RCLAS's news

September 2012: Further Book Award for Martin Willis
The Centre Director, Dr Martin Willis, has been awarded a second prize for his book, Vision, Science and Literature, 1870-1920: Ocular Horizons. The European Society for the Study of English awarded the book their Cultural Studies Book Prize for 2012.

June 2012: Off Sick project publications
The Off Sick Project leaders, Martin Willis and Keir Waddington, have secured a special issue of the Journal of Literature and Science (in 2013) to publish the work of project participants on the topic of Illness Narratives

April 2012: Book Prize for Martin Willis
The Centre Director, Dr Martin Willis, was awarded the British Society for Literature and Science Book Prize for 2011, for his book Vision, Science and Literature, 1870-1920: Ocular Horizons (Pickering and Chatto, 2011).

February 2012: Off Sick to create interactive digital exhibition
By the end of the year the Off Sick project will have a dedicated web space for its exhibition materials. See the Project pages for updates.

November 2011: Psychiatric Narratives
The final Off Sick event will take place next month and will focus on narratives of psychiatry. The event will take place at the Glamorgan Archives in Cardiff. See the Off Sick Pages for further details.

June 2011:Poets Encounter Medicine
A great deal of publicity has surrounded the unique OFF SICK event this June, where leading poets Philip Gross and Gwyneth Lewis will discuss the relationship between their work and illness. See the Off Sick pages for more details

April 2011: Medicine at the Margins
The annual RCLAS conference this year will take place on April 21st at the University campus. It is jointly organised by the Centre and Glamorgan’s department of History. Details are on the Centre website.

November 2010: Off Sick Project
The project continues apace with a seminar series and public engagement events. The project has also received media attention – see the Off Sick pages for details

June 2010: The Off Sick Project
RCLAS is pleased to announce its success in securing funding for the Off Sick Project – an investigation of contemporary illness narratives. This is a joint venture with the CISSMI research group. See the Off Sick pages for further details of the project as it progresses over the next year.

April 2010: CISSMI Seminar
On April 21st Michael Roper will speak on trench warfare. See the CISSMI pages for further details.

March 2010: CISSMI Colloquium
A colloquium on literature and the environment will take place on March 17th, as part of the CISSMI seminar series for the year. See the CISSMI pages for details.

February 2010: CISSMI Seminar
On February 3rd Melissa Fegan will speak on the irish famine. See the CISSMI pages for further details.

December 2009: CISSMI Seminar
On December 9th, Matthew Grant will speak on narratives of nucleur destruction. See the CISSMI pages for details

November 2009: CISSMI Research Group Launch
The CISSMI research group will launch both the group and its first seminar series on November 4th, with a lecture by Patrick Wallis on epidemics. See the CISSMI pages for further details.

August 2009: Journal of Literature and Science
The next issue of the Journal of Literature and Science is due for publication in September 2009. It will feature articles on Romantic and Victorian literature and science, as well as a range of reviews of journal articles in the field published within the last year. Look here or on the JLS homepage for further announcements.

August 2009: New Research Collaboration
RCLAS has begun a collaboration with the University of Cardiff School of History. The new research group, CISSMI, will investigate the relationship between the history of science and the imagination. The group will run a series of seminars, beginning with the theme of Disasters in 2009-10.

July 2009: New Honorary Members appointed to RCLAS
Dr Rachel Hewitt and Dr Vike Plock have been appointed as RCLAS’s first Honorary External Members. Rachel was, of course, the RCLAS Research Fellow from 2007 until June 2009. She has now taken up a post at Queen Mary University, London. Vike co-organised the RCLAS annual conference on Phobia. She is Lecturer in Literature at the University of Northumbria.

May 2009: PHOBIA Conference
RCLAS hosted its annual conference, on the theme of Phobia, on 8-9 May. The conference plenaries were given by Professor Laura Otis and Professor Andrew Thacker. Thanks to all participants for creating such a vibrant event.

