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University of Brighton, June 13th and 14th 2009.
Science and the public: uncertain pasts, presents and futures.

The relationship between science and the public has provided fruitful material for analysis from a range of academic disciplines, and an important area of policy and practice, in recent years. Studies and experience have revealed a startling complexity, past and present, in science communication, a range of channels (formal, informal, fictional) through which dialogue and debate takes place, and a wide variety of participants in these interactions. Science itself has been reconceptualised, and the complexity of science as a discourse, as practice and as a form of life raises many questions. Science has long been seen as a quest for certainty, even if that goal is unachievable, but our interactions with and examinations of science often reveal, and are characterised by, many uncertainties: what are we encountering, describing and making when we examine science in its many forms? At the same time as this critical examination of the interface between science and the public has been taking place, a dramatic proliferation in modes and amounts of public engagement with science occurred. Science museums, outreach work and edutainment for younger people have achieved new prominence while history of science and popular science texts flourish in the market. This conference will bring together academics and practitioners who have an interest in the intersection of science and non-science, be that in contemporary, past or future societies, to confront and discuss the uncertainties, and certainties, of science and the public.

Possible topics may include:

  • Scientific controversies in the media
  • Experts and expertise in public
  • The representation of science in fiction
  • Public expectations of science and technology
  • Historical analysis of the relationship between science and the public
  • The role of museums, outreach and edutainment
  • Science communication in theory and practice
  • The role of news and entertainment media (including the internet)
  • The construction of interdisciplinary projects and frameworks

Keynote Speakers (confirmed):

Dr Patricia Fara, Senior Tutor of Clare College, University of Cambridge
Professor Steve Fuller, Sociology, Warwick University

Abstract submission

Individual paper proposals for a 20 minutes presentation should be submitted by abstract (no longer than 300 words) to by 14th February 2009. Please include full contact details (name, affiliation, email) of all authors and four keywords.

Panel submission

The conference organizers also encourage full panel submissions and roundtable sessions. Panel proposals should include a panel abstract and individual abstracts for each of the papers on the panel as well as contact information (name, affiliation, email) of the presider (moderator) and all panel members. Roundtable proposals should be a single abstract with names and contact information for all presenters.

Conference Fee

In line with previous years the conference fee is expected to be in the region of £50 with concessions for students.

All submissions should be emailed to by 14th February 2008. Please send enquires to this address as well.

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The BSHS Annual Conference will take place at Stamford Hall, University of Leicester from 2 - 5 July 2009. The Programme Committee invites papers or sessions from historians of science, technology and medicine and their colleagues in the wider scholarly community on any theme, topic or period.

The Programme Committee welcomes proposals for sessions or individual papers from researchers of all nationalities at all stages of their careers. Participation is in no way limited to members of the Society although members will receive a discount on the registration fee.

Session proposals should normally consist of three or four papers, with or without a commentator. Sessions will be 90 minutes to 2 hours long. If you wish to depart from this rule or wish to submit a session of a different type, eg. round-table, witness seminar please discuss this with us in advance of the Call for Papers deadline.

Proposals for individual papers should include an abstract of no more than 250 words with no footnotes and comprehensible to a non-specialist audience.
Full details on how to submit your session proposal or individual abstract are available on the BSHS website.

The deadline for submitting a session or abstract is 23 January 2009.

Enquiries concerning this conference should be directed to

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Science Museum and Tate Modern, London, 23-24 January 2009

On 7 May 1959, C. P. Snow delivered the Rede Lecture in Cambridge on the subject of The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. A failed scientist and a moderately successful novelist, C. P. Snow drew on his experience as a Civil Service Commissioner to consider what seemed to him to be an increasing fissure between 'literary intellectuals' and 'natural scientists'. In part an attack on the perceived insularity, decadence and political sterility of the London literary scene, in part a complaint about the poverty of a humanities education and a demand for curriculum reform in schools and universities, the lecture was, most fundamentally, a critique of the lack of mutually intelligible exchange between the two cultures. As the 1950s drew to a close, Snow believed that only a national culture as aware of the importance of knowing the second law of thermodynamics as of knowing the plays of Shakespeare, would be fit to offer developing countries the scientific and technological solutions to poverty and deprivation that were so urgently required.

