Collective Knowledge: Museums, Scientific Inquiry, and Literature

Editor’s note: ACCUTE is delighted to present another in its series of blog posts highlighting special sessions in ACCUTE’s program at Congress 2017. This session is an innovative digitally-mediated transatlantic collaboration between ACCUTE and the British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS).

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Organizers: John Holmes (University of Birmingham), Janine Rogers (Mount Allison University), and Sophie Thomas (Ryerson University)

This trans-Atlantic, 2-panel event pairs a panel at the British Society of Literature and Science (BSLS) in Bristol in April 2017 with a roundtable at the annual conference of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities in Toronto in May 2017.

In response to the enthusiastic audience engagement at the panel “Museums, Collections, and Memory Objects: Literary Intersections” in Calgary last year, the organizers of that panel are teaming up with the British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS) to discuss the interdisciplinary opportunities of joining literary studies with the history of collection, museumship practice, and scientific inquiry. We want to extend beyond the usual temporal, geographical and discursive structures of conference panels by linking two different panels at two different conferences through online media resources, and by developing a discussion format that includes both humanities academics and museum administrators, and that also creates a space for significant audience participation.

The first event at the BSLS will present 4 papers that intersect literary/textual analysis with museum studies, material studies, and the intellectual histories of science. The BSLS presenters will explain how their work engages, challenges, and is challenged by, methodologies that combine historicist literary, artistic, and architectural practices.

The four papers will be recorded and posted online after the BSLS conference: ACCUTE members will be directed to the online recordings through the mailing list, and we encourage prospective audience members of the ACCUTE roundtable will enjoy watching these recordings before May 29th.

At the ACCUTE roundtable, each of the BSLS papers will be assigned a respondent: these respondents will present 5-10-minute reflection statements on the respective BSLS papers, which will respond to and/or extend key points raised by each paper. The BSLS presenters of the 4 papers will either be present at the ACCUTE panel or will video-conference in for the roundtable. After the respondents present their statements, the floor will be opened up to a roundtable discussion with all participants and the audience. We also hope that creating more space for audience discussion in both panels will support the development of international and interdisciplinary communities of literature, museumship, and science.

The presenters at the BSLS panel will be:

Verity Burke, Doctoral Candidate in English, University of Reading, “The Intermedial Museum in the Nineteenth Century”

John Holmes, Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture, University of Birmingham, Poetry and Architecture in the Natural History Museum”

Janine Rogers, Professor of Medieval and Sixteenth-Century Literature, Mount Allison University, “Cultural History as a Resource for Science Museumship and Outreach”

Sophie Thomas, Associate Professor of English Literature, Ryerson University, “The House-Museums of John Hunter and John Soane (a comparative anatomy)”

The respondents on the ACCUTE panel will be:

Ailsa Barry, Vice President / Vice-présidente, Experience and Engagement / Expérience et engagement, Canadian Museum of Nature / Musée canadien de la nature

Rebecca Dolgoy, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Cultural Memory, University of Ottawa

Mark Engstrom, Deputy Director, Collections & Research, Royal Ontario Museum

Marc André Fortin, Assistant Professor, English Literature and Comparative Literature, Département des lettres et communications, Université de Sherbrooke

The ACCUTE panel will be held on Monday, May 29th, from 8:45-10:15 am at Ryerson University, Victoria room 104. It is open to the public.



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