Decodings Fall 2014


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

Fall 2014, Vol. 23, No.4

*Upcoming SLSA Conferences

*Report: SLSA 2014 in Dallas: “Fluid”

*SLSA 2014 Executive and Business Meetings: 2016 Dues Increase

*Nominations Committee Seeks Candidates—Deadline February 1, 2015

*Travel Awards, Essay Prizes, Book Prize

*Lifetime Achievement Award

*Updating SLSA Website—Content Welcome

*SLSA Bibliography—Contributors Needed


SLSA 2015 “After Biopolitics” will be held in Houston, November 12-15, 2015, and sponsored by Rice University. Cary Wolfe, Director of 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory at Rice, Thien Le, Center and Events Coordinator, 3CT, and Maria Whiteman, Independent Scholar and Artist, will organize the program and the site arrangements. A Call for Papers with more details and a deadline for proposals will be mailed with the printed newsletter and posted on the SLSA listserv and website. The SLSA 2015 conference website URL is

Remember: You must be a current (2015) member of SLSA to present at the Houston SLSA conference. Membership information is available on the conference website. If you are renewing and don’t know your SLSA Membership number, you can find it on the mailing labels for Decodings and Configurations, or by going to:

SLSA 2016, to be held in Atlanta, November 3-6, 2016, will be a joint meeting with History of Science Society and other science societies, and will be coordinated by Carol Colatrella and Laura Otis.

SLSA Inaugural Rest of the World Conference will take place in Perth, October 1-3, 2015. Its theme is “Non-Western Approaches to Life.” Oron Catts, SymbioticA, will coordinate the meeting, the first SLSA to be staged outside of Europe or the United States. 2015 represents the 20th anniversary of the public outing of regenerative biology. The call for paper opens November 1, 2014, and the deadline for proposals to be submitted via the SLSA website at or will be March 21, 2015.
SLSAeu will hold its next meeting in Malta, June 15-18, 2015. Ivan Callus is the coordinator. Manuela Rossini, Executive Director of SLSAeu, anticipates coordinating SLSAeu in 2016 or 2017.

REPORT: The 2014 SLSA conference FLUID was sponsored by Southern Methodist University with support from the University of Texas-Dallas, in Dallas, Texas, at the Sheraton Dallas hotel, October 9-12, 2014. The program for the meeting and other details are at Thanks are due site organizers Rajani Sudan and Harley Goldsmith of Southern Methodist University and program chair Robert Markley and program committee member Pamela Gossin, University of Texas-Dallas, for their hard work in organizing the annual meeting. Plenary speakers were Karen Barad, Professor, Feminist Studies, Philosophy, and History of Consciousness Departments, and Robert Markley,W. D. and Sara E. Trowbridge Professor of English, Writing Studies, and Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, University of Illinois.


Laura Otis was thanked for her work as president at the business meeting, and Robert Markley was welcomed as the new president. Marcel O’Gorman, University of Waterloo, began serving as the incoming second vice-president and Rebecca Perry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as the incoming member-at-large. Marcel will serve consecutive two-year terms as second vice-president, first vice-president, and president, while Rebecca will serve a two-year term (2014-16).

Carol Colatrella presented the 2013-14 financial report; she noted the society’s positive bank balance, which owes to Notre Dame’s generous sponsorship of the 2013 SLSA meeting and a high dividend earned by Configurations.

Bob Markley presented a short report for the Publications committee (members: Susan Squier, Ron Schleifer, Bob Markley, Anne Pollock) that indicated the search for a publisher to support an SLSA book series continues.

Laura Otis volunteered to serve as chair of the Nominations Committee; Jenell Johnson and Kari Nixon

will assist her in reviewing nominations for member-at-large, graduate student liaison, and members of the Publications Committee (see notice below).

