Thursday, August 02, 2012

Deadline Extended: Moving Towards Science in the Long Nineteenth Century (8/13/2012; 9/12/2012)

Following expressions of interest from a number of postgraduates seeking a further opportunity to submit abstracts for the symposium, the call for papers deadline has been extended to 13 August 2012. Abstracts of 250 words for twenty-minute papers should be emailed to The day will be free to attend and we are delighted to be able to offer a number of travel bursaries. Please indicate in your email if you would like to be considered for a bursary.

‘Moving Towards Science in the Long Nineteenth Century’: 
A Postgraduate Symposium
12 September 2012, The Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle upon Tyne

Guest speakers:
Professor Jennifer Richards and Dr Anne Whitehead (Newcastle University), Professor David Knight (Durham University), and Dr Peter Garratt (Northumbria University)

The North East Postgraduate Research Group for the Long Nineteenth Century (NENC) invites proposals for a one-day postgraduate symposium held on Wednesday 12 September 2012.

The theme of the symposium reflects two parallel ‘moves’ towards science. First, it references the rise of the ‘natural sciences’, the scientific method, and the professional scientist across the long nineteenth century. Second, it recognises moves in contemporary arts and humanities scholarship towards a more nuanced disciplinary relationship with the sciences and the possibility of ‘one culture’.  Adopting an exploratory methodology, the day will allow postgraduate delegates to think widely about how literary culture of the period approached, adapted, and rejected emergent scientific, technological, and medical discourses and methods. More broadly, we will consider how and why literature and science might move together in the contemporary academy.

Ranging across the early modern period to the end of the long nineteenth century in their areas of specialisation, our guest speakers will consider in particular how they have approached or made use of scientific discourses in their own research. This will provide delegates with an opportunity to gain insight into some of the methodological and theoretical benefits and challenges of a turn towards science. Accordingly, we invite proposals from postgraduates for papers which broadly consider ‘moves’ towards science in the literature of the long nineteenth century, or in contemporary approaches to nineteenth-century literature.

Possible topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Defining science then and now: shifting linguistic terms
  • Science in the public arena: the role of institutions in shaping relations between literature and science
  • The popularisation of science through literary forms: prose, poetry, periodical, and pamphlet
  • Reading in new ways: approaching the scientific text across disciplinary lines
  • Specialisation and the figure of the professional scientist 
  • Evolution: approaches, responses, reactions
  • Developing narratives: the Enlightenment, discovery, invention
  • Science in literary forms and the literary form of science
  • Medicine and the burgeoning medical industry
  • Science at the margins: gender, class, race, and geography
  • The collaboration of scientific and literary circles
  • Science and anxiety: resistance to scientific ideas in literature 
  • The rise of psychology and theories of the mind
  • Pseudoscience and quackery: authenticity, belief, demonstration, and revelation

Abstracts of 250 words for 20-minute papers should be submitted by 13 August 2012 to

The symposium is being generously supported by the British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS) and by the three host Universities (Newcastle, Durham, and Northumbria). The day will therefore be free to attend, and we are delighted to be able to offer a number of postgraduate travel bursaries.

Please indicate in your abstract if you would like to be considered for a bursary.