Monday, December 15, 2008

Lent 2009

This term we shall focus on historical fiction. All of the novels will be made available in January in our box-file for reading in the Whipple Library *only*; many are also held in Cambridge University Library, or are still in print.

Useful background reading for all of this term’s seminars can be found in the Isis Focus section on ‘History of Science and Historical Novels’, Isis 98 (2007), 755-795.

We meet fortnightly on Mondays in the upstairs seminar room at Darwin College, from 7.30-9pm. All welcome!

19th January
John Banville, Doctor Copernicus (1976)
Available in Cambridge University Library, from second-hand booksellers, and also still in print: alone, and as part of the 'Revolutions' trilogy.

2nd February
Daniel Kehlmann, Measuring the World (2007 translation by Carol Brown Janeway)
Available in Cambridge University Library, in print, and from second-hand booksellers.

16th February
Russell McCormmach, Night Thoughts of a Classical Physicist (1982)
Available in Cambridge University Library, from second-hand booksellers, and also still in print.

2nd March
C.P. Snow, The Search (1934)
Available in Cambridge University Library, and from second-hand booksellers.

Friday, December 12, 2008

London Consortium PhD Studentship

The London Consortium in collaboration with the Science Museum invites applications to a new PhD studentship to commence in September 2009. The London Consortium Science and Humanities Studentship is offered to support projects of doctoral research into an area that involves or establishes a significant relation between science and the humanities. The award is tenable for three years and will cover the full cost of fees for a home student, or if awarded to an overseas student it will have the effect of reducing the overseas rate to the home rate. It will also include an annual stipend of £3,000 towards living expenses.

The London Consortium is a unique collaboration between Birkbeck College, the ICA, TATE, the Science Museum and the Architectural Association offering masters and doctoral programmes in humanities and cultural studies in an innovative, multidisciplinary environment. In the first year of the award the successful applicant will follow five core courses and a research methods course designed to provide a rigorous grounding in the key concepts and methodologies of multidisciplinary research. The doctorate will be examined by a thesis of 80,000 to 100,000 words, and will be awarded by the University of London.

The studentship will be awarded to a candidate who proposes an original and cross-disciplinary research project exploring the relation between science and the humanities. The student is encouraged to make use of the Science Museum’s unique collections relating to science, technology and medicine. With over 300,000 objects in its care, the Science Museum has particular strengths in the history of western science, technology and medicine since 1700. This collection is supported by the books, journals and archives which are available in the Science Museum Library. Interested applicants should apply to the London Consortium’s doctoral programme, indicating on the application form that they would like to be considered for the award. Applicants should have a good 2:1 (or equivalent) in a discipline relevant to the application.

Further information about the London Consortium can be found here. Enquiries about the Science and Humanities Studentship should be directed to Matt Taunton, admissions tutor, by email on, or by telephone on 020 7836 7558.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CFP - Cultivating Empire

Cultivating Empire: Exploration, Science and Literature: An Interdisciplinary Conference
, featuring the work and influence of Sir Joseph Banks

Lincoln, UK, 18 April 2009

This multidisciplinary conference will examine the intersections between the local and the global--the English shire and the colonial shore--in the years 1750-1850. Focusing on the relationship between Britain and the countries over which it extended its power, the conference has as its centre Sir Joseph Banks but also aims more broadly to present critical work in the following areas: the history of exploration and of colonial settlement (e.g. in Australasia, the South Pacific, Africa, India, the NW coast of America, the Poles, and in Britain itself); the development of colonialism as a system (for instance, the application to a global network of forms of administration and control pioneered on the English country estate); the cultural impact of the exploration and settlement of previously-unknown regions (e.g. in verbal and visual representations: art, theatre, poetry and fiction, journalism, travel writing, and vis-a-vis Orientalism, Omai, Tahiti,and India); natural philosophy in Britain and abroad (e.g. plant exchange, imperial botany, geological mapping, imperial medicine, the Royal Society, Kew Gardens, Hooker); agricultural improvement at home and in the colonies (e.g. Captain Bligh and the breadfruit scheme, the import and export of crops and livestock, the Royal Society of Arts); local history: the relationship of antiquarian study to the practice of natural philosophy in the empire; Sir Joseph Banks: any aspect of his life and work; archives and correspondence: the role of collections, letters and information stores, then and now, in knowledge-production and staging empire; the late eighteenth-century gentry as a class; the exchange and cultural meanings of technologies and objects

Submissions for 20 minute papers are invited from historians of science, literary critics, geographers, students of local history, garden historians, colonial critics and all others interested in the cultures of late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Britain. Abstracts of no more than 200 words should be sent by email to by 1 January 2009.Venue: University of Lincoln/The Collection (Usher Gallery, Lincoln) where delegates will have a chance to inspect Benjamin West's great portrait of Joseph Banks before it leaves the UK.

Organisers: Neil Chambers, Sir Joseph Banks Archive, Nottingham Trent University, Tim Fulford, Dept ELH, Nottingham Trent University, Ian Packer, School of Humanities and Performing Arts, University of Lincoln, The Sir Joseph Banks Society.

Transcribing Tyndall

I've just come across the following blog, linked to the Tyndall Correspondence Project initiated by Bernard Lightman at York University in Toronto, which might be of interest to Science and Literature members!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Dates for next term...

... are confirmed as Mondays 19th January, 2nd and 16th February, and 2nd March, from 7.30-9pm in the upstairs seminar room at Darwin College. Details of the selected readings will be available soon.