BSLS 2013 Programme

This is the programme for the eighth annual BSLS conference, hosted at Cardiff University and jointly organised by the Universities of Cardiff and Westminster – Thursday April 11 – Saturday April 13, 2013

Thursday 11th April 2013

Registration From 1100

Delegates should make their own arrangements for lunch

Welcome — 1245 — 1300

Session A — 1300 – 1430

Panel 1 – Periodical Medicine

Jessica Evans, ‘The “Vitality Debate”, Richard Carlile, and Freedom of Speech’

Alice Rowe, ‘“A disorder of the will”: Addiction and Its Treatments in Nineteenth-century Periodicals’

Martin Willis, ‘The Episodic Body: Television Medical Drama and The Lancet’s Case Reports’

Panel 2 – Victorian Science and the Supernatural

Franziska E. Kohlt, ‘Two worlds, so strangely one, yet so unmeasurably wide apart: H.G. Wells’s and George MacDonald’s neurological adventures in wonderland’

Laura E. Ludtke, ‘Electric lights, new mesmerism, and the spectacle of science in Richard Marsh’s The Beetle’

Helena Ifill, ‘Modern medicine and the creation of the human vampires in ‘Good Lady Ducayne’’

Panel 3 – Neurology

Susie Christensen, ‘“What a weathercock of sensibility I am!”: Recording Sensations with Virginia Woolf and Henry Head’

Romén Reyes-Peschl, ‘Science as a quest: Don Quijote, Neuroscience and the Interrogation of Truth’

Peter Garratt, ‘Beyond Brainhood: Critical Neuroscience and the Literary’

Session B — 1330 – 1400

Panel 4 – Medical Gothic

Allyson Purcell-Davis,‘Frankenstein and the hybrid embryo: The object of scientific experimentation’

Anthony Mandal, ‘Medical monstrosities and monstrous medicine in late-Victorian periodical fiction’

Michael Wainwright, ‘The lair of the white: Stoker’s literal projection of a helminthic nightmare’

Panel 5 – Reading Forms of Physics

Marie Banfield, ‘Hopkins, Heisenberg and Heraclitus: “That nature is a Heraclitean fire and of the comfort of the resurrection”’

Christopher Norris, ‘William Empson: poetry, criticism and the new physics’

Julia Jordan, ‘Beckett’s Atoms’

Panel 6 – Molecules and Genes

Rachel Crossland, ‘Crowds of molecules, crowds as molecules: Writing the mass in the early twentieth century’

Aline Ferreira, ‘Thinking through the genes: The iconography of chromosomes in Harry Mulisch’s The Procedure (1998) and Richard Powers’s Generosity: An Enhancement (2009)’

Clare Hanson, ‘Reconfiguring Inheritance: Red Dust Road as a post-genomic text’

Break 1600 – 1630

Session C — 1330 – 1400

Panel 7 – Mathematics

Derek Ball, ‘A sense of proportion: Mathematics in George Eliot’s realism’

Loveday Kempthorne, ’Czeslaw Milossz and Zbigniew Herbert: Literary responses to non-Euclidean geometry’

Alice Bamford, ’Chalk and the architrave: Architectural metaphors in prose mathematics’

Panel 8 – Science Fictions

Mauro Spicci, ‘Fantastic voyages into the human body: from Robert Underwood (1605) to Isaac Asimov (1966)’

Michelle K. Yost, ‘Beyond Symzonia: The science of the hollow earth in nineteenth century literature’

Will Tattersdill, ‘Material means for metaphorical ends: Studying periodicals to alter the terms of the literature/science divide’

Panel 9 – Philosophies of Literature and Science

Cassandra Gorman, ‘Science and fiction or science fiction? Margaret Cavendish, aesthetics and material philosophy’

John Holmes, ‘Reading the pre-Raphaelites in the Fortnightly Review’

George Darby, ‘Representing Indeterminacy in Science and Literature’


FIRST PLENARY – 1800 – 1930

Thomas Dixon, ‘“Of Humours and Handkerchiefs: The Science and Literature of Tears in Early Modern England”





Session D — 0900 – 10.30
Panel 10 – Public Health and Hygiene

Debolina Dey, ‘Pathological Poverty: From poor law to public health’

Claire Furlong, ‘Health advice for the millions: Popular nineteenth-century periodicals and the making of good health’

Gavin Budge, ‘Mental hygiene, modernism and the therapeutic origins of English studies’

Panel 11 – Literature and Science Beyond the Borders of Britain

George N. Vlahakis, ‘Literature and Science in nineteenth-century Greece’

Lillian Helle, ‘The narrativization of science as a countercultural discourse in Mikhail Bulgakov’s A Dog’s Heart’

Victoria Carpenter, ‘“A dark and lonely tunnel”: Time travel in El túnel (1948) by Ernesto Sábato’

Panel 12 – Romantic Science

Vanessa Smith, ‘“Not a Proper Sample”: Specimens of global humanity in 1770s London’

Greg Tate, ‘Wordsworth and Davy in two minds: Emotion and reason in romantic poetry and science’

Sharon Ruston, ‘Humphry Davy’s recreational drug use and Thomas De Quincey’s medical research’

Break 1030 – 1100

Session E — 1100 — 1245

Panel 13 – Science and Medicine in Charles Dickens

Kate Gazzard, ‘The cyclical nature of memory: Lesions, channels and physical symptoms in Dickens’s work’

Neil MacFarlane, ‘Benjamin Franklin on fire, fog and smoke, and Krook’s death in Bleak House’

Kalika A. Sands, ‘Foreign Airs: Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, and the artificial climates of London’

Barri J. Gold, ‘Sustaining Walworth: The ins and outs of Dickensian ecosystems’

