Call for Papers: *DICKENS DAY* – deadline: 31st May 2018


Saturday 20th October 2018, Senate House, London.

CFP: Dickens, Families and Communities

Dickens often associated his own works with a cheerful ideology of hearth and home. Writing to his friend John Forster on plans for a new periodical, he promised that it would have ‘a vein of glowing, hearty, generous, mirthful, beaming reference in everything to Home, and Fireside’. Yet, many of the families in Dickens’s fiction are far from mirthful. From Mrs Joe going on the rampage to the murderous Jonas Chuzzlewit, the Dickensian family is as conflict-ridden as it is cosy. And, for Dickens, family is a particularly flexible concept, ranging from the nuclear to the extended, encompassing elective families, diverse gender roles, child-carers and surrogate-parents. Dickens’s writing is frequently concerned also with those without families: orphans, singletons, and those alienated from others by choice or circumstance.

Dickens’s wider communities are equally eclectic. In prefaces and journalism, he makes appeals to his ‘community of readers’, a virtual community linked through his writings. He participated in other more tangible communities, as an author, journalist, social reformer, and actor in amateur dramatic performances. And he wrote of diverse forms of community: gangs, clubs, the parish, the nation, and religious, political and cultural societies.

Jointly run by Birkbeck, Cardiff University, the Dickens Fellowship and the Institute of English Studies, this one-day conference will explore all aspects of Dickens, Families and Communities. We invite proposals for 20-minute papers in response to the theme and warmly encourage Dickensians and scholars of all backgrounds and career stages to apply.

Topics could include but are not limited to:

  • Hearth and home: happy families
  • Threats to and within the family
  • Alienated from the family: illegitimacy, orphans, solitary individuals
  • Adoptive and elective families
  • Dickens’s own family
  • Dickens’s community of readers
  • Nation, empire and other imagined communities
  • Institutional communities: orphanages, schools, prisons, workhouses, parliament and the courts
  • Criminal and transgressive families
  • Privileged and underprivileged communities
  • Clubs, societies, lodgers, friends, neighbours and other networks
  • Amateur dramatics, fictional and non-fictional theatrical communities

Please send proposals (maximum 500 words) to Bethan Carney (, Holly Furneaux ( and Ben Winyard (

The deadline for paper proposals is 31st May 2018.



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Funding: Venetian Research Programme: British and Commonwealth Applicants – deadline 1st May 2018

Venetian Research Programme:

British and Commonwealth Applicants

The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation – British and Commonwealth Committee – announces its 2018-2019 programme of grants for study based on travel to and research in Venice and the Veneto and other territories of the former Venetian Republic.

Grants will be awarded for historical research on Venice and its empire, and for the study of contemporary Venetian society and culture. Applicants from all disciplines of the humanities and social sciences are eligible for areas of study including, but not limited to: anthropology; archaeology; architecture; art; bibliography; economics; history; history of science; law; literature; music; political thought; religion; theatre; film and television. Applications for research on the environment and conservation are welcomed. Other relevant research interests will be considered.

The application deadline for the British and Commonwealth Programme is 1st May 2018.

Applications should be submitted online at

The awards will be announced by the early summer.

Eligible applicants must:

  • Be citizens or permanent residents of Great Britain or the Commonwealth, and/or be enrolled for research at a British or Commonwealth university, and/or be permanent or affiliated members of a British or Commonwealth university. Experienced curatorial or conservation staff at British or Commonwealth galleries and museums are also welcome to apply.
  • Have experience of research at graduate level or equivalent. If a doctoral student, to have fulfilled all doctoral requirements before completion of the thesis.

Grants for the maximum amount – normally £5000.00 – are rarely awarded. Funding is granted primarily for transportation and accommodation, but additional research expenses may also be considered. Scholars who have already received and accepted a Delmas grant are eligible to apply for grants, normally for one month, to continue the work related to the previous grant, focused on Venetian material in libraries, archives, museums or galleries outside Venice. Applicants must not submit for funding for both grants within the same year.

Applicants must notify the Committee immediately upon receipt of any other grant for research in the same area.

Any person who has accepted three or more Delmas grants for Venetian research (regardless of amount or timing) will be ineligible for consideration for two programme years after the previous grant. Thereafter, the two-year hiatus continues to apply after each grant.

