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Science vs. Fiction

C. P. Snow’s now-famous mid-century argument that science and literature refer to two separate intellectual cultures emerged during a period in which the sciences were increasingly under the sway of empirical and positivistic methodologies. Science and literature were understood as polarized fields. Behaviorist psychology wanted to reduce mental features to observable physical correlates, which left fiction as an archive for the articulation of mental life. Although many scholars have now pointed out that the rhetorical polarization of these two domains at mid-century was never complete, narratives of modernism still tend towards a telos in which science and literature come, slowly, to be separated and opposed. This panel proposes to explore ways in which modernist literature troubles that narrative, offering different possibilities for approaching modernist fiction’s involvement with science. Because writers were composing during a period in which science and fiction were entangled but not fully cast in oppositional terms, they offer resources for thinking about life and the mind in less reductively materialist terms.

Interested panelists please send a 250 word abstract of a planned talk and a short bio to Václav Paris:

Conference Location: Columbus, OH, USA
Conference Starts: November 08, 2018
Conference Ends: November 11, 2018

CFP Submission Deadline: April 07, 2018

For more information, contact: Vaclav Paris