership: conference delegates will need to register/renew as members of the BSLS (annual membership: £25 waged/ £10 unwaged). Delegates will need to renew their memberships by 31 March to be assured timely digital access.

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. 


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

Brent Dawson. “The Life of the Mind: George Herbert, Early Modern Meditation, and Materialist Cognition.” ELH 86. 4 (2019): 895-918.  

Alexandra Paterson. “Tracing the Earth: Narratives of Personal and Geological History in Charlotte Smith’s Beachy Head.” Romanticism 25. 1 (2019): 22-31.  

Brandon C. Yes. “Poetry and Science: William Wordsworth and his Irish Friends William Rowan Hamilton and Francis Beaufort Edgeworth, c. 1829.” Romanticism 26. 1 (2020): 89-101. 

Russell Smith. “Frankenstein in the Automatic Factory.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 41. 3 (2019): 303-319.   

Christie Leigh Harner. “Animal and Social Ecologies in Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey.” Victorian Literature and Culture 48. 3 (2020): 577-599.    

Sara Lyons. “Thomas Hardy and the Value of Brains.” Victorian Literature and Culture, 48. 2 (2020): 327-359. 

Devin M Garofalo. “Victorian Lyric in the Anthropocene.” Victorian Literature and Culture 47. 4 (2019): 753–783. 

Richard Fallon. “Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World: Illustrating the Romance of Science.” English Literature in Transition 1880-1920, 63. 2 (2020): 162-192 

Mary Bowden. “H. G. Wells's Plant Plot: Horticulture and Ecological Narration in The Time Machine.” Victorian Literature and Culture 47. 3 (2019): 603–628.   

Ida Marie Olsen. "Outlines of Ecological Consciousness in W. H. Hudson's Environmentalism." English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920 63. 2 (2020): 193-210.  

Brandon Jones. “Bloom/Split/Dissolve: Jellyfish, H. D., and Multispecies Justice in Anthropocene Seas.” Configurations 27. 4 (2019): 483-499.  

Elspeth Green. “I. A. Richards Among the Scientists.” ELH, 86. 3 (2019): 751-777.  

Nikolai Krementsov. “Thought Transfer and Mind Control between Science and Fiction: Fedor Il’in’s The Valley of New Life (1928).” Osiris 34 (2019): 36-54.  

Amanda Rees. “From Technician’s Extravaganza to Logical Fantasy: Science and Society in John Wyndham’s Postwar Fiction, 1951–1960.” Osiris 34 (2019): 277-296.  

Lisa Garforth. “Environmental Futures, Now and Then: Crisis, Systems Modeling, and Speculative Fiction.” Osiris, 34 (2019): 238-257.  

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

Nathaniel Otjen. “Energy Anxiety and Fossil Fuel Modernity in H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds.” Journal of Modern Literature 43. 2 (2020): 118-133. 

Erika Lorraine Milam. “Old Woman and the Sea: Evolution and the Feminine Aquatic.” Osiris 34 (2019): 198-215.  

Paola Villa. “Mollusk-Writers: Spacetime Revolutions in a Literary Shell.” Journal of Modern Literature 43. 2 (2020): 21-40.  

Peter Balbert. “From Relativity to Paraphrenia in D.H. Lawrence's ‘The Man Who Loved Islands’: Speculations on Einstein, Freud, Gossamer Webs, and Seagulls.” Journal of Modern Literature 43. 2 (2020): 60-79.  

Colin Milburn. “Ahead of Time: Gerald Feinberg and the Governance of Futurity.” Osiris 34 (2019): 216-237.  

Susan McHugh. “Mourning Humans and Other Animals through Fictional Taxidermy Collections.” Configurations 27. 2 (2019): 239-256.  

The BSLS Winter Symposium is being jointly organised between the University of Sheffield and the University of Aberdeen on Saturday the 28th of November 2020.

