CFP: Minds, Bodies, Machines (UK) (2/28/07; 7/6/07-7/7/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Nicola Parsons

Call for Papers: Minds, Bodies, Machines

This interdisciplinary conference, convened by Birkbeck's Centre for
Nineteenth-Century Studies, University of London, in partnership with
the Department of English, University of Melbourne, and software
developers Constraint Technologies International (CTI), will take place
on 6-7 July 2007 at Birkbeck College, Malet Street, Bloomsbury.

The two-day conference will explore the relationship between minds,
bodies and machines in the long nineteenth century. Recent research on
the Enlightenment's frontier technologies has established that era's
preoccupation with developing machinery that could simulate the
cognitive and physiological processes of human beings. According to some
critics, however, these Promethean ambitions were shelved during the
nineteenth century, when the android as artefact was relocated to the
realm of the imagination, where it became a threatening figure.
According to this reading, the android as scientific project and a
figure of possibility only re-emerges in our own era. The aim of this
conference is to test this claim by exploring the continuities and
discontinuities in the imagining of the human/machine interface in the
nineteenth and twenty-first centuries.

The conference organisers – Hilary Fraser (Birkbeck), Deirdre Coleman
(Melbourne) and Paul Hyland (CTI) – invite proposals for papers that
examine the intersection of minds, bodies and machines during the long
nineteenth century. Topics include: the virtual and the real;
technologies of the sublime; evolution and machines; techniques of
communication; technologies of travel; medical technology;
miniaturisation; self-reproduction; and spiritualism.

The conference programme will include plenary addresses, seminars and
workshops. Confirmed speakers include: Dr Caroline Arscott, Professor
Jay Clayton, Professor Steven Connor, Professor Iain McCalman, Professor
Peter Otto, Professor Kevin Warwick and Dr Elizabeth Wilson.

A selection of papers arising from this conference will be published in
the online journal 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth

Abstracts for papers of 20 minutes, as well as details of expected
audio-visual needs, should be submitted no later than 28 FEBRUARY 2007.
Please send proposals by email to
For further information, see

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Received on Sun Nov 19 2006 - 17:51:03 EST