Monday, September 25, 2017

CFP - ‘Games, Values and AI’

15 December 2017, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge

This workshop aims to bring together researchers from different backgrounds to explore the philosophical and social issues raised by games as inspiration, model, testbed or context for Artificial Intelligence.

We welcome contributions from any field of research that illuminates the philosophical and social dimensions of AI in relation to games. Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the Ethics of AI and Games, Narratives of AI, Games in AI Research, Intelligence and Game-Playing and the Aesthetics and Art Theory of Games.

Deadline for submissions: 31 October 2017.

Submission format: Send a 200-300 word abstract (excluding references), prepared for anonymous review, together with separate documents containing contact details, to Rune Nyrup, subject headline: “Games, Values and AI”.Organisers: Rune Nyrup and Henry Shevlin. Further details here.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

CFP - Soirées: socialising knowledge, innovation and material culture, 1837-1924

A one-day conference at the Royal Society, London, 27 April 2018.

This event aims to explore the purpose, content, audiences and impact of Victorian and Edwardian soirées from 1837 to the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. We invite papers and posters exploring these cultures.

Soirées developed from eighteenth century salons and society ‘at homes’, and the term ‘soirée’ was increasingly used interchangeably with ‘conversazione’. By the mid-nineteenth century a typical social event included exhibitions at a learned society or civic building with associated talks or lectures. The Royal Society’s scientific conversazioni at Burlington House were the equivalent of the Royal Academy’s displays of art. They were attended by ‘literary lions, artistic celebrities, famous lecturers upon science, distinguished inventors in mechanics, discoverers of planets’ and they foregrounded ‘the very pick of the best of the most recent inventions’ (The Standard, April 1871). However, these were not purely scientific gatherings. At the Royal Society, for example, William Morris majolica tiles might be displayed alongside Australian meteorites. Celebrated artists including Gustav Doré and Lawrence Alma-Tadema showed their work. Around them, scientists, clergymen, artists and politicians networked in environments where new technologies – colour and motion photography, high-speed and novel printing techniques, film and television – held equal promise for science and the arts. Women too, were present, as exhibitors and audience. Scholars have an increasingly good grasp of the public culture of science in this period. However, the ephemeral aspects of the social activities of learned and societies, field clubs and fledgling museums, and the extent to which their activities supported organisational goals, have not been systematically researched, nor has their complex ecology of regional and national material culture, with its potential for dynamic inter-personal and inter-institutional relationships.

Contributors might consider some of the following questions:

1. What were the ambitions behind the evolving design of period soirées at the Royal Society and at other organisations at home and abroad? Did such temporary displays leave a permanent legacy in museum culture?

2. How were the contents of such displays and demonstrations determined, and what was the profile and responses of stakeholders and audiences?

3. What can be learned about how visions of the future were mobilised and materialised in the ‘pre-disciplinary’ networked cultures of innovation in soirées? Did they contribute to the development of new technologies and new disciplinary specialisms?

4. Is the demise of the soirée associated with the decline of empire? Or is it in part related to the development of mass media and new communications media?

Important information

This conference is co-organised by Professor Sandra Kemp, V&A and Keith Moore, Royal Society. Enquiries should be addressed to keith.moore@royalsociety.org

* Papers - abstract: 300 words (30 minute papers)
* Poster presentations – abstract 300 words

Deadline for abstracts: 31 October 2017

Send abstracts to: library@royalsociety.org

Authors will be notified by 14 November 2017

It is intended that, with the Editor’s agreement, papers should be included in a special issue of Notes and Records of the Royal Society<http://rsnr.royalsocietypublishing.org/>.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

CFP - Synergy and contradiction: How picturebooks and picture books work

Cambridge Research and Teaching Centre for Children's Literature

University of Cambridge, UK
September 6-8, 2018

The aesthetic aspects of storytelling through word and image have been studied extensively in the past thirty-odd years. In 1982, the Swedish scholar Kristin Hallberg launched the concept of iconotext that has been widely employed in discussing the phenomenon. Perry Nodelman's Words about Pictures (1988) was a landmark that placed the subject firmly within children's literature research. The first international conference wholly devoted to the art form was held in Stockholm in 1998, featuring, among others, Jane Doonan and William Moebius. An international network was established in 2007, running biennial conferences and workshops. Dozens of monographs and edited volumes have been published, the most recent More Words about Pictures (2017), edited by Perry Nodelman, Naomi Hamer and Mavis Reimer, and The Routledge Companion to Picturebooks (2017), edited by Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer.