The London Consortium is bringing together the Science Museum and Tate Modern in a two-day conference to mark fifty years of the two cultures. Divided into a more specialised academic event and a more public occasion, it will consider the history of this debate, asking whether Snow's critique has been addressed by the increase in multi-disciplinary research, alongside the expansion of educational curricula and provision within science and the humanities. But in a world of increasing disciplinary specialisation in which there has been exponential growth of sub-disciplines in both science and the humanities, it will also ask whether the distinctions between and indeed within the two cultures might have become further entrenched. The most fundamental question this celebration of 50 years since Snow's lecture will ask, though, is how the terms of the debate may have changed.

We invite papers for a conference at the Science Museum on 23rd January 2009, that consider questions such as the following: How have new technologies such as the internet and new resources like Wikipedia reconfigured our sense of disciplinary boundaries, hierarchies of knowledge and the places where cultural capital is held? Has the new dominance within general culture of ideas drawn from the 'life sciences' ? molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry, ecology, epidemiology ? and their unpredictable pressings upon fundamental questions of how and why humans and other organisms should find themselves and their relationships defined in particular ways, led to an ever more complex and porous boundary between science and the humanities? How are Snow's notions of disciplinary and national cultures to be rethought through the paradigms and politics of globalisation?

Please send 200-word abstracts for papers (20 minutes maximum) by November 1st to Dr. Laura Salisbury, School of English and Humanities, Birkbeck, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX or


‘Phobia’ Constructing the Phenomenology of Chronic Fear, 1789 to the Present

Glamorgan Research Centre for Literature, Arts and Science
University of Glamorgan | The ATRiuM Campus Cardiff
8-9 May 2009

Keynote Speakers: Laura Otis (Emory University) | Andrew Thacker (De Montfort University)


The history of phobias as disease entities is intimately connected to the phenomenology of modernity. Whereas the emergence of spatial phobias such as agoraphobia (Carl Otto Westphal, 1871) and claustrophobia (Benjamin Ball, 1879) coincided with growing urbanisation and the development of the modern metropolis, Sigmund Freud’s modern subject theory situated phobia at the heart of his psychoanalytical practice (‘Little Hans’, Totem and Taboo, Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety). The fin de siècle was rife with cultural and social fears about the present and the future, and the twentieth century—with its two global conflicts, its natural disasters and the threat of terrorism—has ushered in a period of postmodern panic. Fear and anxiety are omnipresent in the modern age. But when, how and why does fear become chronic, morbid or abnormal? And in what ways has fear been conceptualised by medical practitioners, cultural theorists and artists?

This interdisciplinary conference looks at the different ways in which writers, artists, historians, art historians, cultural and human geographers, scientists and medical practitioners have constructed, represented and theorised phobia and chronic fear.

We welcome proposals for papers on any aspect of phobias and anxiety disorders in the period from 1789 to the present. Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • spatial phobias
  • biophobias
  • social phobias
  • phobia and the Gothic
  • the fin de siècle
  • phobia, modernisation and modernity
  • phobia and psychoanalysis
  • phobia and cultural geography
  • fear of science and technology
  • phobia, the senses and physical sensations
  • phobophobia

Abstracts of 300 words and a short CV should be sent to Dr Vike Martina Plock and Dr Martin Willis via email at by 1 December 2008. Proposals for panels (comprising three speakers) are also welcome—please submit the title and a brief description of the panel as well as abstracts for the individual papers.


Friday 12 December 2008 at 9:00am
Location: Royal Society, Kohn Centre

A one-day conference organised in conjunction with the Centre for Life Writing Research, King's College London.

Dr Thomas Beddoes (1760-1808) was one of the most remarkable figures in the history of British medicine. Part of a group of radical physicians friendly with Erasmus Darwin and the Lunar Circle in the early 1790s, he set up the Pneumatic Institution near Bristol where he attempted cures using newly-discovered combinations of gases. The then-unknown Humphry Davy superintended trials, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge was among his patients.

This conference marks the bicentenary of Beddoes's death. Speakers will include Trevor Levere, Larry Stewart, Mike Jay, George Rousseau, Giuliano Pancaldi, Iwan Morus, Neil Vickers and Jane Darcy. For further information, contact Neil Vickers (


The 4th annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science will take place at the University of Reading on 27th-29th March, 2009. Keynote speakers will include Dame Gillian Beer, formerly King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge; Patrick Parrinder, Professor of English at the University of Reading; and Simon Conway Morris, Professor of Evolutionary Palaeontology at Cambridge.

