The Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies (LCVS) will host a two-day conference, Science and Spiritualism, 1750 – 1930, at Leeds Trinity University on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 May 2019.
This two-day interdisciplinary conference will explore the history of the intersection of science and spiritualism during the nineteenth century, and is the first conference to look at this type of historical relationship.
Internationally acclaimed photographer Shannon Taggart will be in attendance to showcase her exhibition of photographs of Lily Dale, New York, which is home to the world's largest Spiritualist Community; The Lily Dale Assembly.
Shannon's photographs have been exhibited and featured internationally, in publications such as Time Magazine, New York Times Magazine, Discover and Newsweek. Her work has also been recognised by Nikon, Magnum Photos and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace.
Professor Christine Ferguson (University of Stirling), and Professor Roger Luckhurst (Birkbeck, University of London) are keynote speakers for the event, which also welcomes a range of scholars to deliver their expertise from literary, science and technology backgrounds.
The conference will also feature a performance from Nik Taylor and Andy Cooper, who will perform a re-enactment of a Victorian Séance to provide historical context and lead into a critical discussion with delegates.
Nik Taylor is a research magician and performer from the University of Huddersfield and Andy Cooper (performing under the stage name Ashton Carter) is a magician and storyteller specialising in bizarre magic and the recreation of séances.
This is the first major conference hosted by LCVS since the 26th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf and Heritage at Leeds Trinity University in June 2016, which saw more than 220 scholars from all over the world come together to discuss Woolf's work.
Professor Rosemary Mitchell, Deputy Director of LCVS, said: "The rise of spiritualism and the development of scientific disciplines were both key developments in the Victorian period, and have attracted much recent academic attention. This conference brings together scholars working in both areas, reflecting the highly interdisciplinary character of the LCVS, and contributing to current debates on the relationship of science and religion by exploring the interactions between this extraordinary religious phenomenon and scientific modes of enquiry in the long nineteenth century."
LCVS was established in 1994 and is one of the leading Victorian centres in the country offering a MA programme in Victorian Studies and PhD scholarship. The research centre, made up of academics from Leeds Trinity University, organise yearly seminars, workshops and conferences, and are founders of the Journal of Victorian Culture, published by Oxford University Press.
Professor Jane de Gay, MA Victorian Studies programme leader, said: "At the LCVS, we are always looking for ways to give our students a taste of academic life, by giving them opportunities to get involved in our conferences, seminars and colloquia. For undergraduates doing front-of-house duties, MA students writing blogs, and PhD students chairing sessions, Science and Spiritualism is sure to be an unforgettable experience."
The conference will run from 9.00am – 7.15pm on Thursday 30 May, ending with a Wine Reception and the Keynote from Christine Ferguson; and from 9.00am – 6.30pm on Friday 31 May, ending with the Keynote by Roger Luckhurst.
For more information about the event, along with session listings, please click here. Tickets can be purchased online here.