And yet there is no universal consensus about the object of inquiry, starting with the controversy of spelling. While most scholars agree that the interaction of words and images is essential, there is no clear agreement on the difference between illustrated books and picture book/picturebooks, nor on the differences and similarities between picture books/picturebooks and comics, nor on the relationship between printed and digital texts.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary since the publication of Words about Pictures and to explore the recent development in picture book/picturebook theories, Cambridge Research and Teaching Centre for Children's Literature invites paper proposals on any aspect of theoretical approaches to picture books/picturebooks as an art form. We are particularly interested in new approaches that go beyond statements that picture books/picturebooks depend on the combination of the verbal and the visual. We also welcome authors, illustrators, publishers and translators. Possible topics include, but are not restricted to:
  • Picture book/picturebook as an art form and a material object 
  • Picture books/picturebooks and other word/image-driven texts (e.g. illustrated books, picture dictionaries, concept books, artist books)
  • Metalanguage for discussing picture books/picturebooks: coming to terms
  • Theory vs. culture: how trustworthy are the semiotic generalizations of books like Words about Pictures or How Picturebooks Work in relationship to picture books/picturebooks produced in different times, places, cultures? Is there a universal language of picture books/picturebooks?
  • Picture book/picturebook design: creators' perspective
  • Is there anything beyond words and images? Picture books/picturebooks without words? Picture books/picturebooks without pictures?
  • Looking at words, seeing pictures (e.g. implications of fonts, intraiconic texts, etc)
  • Young readers' engagement with word/image storytelling: do words and pictures invite different kinds of relationships between texts and readers?
  • How have adjacent areas of research benefited from picture book/picturebook theory, for instance, digital literature, comics, graphic novels and games?
  • Translation and transmediation
We will not consider proposals on content-focused topics.

Confirmed jousters are Perry Nodelman and Maria Nikolajeva.

Deadline: January 8, 2018. 300-word (or any size image) proposals for a 20-minute paper should be sent, together with a 100-word bio, to mn351@cam.ac.uk. We also encourage panel and round-table proposals. Early indication of interest would be helpful in arranging affordable accommodation. Further inquiries to mn351@cam.ac.uk.

Please note that this conference is not a part of the Picturebook Network series

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Women on Newton: a series of lectures by women scholars about the world and legacy of Isaac Newton (1642-1727), natural philosopher

Milstein Room, University Library Cambridge
Tickets are limited: book here.

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30 November 2017 (16.30-18.00) NEWTON AND THE LONGITUDE

Isaac Newton is often thought of as an isolated genius working on purely abstract scientific problems. Yet he and his work were often closely linked to practical and political worlds. Nowhere is this more clear than when we look at Newton's role in the story of finding longitude at sea, revealed in the Library's archive.

Speaker: Rebekah Higgitt

Dr Rebekah Higgitt is a Senior Lecturer in History of Science at the University of Kent. She is author of Recreating Newton (2007) and co-author of Finding Longitude (2014) and was one of the curators of the National Maritime Museum's 2014 exhibition, Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude. She is currently the Principal Investigator on a research project, Metropolitan Science: Places, Objects and Cultures of Practice and Knowledge in London, 1600-1800, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and in collaboration with the Science Museum.

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7 December 2017 (16.30-18.00) WITH THIS INK NEW MADE I WROTE THIS: THE HISTORY OF ISAAC NEWTON'S PRIVATE PAPERS

In 1727, Isaac Newton died without a will. In addition to a sizeable fortune and a collection of dutifully catalogued household goods (including chocolate pots, bedsteads and commemorative images of himself), he left behind of mass of papers that proved much more difficult to describe. This enormous mass of writing comprised some ten million words, most of which had never been seen by anyone other than Newton. For this, there was a very good reason. The great majority of his surviving writing is theological, concerned with excavating what Newton saw as a true history of the Church. Were the religious beliefs set down by Newton in these papers made public in his lifetime, he would have been branded a heretic. In this talk, I tell the nearly 300 hundred-year history of the papers he left behind.