As with the successful online conference earlier this year, this virtual Symposium will be held on Microsoft Teams. Speakers from the planned April conference will be providing their papers in various formats, hosted on the BSLS website during the week of the 23rd of November.

The keynote speaker will be Professor Angela Wright (University of Sheffield) and a separate training session for PGRs and ECRs will also be provided.

This event is free and open to all, but please register for the Symposium (and separately, if relevant, for the PGR/ECR session) via Eventbrite by the 18th of November.

Four Courts Press would like us to know that they have published an excellent range of children's literature titles on issues such as: childhood in Irish society, and politics and ideology in children's literature, while subject matter ranges from works by Jonathan Swift, Maria Edgeworth, Anne Enright, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. Log onto their website to begin browsing and don't forget that all online orders receive an automatic 10% discount. A full flyer for the series can be found here.

A Special Issue of Configurations, to be published in early 2022

Editors: Verity Burke (Stavanger, Norway) and Will Tattersdill (Birmingham, UK)

“When a science-fiction protagonist experiences an epiphany in a museum the event enacts in a very precise way the preoccupations of the genre itself.”

Robert Crossley

Since Crossley wrote of Wells’s Palace of Green Porcelain in 1990, comparatively little work has sought to develop our understanding of the relationships between science fiction (sf) and museum spaces. Yet not only has sf continued to depict past and future sites of heritage - museum displays have themselves arguably absorbed and reflected sf’s thematic preoccupations and rhetorical techniques. This special issue of Configurations aims to focus on the breadth of interchanges between sf and museums, focussing on real life displays as well as fictitious institutions and inviting contributions from museum studies, literary criticism, STS, and any other interested disciplines.

We welcome papers that speak to any interpretation of the issue theme, including but by no means limited to discussions of:

  • Displays or exhibitions representing science fiction, or dedicated collections such as Allendale (UK) or the proposed Museum of Science Fiction in Washington, DC.
  • Sf considered as an element in museum displays about something else (science fiction as a means of scicomm, storytelling, or engagement).
  • The “science-fictionality” of modern museum display techniques (for example Augmented Reality).
  • The representation of the heritage sector in films, novels, comics and other sf media.
  • Science-fictional engagements with issues of object repatriation or postcolonial museum ethics (such as in Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti).
  • Displays which present ‘counterfactual’ histories or engage in some other way, explicitly or implicitly, with the contingency or speculation implied by sf.
  • Faux taxidermy and the display of mythical or fake animals; fake or hypothetical inventions or engineering; imagined alien (or ancient) life.
  • Any aspect of the conservation or archival preservation of sf’s materials (books, costumes, props, scripts, magazines, etc), or the representation of acts of conservation in published sf.

Articles of up to 10,000 words are invited for submission by 21st May 2021. Informal queries may be sent ahead of time to House style is Chicago 16 - full details here. Essays will be fully peer reviewed.

A Gothic-Without-Borders Conference in March 2021, fully online, hosted by the Department of World Languages and Literatures (WLL) at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Vancouver, Canada, coordinated by the SFU Center for Educational Excellence (CEE), and co-sponsored by the International Gothic Association (IGA) and others.

Deadline for proposals: October 31, 2020

The conference organizers herewith call for proposals for papers on how forms of the Gothic deal with the critical issues arising from racism, social injustice, populism, mass infection, and the relation of each of these to contagion in at least one of its many forms – the most pressing issues of our current moment -- now and throughout world history.

Read the full CFP here.

For a full CfP click here.

It is often assumed that the eugenics propaganda and involuntary sterilisation programs of the early 20th century, aimed at those with physical and mental ‘defects’ ceased after World War II. However, unethical eugenic experimentation and practice aimed at the poor, the promiscuous, the illiterate, the sexually deviant, the dangerous and the incarcerated continued in countries such as America and Sweden during the 1960s and 1970s. Non---consensual, compulsory sterilisations and coercive eugenics state practices have continued in the 21st century.

