Decodings Fall 2015

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter

Fall 2015, Vol. 24, No.4

*Reports from SLSA 2015, Houston and SLSA ROTW
*Upcoming Conferences: SLSA 2016 with HSS & PSA, Atlanta
*Call for nominations for 2nd VP and Member-at-large
*SLSA 2016 Dues Increase
*Travel Awards, Essay Prizes, Book Prize
*Lifetime Achievement Award
*AnthropoScene: New SLSA Book Series
*SLSA Website: Contributions welcome
*SLSA Bibliography: Contributors Needed
*European Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts announcements


SLSA 2015 “After Biopolitics” was held in Houston, November 12-15, 2015, at Rice University. Cary Wolfe, Director of 3CT, Thien Le, Center and Events Coordinator, 3CT, and Maria Whiteman, Independent Scholar and Artist, organized the program and the site arrangements. More than 400 participants enjoyed a record number of fine panels and plenaries in excellent facilities on and near the Rice campus, particularly the BioScience Research Collaborative. Sponsors included Rice’s Department of English and the Center for Critical and Cultural Theory (3CT).

SLSA Inaugural Rest of the World Conference was held in Perth, October 1-3, 2015. Its theme was “Non- Western Approaches to Life.” Oron Catts, SymbioticA, coordinated the meeting, the first SLSA to be staged outside of Europe or the United States.


SLSA 2016 will be held in Atlanta, November 3-6, 2016; it will be a joint meeting with the History of Science Society and the Philosophy of Science Association. The conference will take place at the downtown Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. The site organizer is Carol Colatrella (Georgia Tech) and the program organizer is Laura Otis (Emory University). Kiki Benson (USC) will coordinate the development of art exhibits and panels. The SLSA 2016 theme will be “Creativity,” and papers/panels on all SLSA-related topics are welcome. A CFP is posted on the SLSA website. The conference page and the call for papers are at

Remember: You must be a current (2016) member of SLSA to present at the Atlanta 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 Configurations, or by going to


President Bob Markley announced Andrew Pilsch and Rebekah Sheldon were elected as members-at-large to the Executive Committee, replacing James Housefield and Jenell Johnson. Markley also reported on continued planning to create an endowment. He noted that the 2014 and 2015 Kendrick Prizes will be awarded at the 2016 SLSA conference and that the new SLSA book series “AnthropoScene” has considered some manuscripts and will soon begin to issue contracts (see below for announcement).

Conference organizer Cary Wolfe indicated approximately 425 participants were listed in the program. The executive committee thanked Wolfe for his fine work in putting together an exciting meeting. He commended the many student volunteers and his fellow organizers and acknowledged the extensive support provided by Rice.

Executive Director Carol Colatrella shared the annual financial report and statistics of membership; approximately 500 individuals are 2015 members.



Colatrella also presented Electronic Resources Coordinator Wayne Miller’s report; he thanked Dennis Summers, Jim Housefield, and Rebecca Perry for helping with the newly configured SLSA website. Miller plans to update the SLSA conference proposal submission site. He noted there are now more than 1200 subscribers to the SLSA listserv and calls on members to send contributions of syllabi as well as announcements of books and other activities; his email is

Bibliographer Jennifer Rhee reported on the years of the SLSA bibliography in progress: Shruti Desai is developing 2103, Sue Hagedorn 2005, Erin Labbie 2007, and Jenny 2012. Jenny asks members interested in volunteering to serve as bibliographers to contact her:

Configurations editors Melissa Littlefield and Rajani Sudani introduced Jeff Karnicky at Drake University as the new book review editor for Configurations. Presses should send books on SLSA-related topics for review to Jeffrey Karnicky, Department of English, 2505 University Avenue, Drake University, DesMoines, IA 50311. Members interested in reviewing books for the journal should contact Jeff and indicate their disciplinary areas of specialization. His email address is

Littlefield and Sudani reported that the journal is up to date and that Johns Hopkins University Press approves their plan to publish four issues per year instead of three. The journal received 48 new submissions, including five non-commissioned special issue proposals. The editors continue to seek articles and proposals for special issues; they noted that the turnaround time for responses to authors is four months or less. Contact Configurations editors at

Nomination committee members (Laura Otis and Jim Bono) call for nominations for second vice-president and member-at-large with terms running from fall 2016 through fall 2018. The second vice-president then moves on to become first vice-president. Send nominations and self-nominations for these offices to Otis at or to Bono at

Appointed by SLSA officers, Pamela Gossin of the University of Texas at Dallas joined the Publication Committee to serve a three-year term. 2015 members of the committee are Susan Squier (Penn State) and Ronald Schleifer (University of Oklahoma).

The Bruns Prize, which is sponsored by Kate Hayles, was awarded by judge Patrick Lemieux to Brittany Roberts for her essay “Touching Bare Life in the ‘Corridor of Absolute Dying’: Biopolitics, Necrorealism, and Resistance in Evgenii Iufit’s ‘Spring’.”

The Schachterle Prize, founded by Lance Schachterle in honor of his parents, was awarded to Debapriya Sarkar for her essay “‘Sad Experiment’ in Paradise Lost: Epic Knowledge and Evental Poetics,” published in Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval & Renaissance Studies.

Bob Markley announced the recipient of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement award: Sidney Perkowitz. Perkowitz was unable to be present in Houston, so the prize will be awarded at the 2016 Atlanta meeting. Members of the 2015 award committee were Suzanne Black, Richard Nash, and Susan Squier.

