Object Lessons and Nature Tables: Research Collaborations Between Historians of Science and University Museums

University of Reading, 23 September 2016, 9:45 to 17:00

Venue: Special Collections and Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading, Redlands Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 5EX, UK

Website, Programme and Registration at: http://objectlessonsandnaturetables.info/

With the ‘material turn’ in the humanities, historians of science are paying greater and greater attention to collections of all kinds, and to their complex structures and histories. University museum collections in the UK and across Europe form a singular meeting point in humanities discourses for which history of science is highly significant – such as environmental history, histories of colonialism, and information histories.

What exactly does this new landscape of university researchers and their science collections look like now? How do we approach the material culture of science? What are the research projects taking place in this arena, and what is its future potential? How do collaborations between curators and historians of science function – especially inside university contexts? What are the examples of innovative research conjoining university collections and historians of science? When do teaching and research in history of science come together in collections contexts? What public histories of science are being co-produced in university- based science museums? These epistemological and practice-based questions will be the focus of this one-day conference co-sponsored by the Centre for Collections Based Research and the Department of History of the University of Reading, and supported by the British Society for the History of Science.

The morning sessions of the conference are devoted to ‘object animations’, where actual collections objects and their research potential will be explored by speakers who will also be demonstrating their methods and techniques. We have an expert panel with Professor Simon Schaffer and Professor David Gaimster, who will be sharing collaborative research methodologies. The afternoon sessions of 20 minute papers will further deepen our understanding of how to work across collecting institutions and the academy by exploring institutional initiatives, museums as catalysts for sustained interdisciplinarity, and epistemic techniques. Registration open now !

Dr Rohan Deb Roy
Lecturer in South Asian History
Department of History
University of Reading,
United Kingdom
Book Reviews Editor,
South Asian History and Culture (Routledge)


CALL FOR PAPERS: Utopia for 500 Years

A Conference on Thomas More’s Utopia to be held at St. Thomas More College, University Of Saskatchewan

22-24 September 2016, in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the work’s publication

In the five hundred years since Thomas More published his Utopia, the work has had a profound influence on political and philosophical thought. But it has likewise held an important place in modern aesthetic and cultural developments—in literature, in art, in architecture and design—and has inspired political change, social experiments, and radical countercultural movements. This conference seeks to address the varieties of utopia and utopianism that More’s work and those influenced by it have dared imagine. Does the utopian impulse mark a practical response to political, ecological or social crisis? Does utopia reflect a nostalgia for some lost golden age or optimism for a better—if perhaps impossible—future? Do utopian fictions allow us to explore previously unseen possibilities or confine us to the realm of mere imagination? What about dystopias? How are imagined dystopias informed by the tradition begun by More? Are they a straightforward antithesis of the utopian impulse, or could it be that dystopia is somehow a product of utopianism? Finally, what is the place of Utopia and utopias in historical change? Can we identify historical or modern social, economic or ecological experiments that display some utopian vision? In short, how has utopia been used as a tool to think with and how have people translated that thought into action.

We invite proposals on a range of topics that address More’s Utopia, its context, reception and influence, but also those that more broadly address the idea of utopias and utopianism in other political, philosophical, literary, social and historical contexts. We hope this conference will bring together a range of scholars working on Utopia and utopias from diverse disciplinary perspectives. Dr. Anne Prescott, Emerita Helen Goodhart Altschul Professor of English at Barnard College, will deliver a keynote address.

St. Thomas More College is a Catholic liberal arts college that is federated with the University of Saskatchewan. The College’s Shannon Library holds one of six extant copies of the 1518 second edition of More’s Utopia. Together with the Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Program and the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan, St. Thomas More College invites proposals for individual papers or complete panels that address the conference theme. Applications for funding to cover travel costs will be made available to those whose papers are accepted. Please send proposed titles and abstracts (no longer than 300 words) by email to utopia2016@stmcollege.ca by 8 January 2016.

For conference updates, follow the blog of the Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies program at the University of Saskatchewan.

On Twitter @CMRSatUSask #Utopia2016

Dr. Brent Nelson, Professor
Director, Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies
Department of English
9 Campus Dr.
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5
ph.: (306) 966-1820
fax.: (306) 966-5951

CALL FOR PAPERS: The Afterlives of Eve

9-11 September 2016 at Newcastle University and Durham University

Keynotes: Sandra M. Gilbert (UC Davis), Wendy Furman-Adams (Whittier), John Bothwell (Durham) 

From Genesis to mitochondrial Eve, the idea of a single common foremother has occupied a crucial space in the Western cultural imaginary. Eve, whether as bringer of sin, as life-giver, as burden, curse or saviour, functions as a commentary on maternity, sexuality, creativity and power. This cross-period and interdisciplinary conference will be an opportunity to explore the impact of her varied representations through the centuries and across different genres and media. 

How has this archetypal figure been revised and revisited by conservative and radical thought? 
What personal, polemical and/or creative uses have been made of the figure of Eve?
What persists and what changes in her depictions across time and geographical space?
How have women and men negotiated their shared and different relationships to Eve?
How has Eve been appropriated, neglected or rejected as a foremother?
How does she speak to fantasies of masculine or feminine self-sufficiency?
What cultural, political, literary and/or theological spaces does she occupy now? 

Topics might include, but need not be limited to: 
  • Origins of/Sources for Eve 
  • Other Eves 
  • The absence of Eve 
  • Representations and Transformations of Eve 
  • Eve as Over-reacher 

We welcome papers from all disciplines in arts, humanities and sciences and covering any historical period. We also welcome panel proposals including PGR panel proposals. Titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words per speaker should be sent to Ruth Connolly (ruth.connolly@ncl.ac.uk) and Mandy Green (mandy.green@durham.ac.uk) by 12 March 2016. 