Speaker: Sarah Dry

Sarah Dry is the author of The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton's Private Manuscripts (OUP, 2014). She studied at Harvard, Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge and held research fellowships at the LSE and the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. She is currently writing a book about the history of water and climate science, funded by a Public Scholar grant from the US National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 2016, she has been a Trustee of the Science Museum Group.

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14 December 2017 (16.30-18.00) DRAWING-ROOM DRAMAS: ISAAC NEWTON ON THE MANTELPIECE

Resembling a secular scientific saint, Isaac Newton is widely celebrated as a super-human genius disengaged from ordinary life. Regarding him from a different perspective, this lecture discusses his involvement in Enlightenment affairs and polite society, with a particular focus on analysing roles played by women.

Speaker: Patricia Fara

Dr Patricia Fara is a Fellow of Clare College and President of the British Society for the History of Science. A regular contributor to academic and popular journals as well as In our Time and other radio/TV programmes, her publications include the prize-winning Science: A Four Thousand Year History (2009) and Newton: The Making of Genius (2002). Her latest book, A Lab of One's Own: Science and Suffrage in World War One, will be published in January 2018.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

CFP - JLS/Configurations special issue 2

THE STATE OF THE UNIONS

What are the relations between literature, science and the arts within our field today? This special double issue marks a unique collaboration between the Journal of Literature and Science and Configurations. The first instalment – JLS 10:1 – was published this year and can be read here. We now invite short papers for the second issue, to be published in 2018.

The aim of the double issue is to enable scholars of all career-stages to debate the nature of the interdisciplinary relations of our field in short and sharp “position” papers of approximately 2000 words. We welcome papers which respond directly to pieces published in JLS 10:1, but we also preserve a more general list of suggested topics from our original call:
  1. The meanings of interdisciplinarity in the field
  2. The place of the study of literature and science within the academy
  3. International variations or international synergies
  4. Collaborative work between literature/arts and the scientific community
  5. How do we (now) define "literature" in the dyad of literature and science?
  6. The relationship between cultural theory and historicism in the field
  7. How is literature and science evolving in relation to its own splintering (into animal studies, neuroscience, environmental studies, etc.)?
  8. Speculations: what is the future of the field?
  9. Reflections: where has the field most profited and where has it gone astray?

The editors also particularly welcome discussion of any of the following with respect to the above topics:
  • teaching and pedagogical practice
  • material culture and book history
  • the corporatization of the university
  • the current crisis in the humanities and/or economic pressures on the sciences
Submission information for the second issue:
Length of contribution: 2000 words
Deadline: December 16th, 2017

Send to: Rajani Sudan (rsudan@mail.smu.edu) & Will Tattersdill (w.j.tattersdill@bham.ac.uk)
(Decisions on inclusion in the second issue by February 2018)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Workshop - AI and Values in Medicine and Healthcare

Centre for the Future of Intelligence
16 Mill Lane, Monday 11 September.

The purpose of the workshop is to explore potential ethical and epistemic issues related to the use of artificial intelligence and other algorithmic methods in medical contexts. The speakers are Phyllis Illari, Brent Mittelstadt, Wolfgang Pietsch and Barbare Prainsack.

Additional information and programme can be found here.

Centenary Conference: ON GROWTH AND FORM 100

13-15 October 2017
University of Dundee and University of St Andrews

2017 marks 100 years since the publication of D’Arcy Thompson’s landmark book On Growth and Form – “the greatest work of prose in twentieth century science” (Stephen Jay Gould), written by the man that Richard Dawkins recently nominated as possibly “the most learned polymath of all time”. One of the key works at the intersection of science and the imagination, it is a book that has inspired scientists, artists and thinkers as diverse as Alan Turing, C H Waddington, Claude Lévi Strauss, Norbert Wiener, Henry Moore and Mies van der Rohe. It pioneered the science of biomathematics, and has had a profound influence in art, architecture, anthropology, geography, cybernetics and many other fields.

