SLSA 2018: Out of Mind — 15-18 November, Toronto, Canada

Proposals can now be submitted here:

Plenary Speakers: Jack Halberstam and Skawennati

“It may well be wondered what kind of operation this will be, to produce the concept of something we cannot imagine.” — Frederic Jameson, “Cognitive Mapping”

“If there is always a mental dimension to the neuronal and a neuronal dimension to the mental, then we must suppose that this continuity is in some way itself neuronal and mental, biological and cultural.” — Catherine Malabou, What Should We Do With Our Brain?

We’re all out of our minds, in more ways than one.  Some things we consciously put out of mind in order to think, while others gain their potency precisely from having always been outside of mind ‘proper.’ Madness, post- and pre-neuroscience, precognition, superstition, stupidity (bêtise), and bureaucracy all obtain on the question of our minds and their relation to thinking. Moreover, much recent Humanities scholarship has questioned the extent to which these minds were properly ours to begin with. In our present moment, the parts of our actions that exceed our conscious decision-making are heightened by the premediating effects of affective, hyperobjective, aesthetic, and algorithmic logics that are fundamentally alien to human cognition, even while they directly impact how we think and act in our daily lives. If the 2017 SLSA meeting indexed the fact that “anthropos is constituted by temporalities that are in excess of it,” our 2018 gathering will double down on this position to ask after the conditions, preclusions, and exclusions that make it thinkable in the first place.


And really, what does ‘thinkability’ even mean today, when so many of our experiences—political and otherwise—seem unthinkable? Importantly, the questions raised by the various profiles of “the nonhuman turn” have moved beyond the simple (but crucial) critical decentering of the self-possessed human individual to open onto the ways that cognition’s distributions are also aggregations, often advancing political and corporate agendas that are as devastating as they are headless. Put simply, all of this brings to mind a vexing problem: on one hand we know better than ever that we need to let go of the hubris of individual understanding in order to learn to think collectively and in deep temporalities, while on the other hand what is needed more than ever is mindfulness and rationality in the face of proliferating global crises. That is, (n)eurocentrism abounds; what’s to be done about it?



Proposals can now be submitted here:

For individual papers, contributors should submit a 250-word abstract along with title and affiliation. Pre-organized panels submissions, which might include three or four papers per panel, should include an additional paragraph describing the rubric and proposed title of the panel. Roundtables, creative contributions, alternative format panels, and the like are encouraged. As usual, we request that you limit yourselves whenever possible to ONE proposal so that we are able to include as many participants as possible (exceptions will be made for those submitting to more than one format, e.g. panel, roundtable, exhibition, workshop).


Paper/Panel Proposal Due Date: March 1 2018  Deadline extended to 3 April, with notification of acceptance by June, 2018. NB: artists who are interested in showing their work are strongly encouraged to contact the organizers via email ( as soon as possible, as the revised deadline does not apply to works in the exhibition. Note too that the exhibition space is limited, but we will do our best to accommodate a diverse range of projects. 

SLSA Membership: Participants in the 2018 Conference must be 2018 members of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. For more information about joining SLSA, visit the organization’s website at

Site co-ordinators: David Cecchetto (York University) and Marcel O’Gorman (University of Waterloo)