All successful applicants must submit a report to the Chairman within three months of completing their funded period of research. Failure to do so will render applicants ineligible for future Delmas funding.

How to apply

The Foundation is now using a two-step online application form.
Step 1: Register by providing your contact information and creating a login.
Step 2: Fill in the online application.  After your application has been submitted, you may log in to monitor the arrival of your Letters of Recommendation. Make sure you have given your referees ample notice of your intention to apply and the nature of your research.


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CFP: The Literary Self: from Antiquity to the Digital Age – deadline 10 April 2018


The Literary Self: from Antiquity to the Digital Age

A postgraduate conference hosted by the University of Edinburgh on 4-5 June 2018.

Generously supported by the Institute for Academic Development, the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities and the School of Classics at the University of St Andrews.

Keynote: Professor Simon James, Durham University
Other confirmed speakers: Dr Roger Rees, University of St Andrews

Throughout history authors have grappled with how their texts are presented to their audience. Critics and theorists have responded to this in kind with a multitude of diverging approaches to the author in a text and the nature of the self generally. However, very few of these approaches have come to bear upon the literary nature of our online identities, whether it’s the lexical semantics and rhetoric of our online existences or indeed the literary value that such existences might produce. Our conference will examine approaches to authorship and selfhood through time and culminate in roundtable discussions of their applicability in our digital age.

We will have panels grounded in the Classical, Medieval and Early Modern, and Modern periods and invite papers from all disciplines.

As the conference is interdisciplinary we encourage papers that examine the literary self in a specific field or time period but also have applicability to a wide audience. Speakers who are successful will have the opportunity to publish their proceedings in FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture and the Arts.

Paper topics might consider:
• Biographies, autobiographies, and the mythology of authorial persona
• The psychology of literary identity
• Digital humanities and the networks of reception
• Ontological philosophies of selfhood
• The media of self-presentation (e.g. papyri, codices, books, social media, or e-books)
• The linguistics of expression and repression

Thanks to the generosity of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities, the Institute for Academic Development, and the School of Classics at the University of St Andrews, we can provide a limited amount of funding for travel from your home institution. Lunch and refreshments will also be provided.

Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words to by 10 April 2018.
You will be notified by email by mid to late-April of the submission outcomes.

Conference Organisers
Caitlan Smith (St. Andrews), Consuelo Martino (St. Andrews), Matthew Tibble (Edinburgh), Miles Beard (Strathclyde)

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Vacancy: COVE Editorial Assistant – Deadline:  19 March 2018


Deadline:  19 March 2018

The Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies invites Phd Students in the School of Arts to apply to an Editorial Assistantship with the Central Online Victorian Educator (COVE).


COVE is The Central Online Victorian Educator, a scholar-driven open-access platform that publishes peer-reviewed Victorian material. COVE is headquartered at Purdue University in the US, but has financial backing and scholarly involvement from many other top-ranked US and Canadian universities; the UK partners are Birkbeck, Birmingham and Exeter. It is supported by NAVSA, BAVS and AVSA. At Birkbeck the successful candidate joins an established community of practice given the School of Arts’ pioneering role in digital editing and nineteenth-century studies as the home of the Open Library of the Humanities and 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Nineteenth-Century. This editorial experience is also an invaluable opportunity to engage closely with international scholars, particularly in a transatlantic context.

COVE provides a central online location for the publication of peer-reviewed research essays and teaching materials, digital scholarly editions, and other materials relating to the Victorian period, as well as hosting a suite of online tools for the study and research of the period:

Successful candidates will receive training in COVE editorial software at the outset (they will be paid for the training time, usually 4-5 hours). As a result of this work, they will develop their skills in Digital Humanities, database management and copy-editing.


The Centre ( was first established in 1997 under the directorship of Professor Isobel Armstrong originally to bring together researchers in English, History of Art and History.  It has since developed a reputation for its diverse events that attract national and international scholars. It hosts the Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies, which sees speakers coming to Birkbeck throughout the year; it runs the annual Dickens Day; and organizes and hosts major conferences, workshops and symposia. The Centre also provides opportunities for Postgraduate students to organise and run events.


You will be working as an editorial assistant. The most common pattern of work is working on scholarly articles published in COVE within the BRANCH section ( , which will involve about 10-12 hours spread over a few weeks, depending on how quickly an author turns around their own edits. You would be given about 10 days to do your first copy-edit, and then asked to turn around further versions within a week.

