Other Organisations

Other organisations of interest to members of the BSLS

Bio-Lit Talks is an interdisciplinary collaboration exploring topical themes from the perspectives of the Arts, Sciences and Humanities. Organised as a three-event series and focusing on a new topic each month, this series discusses Death and Dying and their inextricable connection to our everyday cognition, imagination, behaviour, and societal structures.  

The events are taking place at the Advanced Research Centre (ARC) on the University of Glasgow main campus. Online attendance via Zoom is also possible.     

Attendance is free.   

  To register, please click below or visit Eventbrite. 

To view Bio-Lit Talks' previous events, visit their website.


List of events:  

Wednesday, 25 October 2023, 6-8 PM - Vital Breathing: a workshop connecting how we breathe to how we live 

Tuesday 7 November 2023, 6-8 PM: Envisioning 'the End': exploring our understanding and imagination of death across medical, social, and musical perspectives 

Tuesday, 5 December 2023, 6-8 PM - Live Alone, Die at the Mercy of Others: a multidisciplinary conversation on the social experience of death 


How Can Literary Studies Contribute to a Just Transition to Sustainable Society?

An online symposium organised by the University of Birmingham (Birmingham, UK, and Dubai, UAE) and the Commission on Science and Literature (DHST/IUHPST)
Thursday 2 November 2023 (09:30-14:00)

Two of the designated themes for COP28, to be hosted by the United Arab Emirates in November and December 2023, are a ‘Just Energy Transition’ and ‘Youth, Education and Skills’. Science is fundamental to our understanding of climate change, while technology will have a key role to play in addressing it. At the same time, Arts and Humanities subjects such as literature have a vital contribution to make. Literary studies can help to foster empathy with those on the front line in the climate crisis, to process emotional responses to the changes happening to our world, to focus attention on the value of nature and our part within it, and to imagine the sustainable future we need to create together. This online symposium brings together early career scholars and research students from around the world to present case studies showing how research and education in literature can contribute to a just transition to a sustainable future. 

To see the full programme and register for the event, click here.

The Davy Notebook project is launching a free, online course on Humphry Davy and his times that may be of interest to members of the society and their students. The course covers Davy's life and times, links with Frankenstein, material on Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey, Davy’s poetry, scientific discoveries, and his links to transatlantic slavery and much more. The course starts on Monday 9th October and runs for four weeks. While learners can do the activities asynchronously, the Davy project team will be on hand every day to foster discussion and answer questions. You can enrol here: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/humphry-davy.

University of Birmingham, 10-12 April 2024

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. The conference will be held at the University of Birmingham, UK, over 10-12 April 2024. Confirmed plenary speakers include Brian Hurwitz, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and the Arts at King’s College London; Isabel Jaen Portillo, Professor of Spanish at Portland State University; and the Directors of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research, the Birmingham Institute for Sustainability and Climate Action and the Institute for STEMM in Culture and Society at the University of Birmingham.

In addition to the main programme, there will be tours available of the Lapworth Museum of Geology, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Winterbourne House and Garden and the National Buried Infrastructure Facility, with an additional optional visit to the BIFoR FACE forest research facility and the Ruskin Land forest site on 13 April. The conference will be semi-hybrid, with differential pricing for attendance in person and online and for waged and unwaged participants. Papers may be presented in person or online, and online delegates will be able to watch the plenary sessions live and recordings of papers from other panels. There will also be a follow-up session online (date to be confirmed) for all delegates, including a panel for postgraduate students specifically. For more details of the conference as planning develops, please see the conference website. For other enquiries about the conference, please email the conference organiser, Prof John Holmes (j.holmes.1@bham.ac.uk), directly.

