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The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) was set up in 1989 by academics to promote the study of the cultural history of the Romantic period. Since then, BARS has organised eight International conferences at various locations in the UK, has published the BARS Bulletin and Review twice-yearly, and currently has more than 350 members.

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SPECTACULAR SCIENCE: SCIENCE AND THE LANDS OF THE EXTREME: EXPLORATION, REPRESENTATION, IMAGINATION
Toulouse, October 13, 2009




The exploration journeys of the nineteenth century were above all the expression of scientific curiosity. The conquest of the Far North, for instance, constitutes a challenge for ethnology, geography, studies of the ice, the fauna and the flora, and is also an attempt to solve the mystery of magnetism which, according to Sherril Grace, functions both as an object of study and as a metaphor for the irresistible attraction of the North, and of the mythic Northwest Passage in particular. The artistic imagination complements scientific exploration, offering a form of sublimation or questioning. At the crossroads between science and the arts, this conference wishes to juxtapose scientific discourse (from the nineteenth century onwards) and the artistic representation of the issues it raises.
Exploration narratives offer an illustration of the relationship between science and exploration (magnetism, geography, the ills and diseases encountered by explorers or resulting from their intrusion, medical experiments.) An approach from an aboriginal point of view could also examine, for instance, how shamanism dealt with medical problems caused by the contact with explorers. In this context, it may be interesting to wonder how reciprocal influences between foreign cultures in the past may have a contemporary impact (the introduction of traditional medical practices among the Inuit ...) Moreover, Beattie’s autopsy of the sailors from the Franklin expedition found in graves in the Canadian Far North bears witness to the fascination which the tragic dimension of exploration still exercises.
The relationship between exploration and science will also be approached from an aesthetic perspective, through artistic representations of situations of exploration: exploration narratives, fiction, visual arts. We will analyze how the artist represents exploration and/or science, its role, its impact, its accomplishments and failures, its ascendancy on people and places (in particular in post-colonial Canadian fiction.) We will also examine how the explorers’ science appears in tales, myths and other productions by aboriginal artists, and how Inuit society (its representation, its myths and its way of life) evolved as a result of interference and intrusion.
Exploration often has a territorial objective, therefore we will study the extent to which science provides tools for those appropriation ventures which it contributes to legitimize. This question is frequently raised in contemporary Canada in relation to the territorial claims of aboriginal people as well as with the issue of Arctic sovereignty which has been receiving a lot of attention recently, due to the economic interests at stake.
Jean Malaurie, the first European who reached the North Geomagnetic Pole in a dog-sled with an Inuit guide and who is a passionate supporter of the rights of Arctic minorities threatened by oil exploitation and the industrial development of the Far North, will be a guest speaker at this conference, along with Jan Borm, his biographer and the Cinémathèque de Toulouse will screen some of Malaurie’s films.

- Conference languages: French and English
- Deadline for submissions (max. 150 words): June 30, 2009, to be sent to:
Michèle Kaltemback : kaltemba@univ-tlse2.fr, Catherine Lanone: catherine.lanone@univ-tlse2.fr
- Organising committee:
Michèle Kaltemback, Catherine Lanone, Laurence Talairach-Vielmas

- Scientific committee:
Françoise Besson, Jan Borm, Michèle Kaltemback, Catherine Lanone, Claire Omhovère, Marcienne Rocard, Laurence Talairach-Vielmas
- This conference is organized conjunctly by the municipality of Toulouse and the university of Toulouse (UTM-CAS-GREC) with the support of the Government of Canada.