Forms of Innovation: a One-Day Symposium on Literature and Technology
University of Durham, 14 September 2012
For this one-day symposium, we invite speakers to consider how varying forms of creative literary production and reception have responded to innovative technological processes across the centuries.
The symposium will provide a forum for postgraduate and early-career researchers to discuss correspondences and interrelations between literary forms and technologies, particularly those which have been treated as new, revolutionary, unconventional or challenging. Topics for debate might include, but are not limited to:
- Thematic and metaphorical representations of new or anticipated kinds of technology in literature
- Literary perspectives on methods of textual production, especially at significant points of technological transition, such as the invention of the mechanical printing press or the popularisation of the typewriter and rise of desktop word processing
- The effect of changing methods of production and transmission on the way different sectors of society and areas of the world read, write and encounter literary texts, including problematics of accessibility, usability and preservation
- Interactions between notions of ‘digital culture’ and ‘traditional’ forms of literature, such as electronic versions of classic works or the use of computing technology to facilitate experimental narrative devices
- The growth of digital humanities and the impact of digital technology on current academic practices and changing approaches to the study of literature.
We hope to encourage consideration of a history of cause-and-response in the relationship between technological processes and literary forms, themes and formats. In particular, we aim to address the notion that contemporary ‘hot topics’ such as the growing popularity of ebooks and electronic reading devices, proliferation of online journals and databases for academic study and the near-ubiquity of the word processor as a means of preparing texts for publication, are simply the latest manifestations in a long history of co-dependence between literature and technology. We hope that the symposium will provide a historical perspective on contemporary issues by addressing the relationship between literature and technology from the medieval period onwards.
The format of the symposium will be a one-day event, with plenary lectures and sessions made up of three twenty-minute papers, with time factored in for questions and discussion.
If you are interested in presenting a paper at this event, please email a 250 word abstract, along with your name and affiliation, to the conference organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org by 20th July 2012.
More information can be found on the symposium website here.
Loco/Motion: 34th Annual conference of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association
California State University, Fresno, California, 7-9 March, 2013
The long nineteenth century set the world on the move. Travel became increasingly important for business and pleasure, for war and peace. At the same time, new forms of moving people arose: the balloon, ships, undergrounds, funiculars, the railroads. Each carried riders to great distances, different locales, and novel pursuits. But motion wasn’t purely spatial; new movements arose as well, sweeping the inhabitants of the period into fresh vistas of thought and endeavor. We seek papers and panels that capture the sense of movement at work and at play during the long nineteenth century (1789-1914). Papers may address the intersections of movement/s, focus on technologies of motion in isolation, or reveal the desires—for gain, glory, greed—that set the world on its feet.
Some suggested topics:
- Gold Rushes (Mineral Manias and Speculative Destinations)
- Literature of the Sea
- Maps and Cartography
- The Science of Exploration (Darwin’s Voyages)
- Narratives of Time Travel, Travel into Space (Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle)
- The West as Destination and Concept
- Celebrity Performance Tours
- Movement of Goods and Ideas
- Migration and Relocation
- Concepts of Motion and Stasis
- New Forms of Creative Motion and Locomotion (Moving Pictures, Photography, Dance, Music)
We also welcome other interpretations of the conference theme.
Please e-mail abstracts (250 words) for 20-minute papers that provide the author’s name and paper title in the heading, as well as a one-page cv, to Prof. Toni Wein by September 30, 2012. Presenters will be notified in November 2012. Graduate students whose proposals are accepted may, at that point, submit complete papers in competition for a travel grant to help cover transportation and lodging expenses.
More information can be found on the NCSA website here.
Romantic Conversations: The Human, Non-Human and InhumanRomantic Studies Association of Australia postgraduate symposium
University of Melbourne, 16-17 November 2012
One of the characteristic features of British Romanticism is a pervasive belief in the transformative power of Nature. For the Wordsworth of The Prelude, this entailed a tempering of his youthful energies and animalistic passions so as to become a wiser, more mature man and poet. But many of Wordsworth’s precursors and contemporaries were concerned with more literal transformations. In the second half of the eighteenth century, Lord Monboddo pointed to uncanny similarities between humans and great apes and wondered about one transforming into the other. Ethicists began to question whether animals might possess rights to match those conferred on men and women by Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft. Social philosophers began to unpick the Enlightenment conception of the ‘state of nature’, while new ideas advanced by their counterparts in political economy (Malthus and Ricardo most prominently) were denounced as inhuman responses to social problems. Meanwhile, a number of dramatic scientific advances raised disturbing questions about humanity’s future; for Mary Shelley, amongst others, it became possible to imagine manufacturing humans (but would they be human?).
In this postgraduate symposium, we aim to explore the – at times – uncertain borders between humans and non-humans in Romantic literature and culture and, in particular, the occasions for conversations between the two. Key questions include: what does it mean to be human? What are our rights and responsibilities towards non-human animals? Is it possible to lose our humanity and transform into animals, or even monsters? And what roles, more broadly, did nature, reason, the imagination, and science play in this period’s conceptualisation of humanity?
We welcome papers on this theme (broadly defined). Possible topics include:
- Animal rights/human rights
- Contemporary philosophical, political and social debates
- Humans and monsters
- Metamorphosis and hybridity
- Human/animal hierarchies (eg the Great Chain of Being)
- Romantic science and animals (evolutionary theory, comparative anatomy, taxonomy, collecting etc)
- New technologies and economies
- The State of Nature, savagery and Romantic colonialism
- War and barbarity
- Romantic ecology and eco-criticism
Please direct inquiries and send paper proposals to Elias Greig by 19 October 2012.
Conference Fee: $85
Three travel scholarships, provided by the RSAA, are available to defray expenses. These include:
Two scholarships, worth $500, to be awarded to students from interstate.
One scholarship, worth $750, to be awarded to a student from outside Australia.
Interest in any of these scholarships may be included in the abstract, or emailed separately to the same address.