Selection Criteria


  • Attention to Detail;
  • Skills in documentation and bibliography;
  • Excellent command of grammar and punctuation;
  • Ability to manage workload and meet deadlines.

Desirable but NOT essential

  • Team work experience;
  • A track record in copy-editing;
  • Experience with coding, mark-up and website development;
  • Research interests in nineteenth-century studies.


  • We invite applications from research students currently enrolled in PhD programmes in the School of Arts with interests in the nineteenth century, including students submitting their thesis during the academic year 2017-18.

 £ 15.65 per hour for a total of 50 hours.


Please email a letter of application outlining relevant skills and experiences and a CV, to Dr Ana Parejo Vadillo ( by 5.00pm on Monday 19 March 2018.

Please direct any enquiries to Dr Ana Parejo Vadillo (

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19: Postgraduate Editorial Intern in Academic Publishing Online – Application deadline 16 April 2018

The Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies

seeks a

Postgraduate Editorial Intern in Academic Publishing Online

The Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies invites applications from postgraduate research students whose research is primarily focused on the nineteenth century for an Internship in Academic Publishing Online to manage our web journal:


Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century


Deadline for application: 5.00pm on Monday 16 April 2018

The Journal

Launched on 1 October 2005, 19 is an electronic publishing initiative designed to publicize and disseminate the research activities carried out by Birkbeck’s Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, and to provide practical research and professional development opportunities for the many postgraduate students undertaking research degrees in nineteenth-century studies at the College. The journal is fully peer-reviewed, is aggregated with NINES, and currently uses the Open Journals System, allowing free and open access to its contents. It is now well-recognised and respected as a leading journal in the field, known for its exciting research and as a innovative and field-setting example of Open Access practice.

The Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies

The Centre was first established in 1997 under the directorship of Professor Isobel Armstrong originally to bring together researchers in English, History of Art and History.  It has since developed a reputation for its diverse events that attract national and international scholars. It hosts the Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies, which sees speakers coming to Birkbeck throughout the year; it runs the annual Dickens Day; and organizes and hosts major conferences, workshops and symposia. The Centre also provides opportunities for Postgraduate students to organise and run events.

The Position

The postgraduate editorial intern in Academic Publishing Online trains a student to manage 19, working with another intern under the supervision of the journal’s General Editor, Dr Carolyn Burdett, its Images Editor, Dr Victoria Mills, and the Editor for journal systems, Dr David Gillott, and with the guidance of the Editorial Board. The appointee will participate fully in the day-to-day running of the journal and help manage the Centre’s website.  Responsibilities include maintenance and resourcing of 19 and the Centre’s website; liaising with and between guest editor, authors and publisher; overseeing the smooth operation of the peer review system; supporting authors in securing image permissions; copy editing essays and other submitted materials; aiding the proofing processes; promoting and publicizing the journal; and taking an active role in web publishing initiatives, including innovation to increase the journal’s reach and influence. The postholder will be supported and mentored by an intern already in post and, in turn, will mentor the next intern. There will also be Centre-focused activity, including curation of the Centre’s presence in social media and elsewhere, and help with blog initiatives; contributing to the archiving of the Centre’s work; and participation in initiatives with postgraduate students working in the nineteenth century. Postholders will attend Centre meetings, and will be expected to be active participants and, where appropriate, helpers in the Centre’s programme of seminars, conferences and symposia.


We invite applications from postgraduate research students from across the College.  Research interests in the nineteenth century are desirable but not essential. Applicants should expect to be enrolled as students at Birkbeck until end of the academic year 2018-19. Exceptionally, students in their first year of MPhil/PhD can be appointed but the norm will be for students to have completed their first year of study.

Selection Criteria


  • Excellent literacy skills
  • Organizational and clerical skills
  • Independence and initiative

Desirable but NOT essential

  • Research interests in Nineteenth-Century Studies
  • Web authoring and design skills
  • Experience in electronic publishing
  • Editing experience
  • Organization of research activities such as Reading Groups, Seminars or Conferences


£15.43 per hour. The hours will be agreed on a flexible basis with the General Editor (spread across three terms to work out at an average of 3.5 hours per week for 40 weeks)


Please email a letter of application, outlining your reasons for applying for the post, and CV, together with the name of your supervisor, from whom we will require a reference, to Dr Carolyn Burdett ( in the School of Arts by 5.00pm on Monday 16 April 2018.  Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed early on in the summer term (date tbc).

