CFP: Reconsidering Popular Comedy, Ancient and Modern

Date: Wed 28 - Fri 30 August 2013.
Location: University of Glasgow
Convenors: Costas Panayotakis and Ian Ruffell

The comic theatre of Greece and Rome, like that of many other crucial periods
of comic history (e.g. Elizabethan and Jacobean drama; music hall; vaudeville)
is often described as popular comedy. This conference aims to investigate the
extent, limits and utility of considering comic drama to be "popular". We are
particularly interested in the modes of performance and reception of comedy.
How far does performance in front of a mass audience shape the form and
language of comedy? How genuinely "popular" are different comic traditions? To
what extent and in what ways do "elite" and "popular" interact in the original
and subsequent contexts of reception? Is "popular comedy" a useful term or is
it subsuming other more challenging concepts (such as, for example, class)?
And to what extent can parallel themes in the production and reception of
popular comedy be seen across cultures? The conference begins with the comic
traditions of Greece and Rome, but is intended to broaden out the question to
consider popular comedy in other periods and modes.

Confirmed speakers:
Martin Revermann (Toronto), James Robson (Open), Ralph Rosen (Penn), Alan
Sommerstein (Nottingham), Gonda van Steen (Florida) and Peter Wiseman

The conference is supported by a grant from the Institute for Classical

We would like to invite proposals for papers of around 30 minutes in length
on any aspect of the above. Titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words
should be sent to Ian Ruffell ( by January 31, 2013.

We look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions, please don't
hesitate to contact either of us.

Costas Panayotakis

Ian Ruffell

CALL FOR PAPERS: Inventing Science: Iconography of Scientific Instruments in the Early Modern Period"

Wuppertal, 28-30 August, 2013

Call for Papers

The workshop " Inventing Science: Iconography on Scientific Instruments in the Early Modern Period" is organised by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Science and Technology Studies (IZWT) at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal.

The development, production and use of scientific instruments is a well-established research field in the history of science and technology and it is with the aim of expanding the scope of research that we wish to devote our conference to systematically exploring the worlds of images appearing upon the instruments and their place within the visual culture of the time. We hope that this interdisciplinary approach will open up new perspectives on the historical and scientific significance of the instruments and foster a closer collaboration between scholars of different background, such as historians of art or of science and technology, curators of museum collections, philosophers and scholars from cultural studies. The first step in the investigation of the iconography on scientific instruments will be an attempt at mapping the landscape: beside pictures offering information on how the instruments had to be used, we may expect to find inscribed on them images connected to a multitude of visual contexts, for example aimed at constructing traditions, evoking myths and legends, transmitting and popularizing knowledge, or positioning instruments and their makers within theoretical debates or scientific frameworks.

The workshop’s aims at promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and therefore proposals contributing to any aspect of the topic are welcome. Special consideration will be given to proposals from young scholars.

The language of the workshop is English. Submissions must include a title, an abstract (about 1 page) of a 30 minute presentation, and a short CV. Submissions should be sent to Volker Remmert at no later than April 5, 2013.

Contributors’ overnight accommodation costs will be covered. But because funds are limited, please let us know well in advance if you will need support to cover travelling expenses.

The organisers, Arianna Borrelli and Volker Remmert, look forward to your participation and would also be grateful if you could inform others, especially young academics, about the workshop and this call for papers.

Prof. Dr. Volker R. Remmert
Wissenschafts- und Technikgeschichte
Historisches Seminar Fachbereich A - Bergische 
Universität Wuppertal Gaußstraße 20
42097 Wuppertal

Four-year PhD Studentship "In the footsteps of Newton? ‘s Gravesande’s Scientific Methodology"

1 January 2014 – 31 December 2018; full-time

Based at the Free University of Brussels (Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science; the project "In the footsteps of Newton? ‘s Gravesande’s Scientific Methodology" runs from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2018. The research project is funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) ( The doctoral student will conduct his or her doctoral research under the supervision of Prof. dr. Steffen Ducheyne.