9 March 2009: RCLAS Research Fellow wins first prize in Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction
We are delighted to announce that RCLAS’s Research Fellow, Dr. Rachel Hewitt has been awarded first prize in the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Awards for Non-Fiction for her forthcoming historical biography of Britain’s national mapping agency, the Ordnance Survey (__Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey__ will be published by Granta in autumn 2010). The judges were Alice Albinia, Piers Brendon, and James Meeks, and the prize was awarded in a ceremony on 9 March 2009. Read more about the Jerwood Awards here and press releases here and “here”:http://bookbrunch.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1330%3Ajerwood-winners-announced&Itemid=86.

October 2008: Call for Papers for PHOBIA Conference
RCLAS will host a two-day international conference on the subject of 'PHOBIA: Constructing the Phenomenology of Chronic Fear, 1789 to the Present.’ Keynote speakers are Laura Otis (Emory) and Andrew Thacker (De Montfort). This interdisciplinary conference will look at the different ways in which writers, artists, historians, art historians, cultural and human geographers, scientists and medical practitioners have constructed, represented and theorised phobia and chronic fear. For more details and to download the CFP and registration form, please visit the conference website.

September 12 2008: RCLAS hosts one-day seminar on subject of 'Romantic Science’

RCLAS was delighted to host a one-day seminar on the fascinating and multi-faceted subject of ROMANTIC SCIENCE, on 12 September 2008, in central Cardiff. The plenary speaker was Prof. Anne Janowitz, who will be speaking on ’“Longing for Other Worlds”: The Plurality of Worlds Debate and the Sciences of Infinity’. Please click here to view the programme.

May 2008: Journal of Literature and Science Goes Live!

The first issue of the Journal of Literature and Science is now alive and kicking. The first issue follows up the theme of 'Pathologies’ that was explored by RCLAS’s inaugural conference, in August 2007. It contains articles by four of the conference’s delegates – Alistair Brown, Rachel Hewitt, Jennifer Lokash, Justin Sausman – and an innovative review section, in which recently published articles are reviewed by Claire Charlotte McKechnie, David M. Shuker, Olivia Smith, and Martin Willis. You can reach the journal by clicking on the link on the left margin, or by clicking here.

April 2008: Rachel Hewitt’s book Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey to be published by Granta

We are all very excited to announce that Rachel Hewitt has been contracted by Granta to publish her biography of the Ordnance Survey in Autumn 2010. The OS has been the official national mapping agency of Great Britain since 1791. Today it provides the content of British A-Z street maps, road atlases, online geographical searches, travel guides, and its own distinctive folded maps, which are much loved by landscape enthusiasts. The Ordnance Survey is now rather taken-for-granted, but it was the first complete, accurate, affordable map of the British Isles. Map of a Nation will imagine how it might have felt to inhabit a country that lacked such a national survey, and it will chart how and why the Ordnance Survey came about, up to the completion of the first series of maps in 1870.

The Ordnance Survey’s history is embedded within the political revolutions, rebellions, and regional unions that altered the shape and identity of the United Kingdom over the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was ultimately occasioned by the French Revolution and ensuing Anglo-French hostilities in the 1790s and 1800s. The Ordnance Survey was a form of military defence; and it inspired the cultural imagination too. William Wordsworth and Jane Austen loved the maps’ visualisation of a stable, harmonious, united nation, and the British public were swift to adopt the Ordnance Survey as a patriotic icon. Map of a Nation will explore the role played by the Ordnance Survey and its mapmakers – whose arduous, relentless task is a great untold adventure narrative – in the formulation of British national identity.

Please contact Rachel Hewitt if you have any queries or information about the early history of the Ordnance Survey. She’d love to hear from you! She will next be presenting academic research connected with the book at the Wales and the West Romanticism Seminar, at RCLAS, on 12 September 2008; and at the 'Novel and its Borders’ conference at Aberdeen between 8-10 July 2008. (If you have enquiries concerning the publication or marketing of Map of a Nation, please contact Rachel’s agent Tracy Bohan, at the Wylie Agency. You can read more about the book on Rachel’s homepage)

January 2008: British Academy Funding

We are delighted that our research fellow, Dr. Rachel Hewitt, has been awarded British Academy funding to develop her PhD research into a variety of outputs: a book, articles, chapters, conference papers. All outputs will explore the Ordnance Survey’s role in the formation and visualisation of British national identity.