Please direct any enquiries to Dr Carolyn Burdett (




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Comparing the Contemporary – Student Discussion Group Spring Term 2018

Comparing the Contemporary – Student Discussion Group

Spring Term 2018

Wonderful universes lie unexplored at the very doorstep of our libraries, stories and people and histories often given for granted and never fully investigated. Voices from beyond the Channel and beyond the Ocean and beyond the West that have remained unheard. Voices that the sessions of ‘Comparing the Contemporary’ wish to discuss through a series of meetings aimed at travelling the literary world, bringing together the experience of the diverse Birkbeck student body.

You’re invited; come join an informal student discussion group that will widen your horizons and provide fresh perspectives on key issues of contemporary criticism and theory. This discussion group is organised by postgraduate students based in Birkbeck’ Department of English and Humanities, and is open to enrolled students within the English & Humanities Department and beyond with an interest in expanding the scope of their studies to consider non-Anglophone literature and theory. We are MA students but welcome students at all levels, from BA to PhD.

What can comparative analysis say about the literary renditions of World War I across national boundaries? Can we bring postmodern critical concepts such as Baudrillard’s ‘simulacrum’ to bear on The Invention of Morel, an Argentine SF novel published in 1940? These are the sort of topics and texts that this group will seek to explore. The focus is placed on 20th and 21st century primary texts, and critical sources that enable a comparative perspective rather than being limited to one national or linguistic literary tradition. We aim to bring together a group of like-minded Birkbeck students, and the current organisers are MA students. We are not teachers, and we do not purport to be experts in the texts or topics discussed–the goal is that through joint analysis and debate, all the group’s participants can gain a richer understanding of the texts and appreciate the usefulness of comparative analysis to locate literary texts in a global context.

Get in touch with Valentina Salvatierra (MA Contemporary Literature & Culture, in order to sign up for our emails and get access to the shared folder where meeting schedule and texts will be uploaded.

No knowledge of languages other than English is required to participate, as we will be working with texts in translation–although you are welcome to read the original if you know the language.

Meeting structure

We will meet every 2 weeks throughout the Spring term. Each meeting will have a designated chair in charge of starting and guiding the group discussion. The chair will contextualise the text, provide a short extract or clip (if relevant), and a brief critical discussion of the text(s). This should take between 10-20 minutes, and the rest of the session will be dedicated to seminar-style discussion around the topic and text(s). The first two sessions’ topics and texts will be:

Friday 2nd February, 18:00 – 19:00

Room: MAL 630 (Malet Street Building)

The Carnival of War

Primary texts:

  1. Erich Maria Remarque (1929) All Quiet on the Western Front (chapter 11)       Full text:
  2. Dalton Trumbo (1939) Johnny Got His Gun (introduction, chapter 20)

Full text:

  1. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1909)“The Futurist Manifesto”

Full text:

Secondary texts:

  • Kissinger, Henry, Diplomacy, (Simon and Schuster 2011).
  • Lenin, Vladimir, “War and Revolution”, (1917).

Full text:

  • Dauterich, Ed. “”Johnny Got His Gun” and Working Class Students: Using Rhetorical Analysis to Intellectualize Pacifism.” Peace Research, 42 (2010 1/2) pp. 127-41.

Friday 16 February, 18:00 – 19:00

Room: MAL 629 (Malet Street Building)

Speculative fictions: North and South

  • Baudrillard, Jean, and Arthur B. Evans, ‘Two Essays (“Simulacra and Science Fiction” and “Ballard’s Crash”)’, Science Fiction Studies, 18 (1991) <>
  • Bioy Casares, Adolfo, The Invention of Morel (1940) [extracts to be supplied]
  • Heinlein, Robert, ‘—And He Built a Crooked House—’, Astounding Science Fiction, February 1941, pp. 68–83 <>

If you wish to moderate or get involved in the organisation of the group, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch with the organisers Carmela Morgillo ( or Valentina Salvatierra ( to discuss the details. We also welcome suggestions for texts or topics for discussion, and the schedule is flexible and open to modification depending on participants’ interests.