The Society invites proposals for 20-minute research papers addressing any aspect of the interaction between literature and science; collaborative panels of two or three papers; and papers or panels on the teaching of literature and science. We welcome work on literature from all periods and countries, and on all aspects of science, including medicine and technology. Presenters need not be based in UK institutions.

Please email proposals of up to 400 words to Dr John Holmes ( by Monday 1st December, together with a 100-word biographical note (or in the case of a panel, abstracts and notes for each speaker). Please send abstracts in the body of messages; do not use attachments. Alternatively, abstracts and proposals may be posted to Dr John Holmes, Department of English and American Literature, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 218, Reading, RG6 6AA, UK.

Please address any queries to Dr John Holmes at the email or postal address above.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: Literature, Art and Culture in an Age of Global Risk

An international, Interdisciplinary Conference

Cardiff University, UK
Thursday 2*Friday 3 July 2009

Keynote Speakers:
Prof. Imre Szemán (McMaster University, Canada)
Dr Charlie Gere (Lancaster University, UK)

What are the cultural implications of living under conditions of global, manufactured risk?

In the twentieth century, the possibility arose for the first time that a crisis of planetary proportions might result from human activities. By the early decades of the century, global economic and financial interdependence was such that a crisis unfolding in one location could radiate outwards to destabilize the entire socio-economic world-system. Through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, the risk of pandemic upheaval has been heightened by an array of phenomena: the expansion and acceleration of media and telecommunications networks; the integration of financial markets and the instantaneous ramification of market fluctuations via programme trading; nuclear proliferation; international terrorism; rapid population growth; unsustainable consumption of natural resources; overload of electricity grids, leading to cascading power failures; pollution of the ecosphere and resulting climate change; computer viruses and *cyber-warfare*; genetic engineering; cloning; nanotechnology; artificial intelligence; bioweaponry; the emergence and rapid spread of new strains of infectious disease; and the development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Scholars speak of *systemic risk* (Anthony Giddens), *simultaneous crisis formation* (David Harvey), a *general disaster* (Brian Massumi), *worst imaginable accidents* (Ulrich Beck), *total risk of catastrophe* (François Ewald), *global* or *integral* accidents (Paul Virilio), *global catastrophic risks* (Nick Bostrom and Milan *irkovi*), and *modernist events* * *events which not only could not possibly have occurred before the twentieth century but the nature, scope, and implications of which no prior age could even have imagined* (Hayden White).

Such occurrences hover indeterminably somewhere between the possible, the probable, and the inevitable. This conference will explore how writers, artists, filmmakers, dramatists, philosophers, and critical and cultural theorists have responded to the prospect and reality of global crisis. Moreover, it will ask how the methodologies of textual and cultural criticism might offer new insights into our age of global risk.

Topics might include, but are by no means limited to:

-Notions of futurity, messianism, and the à venir (*to come*)
-Modernism and the first era of globalization
-Figurations of the contemporary, postmodern, or technological sublime
-The alteration and/or realization of textual meanings in the wake of catastrophic events
-Connections between conditions of global risk and the aesthetic or intellectual *risks* taken by experimental artists and thinkers
-Disaster films
-Ecocriticism and climate change
-Future ruins
-The fate of the archive
-*Nuclear Criticism* and its possible revival post-9/11
-(Post-)apocalyptic visions
-Cyberculture and utopian/dystopian futures
-The cultural implications of Kondratiev waves and world-systems theory

Please send 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers to the organizer, Dr Paul Crosthwaite, at by Monday 22 December 2008. Proposals for three-person panels are also welcome; please send a brief description of the panel along with abstracts for the individual papers.

Updates will appear on the conference web site:


Technology and Humanity

The following is a call for articles for a forthcoming themed issue of eSharp, an established peer-reviewed journal publishing high-quality research by postgraduate students. eSharp is pleased to support new and early-career authors, and has actively encouraged emerging academic talent since 2002.

The twelfth issue of eSharp will consider the cultural and personal consequences of scientific and mechanistic innovation. We welcome articles which examine and engage with the effects, influences or application of technology in any area of the arts, humanities, social sciences and education, and we encourage submissions from postgraduate students at any stage of their research.

