HomeMicroscopic Imaginaries in 20th and 21st Century Literature

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Published on Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Abstract

Over the 20th century, microscopy was revolutionised by UV, phase contrast, and electron technology. The circulation of microscopic images increased exponentially. This symposium aims to identify the microscopic imaginaries that appeared in literature over the 20th and 21st centuries, and the turning points that structured literature’s engagement with microscopy over this period.

Announcement

Argument

When Ronald Ross discovered the protozoan responsible for malaria in 1897, he wrote a poem addressing “million-murdering Death” whose “cunning seeds” he had found. Ross’s poem remains famous, but how has his hope that art and science would walk “hand in hand” fared in the following centuries? Over the 20th century, microscopy was revolutionised by UV, phase contrast, and electron technology. The circulation of microscopic images increased exponentially with the arrival of television, internet and digital photography. While visualisations of atomic physics were influential for modernist writers, genetic engineering and microbial agency have become key ingredients of 21st-century crime fiction and science fiction, as well as inspirations for ecopoetry, molecular poetics and experiments in living poetry.This symposium aims to identify the microscopic imaginaries that appeared over this period, and the turning points that structured literature’s engagement with microscopy. We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers in English, on any written literary genre, particularly around the following topics:

  • the epistemic dimensions of literary form
  • the aesthetics of scale
  • the role of literature in changing scopic regimes
  • ethical and political dimensions of microscopic imaginaries
  • conceptual shifts provoked by microscopic perspectives, around notions such as community, agency, subject, or environment
  • relations between microscopic imaginaries and movements such as modernism, naturalism or new materialism
  • authorial postures and reader expectations created by microscopic perspectives
  • relations between scientific imagination, popular science imagination and literary imagination
  • how scientific and literary discourses have shaped each other over this period 

Submission Guidelines

Proposals should be sent in Word or PDF documents

by the 31st of May 2023

to the organisers: 

  • liliane.campos@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr
  • caroline.pollentier@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr
  • sarah.montin@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr
  • sarah.bouttier@polytechnique.edu

Answers will be sent out by the 9th of June. The symposium will be held at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, Maison de la Recherche, 4 rue des Irlandais, in Paris. A second symposium will be organized in 2024 on microscopicimaginaries in theatre and performance: a separate call for papers will be issued for that event. 

Scientific committee

  • Sarah Bouttier – Ecole Polytechnique – sarah.bouttier@polytechnique.edu
  • Liliane Campos – Université Sorbonne Nouvelle et Institut Universitaire de France - liliane.campos@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr 
  • Sarah Montin – Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - sarah.montin@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr
  • Caroline Pollentier – Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - caroline.pollentier@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr

 

Places

  • Maison de la Recherche - 4 rue des Irlandais
    Paris, France (75005)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


Date(s)

  • Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Keywords

  • littérature, microscopie, imaginaire, atome, molécule, microbe, génétique, biologie, physique

Contact(s)

  • Caroline Pollentier
    courriel : caroline [dot] pollentier [at] sorbonne-nouvelle [dot] fr
  • Sarah Montin
    courriel : sarah [dot] montin [at] sorbonne-nouvelle [dot] fr
  • Liliane Campos
    courriel : liliane [dot] campos [at] sorbonne-nouvelle [dot] fr
  • Sarah Bouttier
    courriel : sarah [dot] bouttier [at] polytechnique [dot] edu

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Liliane Campos
    courriel : liliane [dot] campos [at] sorbonne-nouvelle [dot] fr

License

CC-BY-4.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International - CC BY 4.0 .

To cite this announcement

Liliane Campos, « Microscopic Imaginaries in 20th and 21st Century Literature », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, May 02, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1b4q

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