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Birkbeck Medical Humanities Reading Group – 7 December 2017

The Birkbeck Medical Humanities Reading Group meets on 7th December to consider the topic of non-conception. The meeting is preceded by a guided tour of the Conceiving Histories exhibition for those that can make it. Full details of the prior reading are below.

On Non-Conception

The Reading Group will meet on 7th December 3-4.30, Room 321, 43 Gordon Square, London. WC1H 0PD.

Led by Dr Isabel Davis

This session of the Reading Group coincides with the  Conceiving Histories Exhibition in the Peltz Gallery, 8th November-13th December. Members attending the group might like to visit the exhibtion before the Reading Group meets. A guided tour will be starting at 2pm on 7th December if you would like to join. Meet in the gallery. No need to book.

Prior reading:
Is available by following the links below. To print it out you need to download the whole file and then select the correct page numbers on your print options.

  • William Harvey, On Conception. This is added on to On Generation. You can read an English translation in The Works of William Harvey, trans. R. Willis (London: Sydenham Society, 1847), pp. 575-86. Link:
  • Robert Lyall, The medical evidence relative to the duration of human pregnancy, as given in the Gardner peerage cause, before the Committee for Privileges of the House of lords in 1825-26 (London: Burgess and Hill, 1826), footnote plan for the Experimental Conception Hospital. The whole book is interesting, but the footnote in question is on page xvii. Link:

Everyone is welcome. There is no need to book.

The Birkbeck Medical Humanities Reading Group aims to create a space in which academics, clinicians and students can come together to explore key readings, ideas and materials in the field of medical humanities. Our endeavour is to find ways of talking across the different disciplines of the humanities and medicine, and we welcome participation from colleagues and students interested and engaged in these areas.

For details of previous sessions, please click here.

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VACANCY: London Renaissance Seminar: Research Internship: deadline Monday 4 December 12.00pm.

London Renaissance Seminar: Research Internship

The London Renaissance Seminar invites postgraduate students at Birkbeck to apply for a research internship 2017-18. This internship is open to all postgraduate students at Birkbeck.

The London Renaissance Seminar hosts and organises a variety of events from half-day symposia to lectures, larger conferences and single lectures. Most events are open to audiences. Anyone with an interest in the Renaissance is welcome to attend. Seminars are usually held in the School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square.

The internship is open to all postgraduate students at Birkbeck and is likely to be particularly rewarding for those working in a historical or literary field in the early modern period. The postholder will (a) have a budget of about £150 to fund a research-led event of their choice for the LRS, and (b) to participate in steering and above all maintaining the Seminar during the academic year 2017-18. Thus interns will liaise with event organisers at Birkbeck and beyond, work with members of the Steering Committee and work towards a small filming project which the seminar is undertaking.

The internship is planned to commence in December 2017 and end in July 2018 (there may be some flexibility). The successful candidates will be working on a postgraduate degree, have some prior research experience and be familiar with early modern texts and ideas.

The research intern’s responsibilities include:

  • Devising, planning, scheduling, advertising and delivering an LRS event using the assigned budget: Event to be held in 2017-18.
  • Supporting the Steering Committee and (e.g. planning, events, social media).
  • Supporting LRS filming for a small film by liaising with academics and helping to locate objects at Wellcome Trust.

The intern is to be paid at Grade 5 £15.69 per hour up to a total of 74 hours.

As indicated, students at MPhil and PhD level may apply. In applying, please supply:

  1. 150 words outlining (a) your special area of research and how it relates to the period 1500-1690 (b) how the placement will benefit your academic study; (c) how the internship will develop your career skills.
  2. 150 words giving an initial proposal for an outward-facing LRS event. The format of this event is open (Examples include but are not limited to: postgraduate conference; site-specific seminar; book talk; symposium; performance and analysis).

These can be submitted as separate documents or in the form of a letter. Applicants should also provide:

  1. A full CV
  2. The name of 1 academic referee

Closing date: Monday 4 December 12.00pm.

Interviews:  between 8 and 14 December.

If you are not available during that period please indicate that on your application.

You should submit your application as a MS Word document with the information and documents requested above and marked ‘LRS Intern’ to Professor Susan Wiseman by 12.00pm on Monday 4 December. Enquiries to the same e-mail please.

Birkbeck welcomes applications from all sections of the community. Birkbeck holds an Athena Swan Award, is a Stonewall Diversity Champion and is working towards the Race Equality Charter Mark.

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