We would like to hear about as wide a range of research on literature and science as possible, so there will be no set theme for this conference. We welcome proposals for papers of 20 minutes and for panels of 90 minutes including three or more speakers and time for questions from the audience.  Individual papers may be delivered in person or online, and panels may be in person, online or combine presentations in both formats. We especially welcome panels and presentations reporting on collaborations between literature scholars or writers and natural scientists; showcasing the work of research institutes and networks; or taking stock of the state of the field in specific regions or countries. We encourage participation by scientists and creative writers as well as scholars, and we are happy to consider papers on creative writing, teaching practice and public engagement as well as research. While papers should be presented in English, we are keen to hear about literary and scientific texts and encounters in any language, from any period and from anywhere in the world.

Please send proposals to litsciconf@contacts.bham.ac.uk by 18:00 (UK time) on Friday 1 December 2023. Proposals should be up to 250 words for individual papers or up to 750 words for a panel. Please include a biography of up to 50 words per speaker and specify whether you hope to attend the conference in person or online. Proposals will be evaluated by a panel drawn from all three societies.

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.

John Holmes
Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture, University of Birmingham, UK
President, Commission on Science and Literature

Jenni Halpin
Professor of English, Savannah State University, Georgia, USA
Chair, British Society for Literature and Science

Aura Heydenreich
Chair of Modern German Literature, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
President, European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts

The latest issue of Interdisciplinary Science Reviews brings together papers on literature and science from different countries and using diverse methodologies, mostly presented at the last Commission on Science and Literature conference in Girona in July 2022. To view the issue online, click here. The full contents of the issue are given below.

Interfaces: Studies in Science and Literature – Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 48.3 (2023) Edited by Carlos Gamez-Perez and John Holmes

  • Humbert Massegur, Preface [open access]
  • Carlos Gamez-Perez, Introduction [open access]
  • Benito García-Valero, ‘Queerness in science and literature: towards a “naturalization” of the queer in the crossroads of physics, biology, and literary theory’
  • Lidia Bocanegra Barbecho, Salvador Ros Muñoz, Elena González-Blanco García and Maurizio Toscano, ‘Digital humanities at global scale’
  • Julien Jacques Simon, ‘Why do we engage (and keep engaging) in tragic and sad stories? Negativity bias and engagement in narratives eliciting negative feelings’
  • Isabel Jaén-Portillo, ‘Can fiction lead to prosocial behaviour? Exclusion, violence, empathy, and literature in early modernity’ [open access]
  • Jorge García López, ‘Science, philosophy and literature in the early Spanish Enlightenment: the case of Martin Martinez’
  • Wolfgang Funk ‘“Life built herself a myriad forms”: epics of gestation and co-operation in late nineteenth-century women’s poetry’
  • Michael H. Whitworth, ‘Wide horizons: science and epic in Mina Loy’s “Anglo-Mongrels and the Rose” and C. Day Lewis’s From Feathers to Iron’ [open access]
  • John Holmes, ‘The poetics of enquiry in Ronald Duncan’s Man’ [open access]
  • Sophia Denissi, ‘Sherlock Holmes saving Mr. Venizelos: using science in an early Greek crime fiction novel’
  • Maria Vara, ‘The magic lantern as a Gothic literary instrument’
  • Timothy Ryan Day, ‘Immortal codes: genetics, ghosts, and Shakespeare’s sonnets’
  • Constantin Canavas, ‘When a woman becomes a plant: looking at philosophical discourses through literary narratives’
  • George Levine, ‘Science and literature: the importance of differences’

Based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Public Health Humanities is for humanities researchers of all kinds who are interested in working with (or within) the field of population health / public health. The network takes a broad view of both humanities and public health (and encourages public health practitioners and researchers from the social and biomedical sciences to get involved as well) - all are welcome to join! 

