Environments of Literature and Science: BSLS Winter Symposium 2018

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
The British Society for Literature and Science

Date: Saturday 24th November 2018 (10:00 – 18:00)

Location: Cardiff University

Organisers: Joan Passey (Exeter, jp374@exeter.ac.uk), Louise Benson-James (Bristol, louise.bensonjames@bristol.ac.uk), Jim Scown (Cardiff, scownj@cardiff.ac.uk)

Keynote: ‘Biggish Data: Friedrich Engels, Material Ecology, and Victorian Data’ by John Parham, University of Worcester

The Environmental Humanities have gained momentum relatively recently, contributing to developing theories of the Anthropocene, responding to rapid changes in climate, and addressing our changing relationship with the world around us. They have also raised questions of how we define, shape, protect, and imagine our environments. This symposium provides a space to consider such questions, while also encompassing a wider sense of environment. How do we discuss the environments of literature – its production, dissemination, and reception? How do we understand the environments of science – its construction, its laboratories, its spaces of discourse? In what environments do we engage with Literature and Science as an interdisciplinary field, and in what environments do we teach, research, and encounter interactions between literature and science? These questions are bound up with, and have the potential to greatly impact, the environmental turn in humanities scholarship.

The research environment is under increasing scrutiny with discussions surrounding funding, the future of research, interdisciplinarity and collaboration, the mental health and wellbeing of researchers, and how the infrastructure and shape of research environments will look in the future. Doctoral and research awards focus on interdisciplinarity and collaboration, and the AHRC's four research themes (Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past, Digital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities, Science in Culture, and Translating Cultures) all provide scope to consider the history of environments, environments of research, and how we interpret our environments. This symposium provides an opportunity for researchers to reflect on the significance of environments to their research at all stages of their careers, with the aim of providing a supportive collaborative environment in and of itself, while simultaneously offering a forum for considering how literature and science scholarship might address the environmental challenges of the present and future.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Environments of science, including laboratories, field work, universities, hospitals, theatres
  • Science and literatures of the environment and environmental sciences
  • Global environments; cultural environments; globalisation, national identities, international identities, regionality; postcolonial environmentalism and postcolonial literature and science
  • The natural world; animals in the environment; habitats, habitation and cohabitation; agriculture, food and the environment;
  • The urban world; the built environment; the subterranean
  • Toxic environments; pollution, contagion, poison, criminality, danger, rebellion, resistance; antagonistic environments; monstrous, sublime, and frightening environments; the ecogothic
  • What environments best enable the staging, performance, adaptation, re-imagining, or re-working of literature and science?

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers. Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to bslsenvironments@gmail.com by Monday 15th October 2018, accompanied by a short biography (60 – 100 words). We welcome proposals for panel presentations, as well as for poster presentations to be held during the lunch break.