The new Lifetime Achievement Award committee consists of Susan Squier (chair), Richard Nash, and Suzanne Black. Please send nomination and support letters for candidates to all members. Email addresses are: Susan (, Richard (, and Suzanne (

Bibliographer Jenni Rhee was not able to attend SLSA2014 but emailed a report noting that bibliographies for various years are in progress, coordinated by her and former bibliographer Sue Hagedorn. All SLSA members should send Jenni ( citations for their own and/or others’ publications.

Electronic Resources Coordinator Wayne Miller is working with professional designers on reconfiguring and updating the SLSA website. Dennis Summers, Jim Housefield, and Rebecca Perry will also advise on the design of the new site. Wayne continues to collect syllabi in science, literature, and the arts that may be included on the society’s site; send him your relevant syllabi.

Graduate student liaisons Kari Nixon ( and Nicole Keller Day ( welcome suggestions about initiatives to support graduate student members. At the recent Dallas meeting, they coordinated a Saturday buy-your-own dinner at a restaurant near the Dallas conference for interested attendees. Nicole and Kari are the first graduate student liaisons to be appointed to the Executive Committee of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA). As liaisons, Nicole and Kari will assist with society initiatives and will participate in meetings and online discussions held by the Executive Committee. Nicole has been appointed to serve a one-year term (2014-2015), and Kari a two-year term (2014-2016). Their terms will continue through the Executive Committee meeting in their final year of service.


The Bruns Prize for the Best Essay by a Graduate Student Member was presented to Julian Gill-Peterson for his essay “The Technical Capabilities of the Body: Assembling Race, Technology, and Transgender.” In presenting the award, judge Stephanie Boluk praised the essay, which “uses the philosophy of Bernard Stiegler, Gilbert Simondon, Jacques Derrida, and Gilles Deleuze to examine the relationship among technology, race, and transgender from a common conceptual ground, rather than as separate strands of thought. Gill-Peterson enacts this approach through analysis of the hormone molecule,” which “since the earliest days of endocrinology, has been the site for definining discourse around sex and gender.”

The Schachterle Prize for the Best Essay by an untenured SLSA member, judged by Susan McHugh and Blake Leland, was awarded to Inge Hinterwaldner  for her essay “Parallel Lines as Tools for Making Turbulence Visible,” published in Representations (124: 1-42), which builds on “actor-network theory and the history of photographic and cinematic technologies.“ The judges commended the essay as “an elegant, smart, and meaningful contribution to scholarship in science and technology studies that examines the use of experimental visualization to model turbulence in air and water around 1900” and that “discusses how two physicists—Etienne-Jules Marey and Friedrich Ahlborn—contrived to make visible, to measure, and to record these phenomena.”

The 2014 Kendrick Prize for Best Book was presented to Robert Mitchell’s Experimental Life: Vitalism in Romantic Science and Literature (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), which “draws on approaches and ideas from contemporary science studies, proposing the concept of experimental vitalism to show both how Romantic authors appropriated the concept of experimentation from the sciences and the impact of their appropriation on post-Romantic concepts of literature and art.” Bob Markley and Laura Dassow Walls, judges for the book prize, also awarded an honorable mention to Douglas Kahn for his book Earth Sound, Earth Signal (University of California Press, 2013).