Panel proposals should also include a title for the panel's programme. Speakers will be notified by March 21st. We gratefully acknowledge support from MEMS at Newcastle, IMEMS Durham and Newcastle University's Academic Conference Fund. A limited number of PGR bursaries may be available. Please indicate when sending your abstract whether you would like to be considered for a bursary.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Shakespearean Transformations: Death, Life, and Afterlives

7th Biennial British Shakespeare Association Conference

University of Hull, 8-11 September 2016

Keynote speakers:
Susan Bassnett (University of Warwick)
Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex)
Michael Neill (University of Auckland)
Claudia Olk (Free University of Berlin)
Barrie Rutter (Northern Broadsides)
Tiffany Stern (University of Oxford)
Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

‘Remember me!’ commands the ghost of Hamlet’s father at a moment in English history when the very purpose of remembrance of the dead was being transformed. How does the past haunt the present in Shakespeare? What do Shakespeare’s works reveal about the processes of mourning and remembrance? Shakespeare breathed new life into ‘old tales’: how do his acts of literary resuscitation transform the material he revived and what it signifies? This major international conference will investigate the ways in which Shakespeare remembered the past and we remember Shakespeare.

The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death offers us a timely opportunity to reflect upon the continuation of his life and art diachronically, spatially from the Globe across the globe, and materially on stage, page, canvas, music score, and screen. How does Shakespeare continue to haunt us? The second strand of the conference focuses on Shakespeare’s literary, dramatic, and transcultural afterlives. The conference thus also seeks to explore the various ways in which Shakespeare’s ghost has been invoked, summoned up, or warded off over the past four centuries.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
  • Shakespearean transformations: borrowing/adaptation/appropriation/intertextuality
  • Shakespeare and death
  • Speaking to/of and impersonating the dead in Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare, religion, and reformations of ritual
  • Shakespeare and memory/remembrance
  • Shakespeare and time: temporality/anachronism/archaism
  • Shakespeare and early modern conceptions of ‘life’
  • Emotion and embodiment in Shakespeare
  • Performing Shakespeare: now and then
  • Transcultural Shakespeare
  • Critical and theoretical conceptions of/engagements through Shakespeare
  • Textual resurrections: editing Shakespeare
  • Rethinking Shakespearean biography
  • Enlivening Shakespeare teaching
  • Shakespeare in a digital age

The conference will be held in the official run-up to Hull’s year as the UK’s City of Culture in 2017. The programme will include plenary lectures, papers, seminars, workshops, and performances at Hull Truck and the Gulbenkian Centre. There will also be special workshops and sessions directed towards pedagogy.

We welcome proposals for papers (20 minutes), panels (90 minutes), or seminars/workshops (90 minutes) on any aspect of the conference theme, broadly interpreted. Abstracts (no more than 200 words) should be sent to bsa2016@hull.ac.uk by 15 December 2015.

Participants must be members of the British Shakespeare Association at the time of the conference. Details of how to join can be found here: www.britishshakespeare.ws

The Great Fire of London, Reconsidered

Sat 3 September 2016 – Wren Suite, St Paul’s Cathedral

The Great Fire of London has long been held as a pivotal moment in London’s history. Over the course of four days in September 1666, an infernal blaze claimed over 13,000 houses, 87 churches and 52 livery halls, and rendered an estimated 70,000 people homeless. Yet while cellars still burned there were whispers at court that the conflagration might actually be ‘the greatest blessing that God ever conferred’ upon King Charles II because it had crippled the ‘rebellious’ City of London; forever opening its gates to royal power.

Three hundred and fifty years on, The Great Fire: Reconsidered aims to re-examine the impact of the Great Fire of London and explore its wide-ranging legacy.


9:00 – 9:30 Registration & Welcome

9:30 – 10:30 Keynote lecture

Michael Hebbert (UCL), FVMANTIBUS IAM TVM RVINIS – Reconstruction Reconsidered

10:30 – 11:45 Panel One, ‘London mourning in ashes’

Hazel Forsyth (Museum of London), Butcher, Baker, Candlestick maker: Surviving the Great Fire of London

Una McIlvenna (University of Kent), Ballads about the Great Fire of London

Elaine Tierney (V&A), ‘Miserable Huts and Hovels’: Temporary Shelter after the Great Fire of London

11:45 – 12:30 Lunch

12:30 – 13:45 Panel Two, Religion and Conspiracy

Jewell Johnson (University of Sydney), The Present Future Past: Prophecies and Conspiratorial Fascinations

Lara Thorpe (Royal Holloway, University of London), A designed buisines’: post-Fire Anti-Catholic Hysteria according to Ejected Puritan Minister John Allin

Alan Marshall (Bath Spa University), The Great Fire, 1666, and the conspiracy mentalitiè in Restoration England.

13:45 – 14:15 Coffee break

14:45 – 16:00 Panel Three, ‘A More Beautiful City’

Marit Leenstra (MOLA), The archaeology of the Great Fire of London

Mark Kirby (University of York), The City churches and “The Glory of all Christendom”

16:00 – 16:10 Final Remarks

Clare Jackson (Trinity Hall, Cambridge) offers final thoughts on the day’s proceedings.

16:15 Wine Reception

Refreshments and lunch are provided and delegates will receive a complimentary visitor ticket to St Paul’s Cathedral that day (open until 9pm), which can be used following the event.

Registration: Please click on the link to register for the conference: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-great-fire-reconsidered-tickets-26002821138