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Theatre and the politics of engagement

This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.

Audrey Cruse

In ancient Greece and Rome magical and religious healing continued to be practised at the same time as a burgeoning of research and learning in the natural sciences was promoting a seemingly more rational and scientific approach to medicine. Was there, then, a dichotomy in medical treatment or was the situation more complex? This paper draws on historical textual sources as well as archaeological research in examining the question in more detail. Some early texts, such as the Egyptian papyri from about 2,600 bc and the Hippocratic Corpus from the third and fourth centuries bc, contain an intriguing mixture of scientific and religious material. Archaeological evidence from, for example, sites of healing sanctuaries from ancient times, show medical prescriptions used as part of votive offerings and religious inscriptions on surgical instruments, while physicians were prominent among donators to shrines. Other archaeological finds such as the contents of rubbish tips, buried hoards, sepulchral deposits and stray artefacts from occupation levels, have also added to the archive of medical material available for discussion. The paper concludes that such intertwinings of religion and science were not only common in Roman medicine but, in fact, continue into the present time.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Reflections on the relationship between science and society from the perspective of physics
Lucio Piccirillo

8 Big science and small science: reflections on the relationship between science and society from the perspective of physics Lucio Piccirillo The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. (Albert Einstein, The World as I See It) Chester V: ‘There’s no such thing as small science, only small scientists.’ (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) In this chapter I will discuss some of the possible answers as to why science is a valuable enterprise. If this is

in The freedom of scientific research
Abstract only
Scientists and their poetry

A sonnet to science presents an account of six groundbreaking scientists who also wrote poetry, and the effect that this had on their lives and research. Focusing on Humphry Davy, Ada Lovelace, James Clerk Maxwell, Ronald Ross, Miroslav Holub, and Rebecca Elson, this book explores the extent to which poetry influenced and inspired their scientific achievements and in doing so considers how science and poetry offer complementary, rather than antagonistic, viewpoints for understanding the world and the way in which we live. By presenting a selection of the poetry that these scientists wrote and contextualising it with their work and research, this book provides a tentative explanation as to why these scientists wrote poetry, and gives a better understanding of how poetry might today be used as an effective tool in both the advancement of science and the way that science is communicated. Featured alongside the poems of these scientists is biographical detail that indicates the extent to which poetry affected their research and thinking. In presenting an aspirational account of how these two disciplines can work together, A sonnet to science aims to convince both current and future generations of scientists and poets that these worlds are not mutually exclusive, but rather complementary in nature.

Open Access (free)
Convergence, emergence and divergence
Simon Parry

1 Science in performance: convergence, emergence and divergence Starting with a (big) bang Sir Ian McKellen as Prospero: Miranda, go out into the world. Will you be for all of us gathering here our eyes, our ears and our hearts? Shine your light on the beautiful diversity of humanity. Understand those rights that protect us. Look up, stretch your wings and fly. Will you take the journey for all of us and will you set us free? Professor Stephen Hawking: We live in a universe governed by rational laws that we can discover and understand. Look up at the stars and

in Science in performance
Open Access (free)
Christopher Morgan

chapter5 28/1/05 1:31 pm Page 102 5 Science and nature Introduction: pure and applied science Having dealt with the issue of the language of science, one must return to the dilemma pointed up earlier by Ned Thomas’s reading of ‘Homo Sapiens 1941’: how does one begin to reconcile R. S. Thomas’s apparently simultaneous condemnation and admiration for the objects and ideas which underlie that language? As I have already suggested, Thomas seems to move gradually from a preoccupation with the language of science for the purposes of art into a moral philosopher

in R. S. Thomas
David Amigoni

‘The conveyance of thought’ in the wonderful century of science In this chapter, I critically reflect on the interface between literature and science in the long nineteenth century. I map trends in the field suggesting that, methodologically, literature and science paradigms are quite fundamental to the understanding of interdisciplinary nineteenth-century studies: in so far as the literature-science field has been characteristically concerned with the transmission of thought and its conveyance by

in Interventions
The British Interplanetary Society before the Second World War
Charlotte Sleigh

11 Science as heterotopia: the British Interplanetary Society before the Second World War Charlotte Sleigh In a night of wild drinking in 1941, Captain John (Jack) Happian Edwards, on leave from his Admiralty research post in Scotland, let slip his secret quest for an enormous emerald, stolen from a Burmese temple and whisked across international borders. In the course of tracing the gem Edwards had stumbled upon a gang of dope smugglers who, convinced that he was working for Scotland Yard, surrendered themselves to him. Of the emerald’s whereabouts he said

in Scientific governance in Britain, 1914–79
The British Association in South Africa, 1905 and 1929
Saul Dubo

Setting On 15 August 1905 a party of some 200 official members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science arrived in Cape Town on board the Union Castle Liner, Saxon. The voyage had been pleasantly uneventful and the visitors occupied their time with an extensive programme of lectures and discussions, games and entertainments, and scientific experiments

in Science and society in southern Africa
Allan Blackstock

6 Richardson and provincial science W illiam Richardson’s 1808 Memoir on fiorin grass for the Belfast Literary Society was the spark which ignited an explosion of criticism from the town’s radical intellectuals. Like ‘lit and phils’ in other growing towns, the Belfast Literary Society had a broad intellectual remit and heard papers on scientific, historical, literary and religious topics. Richardson was a corresponding member and, as well as publishing with the Society, delivered a paper on agriculture as a science.1 This chapter examines Richardson’s role

in Science, politics and society in early nineteenth-century Ireland