Contemporary immigration controls aimed to exclude the entry of undesirable others into ‘near perfect societies’ and discourses of developing world overpopulation suggest that postwar social policy continues ideas and mechanisms incubated within the eugenics movement. Likewise, recent discourse in relation to COVID---19 has highlighted discussions about the shameful history of unethical experimentation and surgery upon BAME communities and their pervasive mistrust of clinical research.

We invite chapters that examine the ways in which representations of the body and gender within literature and visual culture (including film, television, graphic novels, comics, and video games) from the eighteenth century to the present day have engagedwith and challenged political, religious, cultural and social attitudes towards eugenics, genetic ancestries and genetic technologies. Contributors may focus upon the ways in which genetic technologies have enabled individual choices and challenged deeplyentrenched social issues such as racism, sexism and heterosexism.

How to Submit:
Chapter Proposal Submission Deadline: 1 November 2020. Please include (i) an abstract (no more than 200 words), (ii) a chapter proposal of 1,000 to 2,000 words clearly explaining the aims and concerns of your proposed chapter, (iii) a copy of yourC.V. and (iv) your contact details.
Final Acceptance Notification: 1 February 2021
Full Chapter Submission Deadline: 1 April 2021

Guidelines for Submissions:
Final chapter word length: 8,000 words max.
Contact Details: Please send your submissions to the editors at: For a full CfP click here.

From the ‘waves of sound, transmitted o’er the line’ in Jones Very’s ‘The Telephone’ (1877) to the ‘thin voice speak[ing] / from a drowning world’ in Imtiaz Dharker’s ‘Six Rings’ (2018), telephones have been calling in and across literary texts for almost one hundred and fifty years. But although considerable research on the smartphone has been undertaken in recent media and cultural studies, the relationship between telephony and literature remains largely neglected. In fact, as Nicholas Royle points out in Telepathy and Literature (1991), ‘really we have no idea what a telephone is, or what a voice is, or when or how. Least of all when it is linked up with the question of literature’. Taking the ‘question of literature’ as its starting point, this edited volume of essays will address the telephone’s propensity to mediate but also to interrupt communication, as well as the ways in which it taps into some of the most urgent concerns of the modern and contemporary age, including surveillance, mobility, resistance, responsibility, power and warfare. Exploring its complex, multiple and mutating functions in literary texts from the nineteenth century to the present day, the proposed volume will consider both historical and recent manifestations of the telephone, and its capacity to call across borders, languages, and cultures.

Building on the 2020 Telepoetics online conference, and following strong interest from publishers including Edinburgh University Press, we invite proposals for essays (6500-8000 words) that explore the relationship between literature and telephony in a range of global contexts and from the nineteenth century to the present day. Topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • privacy and surveillance
  • communications warfare
  • mobility, migration, and globalization
  • technologies of desire
  • telephony as translation
  • textual interference, interruption or interception
  • lyric calling and texting
  • telephony and D/deaf experience
  • telephony and labour
  • ethics and answerability
  • voice and address
  • networks and communicative landscapes
  • distraction and attention
  • telephony and the embodied/disembodied voice
  • telephony and catastrophe
  • telephony and contamination

Please submit to the editors by 1 September 2020:

  • The title of your essay
  • A 300-word synopsis outlining the content of your essay
  • A list of the key authors and/or texts covered in your essay
  • The estimated word count for your essay (this should be between 6500-8000 words)
  • The number and details of any illustrations that you wish to include, and a brief statement about why these illustrations are essential to accompany the text
  • A 150-word author biography, including your institutional affiliation and contact details

Please note that if you plan to include material in copyright (e.g. substantial prose extracts), you will be responsible for securing the necessary permissions.

To submit your proposal, please email:

We will notify authors of acceptance by 1 December 2020 and will require the final draft of essays to be submitted by 1 September 2021. More details are here.

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