September 19, 2007: The Journal of Literature and Science

With the start of a new academic year: a new academic journal! RCLAS has founded a peer-reviewed, online journal for the interdisciplinary study of the interactions between literature and the arts: the Journal of Literature and Science (JLS). Its first issue will appear in Winter 2007. For more information about JLS please visit the Journal’s website

August 20-21, 2007: RCLAS’s Inaugural Conference: 'Pathologies: Questions of Embodiment in Literature, Arts, and Science’

The inaugural conference of the Research Centre for Literature, Arts and Science, on the theme of ‘Pathologies: Questions of Embodiment in Literature, Arts and Science’, took place at the University of Glamorgan on 20th-21st August 2007. The organising committee would like to sincerely thank everybody who attended the conference, as a guest or speaker. It was a really exciting, stimulating event that established many fruitful interdisciplinary connections between speakers and ideas. Keep an eye on RCLAS’s events page for information about forthcoming events!


Proposals for 20-minute papers are invited for the third annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science. The conference will be held at Keele University, from 27–29 March 2008. Plenary speakers include Frank Close, OBE (Professor of Physics, Exeter College, Oxford), Steven Connor (Professor of Modern Literature and Theory, Birkbeck College, London), and Helen Small (Fellow in English, Pembroke College, Oxford).

Papers may address topics in the interactions of literature and science in any period and any languages. Presenters need not be based in UK institutions.

We also invite panel proposals for three papers of 20 minutes or four papers of 15 minutes; members of the panel should be drawn from more than one institution.

Please send an abstract of no more than 400 words and a 100-word biographical note (or in the case of a panel, abstracts and notes for each speaker) to bsls@englit.arts.gla.ac.uk, by 30 November 2007. Please send abstracts in the body of messages; do not use attachments. Alternatively, abstracts and proposals may be posted to Dr Sharon Ruston, School of Humanities, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, UK.

Please address any queries to Dr Sharon Ruston at the email or postal address above.


The RCLAS website is in the process of being updated, to include an extensive Literature and Science Bibliography. We hope this will be of much use to scholars in related disciplines. In the future, RCLAS plans to establish a dedicated Literature and Science Reading Room at the University of Glamorgan, which will stock key texts from this bibliography. Interested researchers will be able to visit the Reading Room by appointment.

The RCLAS has already been updated to include a Links page. This contains links to, and information about, other websites and organisations involved in the interactions between literature and science.

These pages will be continuously updated, so if you would like to contribute any suggestions or material for inclusion, please contact RCLAS’s research fellow, Dr. Rachel Hewitt .

June 29, 2007 – RESEARCH FELLOW

We are pleased to announce that RCLAS’s Research Fellow, Dr. Rachel Hewitt, successfully passed her PhD viva. For more information on Rachel’s research and future plans, please visit her webpage.


RCLAS is pleased to announce that the first volume of their peer-reviewed online journal will be dedicated to the theme of 'Pathologies’. All participants at the inaugural conference will be eligible to submit their work for considertation for publication.


The Call for Papers for the August conference, 'Pathologies’ has now closed. Anyone wishing to attend the conference can now complete a registration form. While places have been reserved for all the conference speakers, other places are limited and early registration is advised.


Due to a large number of recent enquiries the Centre Co-Directors have extended the deadline for abstracts for the August Conference, 'Pathologies’, for one month to the end of March. See Conferences/Events for further details.


The Centre is pleased to announce the appointment of Rachel Hewitt as its first Research Fellow. Rachel will join the Centre from Queen Mary University, London at the end of April. Rachel is presently completing her PhD, which examines the role of cartography in eighteenth century literature and culture.


The first RCLAS International Conference will take place in August 2007. For further details see Conference/Events.


The Centre will shortly advertise a position for a two-year postdoctoral Research Fellow – the advert for the post will appear on the University of Glamorgan website (Vacancies) and in the Times Higher Education Supplement.