Decodings Fall 2012


Newsletter of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts                               

Fall 2012, Vol. 21, No.4 


Thanks to SLSA 2012 conference organizers Nigel Rothfels and Richard Grusin for the wonderful meeting during which approximately 380 SLSA members offered presentations. With the help of Mary Mullen and the generous financial assistance provided by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, including the Center for 21st Century Studies (C21), Office of Undergraduate Research, Department of Art and Design; and Dean of the College of Letters and Science, Nigel and Richard coordinated what many consider to be the best SLSA meeting to date.  Discussions at the Executive Committee meeting resulted in the following announcements to the membership at the annual business lunch meeting: Ron Broglio (Arizona State University) began working as incoming 2nd Vice President and Anne Pollock (Georgia Tech) as incoming member-at-large to serve from fall 2012 through fall 2014.

The executive committee asks for an SLSA member to serve on the Lifetime Achievement Award committee, chaired by past president Hugh Crawford ( and Suzanne Black.

Nominations for a new member at large to run in the next election and to serve 2013-2015 should be sent to the Nominations committee, chaired by past president Richard Nash (; other committee members are Anne Pollock and Linda Henderson.

The new Publications Committee includes Susan Squier, Suzanne Black, and Ronald Schleifer.

Artist members are sought to work with Dennis Summers, recently appointed Arts Liaison to the Executive Committee. Contact Dennis at

The 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to George Lewis Levine, emeritus professor of Rutgers University. For over 50 years, Levine has dedicated his scholarship to understanding the intersections of science and literature and has done more than virtually any other literary scholar to interpret Darwin for modern audiences.  Thanks to the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Committee: Eve Keller (chair), Marcel O’Gorman, and Suzanne Black.
The Schachterle Prize was presented to Kieran Murphy, for his essay “Electromagnetic Thought in Balzac, Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, and Joseph Breuer,” published in SubStance #125 in 2011. Thanks to Schachterle Prize judges Blake Leland and Susan McHugh.  Karalyn Kendall-Morwick won the Bruns Prize for her essay “Dogging the Subject: Samuel Beckett, Emmanuel Levinas, and Posthumanist Ethics.” Thanks to Bruns Prize judge Eugene Thacker. Susan McHugh’s book Animal Stories: Narrating across Species Lines (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) won the Kendrick Book Prize. Helen Burgess offered a moving tribute to Michelle Kendrick, and Robert Markley awarded the prize. Thanks to him and Ronald Schleifer for serving as judges.

Over 40 SLSA graduate student and independent scholar members received travel subsidies to attend the meeting in Milwaukee. 
WRAP-UP DISCUSSION  Organizers were commended for the excellent program, facilities and amenities for the conference. Suggestions for improvement were few but included the following: members should be able designate on the submission website potential conference streams for their paper/panel proposals; the conference program should add an index of participants with email addresses and institutions; a compressed printed program is good, while posting abstracts online; continue to infuse artists’ talks into the program; develop ways to enhance the integration of art exhibits in the meeting; encourage members to spread the word about SLSA to colleagues and help diversify the society’s membership.  SLSA 2013 CALL FOR PAPERS The 27th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) VENUE: The Campus of the University of Notre DameDATES: October 3-6, 2013 PAPER PROPOSAL DUE DATE: April 15, 2013NOTIFICATION OF ACCEPTANCE: June 15, 2013  SLSA 2013 Site Organizer: Laura Dassow Walls, University of Notre Dame (                  Program Chair: Ron Broglio, Arizona State University (

