Tuesday, November 24, 2009

PhD programme - "Internationalisation of Literature and Science since the Early Modern Period"

King’s College London / University of Stuttgart

Application deadline: 30/11/2009

The PhD-Net “Internationalisation of Literature and Science since the Early Modern Period” is a bi-national PhD programme run collaboratively by King’s College London and the University of Stuttgart, which aims to forge interdisciplinary connections between various subjects in the Humanities (German Studies, English Studies, Comparative Literature, Philosophy, and the Histories of Medicine, Science and Technology). Partner institutions in Germany include the German Literature Archive in Marbach and the Institute for the History of Medicine of the Robert Bosch Foundation.

An international research group will support and connect projects which address both inter- and trans-national tendencies within the Humanities. Projects will develop both theoretical models for the as yet under-researched area of internationalisation within the Humanities, as well as critically assess historical case studies from the early modern period onwards, which address the role of exchange movements and networks and the transfer of topics, practices and methods in literature and science.

Of particular interest is the relevance of literature(s) for the internationalisation of the sciences, alongside critical reflections on the significance of the presentation and the mediality of knowledge (language, text, image) for its circulation, communication and implementation.

Applicants from all disciplines are welcome to apply to the programme – both those who are already registered as PhD candidates at King’s or Stuttgart, and those who are planning to undertake a PhD at either
institution. Up to 15 PhD students will be supported in England and in Germany each year. Support covers: travel costs, book grants, and assistance in obtaining further PhD funding / reduced fees. Successful candidates not otherwise funded by a full scholarship and who decide to undertake the dual degree will qualify for a grant of 2,000 pounds a year.

The PhD programme lasts three years, and students registered at King’s will spend their second year at the partner university in Stuttgart. The programme is bilingual, and as such some knowledge of German is desirable for English speaking applicants.

All applications received by the 30/11/2009 will be considered.
Applications should include:

- a CV
- a brief project outline (max. 2,000 words) including the topic, thesis, state of research, methods and a plan of work
- a cover letter (max. 600 words) explaining your interest in the programme and the thematic connections between your research project and your previous academic experience

Please address all applications and enquiries to:

Ben Schofield
Department of German
King’s College London
London UK-WC2R 2LS

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book - New Edition of 'Flatland'

A new edition of Edwin Abbott's Flatland (1884) has just been published by Broadview Press as part of their literary editions series. The introduction to this edition provides context for the book's references to Victorian culture and religion, mathematical history (particularly the 1880s "textbook wars"), and the history of philosophy. The Appendix material includes autobiographical selections from Abbott's The Kernel and the Husk and statements on his religious views from The Spirit on the Water, contemporary reviews of Flatland, Victorian mathematical essays on non-Euclidean geometry, and selections from C. H. Hinton's writings.

Further details can be found here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CFP - Insects and Texts: Spinning Webs of Wonder

Explora International Conference
4-5 May 2010
Toulouse Natural History Museum/CAS (UTM)

Vladimir Nabokov, both writer and entomologist, once explained that he could not “separate the aesthetic pleasure of seeing a butterfly and the scientific pleasure of knowing what it is” [Interview with Robert H. Boyle, Sports Illustrated, 1959]. This conference proposes to examine man’s fascination with the world of insects as reflected not only in the rich history of entomological research, from amateur or professional collecting to scientific expeditions, but also in more artistic forms of expression - myth, literature, painting, photography, cinema and music. Whether insects stimulate man’s curiosity or inspire fear, whether parallels or contrasts are seen between human society and the astonishing skills of insects, this conference aims to explore the relation between man and insects. Through the study of either scientific and technological developments in entomology, or artistic concerns with insects, we invite specialists of entomology and/or the arts to reconsider the relationship of man to nature through the magnifying glass of an entomologist. Papers that offer an interdisciplinary approach on science and art are especially welcome.

We invite 20-minute papers that engage with, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- the history of entomology and insect classification
- the history of insect collecting
- the popularization of entomology
- entomology and scientific expeditions
- entomology and technological development
- insects and biodiversity
- representations of insects, ecosystems and ecology
- the resurgence of insect worlds in human society
- entomology and naturalist painters
- entomology and photography
- insects in literature
- insects in illustrated books
- insects in cinema/films
- insects and the fantastic
- insects and music
- entomological metamorphoses in science and art

Please send 300-word proposals (attached as a .doc-file) together with a short biographical note to exploraentomology@gmail.com. Deadline for submissions: 15 February 2010.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Talk - Communicating Science: Easy But Impossible

7pm, Thursday 26th November
Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, Fitzwilliam Street, Cambridge.
Despite a growing interest among scientists in engaging with the public and
the media, we still lacks a genuine science communication culture. While
communication of every kind is on everyone's lips, we are still far from the
genuinely 'intelligent' communication promised by the advent of the
'knowledge society'. Technologies may be partly responsible for this
paradox. Having pervasive 'means' of accessing and exchanging information
creates the feeling that we are communicating better. While this is no doubt
true in so far as society is spontaneously generating new and creative
initiatives, much remains to be done when it comes to the various levels in
established institutions and organizations. We will discuss other challenges
science communication is facing today such as:

- Do we need science journalists?
- New technologies: friends or foes?
- Turning science into "mediascience"
- Promoting the science-society dialogue

About the speaker:

Michel Claessens is currently Deputy Head of the Communication Unit in the
Research Directorate-General at the European Commission. He is also the
editor-in-chief of the research*eu magazine of the European Commission. A
scientific journalist and writer, Michel Claessens has published 250
articles and 8 books on several aspects of modern science and technology. He
is also professor of science communication at the Free University of Brussels.