For more information: www.lshtm.ac.uk/public-health-humanities

Or join the network's a mailing list for occasional announcements: https://lshtm.us18.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=1ffee28435770fc0cbe993af8&id=8cf8135a5b

Girona, 2-4 July 2019

Organized by Commission on Science & Literature DHST/IUHPST and the Càtedra Dr. Bofill de Ciències i Humanitats

Second call for papers

Following the successful three International Conferences on Science and Literature which took place in Athens, Poellau and Paris, this Conference is the fourth to be organized under the aegis of the Commission on Science and Literature DHST/IUHPST. The fourth International Conference will be organized by the Càtedra Dr. Bofill de Ciències I Humanitats (Dr Bofill Chair on Science and the Humanities) integrated at the University of Girona (UdG) with the technical support of the Commission on Science and Literature. As it was the case with the first three Conferences, the fourth one does not have a specific theme, as its intent continues to be the creation of an open forum for all scholars interested in Science and Literature. Nevertheless, the Conference will be organized along thematic sessions. Those proposed by the Organizing Committee are:

· Science in Western Art

· Literature and Medicine

· Science and Religion

· Poetry and Science

· Scientific Genres in Science Fiction

· Mathematics, Physics and Literature

· Women in the History of Science, Philosophy and Literature

Other themes, according to the papers accepted by the Scientific Committee, can be organized.

Proposals for individual papers or panels of three or four papers should be submitted from December 1st, 2019, until February 29th, 2020. They must include the title of the paper (or the theme of the panel), name and affiliation of the author(s), an abstract of no more than 350 words and a short CV. Proposals and inquiries about practical matters may be sent to gvlahakis@yahoo.com and cgamez@unav.es. An international scientific committee will review the submissions and notice of acceptance will be sent by mid-March 2020.

Juan Ortega will be the chair of the Local Organizing Committee.

Registration: March 1st to May 30th, 2020

Registration fees (include coffee, tea, refreshments and Conference material): 100 Euros

Fees for students and early career scholars: 50 Euros

Participants are asked to make their own arrangements concerning their accommodation in Girona, but the Conference organizers have published useful information and interesting offers.

This information and the preliminary program can be consulted at: www.icscienceandliterature.com.

Next year's conference of the Commission on Science and Literature will be held in Girona in Spain on 2-4 July. Here is the preliminary call for papers:

CoSciLit 2020 Call for Papers

Word follows of a fundraising campaign which is not officially connected to the BSLS, but in which BSLS members might be interested:

Charles Lyell (1797 - 1875) is well known for his part in the Darwinian evolutionary debates, his travels to America and his role in convincing readers of the significance of 'deep time'. During the past decade, Lyell's geographical theory of climate and his subdivisions of recent geological periods have gained renewed attention in connection with discussions of climate change and the Anthropocene. The Lyell archive is almost certainly the most important manuscript collection relating to nineteenth century science still in private hands.  At its core are 294 notebooks, which provide a daily record of Lyell's private thoughts, reading notes, travels, field observations and conversations from the mid-1820s to his death half a century later.

In order for the family to meet inheritance tax, the Lyell notebooks were sold to an unknown foreign buyer towards the end of last year. Fortunately, the UK government has imposed a temporary export ban to enable fundraising to purchase these remarkable documents, conserve them, and make them available on-line for free to the public. The University of Edinburgh Library, which already has the largest collection of Lyell material, is organizing the campaign. The website for this became active at the end of last week. The sum required is £1,444,000; major donors have already pledged more than a third of the total needed.

The temporary export ban has an initial deadline of 15th July, so time is extremely short.  If significant progress is made, then it may be extended until 15th October. Therefore, all who are interested are asked to pledge a donation, which will only be collected when the required amount is achieved. For more information about the notebooks and to make a pledge, please click on https://www.ed.ac.uk/giving/save-lyell-notebooks/pledge-to-save/

If you, your students and friends can give anything to this campaign--even five pounds or a pound--it will make a big difference, not least in showing larger donors that there is substantial public interest and concern. It would be great if we can get the donor count over 1000.

I'd appreciate it if you could pass on this message to anyone who might be interested, and to any other relevant lists.

Jim Secord (jas1010@cam.ac.uk)
Professor of History and Philosophy of Science
Director, Darwin Correspondence Project
University of Cambridge

The next conference of the European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts, on the theme of SpaceTime, will be held in Athens on 25-18 June 2019. To read the cfp, click below:


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