In honour of John Ruskin’s bicentenary, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History will be hosting a one-day conference on Ruskin, Science and the Environment on Friday 8th February 2019 from 9.30 until 6. Speakers will include Kate Flint (Southern California), Mark Frost (Portsmouth), Peter Garratt (Durham), Sandra Kemp (Director of the Ruskin Research Centre, Lancaster), Francis O’Gorman (Edinburgh), John Parham (Worcester) and Marcus Waithe (Cambridge). There will also be a brief introduction to Ruskin Land from John Iles and a tour of the museum by John Holmes (Birmingham). At 6 in the evening, the conference will be followed by a public lecture by Fiona Stafford (Oxford) on ‘Ruskin’s Trees’.

Registration for the conference on Ruskin, Science and the Environment costs £20 (full-price) or £10 for students and other unwaged delegates. To register, please click here

Fiona Stafford's public lecture on 'Ruskin's Trees' is free of charge. To register, please click here

If you would like to attend both events, please register for each of them separately. 

For further information, please email Catherine Charlwood at catherine.charlwood@ell.ox.ac.uk.

Sally Shuttleworth (Oxford) and John Holmes (Birmingham)

A special issue of Humanities

Deadline for submissions: 31 August 2019

For further information and to submit a manuscript, visit the special issue website: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/humanities/special_issues/environmental_humanities 

‘Environmental Humanities Approaches to Climate Change’ investigates the various ways in which we experience climate change. ‘Climate,’ writes Mike Hulme, ‘is weather which has been cultured, interpreted and acted on by the imagination, through story-telling and using material technologies’ (Weathered: Cultures of Climate). Whereas weather can be experienced directly, climate and climate change are inevitably mediated and remediated through cultural forms: particular narratives, vocabularies, images, objects, and symbols. This presents a considerable opportunity for scholars in the humanities and social sciences, who are well placed to analyse how climate change is understood, represented, and communicated in relation to specific socio-political contexts and within specific ethical and epistemological frameworks. However, it also presents a significant challenge. How can we be attentive to climate change as story without supporting the idea that it is a mere fiction? How can we move from understanding climate change as politically and culturally produced to imagining ways in which it might be mitigated? How does an understanding of climate change’s mediations remain alert to the brute facticity of environmental forces?

The special issue will bring together researchers whose work does not necessarily fit into traditional disciplinary silos. Its purpose is to explore and demonstrate the insights offered by the humanities into the cultural forms that climate change takes, and therefore to argue for the important contribution that the environmental humanities can make to climate change studies. It will be an opportunity to reflect on the broader question of the relationship between the fine-grained analytical work practised in the environmental humanities and the more instrumentalised approach to ‘climate solutions’ in the natural sciences and ‘hard’ social sciences; a relationship that it is important to address given that the problem of climate change is partly a problem of communication and imagination.

‘Environmental Humanities Approaches to Climate Change’ will build upon the groundbreaking work of scholars such as Julie Doyle (Mediating Climate Change) and Mike Hulme, who have emphasised the political, cultural, and communicative dimensions of climate change. A special issue on the subject of the cultural forms of climate change will be able to address the diversity of these forms across time and space and beyond the scope of a single-author study. It will also be an intervention in the ongoing debate around the Anthropocene (e.g. Bonneuil and Fressoz, The Shock of the Anthropocene; Davies, The Birth of the Anthropocene). One of the key problems with the concept is that it can be used to suggest a monolithic species-wide agency that not only exaggerates human power but also glosses over the considerable inequalities that generate climate change and to which it contributes. A more nuanced notion of the Anthropocene requires a nuanced analysis of the diverse ways through which climate change can be understood in relation to human discourse and practice, rather than seeing it simply as a measure of what ‘we’ do in a purely physical sense to an environment that is imagined as somehow external to us. Therefore, the special issue also relates to the recent development of ‘new materialist’ environmental philosophy (e.g. Bennett, Vibrant Matter; Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway) which similarly aims to complicate ideas of anthropogenic agency and to understand the ‘culturing’ of climate change as a process in which human and nonhuman actors/actants are entangled.

Dr. David Higgins
Dr. Tess Somervell
Prof. Nigel Clark
Guest Editors

CALL FOR PAPERS (deadline Friday 7 December)

The fourteenth annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science will take place at Royal Holloway, University of London, from Thursday 4 April until Saturday 6 April 2019. Keynote speakers will include Professor Tim Armstrong (Royal Holloway) and Professor Angelique Richardson (Exeter).