Free to BlueSci members otherwise £2.

Dance - Light Matter: Celebrating 800 years of science through art

Special Cambridge 800th Anniversary Gala - University Senate House

Friday 4 December 7:30pm; Saturday 5 December 6pm (Black Tie preferred)
Tickets £16/£12 concessions (includes interval wine reception)
We invite you to a unique and unforgettable gala evening of new dance, art and music works in the historic Senate House. The performance features world premieres of new dances by Vanessa Fenton of the Royal Ballet and triple award winning contemporary choreographer Katie Green. All live music from 16th century choral work to newly commissioned chamber instrumentals by Jeremy Thurlow, David Earl and Ewan Campbell as well as performance by Theremin virtuoso Lydia Kavina—the grand niece of its inventor!

Further details here. Free online booking here or call (0)1223 300085.

30th November

Join us for the last meeting of term, from 7.30-9pm in room 119 of the Mary Allan Building at Homerton College. We'll end our discussions of all things analogical with a glass of wine and a mince pie or two, and by looking at Simon Armitage's "Modelling the Universe: Poetry, Science, and the Art of Metaphor" in Robert Crawford (ed.) Contemporary Poetry and Contemporary Science, pp. 110-122 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). A photocopy of this is available in the Whipple Library boxfile. Also, do please bring along any examples you have found of poems with particularly striking use of metaphor, simile, and analogy. All welcome!

Next term

An announcement that the Science and Literature Reading Group's meetings for Lent term 2010 will held on Mondays 18th January, 1st and 15th February, and 1st March, and will be themed around alchemy and chemistry. We will read an array of texts from different time periods and genres, from alchemical poetry to memoir and reportage, and a modern play about the chemical industry. Full details will be announced in December...

Friday, November 13, 2009

CFP - Transcending the Boundaries: doctoral research across disciplines

On Saturday 30th January 2010 the School of Historical Studies at the University of Leicester will host a one-day workshop on 'Transcending the Boundaries: doctoral research across disciplines'.

The workshop aims to attract research students from a variety of academic disciplines, with the intention of building lasting connections between approaches, projects, departments and universities. There will be sessions on themes such as 'Art, material culture and the built environment', 'Conceptual approaches to research' and 'Sources: old and new'.

The School would like to hear from PhD students whose work relates to these themes, and whose research engages with material of ideas from outside the obvious confines of their discipline. While the workshop will have a substantial historical focus, speakers should not be hindered by this requirement.
Papers will be 20 minutes long and should discuss research conducted by the presenter and be of interest to historians - but beyond that be creative!

Abstracts should be submitted to Matt Neale (mpn1@le.ac.uk) by Friday 4th December 2009. Funding for travel costs incurred in attending the workshop will be available for speakers.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

16th November

Join us from 7.30-9pm in room 119 of the Mary Allan Building, Homerton College, for the third meeting of term. We'll continue our readings on analogy with the following chapter, a photocopy of which is available in the Whipple Library boxfile:

Mary Ellen Pitts, "Reflective Scientists and the Critique of Mechanistic Metaphor" in M. W. McRae (ed.), The Literature of Science: Perspectives on Popular Scientific Writing, pp. 249-272 (Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 1993).

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

AHRC Collaborative Research Training programme – ‘Theories and Methods: Literature, Science and Medicine’

Announcing a new AHRC-funded Collaborative Research Training programme on 'Theories and Methods: Literature, Science and Medicine' for doctoral students. Information can be found on our website. The programme will comprise of a number of events over a period of two years.

The programme is being led by the University of Salford, in collaboration with eleven other partners: the Universities of Keele, Leicester, Manchester, King's College London, the London Consortium, the Science Museum, National Maritime Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Royal College of Surgeons, Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the Wellcome Library. Students will be taught by experts with different approaches to disciplinary boundaries, and will be equipped with the skills needed to utilise manuscript sources, rare books, material objects, philosophy, literature, film and visual arts in their study of the connections between literature, science and medicine.

Our first event will be a residential, introductory event, taking place from 4-8 January 2010 at St Deiniol's Library near Chester. There are twenty funded places available for students (including travel, subsistence, and accommodation) and a registration form is now online here. It must be submitted by the closing date of 1 December 2009. We will let successful applicants know that they have a place by 7 December.

The website is developing and soon will also host a social space and learning resources for all to participate in regardless of whether they are attending events on the programme.

Please contact Professor Sharon Ruston (s.ruston@salford.ac.uk) if you have any questions.

Gentner on analogy/metaphor

As promised at last night's seminar, here's a link to Gentner's other work on analogy/metaphor - many of her papers are available to download as pdf files.