CONFERENCE THEME: POSTNATURAL? What does it mean to come “after” nature? In 2012, Arctic ice melted to the lowest level in human history; with ice everywhere in retreat, island nations are disappearing, species vectors are shifting, tropical diseases are moving north, northern natures-cultures are moving into extinction. Acidification of ocean water already threatens Northwest shellfish farms, while historic wildfires, droughts, floods, and shoreline erosion are the norm. Reality overshoots computer models of global warming even as CO2 emissions escalate. Yet none of this has altered our way of living or our way of thinking: as Fredric Jameson noted, we can imagine the collapse of the planet more easily than the fall of capitalism. What fundamental reorientations of theory—of posthumanity and animality, of agency, actants, and aporias, of bodies, objects, assemblages and networks, of computing and cognition, of media and bioart—are needed to articulate the simple fact that our most mundane and ordinary lives are, even in the span of our own lifetimes, unsustainable? If we have never been natural, are we now, at last, ecological? Proposals and papers on the theme or on any other SLSA-related topic are welcome. Proposed topics may take up any work in literature and science, history of science, philosophy of science, science and art, or science studies. “Postnatural” has been chosen as a theme to organize ongoing conference threads and to invite a range of proposals from various dimensions of ecocriticism and environmental literature and history. Presentation proposals will be accepted through the SLSA website, beginning in February, 2013. Individual proposals consist of a 250-word abstract with title. Pre-organized panels for consideration can contain an additional summary paragraph along with proposed session title.  SLSA MEMBERSHIP: Participants in the 2013 conference must be 2013 members of the Society for Literature Science and the Arts. For more information about SLSA, please visit the organization website at 

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 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 for $200 at the conference business meeting.

The 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 the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. Graduate students wishing to have their essays considered for the $500 prize should submit them by August 1 to N. Katherine Hayles, Department of English, Duke University, via electronic mail to 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.

The 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 SLSA’s Executive Director, Carol Colatrella, LMC, Georgia Institute of Technology via electronic mail to 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.

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize
SLSA holds an annual 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. The prize will be announced at the annual SLSA conference. 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 be considered for this year’s Kendrick Prize, please send three copies of your book 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: all of the awards described above are 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 spring 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 members will nominate candidates and should collaborate on reviewing nominations from the membership to select a recipient of the award or to decide not to make an award for that year. The Lifetime Achievement award will be presented at the business meeting of the annual meeting.

Society of Literature, Science and the Arts Europe

Exhibition Road Cultural Group

Supersonix Conference

Exhibition Road

London SW7

21-23 June 2012    

The Supersonix conference presented new theoretical, scientific and artistic thinking, works and experiments that explore the complexity of sound, thinking about sound, and capturing sound. A partnership between Exhibition Road Cultural Group and SLSA EU, the conference brought together practitioners from the arts, curatorial studies, the sciences, humanities and social sciences who are interested in an interdisciplinary approach to the study of sound and sonification.

About Society for Literature, Science and the Arts – EU

The European Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSAeu) fosters inter- and trans-disciplinary exchange between the arts, sciences, medicine and technology. The Society welcomes practitioners from the arts, including curatorial studies, sciences, the humanities and social sciences. SLSAeu has grown out of the US SLSA, which has staged a biennial international conference since 2000 in major European cities.

SLSA CONTRIBUTORS TO BIBLIOGRAPHY NEEDED: Bibliographers Sue Hagedorn and Jennifer Rhee ask for additional contributors. Contact Jenni Rhee at




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Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Executive Board (2012-2013)


President: Laura Otis, Emory University

Executive Director: Carol Colatrella, Georgia Institute of Technology

First Vice-President: Robert Markley, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Second Vice-President: Ron Broglio, Arizona State University

Members-at-Large: Suzanne Black, State University of New York at Oneonta (2011-2013); Anne Pollock, Georgia Institute of Technology (2012-2014).

Past Presidents: Richard Nash, Indiana University; 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, Duke University; Mark Greenberg, Drexel University; Lance Schachterle, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Stephen J. Weininger, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Configurations Interim Editors: Robert Markley, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Ronald Schleifer, University of Oklahoma; as of January 1, 2013: Melissa Littlefied, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rajani Susan, Southern Methodist University

Configurations Book Review Editors: John Bruni, Grand Valley State University; Jodie Nicotra, University of Idaho; Allison DuShane, University of Arizona

Publications Committee: Susan Squier, Penn State University; Ronald Schleifer, University of Oklahoma; Suzanne Black, SUNY Oneonta

Bibliographers: Sue Hagedorn, Virginia Polytechnic and State University (; Jennifer Rhee, Virginia Commonwealth University (

Electronic Resources Coordinator: Wayne Miller, Duke University (

Arts Liaison: Dennis Summers (


The Executive Director can be reached by phone at (404) 894-1241 or by e-mail at

Carol Colatrella, Executive Director, SLSA, School of Literature, Media, and Communication, Georgia Institute of Technology, 686 Cherry Street, Atlanta, GA  30332-0165


SLSA websites: and




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