In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the journal the ideas of technology, innovation and culture can be interpreted as broadly as authors wish, and may consider, but are by no means limited to, themes such as:

* cyberspace and identity
* politics, surveillance and privacy
* the history, art and literature of the industrial and digital revolutions
* digital media and technologies of exhibition
* new technologies and the law
* cybernetics, gender and the body
* the movable type revolution
* digital narratives and virtual worlds
* education and innovation
* dystopias, dyschronias and utopias
* forensic and corpus linguistics

Submissions must be based on original research and should be between 4,000 and 6,000 words in length. Please accompany your article with an abstract of 200 to 250 words and a list of three to five keywords to indicate the subject area of your article. For more information, a full list of guidelines and our style sheet, please visit

Please email submissions and any enquiries you may have to

The deadline for submission of articles is Friday 12 September 2008.

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International Conference: Institute for Germanic and Romance Studies, London, Thurs 2 – Fri 3 July 2009.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Jacques Testart, Honorary Research Director of I.N.S.E.R.M;Fay Brauer, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales.

Difference, whether between individuals, whole populations or discrete organic species, has always been a source of fascination for mankind. The works of nineteenth-century pioneers such as Gregor Mendel and Hugo de Vries provided the basis for the modern science of genetics, which has sought not only to explain variation through projects such as the mapping of the human genome, but also to control it through the application of the techniques of eugenics and, latterly, of genetic engineering. This conference will aim to explore the impact and influence of genetic theories and related technologies in French and francophone intellectual and cultural life, with particular though not exclusive emphasis on literary and visual culture (including bande dessinée, plastic arts, cinema, TV, advertising) from the late nineteenth century to the present day, reflecting on some of the most controversial scientific and ethical questions in a corpus that embraces both the mainstream and the marginal. Suggested themes may include, but are not limited to:
· Transmission of hereditary illnesses / traits
· Cloning
· Hybridisation
· The creation of new species
· Mutants and mutation
· Teratology / dysmorphology
· Perfecting the individual / species
· Eugenics – public / private
· Genetic engineering and designer babies
· Biological utopias / dystopias
· Doctor / scientist as creator / author
· French philosophers and cultural historians and the life sciences (e.g. Henri Bergson, Georges Canguilhem, Michel Foucault)
· French genetic scientists and their engagement with culture (e.g. Jean Rostand, François Jacob, Jacques Testart)
· DNA technologies and theories of identity

The above list is in no way intended to be exhaustive, and proposals on the conference theme are invited in English or in French. Comparative perspectives are welcomed, though emphasis should be on the study of French-language sources.

Proposals (300 words maximum) for 20-minute papers should be sent to the conference organisers, Dr Douglas Morrey ( and Dr Louise Lyle ( ) by 31 January 2009.


2009 is both the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th
anniversary of The Origin of Species. Victorian Studies will mark
the occasion with a special issue on “Darwin and the Evolution of
Victorian Studies.”

Since the publication of VS’s first Darwin issue in 1959, the study of
Darwin and the relationship of his life and work to Victorian culture
has become an industry. In the past twenty-five years alone we have
witnessed the publication of the first fifteen volumes of the Darwin
correspondence, Darwin’s 1836-1844 notebooks, major Darwin biographies
by Janet Browne and Adrian Desmond and James Moore, and important books
by such scholars as Gillian Beer, Bert Bender, Peter Bowler, Sandra
Herbert, George Levine, Ronald Numbers, Robert Richards, Rebecca Stott,
and Robert Young. In recent years, the study of Darwin has begun to take
new directions through examinations of Darwin’s writings beyond the
Origin and the Journal of Researches, investigations of Darwin’s
impact on previously overlooked areas (e.g., art and visual culture,
psychology and the emotions), and new approaches to Darwinism’s impact
on Victorian attitudes to gender and courtship, race and empire,
literature and publishing. The fact that Darwin’s complete writings and
5,000 pieces of his correspondence have been made available in
searchable online databases promises to open up Darwin scholarship even

Where is the study of Darwin and Darwinism in Victorian culture heading?
This special issue will attempt to showcase work that pursues these new
approaches or offers even newer ones. I invite essays on all aspects of
Darwin and Darwin studies in the Victorian period from scholars working
in a range of areas, including history and history of science, literary
and cultural criticism, art history, and history of the book.

The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2008. Essays of not more than
8,000 words (including endnotes) should be prepared in MLA Style.
Submissions and inquiries should be sent directly to the issue’s guest

Jonathan Smith
Humanities Department
University of Michigan-Dearborn
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128


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