Decodings Winter 2013


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

Winter 2013, Vol. 22, No.1

*SLSA 2013 at the University of Notre Dame

*Travel Awards, Essay Prizes, Book Prize
*Candidate Statements for Member-at-large AND Information about Electronic Voting
*New Membership Category


The 27th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts

Location Notre Dame, Indiana. Venue University of Notre Dame. Dates October 3–6, 2013.

Site Coordinator:  Laura Dassow Walls, Department of English, University of Notre Dame.

Program Chair:  Ron Broglio, Department of English, Arizona State University.

Paper Proposal Due Date May 1, 2013. Notification of Acceptance June 15, 2013.

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 .

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?

Topics and Questions include:

Resilience Theory and Panarchy                                                                      Symbiosis after Margulis

Geological Time: Pliocene, Holocene, Anthropocene                                       Ecologies of Mind

Literature, Theology & the New Ecology                                                                       Simulated Ecosystems

Animality, Vegetality, & Somatic Natures                                                                      Cosmopolitical Projects

Environmental Gaming & Gaming Environments                                                           Imagined Eco-Futures

Feminist & Diffractive Materialisms                                                                    Beyond Gaia

the Language of Engineering, Control, Hacking and Techno-fixes                               Ecoterrorism and Nature Noir

Waste Lands: Stains, Toxins, Dumps, Refuse, Pollutions                                             Globality vs. Planetarity

Nature, Post-Nature, and the Politics of Ecology

Unsustainability: in biological terms, can we “stain” to make the “unsustainable” visible?


Plenary Speakers include Timothy Morton and Subhankar Banerjee


Please Note: Like all SLSA conferences, this is an open conference where a wide range of work will be 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 invite a range of proposals from various dimensions of ecocriticism and environmental literature and history. For panel contributions, submit a 250-word abstract with title. Pre-organized panels for consideration may include an additional summary paragraph along with proposed session title. Roundtable and alternative format panels are encouraged. Submit all proposals and register for the conference at, starting in February 2013.


Submissions: For panel contributions, submit a 250-word abstract with title. Pre-organized panels for consideration may include an additional summary paragraph along with proposed session title. Roundtable and alternative format panels are encouraged. Submit all proposals and register for the conference at starting in February 2013.

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 each spring appoints 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. This year’s Lifetime Achievement award committee will be chaired by Hugh Crawford ( and includes Suzanne Black and Susan Squier.



Jim Housefield, Assistant Professor in the Department of Design at University of California at Davis

I have benefited immensely from the collegial and engaged exchanges that mark the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts since 1999. My current book project, on Marcel Duchamp’s engagement with astronomy and geography, was inspired by dialogues begun through the SLSA. I bring to the SLSA a broad background in the history of art and design that emphasizes Anglophone and Francophone cultures. Because of my experience as a curator I am especially interested in continuing the dialogues among practitioners (of art, design, and science), critics, theorists, and historians. As Member at Large for the SLSA I would seek to give back to this group that has given so much to me, and to be a voice in favor of continuing the atmosphere of open exchange that our organization has fostered so well.

Jenell Johnson, Assistant Professor of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

I teach courses in the rhetoric of science and medicine, posthumanism, and disability studies. I am also the director of the Disability Studies Initiative, a faculty affiliate in the Holtz Center for Science & Technology Studies, and an honorary associate fellow in the Department of Life Sciences Communication. Most of my work has to do with brains: I research neuroscience, psychiatry, and cognitive disability. My first SLSA meeting was in 2005 as a graduate student, and for a scholar who has straddled the sciences and humanities since my undergraduate days, I must say that it was the first time I’ve ever felt truly at home at an academic conference, a sentiment I’m sure is shared by many. There’s something special about SLSA: a motley crew of innovative scholars doing boundary-breaking, creative, and just simply cool work. If elected as member-at-large, I would try to stimulate continued interactions between the Association and those in the sciences, extend outreach to scholars in related fields (like disability studies, medical humanities, rhetorical studies, and the history of science and medicine) in order to encourage our membership to grow in numbers as well as the epistemological and methodological diversity that has characterized SLSA since its inception. Along these lines, I would like to encourage more opportunities for interaction between new and more established scholars at SLSA in order to help strengthen scholarly connections into professional relationships. I was delighted to be nominated for the position of Member-at-Large, and would be honored by the opportunity to give back to an organization that has given so much to all of us.

NOTE ON ELECTRONIC VOTING: Each current SLSA member should have received an email with a link to the ballot, which can be completed online or sent to Carol Colatrella via post. Only 2013 members are invited to vote. Voting must be completed by February 28, 2013.

Beginning in 2013, the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts establishes an additional category of membership for individuals. You can become a Lifetime Member for $1,500. The site for membership renewals/subscriptions is


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. See


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




To join or to renew membership, please see, or call Johns Hopkins University Press Journals at 800 548 1784 (US & Canada only, all others call 410 516 6987). Monday-Friday 8-am-5pm FAX 410 516 6968. Email:






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 Editors: as of January 1, 2013: Melissa Littlefied, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rajani Susan, Southern Methodist University

Configurations Email address:

Configurations Book Review Editor: 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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