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2010 Fall

Newsletter of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts 			 
Fall 2010, Vol. 20, No.1



25th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature Science and the Arts 
PLACE: Kitchener, Ontario
VENUES: Delta Hotel Kitchener, THEMUSEUM, Critical Media Lab (all within
three short city blocks) 
DATES: September 22-25, 2011  
SITE COORDINATOR: Marcel O’Gorman, University of Waterloo 
PROGRAM CHAIRS: Melissa Littlefield and Robert Markley, U. of Illinois;
Susan Squier, Penn State University.  
SLSA MEMBERSHIP: Participants in the 2011 conference must be 2011
members of the Society for Literature Science and the Arts. For more
information about SLSA, please visit the organization website at

The theme for 2011 is “PHARMAKON,” that which can both kill and cure.
From Socrates’ hemlock to nuclear radiation, the pharmakon offers an
opportunity to explore the concept of indeterminacy as it applies to a
number of research topics, including the following:
•	bioarts
•	critical media theory
•	bioethics
•	medical humanities
•	new frontiers in digital media
•	animal studies
•	environmentalism and ecological studies
•	new directions in rhetoric and writing studies
•	the history and philosophy of science
•	gender and/in science studies
PLEASE NOTE: This is an open conference where a wide range of work will
be welcome. Proposed topics can represent ANY work in literature and
science, history of science, philosophy of science, science and art, or
science studies. 

Plenary speakers for 2011 are BERNARD STIEGLER (Institut de Recherche et
d’Innovation, Author of Technics and Time, etc.) and ISABELLE STENGERS
(Université de Bruxelles, author of Cosmopolitics, etc.).

For panel contributions, submit a 250-word abstract with title.
Pre-organized panels for consideration can contain an additional summary
paragraph along with proposed session title.  Submit abstracts for
papers/proposals for sessions and register at

NEW FOR 2011: Poster Presentations. Poster presentations are
traditionally under the purview of scientific conferences. This year,
SLSA would like to challenge the boundaries of the poster presentation
as well as provide space for more scientists to get involved with the
society. If you would like to present your research in the form of a
poster, we will have dedicated space to do so. Presenters will have an
opportunity to discuss their work informally, and they MUST attend the
conference to display their work.

THE “A” IN SLSA: This year’s conference will include, among other
interventions, bicycle tours of contemporary public art. For 2011, we
are teaming up with THEMUSEUM of Kitchener and the Contemporary Art
Forum of Kitchener + Area (CAFKA). THEMUSEUM will exhibit a
retrospective of computational art entitled Rethinking Art & Machine
(RAM), and CAFKA will hold its biennial festival of public art, which
will provide a larger context for the conference. The theme for CAFKA
2011 is “survive.resist”. This collaboration is designed to place more
emphasis on the “A” in SLSA. To this end, we welcome panel proposals
from artists and scholars interested in public art and the theme of
“survive.resist,” in addition to arts-oriented papers and panels on the
theme of “PHARMAKON.” 
          We invite proposals from artists for an SLSA exhibition to be
held in the Critical Media Lab. Proposals will be considered in the
context of the conference theme of “PHARMAKON.” Please visit the
Critical Media Lab web site to better understand the context for this
exhibition (http://criticalmedia.uwaterloo.ca). Artistic proposals must
include a 1-2-page description that clearly outlines the project and its
relationship to “Pharmakon,” as well as technical and space
requirements. Artists must also provide up to five (5) pages of images
and/or a URL to a web site that clearly illustrates the proposed work
and/or previous work that is relevant to the proposal. Address all
submissions and questions to Marcel O’Gorman (marcel@uwaterloo.ca).
Participating artists will have full access to all conference
activities, and will not have to pay registration fees or SLSA dues.
They will also be eligible for SLSA Travel Awards (see below).

BOOK + ART PANELS: The SLSA Publications Committee is soliciting
proposals from published authors, artists, and curators who wish to
discuss their RECENT work in a longer format than a regular panel
presentation. The panel will consist of the author/artist/curator and
two respondents/commentators. Please send a brief proposal or
nomination, and a list of possible respondents/commentators to Ron
Broglio (Ronald.Broglio@asu.edu), who will share proposals with others
on the Publications Committee (Elizabeth Wilson and Rob Mitchell).

