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GERMAN-CFP-L  June 2012

GERMAN-CFP-L June 2012

Subject:

CFP: Science and Literature: the Great Divide? - MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities (Deadline: July 1, 2012)

From:

"Schmidt, Olaf" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

German Studies CFP Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 7 Jun 2012 21:44:37 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (97 lines)

CALL FOR PAPERS: `Science and Literature: the Great Divide?´
DEADLINE: Sunday 1st July 2012

Contributions are now invited for the 2012 edition of the MHRA Working
Papers in the Humanities, an international, refereed online journal,
aimed at postgraduate and early-career researchers.

'There have been plenty of days when I have spent the working hours
with scientists and then gone off at night with some literary
colleagues [...] I got occupied with the problem of what, long before I
put it on paper, I christened to myself as the `two cultures´. For
constantly I felt I was moving among two groups - comparable in
intelligence, identical in race, not grossly different in social
origin, earning about the same incomes, who had almost ceased to
communicate at all [...] By and large this is a problem of the entire
West.' (C.P. Snow)

C.P. Snow´s infamous `Two Cultures´ lecture of 1959, and the heated
public exchange with literary critic F.R. Leavis that ensued, highlight
the great academic tension of our age: that sometimes tacit, sometimes
openly explosive disjunction which exists between the arts and
humanities on the one hand, and the natural sciences on the other (with
the social sciences often caught in the cross-fire). To what extent,
though, is this relationship one that has changed over time? How far
back, chronologically speaking, can a conflict be traced between the
arts and the sciences? Does the modern separation of these fields
represent a post-Enlightenment phenomenon, never envisaged by
eighteenth-century intellectuals such as Diderot and d´Alembert, whose
Encyclopédie sought to embrace all varieties of human knowledge in a
single, unitary enterprise? Or does this great Enlightenment project
already betray similar tensions, defining `Science´ and `Lettres´ in
emphatic parallel as equally essential to the dissemination of
knowledge, yet still ultimately positing science as content, and
literature as a mere vehicle or ornament (`scientific principles would
seem unpleasant without letters to lend them their charm´, notes the
article `Lettres´)? Does the medieval division between trivium
(Grammar, Rhetoric, Dialectic) and quadrivium (Mathematics, Geometry,
Harmony, Astronomy) already point to a fundamental separation between
verbally and numerically based studies? Is this the same as a division
between the arts and the sciences? In a more contemporary setting, do
the `science wars´ of the 1990s, which reached their peak with Alan
Sokal´s submission of a hoax physics paper to Social Text, represent a
historically unique conflict between the postmodernist humanities and
the pro-Enlightenment, positivistic culture of the natural sciences? Is
this conflict the same as that which C.P. Snow described in the 1950s?
Are we moving towards consensus and co-operation, or ever fiercer
hostilities?

It is this relationship between the arts (especially literature) and
the sciences, as it has evolved over time, that Volume 7 of the MHRA´s
Working Papers in the Humanities will address. The editors invite
submissions on the theme of Science and Literature, with both terms
taken in their broadest possible sense. Themes for discussion might
include, but are by no means limited to:

o       Depictions of the scientist in literature (as genius, scapegoat,
asocial being...)
o       Scientific essentialism vs cultural constructionism (in relation to
gender, race, class)
o       Literature / science and the establishment (their positioning with
relation to politics, religion)
o       Academic geographies (Is science synonymous with Western culture? How
do tensions between postmodernism and science play out over linguistic
or cultural divides?)
o       Science fiction (and its predecessors)
o       Shifting terminologies (how does the evolution of terms such as
scientia / science / art(s) reflect a shift in cultural sensibilities?)
o       Science / technology as critical tools (digital humanities, cognitive
approaches to criticism)
o       Popular dissemination (the public image of science/ literature/
literary studies)
o       Limits of discourse compatibility (scientific poetry, mathematical
structures in literary texts etc.)
o       Linguistics as a science of language (and its relationship to
literary studies)
o       Spaces of possibility (can imaginative literature contribute to
scientific development in providing a forum to explore and test future
needs?)

Papers, in English, and of up to 3,000 words in length, may come from
any field in the `modern humanities´, which include the modern and
medieval languages, literatures, and cultures of Europe (including
English and the Slavonic languages, and the cultures of the European
diaspora). History, library studies, education and pedagogical
subjects, and the medical application of linguistics are excluded.

In order to submit a paper, you are kindly requested to register as an
author at http://mhra.org.uk/ojs/index.php/wph/user/register. Any
informal queries can be directed to the editors at
<[log in to unmask]>.

*******************
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://grs.missouri.edu/resources/gerlistserv.html

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