Description of the research project

This research project will scrutinize W. J. ‘s Gravesande’s (1688-1742) scientific methodology. ‘s Gravesande was one of earliest advocates of Newtonianism on the Continent and his works were highly influential. Surprisingly, there are few detailed studies of ‘s Gravesande’s methodological views proper and their relevance for his scientific practice. This research project seeks to fill in this scholarly gap by providing a historical and philosophical account of ‘s Gravesande’s methodology both in precept and in practice. Following ‘s Gravesande’s own statements, many scholars have been led to believe that he was a follower of Newton’s methodology without, however, providing detailed justification for this claim. The overarching goal of this research proposal is to explicate ‘s Gravesande’s scientific methodology and to determine whether or not his methodology may be rightfully considered as ‘Newtonian’. Given its set-up, this research proposal will have broader implications for the study of eighteenth-century Newtonianism in general. (The extended version of this research proposal is available upon request.)

  • The candidate should have a strong interest in the history of science from historical as well as philosophical perspectives and be able to combine both in his or her doctoral research. Knowledge of early eighteenth-century physics is a plus.
  • The candidate has a Master’s degree in Philosophy or a Master’s degree with clear affinity to the research project.
  • The candidate is an enthusiastic team player and is highly motivated.
  • The candidate is willing to travel abroad.
  • The candidate will be expected to publish in international journals, to present his or her research at international conferences, to engage actively in departmental life and research, and to assist in the organization of workshops and conferences.
  • The doctoral research should lead to a PhD dissertation which is to be completed in a four-year period.
  • The candidate should be able to read – if necessary, with the help of dictionaries – French, Dutch, and Latin and be able to present research results in English both orally and in writing.


A four-year contract as a full time scientific member of the Free University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel).

Opportunity to follow an individualized PhD-programme at the university’s Doctoral School of Human Sciences.

Extra benefits: free public transport between home and campus, biking fee, access to university sports facilities and university restaurants.

How to apply

Please send – preferably in a single file – (1) a cover letter describing your interest in and suitability for this PhD studentship, (2) a full curriculum vitae (including the topic of your MA dissertation and your MA grades), (3) at least one letter of recommendation, and (4) a representative writing sample (such as an extract from your MA dissertation) to before Monday 7 October 2013. Short-listed candidates will be interviewed (if necessary, via Skype).

CALL FOR PAPERS: Henry of Blois and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance

Grandson of William the Conqueror and brother to King Stephen, Henry of Blois
(1101-1171) was undoubtedly one of the most significant figures in twelfth-century England, yet no substantial academic study of him in English exists. By turns, kingmaker, ecclesiastical politician, diplomat, and elder statesman, Henry of Blois played a central role in shaping the course of the Anarchy that characterized much of his brother’s reign and, towards the end of his life, presided over the trial of Thomas Becket. For over four decades he held the bishopric of Winchester and the abbacy of Glastonbury in plurality and, between 1139 and 1143, effectively governed the English Church as Papal Legate. Raised and tonsured at Cluny, he considered himself a spiritual son of Peter the Venerable and, if no great thinker or writer himself, he was intimately engaged with those that were. Henry’s influence and activities extended across Europe; he travelled extensively and became twelfth-century England’s most prolific collector and patron of the arts. Despite all this, the only major monograph written on him was published in German (by Lena Voss) as long ago as 1932, and remains untranslated. In part, this surprising omission in the literature results from the extraordinary range of Henry’s own activities and spheres of influence. Scholars have tended to focus on his importance only within their discipline, and as such there remains no comprehensive account of this influential and complex figure, nor any study that posits Henry in relation to the wider intellectual and cultural developments associated with the Twelfth-Century Renaissance.

Papers are therefore sought for a volume of collected essays from across the relevant disciplines that explore the breadth of Henry of Blois’ life, influence and legacy. The aim of this volume is to bring together a range of scholars working on Henry of Blois in a variety of disciplines. A number of distinguished academics have already undertaken to contribute, including historians, art and architectural historians, manuscript specialists and archaeologists, from Europe, the United States and Australia.

Please send a brief CV (no longer than 2 pages) and abstracts of no more than 500 words by 15th September 2013 to:

We will solicit first drafts in August 2014 in order to go to press in the third quarter of 2015 with a publication date in spring or summer 2016.

For further details please contact the editors: Dr John Munns (Cambridge) and Dr William Kynan-Wilson (Cambridge) on the email address above.