TRAVEL AWARDS: SLSA provides a limited number of travel awards for
underfunded individuals attending the annual conference. Members of SLSA
who present at the annual conference may apply for travel subventions.
An applicant should email name, title of SLSA presentation, an
indication of how long one has been a member of SLSA, and any
information about funding for the conference to the Executive Director
at carol.colatrella@lcc.gatech.edu by August 1. Please provide estimated
travel expenses and the amount of support (if any) anticipated from
other sources. If you have received travel support from SLSA in the
past, please include information about that support (when and how much).
SLSA officers will review applications and approve funds for as many as
our budget permits; preference will be given to students and those most
in need. Each person awarded funds will be presented with a check at the
conference business meeting.  

BRUNS ESSAY PRIZE: The Bruns Graduate Essay Prize, in honor of Edward F.
Bruns, is awarded annually to the best essay written by a graduate
student member of SLSA. Graduate students wishing to have their essays
considered for the $250 prize should submit them by August 1 to N.
Katherine Hayles, Department of English, Duke University, via electronic
mail to katherine.hayles@duke.edu. Please send a copy of your formatted
essay as a PDF or Word file, or send a pointer to a URL where the essay
is posted.  

SCHACHTERLE ESSAY PRIZE: Lance Schachterle, founding president of the
society, established an annual prize of $250 in honor of his parents to
recognize the best new essay on literature and science written in
English by a non-tenured scholar. Eligible authors wishing to submit
essays (published or accepted for publication) should send them prior to
August 1 to the Executive Director via electronic mail to
carol.colatrella@lcc.gatech.edu. Please send a copy of your formatted
essay as a PDF or Word file, or send a pointer to a URL where the essay
is posted.  

competition for the Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize awarded each
year to the best academic book on literature, science, and the arts
published by an SLSA member. Established in the fall of 2006 in memory
of Michelle Kendrick of Washington State University-Vancouver, an
energetic, well-loved scholar of literature and science and long-time
member of SLSA, the Kendrick Prize is open to any book of original
scholarship on literature, science, and the arts published between
January 1 and December 31 of the prior year. The winner will receive
$250.00. To have your book considered for the Kendrick Prize, please
send (or have your publisher send) three copies by June 1 to: Professor
Robert Markley, Department of English, 608 South Wright Street,
University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801 Donations for the Kendrick
Prize (checks made out to SLSA, with Kendrick Prize in memo) can be sent
to: Carol Colatrella, SLSA Executive Director, LCC, Georgia Tech, 686
Cherry Street, Atlanta, GA 30332-0165  

Note: Awards described above will be presented during the Business
Meeting of the annual fall conference. One may submit only one entry to
one of the two essay prize competitions.

SLSA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD:  The SLSA Executive Committee will each
year appoint a committee to seek and review nominations for the SLSA
Lifetime Achievement award. Members of this committee will include a
former President of SLSA, who will serve as chair, one currently serving
member at large, and one other SLSA member. The Lifetime Achievement
Awards Committee will send out an announcement asking members to
nominate candidates whose significant interdisciplinary scholarship is
exemplary of SLSA. The committee will
then review nominations from the membership to select a recipient of the
award or to decide not to make an award for that year. In years when an
award is made, it will be presented at the business meeting of the
annual conference. The 2012 Lifetime Achievement committee will be
chaired by Kate Hayles of Duke University and Trace Reddell and Kevin
LaGrandeur are members. 

REPORTS FROM SLSA 2010, Indianapolis

SLSA 2010, 24th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature Science and
the Arts, took place in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 28-31,2010. The
following represents information shared at the Executive Committee and
Business Meetings. 

Alan Rauch, in his outgoing President's Report, congratulated incoming
officers--President Richard Nash, 1st Vice-President Laura Otis, 2nd
Vice President Robert Markley—and new member-at-large Melissa
Littlefield, who replaces Aden Evens. Rauch also congratulated Nash for
his work organizing the meeting and Elizabeth Wilson for her work in
putting together the program. SLSA 2010 included an opening set of book
panels (arranged by the Publications Committee) with panelists
discussing books by society authors Rob Mitchell, Wendy Chun, Hannah
Landecker, and Joan Richardson; this innovation was applauded by
participants. Approximately 250 other presenters spoke on other panels.