The 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Linda Dalrymple Henderson. The award committee consisted of Hugh Crawford (chair), Suzanne Black, and Susan Squier. Here is part of the commendation drawn from the nominations for the award: “A long-time member of SLSA, Linda Henderson is a model of interdisciplinary enquiry and academic generosity. Her work has helped to redefine the ways in which scholars now understand the development of modern and contemporary art, particularly its relationship to science and mathematics. Hers is an intellectual history of art that, through careful observation of works of art and scrupulous consultation of archival materials, documents how artists have engaged with science and technology. In addition to numerous articles and essays, she is author of The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art (1983; enlarged ed., 2013), Duchamp in Context: Science and Technology in the Large Glass and Related Works (1998), and Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York (2008). With fellow SLSA member Bruce Clarke, she co-edited the anthology From Energy to Information: Representation in Science and Technology, Art, and Literature (2002). Among her many awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Senior Fellowship at the International Research Institute for Cultural Technologies and Media Philosophy (IKKM) at the Bauhaus University, Weimar, and a Berlin Prize fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin. One of her nominators, commenting on her Fourth Dimension book, said, ‘It is rare to find a work that accomplishes what Henderson has achieved so notably in this book; by looking closely at the historical record, she restores significant aspects of the intellectual and artistic climate in which much modern art was first seen. Henderson demonstrates how pre-Einsteinian notions of a spatial fourth dimension (not to be confused with time as the fourth dimension), were central to the ways modern art was conceived and discussed. This context linked science and occultism in ways that fascinated diverse creators, including pioneers of abstract art.’ That book was named a ‘Choice Outstanding Academic Title’ for 2013.”

The following individuals received $200 travel subsidies from SLSA in 2014: Amanda Horowitz, Sofia Varino, Johanna Gosse, Rochelle Gold, Melanie Jue, Carlos Gamez Perez, Daniel Vandersommers, Josef Nguyen, Xan Chacko, Pelin Kumbet, Derek Woods, Sara Dicaglio, Joshua Dicaglio, Cordelia Sand, Julian Gill-Peterson, Evan Buswell, Tyler Easterbrook, Kate Dempsey Martineau, Derek Curry, Adam Haley, Hannes Bend, Adam Web-Orenstein, Hanna Biggs, Helena Feder, Ksenia Fedorova, Patrick Lemieux, Kris Melchosky.

2014 SLSA NSF travel awards of varying amounts ($200-400), depending on status and transportation costs incurred, will be sent to the following individuals, pending documentation:

Patrick Lemieux, Rochelle Gold, Sharon Wilcox, Kate Martineau, Carlos Gamez Perez, Amanda Horowitz, Tyler Easterbrook, Cordelia Sanda, Evan Buswell, Xan Chacko, Adam Haley, Hannes Bend, Jennifer Gradecki, Josef Nguyen, Derek Curry, Pelin Kumbet, Ksenia Fedorova, Adam Webb-Orenstein.


At SLSA 2014 in Dallas, a proposal to increase dues by a modest amount passed with only one nay vote and no abstentions, with approximately 170 members present voting aye: beginning in 2016, SLSA will charge regular faculty members $55 per year, students will be charged $29, and those with income/pension under $20,000 will be charged $33. The dues increase will accrue to the society and will generate approximately $5,000 more annually to support conference expenses and travel subsidies for students, artists, and others with limited incomes.


SLSA is seeking nominees for Member-at-Large (an elected position) and Graduate Student Liaisons (appointed positions) to serve two-year terms from 2015-2017. You are welcome to nominate yourself or another member of SLSA who is willing to serve. SLSA is also seeking members willing to consider being appointed by the Executive Committee to serve as members of the Publications Committee. Send nominations, including a short paragraph of why you would like to serve in the particular position and what you could offer SLSA) to Nomination Committee chair Laura Otis ( and members Kari Nixon ( and Jenell Johnson ( Candidates for the Publications Committee should also send cv’s. Here is the Nomination Committee’s description of each position:

An SLSA Member-at-Large serves as a voting member of the SLSA Executive Board. The position requires attending the annual board meeting from 7-9 AM on the Friday of each annual SLSA conference (free food is involved). Members-at-Large also participate in online discussions of major issues that arise about the overall direction of the society. If you are interested in contributing to SLSA’s development, serving as Member-at-Large is a good way to get involved.

Graduate Student Liaisons assist with society initiatives, particularly with the annual conference, and participate in executive meetings and online discussions with the Executive Board.

Members of the Publication Committee will serve two- or three-year terms as appointed by the Executive Committee and will attend the annual executive and business meetings as ex officio members of the executive. Publication Committee members provide oversight for the society’s book series and journal Configurations.