The BSLS invites proposals for 20-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. There is no special theme for this conference, but abstracts or panels exploring one of the following topics are especially welcome: (1) how the literatures of Africa, the Americas, Asia, or Australasia address, interact with, or respond to the discourses of science; (2) the digital humanities; (3) the writing, reading, and interpretation of human nature; (4) innovative or progressive models for uniting the sciences and the humanities.

In addition, we are hoping to put together sessions with looser, non-traditional formats, and would welcome proposals from any person or persons interested in making presentations of approximately ten minutes from notes rather than completed papers. The hope is that this format will encourage longer Q&A sessions with more discussion.

Please send an abstract (200 words) and short biographical note (50 words) to the conference organiser, Dr. Mike Wainwright, mike.wainwright@rhul.ac.uk, by no later than 18.00 GMT, Friday 7 December 2018. Include the abstract and biographical note in the body of the email.

All proposers of a paper or panel will receive notification of the results by the end of January 2019.

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.

Information concerning onsite accommodation and local hotels will be forthcoming.

Membership: conference delegates will need to register/renew as members of the BSLS (annual membership: £25 waged/ £10 unwaged).

 

30-31 May 2019: British Institute of Florence

Keynote lectures by Carolyn Burdett and Christa Zorn. The conference will also include a private performance of Lee’s pacifist work, The Ballet of the Nations, staged at her Florentine home, Il Palmerino.

‘Vernon Lee 2019’, an international conference organised by the University of Surrey and the University of Oxford in collaboration with the Associazione Culturale Il Palmerino, marks the centenary of Vernon Lee’s return to her Italian home, Villa Il Palmerino, after enforced exile during WW1. Lee emerged as a significant writer in the heady atmosphere of late nineteenth-century aestheticism and decadence, but she published extensively throughout the first three decades of the twentieth century. As the new century dawned, she became politically active; in the years leading up to WW1, she produced polemical pacifist articles for the periodical press and an important anti-war morality play, Ballet of the Nations (1915). She also took criticism in exciting new directions, focusing on the emerging field of ‘psychological aesthetics’ in Beauty and Ugliness (1912) and The Beautiful (1913), and experimenting with literary analysis in The Handling of Words (1923).

Writing in 2003, Vineta Colby commented that, at that time, only ‘a small company’ read the work of Vernon Lee (Violet Paget, 1856-1935). In the fifteen years that have elapsed there has been a major expansion of academic interest in Lee’s oeuvre, which has generated scholarly work, biographies and international conferences. Since then, access to Vernon Lee’s work in published and digitised form has increased dramatically, introducing her to a whole new generation of readers and students, and prompting scholarship not only on her fiction but on the full variety of her interests.

Despite this surge in critical response, however, much of Lee’s large and extremely wide-ranging oeuvre has yet to receive full scholarly attention, especially those writings she produced in the twentieth century. Between 1900 and her death in 1935, she published a wealth of new material including a musical drama, travel writing, novels, philosophical and aesthetic treatises, literary criticism, compilations of supernatural fiction and an important musicological study, Music and Its Lovers (1932).

We welcome proposals for scholarly papers that explore all aspects of Lee’s writings and her literary and artistic connections, with a special focus on her twentieth-century writings. Topics may include but are not limited to the following areas:

• Essays and Fiction
• Travel writing, place and space
• Criticism (aesthetics, musicology, art history, literary criticism)
• Natural and Social Sciences
• Politics, Pacifism, Cosmopolitanism
• Theatre
• Letters
• Circles and Networks

Please send 300-word abstracts, by 15 January 2019, to: VernonLee2019@gmail.com.
Conference organisers: Patricia Pulham, Stefano Evangelista, Elisa Bizzotto, Federica Parretti, Serena Cenni, and Sally Blackburn-Daniels

See the full CFP here

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:

SLSAeu2019CFP-4

Sleep and Stress, Past and Present

7th December 2018
9:00am—5:00pm
Kohn Centre, The Royal Society

Sleep and Stress Poster

A one-day interdisciplinary symposium in the Kohn Centre at the Royal Society, Sleep and Stress, Past and Present brings together expert scientists, medical practitioners, historians and literary critics to discuss the intersections between sleep and stress, both historically and in contemporary society. Prof Russell Foster (Head of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, University of Oxford) will give the keynote lecture. Other speakers include: Prof Sally Shuttleworth (University of Oxford); Dr Tiffany Watts-Smith (QMUL); Dr Melissa Dickson (University of Birmingham); Prof Nick Franks (Imperial College London); Prof Clark Lawlor (Northumbria University); Prof Chris Fitzpatrick (University College Dublin); Prof Matthew Beaumont (University College London); Dr William Maclehose (University College London); and Prof Guy Goodwin (university of Oxford).

