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Science and Spiritualism, 1750-1930


​​The Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies is pleased to announce a two-day conference, to take place at Leeds Trinity University on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 May 2019.

Since the emergence of modern mediumship in the middle of the nineteenth century, science and spiritualism have been interwoven. Sceptics and believers alike have investigated spirit and psychic phenomena to determine its legitimacy.

What's happening?

We are delighted to have Professor Christine Ferguson (University of Stirling), and Professor Roger Luckhurst (Birkbeck, University of London) as our keynote speakers.

This two-day interdisciplinary conference will explore the history of the intersection of science and spiritualism during the nineteenth century.


Thursday 30 and Friday 31 May 2019


Leeds Trinity University

How can I get involved?

We welcome proposals from any discipline, covering any geographic region between 1750-1930. Possible topics include:

  • Scientific investigation at séances
  • Scientific literature on spirit and psychic phenomena
  • Technology and spiritualism (such as photography, telegraphy and telephony)
  • Medicine and spiritualism (such as studies in physiology and psychology)
  • Shamanism, animism and spiritualism in anthropology
  • Science, spiritualism and the periodical press
  • Cultures of science and religion and its connection to spiritualism
  • Spiritualism and material culture (such as haunted objects or locations)
  • Contesting cultural authority in spiritualism cases
  • Scientific experiments in spiritualism
  • Crisis of evidence in spirit and psychic investigations
  • Magicians and spiritualism (such as exposing fraud through replicating tricks)
  • Science and spiritualism in literature (such as Browning's Mr Sludge)
  • Scientists as spiritualists and spiritualists as scientists

Please send a 250-word abstract, along with contact information to Efram Sera-Shriar, Lecturer in Modern History at Leeds Trinity University. The Deadline for submission is Thursday 15 November 2018.

Some small travel bursaries will be available to postgraduate and early career scholars. If you would like to be considered for one, please include a short expression of interest detailing your research, and how this conference will be of benefit to you.

Further information?

Please email Efram Sera-Shriar for further information.