Conference reports about past and future events documented continuing
interest in the research supported by the society. Colatrella shared the
annual financial statement and reported that SLSA 2009 in Atlanta
attracted 240 registrants. Marcel O'Gorman and Laura Otis reported on
plans for SLSA 2011 in Kitchener (see above). Robert Markley, Melissa
Littlefield, and Susan Squier volunteered to review submissions and
organize the 2011 program. Colatrella conveyed a report from the Pacific
Rim group coordinated by Oron Catts of SymbioticA is planning a 2013
conference in the region.

SLSA Europe is planning its biennial conference to take place June 21
(International Music Day) – June 24 (Exhibition Road Music Day, 2012 in
London as a four-day international festival that encompasses an
arts-science conference, a series of newly commissioned art
installations, mass-participation events and workshops. The project is
proposed by Bergit Arends, curator of contemporary arts at the Natural
History Museum, on behalf of the NHM and in consultation with the
European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (SLSA Europe). The
festival complements the Goethe-Institut’s proposed 2012 sound
sculptures/installation project and the arts-science theme of Exhibition
Road Music Day 2012, of which it would be a key component. Among the
works being proposed for Music Day is the premiere of a song-cycle based
on Darwin and a commission to recreate 1851 and the Great Exhibition in
sound. Arends’ email is b.arends@nhm.ac.uk. More information about
SLSAeu 2012 in London will be disseminated in electronic issues of
Decodings to be sent in the coming year.

 Alan Rauch presented the Configurations report. He indicated that
although the journal is behind schedule, it will be on track within a
year or so, according to editors' projections. Rauch shared lists of
contributors and titles for upcoming issues in 2010 and 2011 (volumes 17
and 18). The journal has begun using ScholarOne to facilitate electronic
submission, review, and revision of essays, which should improve
communications with authors. Rauch announced that John Bruni is now book
review editor for the journal. A second book review editor is being

Publications Committee (Elizabeth Wilson, Rob Mitchell, Ron Broglio)
accepted the assignment to find an additional book review editor to work
with John Bruni. They also reported on the success of the books panels
at SLSA 2010 and recommended continuing this practice. The Publications
Committee is in the process of reviewing procedures for editorial
appointments to Configurations. They are also consulting with Susan
Squier and Laura Otis on plans to establish an SLSA book series at Penn
State Press and to re-establish an SLSA book series at the University of
Michigan Press. Editors from the presses shared their visions, which
will be considered by the committee and the SLSA Executive Committee.
The nomination committee for a new member-at-large to begin serving a
two-year term on the SLSA Executive Committee in fall 2011 consists of
Alan Rauch and Kevin LaGrandeur, who sent out a request for nominations
due December 1. 

Bibliographer Sue Hagedorn introduced associate bibliographer Connie
Stovall, librarian at Virginia Tech.

Electronic Resources Coordinator Wayne Miller reported that more than
700 people subscribe to the SLSA listserv, LITSCI-L and that the
electronic submission system for conference abstracts is working quite


Travel Awards of $200 each were presented to Sarah  Birge, Sylvie
Bissonnette, Stephanie Boluk, Anne Brubaker, David Cecchetto, Megan
Fernandez, Jenn Griggs, John Hay, Kim Lacey, Patrick Lemieux, Hannah
Rogers, Adam Snider, Lindsay Thomas, Alessandro Tonnetti, Priya

Bruns Prize for the Best Graduate Student Essay: David Cecchetto’s
“Performing Deconstruction: Posthumanism, Primary Affectivity and Mark
Hansen’s Media Theory” received the Bruns Prize. The commendation
praises the essay as "a superb example of a rare sort of essay: a
discerning and persuasive critique of basic aspects of the work of
another scholar that, nonetheless, remains positively invested in that
scholar’s achievement.  Cecchetto’s close reading of Hansen’s project to
date is masterfully sensitive to nuances of his argument, and to the
disciplinary conditions that have made Hansen’s calls for renewed
investigation of the relation of human affectivity to the digital both
compelling and problematic."

The Schachterle Prize was awarded to Catherine Belling's “Narrating
Oncogenesis” Narrative 18.2 (spring 2010): 229-247. As the commendation
notes, Belling applies narratological methods to describe “the hidden
beginnings of cancer, and identifies some implications of this
structural challenge for biomedical scientists and patients as well as
literary theorists. Her close reading is quite engaging, her analogies
are inventive, and her argument is well-researched, integrating a range
of popular and technical sources. The essay posits the phenomenological
inaccessibility of the body to the imagining/narrativizing subject
(doctor and/or patient).  This relation determines that disease (here
cancer), must be understood as a story whose origin precedes,and is
inaccessible to, its narrative beginning.”  