£30 delegate fee (£15 concessions) - please book here.
Sleep and Stress is being co-organised by the Royal Society and Diseases of Modern Life, University of Oxford

Please click through for links to the full CFP Beastly Moderisms and Call for Poems Beastly Modernisms

University of Nottingham, Humanities Building, Friday 11 January 2019, 10.00 – 16.00.

Keynote speaker: Professor Christine Hallett (University of Huddersfield)

This one-day workshop seeks to bring together researchers with an interest in the history and representations of healthcare, medicine, nursing, hospitals, and public health in the UK between 1800 and 1948, with a particular focus on local and regional histories.

Over the course of the nineteenth century, healthcare became increasingly organised, centralised and professionalised, paving the way for the reforms of the twentieth century leading to a national healthcare system. But this process was piecemeal and haphazard, often dependent on local and even individual initiatives. Hospitals were funded by local subscriptions; reforms such as the introduction of professional nurses, district nursing, and improvements to workhouse infirmaries occurred on a local basis, and spread only gradually.

As a result, the experiences of patients, nurses, doctors and other care practitioners differed significantly according to geographical location, as well as by class, wealth, and gender. This workshop seeks to highlight these local and regional differences and experiences in order to build up a more textured, nuanced picture of the development of healthcare in the industrial age.

This workshop is the first of a series to be held arising from the AHRC-funded project ‘Florence Nightingale Comes Home for 2020’, which examines the influence of Nightingale’s upbringing in the Midlands on her work and ideas. This first workshop invites contributions from a wide range of scholars in order to develop insights into broader histories of health and care in a regional perspective.

Possible themes for contribution include:
- How can localised studies of historical health and care contribute to a broader
understanding of the state of health and healthcare in the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries?
- How did standards of, and access to healthcare vary according to regional
differences? How did patient experiences differ by region?
- How was healthcare delivered in the home? How did this differ from its delivery in
institutional environments? Were there significant overlaps between conceptions of
health at home and in institutions?
- How can studies of individual institutions, such as workhouse infirmaries, hospitals,
and nursing homes, contribute to broader regional and national histories of health?

- How did hospital nursing, district nursing and women’s involvement in healthcare
develop differently in different areas?
- How did connections and divisions between the rural and the urban inform
healthcare?
- How did representations of health vary across localities? How might we better
understand these regional cultures of health?

 

Practical details
- An abstract of no more than 300 words along with a short (1-2 page) CV should be sent to Nightingale2020@nottingham.ac.uk by Friday 16 November 2018.
- The workshop is fully funded as part of the AHRC Research Grant-funded project ‘Florence Nightingale Comes Home for 2020: an historico-literary analysis of her family life’, grant ref AH/R00014X/1.
- There will be no charge for attendance.
- A limited number of travel bursaries are available for travel within the UK. To apply, please include an estimate of your travel costs in your email application.

Victorian Light Night

Victorian Light Night: Being Human Festival 2018
Friday, 16th November 2018, 6-10.30pm - FREE - All Welcome!
Radcliffe Humanities courtyard
Join us for a fantastic late-night projection and sound show onto the original Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford! Calling all families, couples, young peeps - everyone welcome to join in the Victorian Light Night Festival in the courtyard!
TORCH and researchers from the ‘Diseases of Modern Life' Project have teamed up with the award winning Projection Studio for a fantastic late-night projection and sound installation onto the original Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford. Join us to see what the Victorians thought about the 'speed of life'....

There will be games, stalls, and performances by researchers throughout the night!
Refreshments available to purchase - hot drinks, snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
This event is part of the Being Human Festival and Oxford Christmas Light Festival.
We are very grateful to all our collaborators and supporters, including the Maths Institute who will open up their building as part of the night's activities too!

For details, click here. Booking for free here.

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