SLSA 2015 WRAP UP DISCUSSION, conducted by Laura Otis with Janine DeBaise and Rebecca Perry, who took notes. Attendees addressed what worked well and what did not, sharing suggestions for the future. Attendees praised amenities (food, alcohol, most facilities, AV) and organizational contributions of Cary Wolfe, Maria Whiteman, and Thien Le. Suggestions for future organizers included integrating more art, publishing abstracts online, making sure all sessions take place in separate rooms, and leaving 30 minutes between sessions. Members would also appreciate if next year’s joint meeting were carefully organized to encourage attendees to move among SLSA, HSS, and PSA panels as easily as possible and if there could be boxed lunches to allow each panelist to attend a plenary or panel during lunch. 2015 organizers were praised for the food and for film showings. Other suggestions include that members submit pre-planned panels; those including panelists from different disciplines across arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences are encouraged. Each panelist is also encouraged to speak for no more than 15 minutes and to speak slowly as SLSA attracts participants from around the globe. Such paper panels may include three or four speakers, while roundtables with more speakers should also be careful to leave time for general discussion.



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, 2016. 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. Notifications of funding will be sent in early September.

Applications for SLSA NSF Travel Awards will also be due August 1, 2016. Members who are students, artists, or recent Ph.Ds. may apply. The URL for the online application form is posted on the SLSA website at You may need to save this file and open it in Adobe Reader because of the form fields in the document. Each applicant will be notified in early September 2016 about decisions.

NOTE about travel awards: Eligible members must separately apply for SLSA and SLSA NSF Travel awards, which cover different expenses.

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 2016 Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize will be awarded to the best academic book on literature, science, and the arts published by an SLSA member. Prizes for books published in 2014 and in 2015 will be announced at the 2016 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 the 2016 Kendrick Prize, books published in 2015 should be mailed by June 1, 2016, 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: Prizes 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 appoints a committee to seek and review nominations for the SLSA Lifetime Achievement award. 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 (



AnthropoScene is a new book series from the Pennsylvania State University Press, published in collaboration with SLSA. While not all scientists have accepted the term “anthropocene” as part of the geological timescale, the idea that humans are changing the planet and its environments in radical and irreversible ways has provoked new kinds of cross-disciplinary thinking about relationships among the arts, human technologies, and nature. This is the broad, cross-disciplinary basis for books published in AnthropoScene. Books in this series will include specialized studies for scholars in a variety of disciplines as well as widely accessible works of interest to broad audiences. They will examine, in a variety of ways, relationships and points of intersection among natural, biological, and applied sciences and literary, visual, and performing arts. The AnthropoScene series represents the depth and breadth of work being done by scholars in literature, science, and the arts, putting innovative juxtapositions within reach of specialists and non-specialists alike.

Series Editors are Lucinda Cole, University of Illinois, and Robert Markley, University of Illinois. Series Advisory Board members are Stacy Alaimo, University of Texas at Arlington; Ron Broglio, Arizona State University; Carol Colatrella, Georgia Institute of Technology; Heidi Hutner, Stony Brook University; Stephanie LeMenager, University of Oregon; Christopher Morris, University of Texas at Arlington; Laura Otis, Emory University; Will Potter, Washington, D.C.; Ronald Schleifer, University of Oklahoma; Susan Squier, Penn State University; Rajani Sudan, Southern Methodist University; and Kari Weil, Wesleyan University

Submissions to the series should include a three- to five-page proposal outlining the intent of the project, its scope, its relation to other work on the topic, and its intended audience(s). Please also include two to three sample chapters, if available, and your CV. Questions or submissions? Contact Penn State Press: Kendra Boileau, Editor-in-Chief, at or (814) 867-2220. Or email the series editors: Lucinda Cole at and Robert Markley at

UPDATED SLSA WEBSITE: The society has a newly designed website! Thanks are due to the website redesign committee members Wayne Miller, Dennis Summers, Jim Housefield, Rebecca Perry, and to designer Beth Farley for her redesign of the website and the society’s logo. Your new publication announcements, course syllabi and other material for display on the website are welcome. Please see the site for details, or contact Wayne, SLSA Electronic Resources Coordinator, at with any questions or comments.

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


Website: | Facebook:

SLSAeu is the sister organisation of the international, USA-based Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. It welcomes colleagues in the humanities, the social sciences, the arts, all fields of science, medicine, engineering, computer sciences as well as independent scholars, artists and scientists and interested members of the larger public. It has since 2000 hosted international conferences (now annual) in major European cities. SLSAeu last convened in mid-June in Malta ( The next conference will take place in Stockholm, 14-17 June 2016, dedicated to the theme of CONTROL: www.control2016. The site chair is Frida Beckman, Department of English, Stockholm University, Sweden. The conference email is:

SLSAeu AMBASSADORS: The SLSAeu is looking for Ambassadors from a number of European countries, see Governance page of the website to see which countries are already represented. Please consider becoming a member in 2015 in support of the society. Any donations are most welcome. Contact for general information: Dr. Manuela Rossini, SLSA Europe, c/o Department of English, University of Basel, Nadelberg 6, CH-4051 Basel, Switzerland, email:

SLSA DUES INCREASE: 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.



To receive publications of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA), including Configurations and Decodings, and to participate in the society’s next annual conference, SLSA 2016, 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. 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 (2015-2016)
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: Rebecca Perry, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History & New School for Architecture and

Design (2014-2016); Andrew Pilsch, Arizona State University & Rebekah Sheldon, Indiana University-

Bloomington (2015-2017)
Graduate Student Liaisons: Nicole Keller Day, Northeastern University (; Kari Nixon,

Southern Methodist University (; Sara DiCaglio (
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: Jeffrey Karnicky, Department of English, 2505 University Avenue,

Drake University, Des Moines, IA 50311. Email:
Publications Committee: Susan Squier, Penn State University; Ronald Schleifer, University of Oklahoma;

Pamela Gossin, University of Texas at Dallas
Bibliographer: 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