The SLSA Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize was presented to Laura
Dassow Walls for her 2009 book The Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von
Humboldt and the Shaping of America (University of Chicago Press). As
the press describes,“ Walls traces Humboldt's ideas for Cosmos, the book
that crowned his career, to his 1799 journey to the Americas, where he
first experienced the diversity of nature and of the world's peoples-and
envisioned a new cosmopolitanism that would link ideas, disciplines, and
nations into a global web of knowledge and cultures. In reclaiming
Humboldt's transcultural and transdisciplinary project, Walls situates
America in a lively and contested field of ideas, actions, and
interests, and reaches beyond to a new worldview that integrates the
natural and social sciences, the arts, and the humanities.”

Barbara Herrnstein Smith received the First SLSA Lifetime Achievement
Award. The commendation acknowledges Smith's significant achievements:
"For over four decades, Barbara Hernnstein Smith has written brilliantly
about the relations between literature and science. Starting from her
earliest book Poetic Closure: A Study of How Poems End (1968), she has
progressively moved into interdisciplinary areas with elegant, lucid,
and compelling explorations of controversial topics. In Contingencies of
Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory (1988), she attacked
the problem of value in aesthetic judgments, arguing that value resides
neither in the beholder nor in the aesthetic object but rather in an
infinitely large network of contingent, dynamic, and continually
transforming relations between things. In Belief and Resistance: 
Dynamics of Contemporary Intellectual Controversy (1997), she explored
the mutual exaggerations and distortions of both sides in the “science
wars” and countered with the view that “reality,” “nature,” and “truth”
are the results of ongoing material, cognitive, conceptual and social
interactions. In Scandalous Knowledge:  Science, Truth and the Human,
she stages conflicts between science (especially cognitive science and
evolutionary biology) with the humanities, giving a lucid overview of
the “postmodern” canon (Foucault, Ludwik Fleck, Thomas Kuhn, and Bruno
Latour, among others) and arguing that the notion these theorists
produce “scandalous” knowledge is accomplished through caricature and
association with logically absurd positions rather than fair engagements
with their claims. In Natural Reflections: Human Cognition at the Nexus
of Science and Religion, she again stages a conflict between the claims
of cognitive scientists to have identified the brain functionalities
responsible for religion belief with the construction of religion as a
complex human activity, insisting on the historical connections that
undergird both positions and locating them within continuities of
assumptions and traditions.   

"In all of this work, Herrnstein Smith combats sensationalist attacks
and argues for the importance of intellectual traditions, networks of
relations, and the need for mutual respect between the sciences and
humanities. Her work has been recognized by both scientists and
humanists as being of the highest intellectual caliber, as witnessed by
her election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the
American Academy of Religion. The American Association for the
Advancement of Science named her as an Honorary Fellow for
“distinguished contributions to . . . a common scientific and humanistic
understanding of knowledge and its advancement.”  Her work has also been
recognized by numerous fellowships and awards, including an NEH
Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation
Fellowship, and a fellowship at the Princeton Institute for Advanced
Study. To her students, Dr. Smith is known as an expert teacher who
brings incredible range and depth to the subject at hand.  Outside of
the classroom, she attends to student work with an energy and focus that
demonstrates again and again the relationship between rigor and

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, Financial Report,
Prepared by Carol Colatrella, Executive Director, October 14, 2010

Balance on hand 9/30/09: 	Wachovia Bank, Atlanta			37,393.05
				Wachovia CDs			30,000.00
			           	Sovereign Bank, Worcester	  3,390.00  

Income:    Dues & donations: SLSA share from Hopkins UP  	   	 9,502.33 
	     Configurations 2010 dividends	 		             23,650.00     
	     Wachovia Bank Interest on CDs				     36.54
	     SLSA 2010 Conference Donations			 1,500.00
	     Donations: book & essay prizes 		        		    250.00
	            			TOTAL INCOME		34,938.87
	     Gift (Donated payment of MA incorporation fee)                    

Expenses: Conferences—SLSA 2009 speaker gifts/honoraria	    	  	450.00
			    SLSA 2009 travel subsidies		   	3,000.00
			    SLSA 2009 prizes				   750.00
			    SLSA 2009 band & programs & badges		1,958.30
			    SLSA 2009 student workers		   	1,530.00
SLSA 2009 conference balance                       	 3,035.17
    SLSA 2011 Waterloo deposit			2,000.00	
				      Conferences subtotal 	           		 12,723.47

