Decodings Winter 2015


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

Winter 2015, Vol. 24, No.1

*SLSA 2015, Houston

*SLSA 2016 Dues Increase

*Travel Awards, Essay Prizes, Book Prize

*Lifetime Achievement Award

*Updating SLSA Website—Content Welcome

*European Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts

*SLSA 2015 Election Notice & Candidate Statements

*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. The deadline for papers and proposals for sessions is April 1, 2015. 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 Europe will hold its next meeting in Malta, June 15-18, 2015. Ivan Callus is the coordinator, and the theme of the conference is SCALE. See the website of the 2015 European SLSA conference at<>     Submission deadline: 27 February 2015.

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.

SLSA 2016, to be held in Atlanta, November 3-6, 2016, will be a joint meeting with the History of Science Society and the Philosophy of Science Association, and will be coordinated by Carol Colatrella (Georgia Tech) and Laura Otis (Emory). 


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 an income and/or 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 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. Once funding to support these supplemental travel awards for graduate students, artists, and recent Ph.Ds, is assured, the URL for the online form along with guidelines and directions for applying 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 content for the website to Wayne Miller at Wayne is working with Dennis Summers, Jim Housefield, Rebecca Perry, and professional designers updating the website in the coming months. Syllabi and other material are welcome.


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:


To receive publications of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA), including Configurations and Deceodings, and to participate in the society’s next annual conference, SLSA 2015 “After Biopolitics,” which will be held in Houston, November 12-15, 2015, and sponsored by the Center for Critical and Cultural Theory at Rice University, you must be a 2015 member of the society. Here’s another inducement to join/renew membership: SLSA will hold its annual elections in February; this year’s slate includes candidates seeking to become the next member-at-large and graduate student liaison.

ONLY 2015 members of SLSA will be invited to vote online. Exercise your right to vote and become a 2015 member! To join/renew membership, 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.


CANDIDATE STATEMENTS FOR MEMBER-AT-LARGE to serve fall 2015 to fall 2017
(replacing James Housefield and Jenell Johnson)

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.

Rebekah Sheldon, Assistant Professor of English, Indiana University-Bloomington

My work uses transdisciplinary methods and objects of inquiry to get at the aesthetic, theoretical, and cultural consequences of the Anthropocene and its amplification of nature’s vibrant matters. To this end, I read, write, and teach in the fields of feminist science studies and new materialism, queer theories of childhood, and slipstream fictions. Given these interests, it is not at all surprising that I have found my intellectual home at SLSA. I have attended every conference since 2009 and in the process it has become an important part of my life. It was also an important site of refuge for me in the years between when my PhD was awarded in 2010 and my first full time position, which I just began this year. Those four years were difficult but the friendships I made at SLSA supported me emotionally and professionally. Now that I have a tenure-track position, I would like to pay that support forward.

Andrew Pilsch, Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication, Arizona State University

I work at the intersection of rhetorical theory, digital humanities, and science studies, though I have always considered science studies my first love. My work specifically responds to evolutionary impacts of communication technologies on humanity, however broadly conceived. While elements of this cluster are served by other societies, SLSA is the place where all of my interests are able to circulate and grow. I am honored to have been nominated for the position of member-at-large and would be honored to serve an organization that I consider my intellectual home. My first SLSA in 2007 as a second-year master’s student was the first time I received feedback on ideas beyond strange looks from my colleagues. The organization and its strong sense of intellectual community for scholars and practitioners within a motley array of disciplines has helped me to better articulate myself as a scholar with a sense of disciplinary place, help that I look forward to repaying as member-at-large. Specifically, given my work in both rhetoric and the digital humanities, I would strive to strengthen extant relationships between these two fields and our organization in order to further contribute to the diversity of our vibrant intellectual community, Additionally,I would be excited to enhance the organization’s profile on social media.

CANDIDATE STATEMENTS for Graduate Student Liaison (replacing Nicole Keller Day)

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

Sara DiCaglio, PhD Candidate, English and Women’s Studies, Penn State University
I am a PhD candidate in English and Women’s Studies at Penn State University. My dissertation focuses on the cultural understandings of the developmental trajectories of embryos and placentas, re-examining ideas about early pregnancy’s development through literature, science, and the arts. I have been attending the annual conference since 2012 and have found SLSA to be an incredibly supportive environment for graduate student development. I would be very interested in adding to this community by providing more avenues for graduate student interaction and feedback. As a Graduate Student Liaison, I would like to work to develop more opportunities for graduate students to meet and develop networks with one another at and outside of the conference. This year’s graduate student dinner represented a useful opportunity for such interaction, and I’d like to continue to develop events similar to this one, as well as events similar to the themed lunches held at the 2012 SLSA. Additionally, I would like to build more opportunities for collaboration between graduate students, such as a listserv for graduate student SLSA members, and between all SLSA members regardless of academic rank, such as a repository for SLSA related syllabi and other resources. I would welcome suggestions from graduate students about SLSA, and would work to bring this feedback to the attention of the executive committee. SLSA has provided an institutional home outside of my university, and I hope to be able to contribute to the warm, lively, and generous environment I have found it to be.

Lorenzo Servitje, Ph.D. Candidate, English, University of California, Riverside
I am a fourth year PhD student in English at the University of California, Riverside. I have attended SLSA for the past two years: this past year giving a paper and the previous year as an invited participant on a book review panel. I feel that my research interests and professional service experience make me an ideal candidate for graduate student liaison. My dissertation, “Medicine is War,” considers the questions of subjectivity, sovereignty, and biopolitics that emerge from the figurative and material intersections of medicine and war in Victorian literature and culture. I have an article forthcoming in the Journal of Medical Humanities and one in the final stages of review in Science Fiction Studies, two journals were I have also reviewed monographs. I also research contemporary biomedical discourse. Currently, I am co-editing a volume on zombies and medicine that is under contract with Penn State Press and another volume on contagion theory under contract with Palgrave. I have held a number of service positions. I am on the editorial board of the Journal of Medical Humanities and am a reader for Literature and Medicine. Within my department, I have served as a President of the Graduate Students in English Association, and the year before as a representative. Conference organization is another area that I have recent experience with: helping organize our graduate student conference (dis)junctions (2013) as chair of the fundraising committee, and currently, I am associate organizer for the 2015 Global Nineteenth Century Conference and the Graphic Medicine Conference.

Stephanie Peebles Tavera, PhD Candidate, Writing Center Social Media Consultant, and Enhanced Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Texas at Arlington
In furthering my career and scholarship, I desire serving as the Graduate Student Liaison for SLSA since it would provide closer contact with other recognized scholars in my field of study in environmental literature, ecological utopias, and science studies.  It would also provide opportunities for professional engagement including executive board meetings and conference organization as I prepare for the national job market.  Finally, it would offer a good means of involving me in SLSA and in a position of professional service, which is a required expectation in academia. As Graduate Student Liaison, I would bring my current experience as Social Media Consultant for the UTA Writing Center.  In this position, I create promotional materials and support outreach through public speaking and promotional events including classroom visits, workshops, orientations, and event presentations.  In addition, I manage the Writing Center website, Facebook page, and Twitter page, and I have been instrumental in rebranding and redesigning the website.  Such creative and organizational skills, as well as my public speaking skills and online presence, would benefit SLSA in further promoting the society and connecting with others in the academic community both in person and online.  Since I am an active emerging scholar and attend conferences regularly, I would promote SLSA in my attendance at other conferences as well as on my own campus community, which would benefit from two strong, active SLSA members, myself and my doctoral committee member, Dr. Stacy Alaimo.

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

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 (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