To mark the occasion, a three-day interdisciplinary conference is being organised at the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews. It will feature a range of presentations covering every aspect of D’Arcy’s own work and the various fields that it has influenced. The conference will also include visits to the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum and the Bell Pettigrew Museum of Natural History and there will be a special preview of a new exhibition exploring On Growth and Form and its legacy. We are also delighted to welcome two outstanding speakers to give the keynote lectures at the conference. These will be free and open to the public to attend.

Friday 13 October - Lars Spuybroek (NOX / Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta)
Lars Spuybroek is an internationally acclaimed Dutch architect whose practice, NOX, has become renowned for organically inspired projects. Having taught in the University of Kassel and Columbia University, he is now Professor of Architectural Design at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. His lecture will discuss the implications of D’Arcy’s ideas for architecture, drawing on experiments with both analogue as well as digital computing techniques for design.

Saturday 14 October - Evelyn Fox Keller (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) (The Fauvel Lecture, supported by the British Society for the History of Mathematics)
Evelyn Fox Keller is one of the most internationally respected historians of science. A physicist, author and feminist, she is currently Professor Emerita of the History & Philosophy of Science at MIT. Beginning her career in theoretical physics, she moved on to work in molecular biology before becoming renowned for her work as a feminist critic of science. Her books include Keywords in Evolutionary Biology (1998), The Century of the Gene (2000) and Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines (2002). The latter has a particular focus on mathematical biology and in her lecture she will discuss the legacy of D’Arcy Thompson’s work.

The venues will be as follows:
Friday 13 October – University of Dundee
Saturday 14 October – University of St Andrews
Sunday 15 October – University of Dundee

The full programme and details for registration can be found at https://www.ongrowthandform.org/conference/

We gratefully acknowledge support from the Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau for this event.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Talk - 'Lewis Carroll and Violence', Gillian Beer

The 11th Roger Lancelyn Green Memorial Lecture, Presented by The Lewis Carroll Society

OFF WITH HER HEAD!

Lewis Carroll and Violence

Professor Dame Gillian Beer

7.00 pm Friday 13 October 2017

The Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT

Tickets: £10 including a glass of wine

Professor Dame Gillian Beer will deliver the Eleventh Roger Lancelyn Green Memorial Lecture and consider the subject of violence in Lewis Carroll’s Victorian childhood classic.

Lewis Carroll’s worlds of the imagination are places of unexpectedly violent encounters: from the despotic Queen of Hearts terrorising Wonderland with threats of wholesale decapitation to those battling duos beyond the Looking-Glass, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Lion and the Unicorn and the Red and White Knights.

The noted British literary critic and academic, Gillian Beer – whose book, Alice in Space: The Sideways Victorian World of Lewis Carroll, has recently been awarded the Truman Capote Prize for Literary Criticism – is eminently placed to explore this topic within the context of Victorian literature and society.

Gillian Beer, educated at St Anne's College, Oxford, was a Fellow at Girton College, Cambridge, between 1965 and 1994. She began lecturing at Cambridge in 1966 and became Reader in Literature and Narrative in 1971. She was made Professor of English in 1989 and, in 1994, became King Edward VII Professor of English Literature and President of Clare Hall at Cambridge. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Beer’s books, which encompass numerous subjects within the field of Victorian studies, include Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction (1983, 3rd edition 2009), Virginia Woolf: The Common Ground (1996) Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense, the collected and annotated poems of Lewis Carroll (2012) and Alice in Space: The Sideways Victorian World of Lewis Carroll (2016).

Book online to reserve your seat: http://lewiscarrollsociety.org.uk/store

Tickets will also be available on the door.

The Roger Lancelyn Green Memorial Lecture was inaugurated in 1988 by The Lewis Carroll Society to commemorate the work of the noted biographer and literary scholar, Roger Lancelyn Green, whose books include works on Lewis Carroll, J M Barrie, C S Lewis, Andrew Lang and Rudyard Kipling as well the seminal book on Children’s Literature, Tellers of Tales and many books for young readers retelling classic myths and legends.

Past Roger Lancelyn Green Memorial Lecturers include Sir Jonathan Miller, CBE, John Vernon Lord, Colin Ford, CBE and Professor Morton N Cohen.