Panel 14 – Approaches to Literature and Technology

Greg Lynall, ‘Under pressure: pneumatics, fanatics, and satiric mechanics’

Courtney Salvey, ‘Metaphor, literature, and machines in early-nineteenth-century Britain’

Nicole Bush, ‘“Something in motion”: Victorian literature, visual technology, and the phenomenology of process’

Jim Mussell, ‘Lodged in the archive: Physics, paperwork and the ether’

Panel 15 – Transformations of the Field

Jeff Wallace, ‘Wonder, science and the posthumanities’

Erica Moore, ‘Responding to intersections between ‘literature’ and ‘science’’

Meegan Kennedy, ‘More than a handmaiden: literature and science as transdisciplinary collaboration’

Sarah Dillon, ‘The idea of influence: What scientists read’

Lunch 1245 – 1330

Session F — 1330 - 1400

Panel 16 – Medicine and Detection

Anne Stapleton, ‘The bracing tonic of Arthur Conan Doyle’s fin de siècle medical fiction’

Alison Adam, ‘Crime does pay: Autobiography and the history of forensic science’

Hannah Tweed, ‘Savantism and the detective: Autism in contemporary fiction ’

Panel 17 – Love, Sex and Science

Samantha George, ‘Eighteenth –century satire and the stereotype of the sexually precocious female botanist’

Daniel Brown, ‘A man, a woman, and a galvanometer: Sex and sensibility in a couple of poems by James Clerk Maxwell’

Daniel Cordle, ‘“The most explosive love story ever”: Transatlantic nuclear discourse in the 1980s’

Panel 18 – Systems and Technologies

Jason Hall, ‘Standardization, mechanization and mid-nineteenth-century metrics: Abstraction and technology’

Lena Wånggren, ‘“Language machines”: Foucault, Roussel, and literature as technology’

Folkert Degenring, ‘Literature and science, discourses and systems’

Break 1500 – 1530

Session G — 1530 – 1700

Panel 19 – The Human in Literature and Science

Anton Kirchhofer, ‘Revisiting the “gulf of mutual incomprehension”: Theoretical and historical perspectives on the Two Cultures problem’

Anna Auguscik, ‘The human in nature: The role of literature, the human and the two cultures in leading science journals’

Natalie Roxburgh, ‘“How to be a scientist and be human at the same time”: The emergence of the multi-dimensional scientist character in recent literary fiction’

Panel 20 – Victorian Poetics

Philipp Erchinger, ‘Browning’s experiment: Scientific method in ‘The Ring and the Book’’

Gemma King, ‘“I wish our brains were not so good”: May Kendall’s poetic critique of the socio-cultural implications of scientific progression’

Gillian Daw, ‘The epic gratification of the “poetry of motion”: Thomas Hardy and astronomy’

Panel 21 – Unspeakable Diseases

Ally Crockford, ‘The third leg: Masculinity and “true” diphallicism in nineteenth-century medical narratives’

Claire McKechnie, ‘The Unspeakability of cancer in the Victorian literary imagination’

Chisomo Kalinga, ‘Representing an unmentionable epidemic: The development of the AIDS metaphor in Malawian writing’



SECOND PLENARY 1730 – 1900

Alice Jenkins, ‘Spooky Historicist Action at a Distance’


RECEPTION 7.00 – 8.00 [hosted by the Journal of Literature and Science]







Session H — 0900 – 1030

Panel 22 – Scientific Metafictions

Simon de Bourcier, ‘Thinking machines and self-conscious texts: Technology and Textuality in American Fiction of the 1980s and 1990s’

Nina Engelhardt, ‘Measuring the earth and measuring the past: Metafictional re-enchantments’

Giuseppe Episcopo, ‘Of ruins and mind: Primo Levi’s retirement fund and the strange days of memory and technology’

Panel 23 – Narratives of Disability

Ryan Sweet, ‘“A Knotty Man”: Silas Wegg and the Immobilising Peg Leg’

Alexandra Rees, ‘“The rest of his body was imperfect”: Representations of disability in the coalfields literature of South Wales’

Georgia Burdett, ‘The role of literary texts in informing contemporary understanding of disability’

Panel 24 – Responses to Popular Science and Ideas

Alan Rauch, ‘The ineffectual naturalist: Job Leigh, Camden Farebrother, and the decline of amateur science’

Katherine Ford, ‘The writing of John Tyndall’

Emily Alder, ‘The first law of time travel: The Time Machine and thermodynamics’

Break 1030 – 1100

Session I — 1100 1230

Panel 25 – Perspectives on Evolution

Cathryn Setz, ‘“Purpose patterns”: Joyce’s ‘Shem the Penman’ and neo-Lamarckian evolutionary discourse’

Ruth Murphy, ‘Boys, beasts and the bander-log: Evolution and the male child in MacDonald’s Princess books and Kipling’s Jungle Books’

Janine Rogers, ‘“A compaignye of sondry folk”: Richard Dawkins’ medieval humanism in The Ancestor’s Tale’

Panel 26 – Science, Poetry and Creative Writing

[This panel includes readings from creative writers]

Jonathan Taylor, ‘Poetry, cosmology and music’

Simon Perril, ‘Thinking technologies: poetry and collage as vehicles for speculative thought’

Lisa Mansell, ‘Wedgewood’s glazes’

Panel 27 – Contested Knowledges

Ann Loveridge, ‘Dishonest Interpretation’ and ’Favourable Editing’: The Verdict of the Victorian Physiologist’

Megan Coyer, ‘The Howisons: Philosophy, phrenology and medical culture in Romantic Scotland’

Sam Goodman, ‘“The best of bumps”: Phrenology, pseudoscience and progress in J.G. Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur’

LUNCH AND BSLS AGM 12.30 – 2.00