In ancient Greece, the Pythagoreans worshipped perfect numbers and turned them into musical scales. Two thousand years later, Nicolaus Copernicus still heard their sound in the perfection of the universal spheres. Numerologists, alchemists and the Gnostics all attempt to explain the mysteries of the universe with the precision and beauty of mathematics. And what would the voluptuous garments displayed in Renaissance painting be without the clear lines and structured order of geometry? Already these few examples show that mathematics has always been more than is commonly represented in popular culture in the wider British context.
Organised by members and PhD students of the Institute for British Studies of Leipzig University, the aim of this three-day interdisciplinary conference (20-22 March 2014) is to bring together researchers from diverse academic and professional disciplines. By establishing mathematics as the common denominator between the individual panels, the links between mathematics and cultural studies are brought into focus. The conference will explore the reception and representation of mathematical concepts across such diverse fields as popular culture, literature, linguistics and didactics.
We invite proposals of 250-300 words for papers of 20 minutes length from postgraduate students and established scholars. Suggested topics may include, but are not limited to the following fields:
- Philosophy: mathematics in history, philosophy and religion, e.g. John Dee
- Politics: mathematics and gender, the British Empire, and Bletchley Park
- Popular Culture: mathematics and their influence on everyday life, recreational mathematics
- The Arts: representations of mathematics in film, the Fine Arts, music, architecture, the aesthetics of mathematical symbols
- Literature: representations of mathematics and mathematicians in literature, mathematical imagery
Proposals should include up to four keywords and indicate a critical approach or theoretical framework. Owing to the international character, the conference language is English. Please e-mail your submissions either as a word document or PDF by 30 June 2013 to the following address:
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the organisers, Felicitas Hanke, Franziska Kohlt, Rita Singer, and Kati Voigt.