SLSA Travel Awards: Members of SLSA who present at the annual conference may apply for travel subventions to the 2015 meeting. 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, 2015. 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.

Applications for SLSA NSF Travel Awards will also be due August 1, 2015. If the awards will again be funded, the URL for the online form along with directions will be posted at least four months before the 2015 conference. Each applicant will be notified in early September 2015 about decisions.

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.

The 2015 Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize will be awarded to the best academic book on literature, science, and the arts published by an SLSA member. The prize will be announced at the 2015 SLSA conference. Established in fall 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 or ask your publisher to 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) can be sent to: Carol Colatrella, SLSA Executive Director, LMC, 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 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 Award 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. Send nominations for the Lifetime Achievement to committee chair Susan Squier ( and members Suzanne Black ( and Richard Nash (

UPDATED SLSA WEBSITE–Electronic Resources Coordinator:  Send suggestions for additional content for the website to Wayne Miller at Wayne will be working with Dennis Summers, Jim Housefield, Rebecca Perry, and professional designers updating the website in the coming months. Syllabi and other material are welcome.

SLSA CONTRIBUTORS TO BIBLIOGRAPHY NEEDED: Bibliographer Jennifer Rhee is recruiting additional contributors to the annual bibliography. Contact Jenni Rhee at


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, humanities, and social sciences. SLSAeu has grown out of the US SLSA and has since 2000 sponsored international conferences (now annual) in major European cities Contact information: Dr. Manuela Rossini, SLSA Europe, c/o Department of English, University of Basel, Nadelberg 6, CH-4051 Basel, Switzerland OR email:

REPORT ON THE 2014 MEETING OF THE EUROPEAN SOCIETY FOR LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND THE ARTS, from Cristina Iuli, the Chair of the local Organizing Committee for the 8th SLSA-EU Conference, “Life, in Theory.” This meeting took place June 3-6, 2014, in Turin, Italy. Plenary speakers were Claire Colebrook, Roberto Esposito, Giuseppe Testa, Paolo Vineis, and Cary Wolfe, leading scholars in political philosophy, critical theory, epidemiology, stem cell genetics, media theory, and literary and culture studies. Round tables and parallel streams provided ample occasions for exchange and discussion across science, literature, and the arts. Round table invitees and stream convenors were Yves Abrioux, Monika Bakke, Ivan Callus, Timothy Campbell, Bruce Clarke, Sandra D’Alfonso, Umberto Dianzani, Marc Hansen, Jens Hauser, Stefan Herbrechter, Erich Hörl, Cristina Iuli, Najeeb Jan, Gregg Lambert, Maurizio Mori, Mario Pirisi, Manuela Rossini, Dorion Sagan, Davide Tarizzo, Stefania Sini, and Louise Whiteley.
RENEWING MEMBERSHIP IN SLSA: 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). Mon-Fri 8-am-5pm FAX 410 516 6968. Email:

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

To subscribe, send a plain-text email message to with the following in the body of the message:  subscribe LITSCI-L

The list archive and additional subscription information, including how to receive the digest format, are available at:  


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Executive Board (2014-2015)

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

Executive Director: Carol Colatrella, Georgia Institute of Technology

First Vice-President: Ron Broglio, Arizona State University

Second Vice-President: Marcel O’Gorman, University of Waterloo

Members-at-Large: James Housefield, University of California-Davis, Jenell Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2013-2015); Rebecca Perry, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History & New School for Architecture and Design (2014-2016)

Graduate Student Liaisons: Nicole Keller Day, Northeastern University (; Kari Nixon, Southern Methodist University (

Past Presidents: Laura Otis, Emory University; 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: Melissa Littlefield, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rajani Sudan, 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; Robert Markley, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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

Electronic Resources Coordinator: Wayne Miller, Duke University (

Arts Liaisons: Dennis Summers (; Kiki Benzon (

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