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Call for essays: 'Gothic Animals: Uncanny Otherness and the Animal With-Out'

'The boundary between the animal and the human has long been unstable, especially since the Victorian period. Where the boundary is drawn between human and animal is itself an expression of political power and dominance, and the "animal" can at once express the deepest fears and greatest aspirations of a society' (Victorian Animal Dreams, 4).

'The animal, like the ghost or good or evil spirit with which it is often associated, has been a manifestation of the uncanny' (Timothy Clark, 185).

In the mid nineteenth-century Charles Darwin published his theories of evolution. And as Deborah Denenholz Morse and Martin A. Danahay suggest, 'The effect of Darwin's ideas was both to make the human more animal and the animal more human, destabilizing boundaries in both directions' (Victorian Animal Dreams, 2). Nineteenth-century fiction quickly picked up on the idea of the 'animal within' with texts like R.L. Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and H.G. Wells's The Island of Doctor Moreau. In these novels the fear explored was of an unruly, defiant, degenerate and entirely amoral animality lying (mostly) dormant within all of us. This was our animal-other associated with the id: passions, appetites and capable of a complete disregard for all taboos and any restraint. As Cyndy Hendershot states, this 'animal within' 'threatened to usurp masculine rationality and return man to a state of irrational chaos' (The Animal Within, 97). This however, relates the animal to the human in a very specific, anthropocentric way. Non-humans and humans have other sorts of encounters too, and even before Darwin humans have often had an uneasy relationship with animals. Rats, horses, dogs, cats, birds and other beasts have, as Donna Haraway puts it, a way of 'looking back' at us (When Species Meet,19).

Animals of all sorts have an entirely different and separate life to humans and in fiction this often morphs into Gothic horror. In these cases it is not about the 'animal within' but rather the animal 'with-out'; Other and entirely incomprehensible. These non-human, uncanny creatures know things we do not, and they see us in a way it is impossible for us to see ourselves. We have other sorts of encounters with animals too: we eat animals, imbibing their being in a largely non-ritualistic, but possibly still magical way; and on occasion, animals eat us. From plague-carrying rats, to 'filthy' fleas, black dogs and killer bunnies, animals of all sorts invade our imaginations, live with us (invited or not) in our homes, and insinuate themselves into our lives. The mere presence of a cat can make a home uncanny. An encounter with a dog on a deserted road at night can disconcert. The sight of a rat creeping down an alley carries all sorts of connotations as does a cluster of fat, black flies at the window of a deserted house. To date though, there is little written about animals and the Gothic, although they pervade our fictions, imaginations and sometimes our nightmares.

This collection is intended to look at all sorts of animals in relation to the Gothic: beasts, birds, sea-creatures, insects and domestic animals. We are not looking for transformative animals – no werewolves this time – rather we want essays on fictions about actual animals that explore their relation to the Gothic; their importance and prominence within the Gothic. We invite abstracts for essays that cover all animal/bird/insect/fish life forms, from all periods (from the early Modern to the present), and within different types of media – novels, poetry, short stories, films and games.


Topics may include (but are not bound by):

Rats (plague and death)
Dogs (black and otherwise)
Killer bunnies
Uncanny cats
Wolves
Alien sea creatures
Horses
Bulls
Cows (perhaps with long teeth)
Killer frogs
Snakes
Toads
Worms
Birds
Whales/Dolphins
Beetles, flies, ants, spiders
Animals as marginalised and oppressed
Animals in peril
Animal and human intimacies and the breaking of taboos
Exotic animals/animals in colonial regions (Africa, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, India)
Demonic animals
Dangerous animals (rabid dogs, venomous snakes)
Invasive animals
Animals and disease
Domestic animals
Uncanny animals
Animals connected to supernatural beings (Satanic goats, vampire bats)
Witchcraft and familiar spirits/animal guides
Rural versus urban animals
Sixth sense and psychic energy


Please send 500 word abstracts and a short bio note by 1 November 2017 to: Dr Ruth Heholt (ruth.heholt@falmouth.ac.uk) and Dr Melissa Edmundson (me.makala@gmail.com).


The collection is intended for the Palgrave MacMillan 'Studies in Animals and Literature' series. Completed essays must be submitted by 1 July 2018.