	    Executive Director annual 2009-10 stipend & travel subsidy  	 

	    EU SLSA 2010 subsidy					  1,550.00	

	    Decodings (1 issue)—duplication	                            	   
				       Publications subtotal		     939.73

	    Accountant: tax prep & financial statement	    	   	 400.00

	    Massachusetts tax filing fee				      	   35.00

	    Bank fees & checks						  200.65
	    			TOTAL EXPENSES              	          22,048.85

Balance on hand 9/30/10    Wachovia Bank account, Atlanta	              
			     Wachovia CDs			  30,000.00		
			     Sovereign Bank, Worcester                           3,390.00			
				         TOTAL BALANCE	                 83,901.77  
Literary Point Mutations
Jay Labinger 

The following is intended as a stimulus (if that word isn’t too
politically incorrect) for more serious scholarly investigation of the
overlap of science and literature. In biology a point mutation is the
insertion, deletion or substitution of a single base nucleotide in DNA
or RNA; taking the same actions for a single letter might be the
literary analog.  Can you identify the titles or passages that result
from applying point mutations to well-known literary works?  Answers in
the next Decodings.  (If anyone can come up with additional examples,
please email to jal@its.caltech.edu.)

1.  Cormac McCarthy novel in which Adam, Hoss and Little Joe throw out
all the Johnny Cash and Reba McEntire records on the Ponderosa.
2.  Robert Bolt’s dramatization of the year-round tourist attractions in
a Middle East city. (INSERTION)
3.  Norman Mailer novel about a man discovering his teenaged kids at a
skinny-dipping party. (DELETION)
4.  George Eliot novel on which the pilot for a new TV series “CSI:
Dental” was based. (SUBSTITUTION)
5.  Verdi’s opera about love and laryngitis. (INSERTION)
6.  The best-known musical number in #5. (SUBSTITUTION)
7.  Primo Levi’s collection of vignettes about an intermittently active
horse-training establishment. (INSERTION)
8.  Line from Frost’s poem extolling the benefits of sharing manure
between adjacent farms. (DELETION)
9.  Carlo Levi’s novel explaining why Jesus never finished his degree in
bacteriology. (SUBSTITUTION)
10.  Dickens’ novel depicting the martini drinker’s dilemma.
11.  Proust’s reminiscences of his days in a chicken processing plant.
12.  Chaucer’s account of Roger Bannister’s journey to Canterbury.

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Executive Board, 2010

President: Richard Nash, University of Indiana 
Executive Director: Carol Colatrella, Georgia Institute of Technology
First Vice-President: Laura Otis, Emory University
Second Vice-President: Robert Markley, University of Illinois at
Members-at-Large: John Bruni, Grand Valley State University; Kevin
LaGrandeur, New York Institute of Technology; Melissa Littlefield,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 
Past Presidents:  Alan Rauch, University of North Carolina-Charlotte;
Bruce Clarke, Texas Tech University; Eve Keller, Fordham University; Jay
Labinger, California Institute of Technology; T. Hugh Crawford, Georgia
Tech; Susan Squier, Penn State; Sidney Perkowitz, Emory University;
Stuart Peterfreund, Northeastern University; James J. Bono,
SUNY-Buffalo; N. Katherine Hayles, UCLA; Mark Greenberg, Drexel
University; Lance Schachterle, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Stephen
J. Weininger, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Editors of Configurations: Bruce Clarke, Texas Tech University
Alan Rauch, University of North Carolina-Charlotte (arauch@uncc.edu)
Book Review Editors of Configurations: John Bruni, Grand Valley State
University & (one position open)
Publications Committee (2009-12): Ron Broglio, Rob Mitchell, Elizabeth
Bibliographer: Sue Hagedorn, Virginia Tech (hagedors@vt.edu)
Electronic Resources Coordinator: Wayne Miller, Duke University

The Executive Director can be reached by phone at (404) 894-1241 or by
e-mail at carol.colatrella@lcc.gatech.edu.
Carol Colatrella, Executive Director, SLSA,  Literature, Communication,
and Culture, Georgia Institute of Technology
686 Cherry Street, Atlanta, GA  30332-0165

SLSA websites: http://www.litsciarts.org and http://slsa.press.jhu.edu