Decodings Winter 2016

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter
Winter 2016, Vol. 25, No.1

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

SLSA 2016 will be held in Atlanta, November 3-6, 2016; it will be a joint meeting with the History of Science Society (HSS) and the Philosophy of Science Association (PSA) and will take place at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in downtown Atlanta. The site organizer is Carol Colatrella (Georgia Tech) and the program organizer is Laura Otis (Emory University). Kiki Benzon (USC), with the assistance of Dennis Summers, 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. Conference information, including a overview schedule, hotel reservations, local transportation, and more, will be posted in upcoming weeks at

The call for papers is available at SLSA invites papers, panels, roundtables, and posters that consider how understandings of creativity intersect with the following: new technologies; new understandings of the human, the nonhuman, and the post-human; emerging theories in science and aesthetics. Possible topics include Creating Environments, Creative Animals, Creating Genders, Creating Forms, Creating Technologies, Creating Theory, Craft and Digital Media, Theories of Artistic/Scientific Creativity, and any other SLSA-related topic.

Plenary speakers will be Margaret Edson (author of Wit) and Darryl Cunningham (author of Psychiatric Tales and Science Tales).

Each SLSA panel or roundtable session will be 90 minutes long and should include at least 20 minutes of discussion with attendees. We encourage proposers to submit panels with at least four participants or to create roundtables with a larger number of panelists. SLSA 2016 will also include a joint poster session with the other societies.

Papers/panels on other SLSA topics are also welcome. Submit 250-word abstracts for papers/proposals between April 1 and May 15, 2016, to the submission section of the SLSA 2016 website:

You must be a current (2016) member of SLSA to present at the Atlanta SLSA conference. 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

The 2016 SLSA meeting will be a joint meeting with other science societies, taking place in conjunction with the annual meetings of the History of Science Society and the Philosophy of Science Association. Each submission should be directed to a particular society, as each will develop its own program; someone who offers presentations through more than one society will need to pay appropriate registration fees to each society. Conference schedules will be aligned to permit conference goers to attend activities in the three meetings.


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 2016 online application form will be 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

(Link to ballot will be emailed to 2016 members by Johns Hopkins University Press Journals)

Second Vice President (2 candidates)

David Cecchetto, Associate Professor, Department of Humanities, York University

Statement: I began attending the annual SLSA conference as a graduate student, and have continued to do so since. My initial impression—since confirmed—was of a society that leverages the collective magnanimity of its members to foster scholarship that combines intellectual rigour with a keen attention to the anachronistic. I hope to see the society to continue to grow from this position, and the recent efforts to not only include but also engage the vagaries of artistic production make me particularly optimistic that it will do so. I’d be honored to contribute to this future. My own interests lie in the overlaps, liminalities, and intersections of technology and digital culture, with an emphasis on the insights that (in)attentions to sound can catalyze. In order to address this materially and specifically, my approach is interdisciplinary and often collaborative. As such, I am working on theoretical humanities-based scholarly writing projects, research collaborations with computer scientists and engineers, artistic production (specifically installation, sound, digital, and conceptual streams), and collaborative “practice-based research” performances. These various activities are all underwritten by an explicit engagement with the “nonhuman turn” in contemporary critical theory, motivated via a common concern for the material specificity of contemporary technologies, and connected by their eschewal of siloed knowledge in favor of multiplicitous and contingent approaches to knowledge-production.

Biography: David Cecchetto is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities at York University (Toronto). David has published widely, including the monograph Humanesis: Sound and Technological Posthumanism (University of Minnesota Press, 2013). He is presently editing a para-academic collection titled Phono-fictions and Other Felt Thoughts that will be published in the Catalyst series of Noxious Sector Press in Fall 2016. David is a member of The Occulture, a Toronto-based collective investigating the esoteric imbrications of sound, affect, and hyperstition. Their collectively authored book—Ludic Dreaming: How to Listen Away From Contemporary Technoculture—will be published by Bloomsbury (Academic) in January 2017. The Occulture organizes the weird, wonderful, and wildly popular Tuning Speculation conferences that take place annually in Toronto. As an artist working with sound, David has presented work in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Russia, and on the web:

Ronald Schleifer, George Lynn Cross Research Professor of English and Adjunct Professor in Medicine at the University of Oklahoma

Statement: I attended my first SLSA meeting at Albany in 1988, and since then for more than twenty-five years I have been an active member of the Society. For many years, I served on (and sometimes chaired) the Publication Committee. Most notably, I and other members of the Committee recently developed a publication series with Pennsylvania State University Press sponsored by our organization. Also recently I joined Robert Markley and served as interim editor of Configurations, during which time Bob and I helped renegotiate our contract with the Johns Hopkins University Press. And in 1999 I was site director of the annual SLSA conference, held in Norman Oklahoma at the University of Oklahoma. I also worked closely, if informally, with colleagues and friends in helping to establish meetings of SLSA outside of North America. As we all know, SLSA has been a remarkable intellectual organization, bringing together people from many disciplines to share ideas and strategies of understanding. The welcoming warmth and goodwill of our organization – fostering and sharing work with colleagues from all positions from graduate students to retired professors – has been a hallmark of SLSA from the very beginning. As can be seen in my biographical note below, much of my work over these years has benefitted from the work of the Society, engagements with friends and colleagues is SLSA, and just the fun of our work together. As Vice President, I will work diligently in welcoming scientists, physicians, and social sciences to our organization to continue and widen the excitement and goodwill of SLSA.

Biography: Ronald Schleifer is George Lynn Cross Research Professor of English and Adjunct Professor in Medicine at the University of Oklahoma. His recent books include Pain and Suffering (Routledge, 2014), The Chief Concern of Medicine: The Integration of the Medical Humanities and Narrative Knowledge in Medical Practices (co-authored with Dr. Jerry Vannatta, Michigan 2013), and Intangible Materialism: The Body, Scientific Knowledge, and the Power of Language (Minnesota, 2009). He is also author of Modernism and Time: The Culture of Abundance in Literature, Science, and Culture 1880-1930 (Cambridge 2000) and Modernism and Popular Music (Cambridge 2011). He is presently working on Modernism and Post-Classical Economics, a book that takes its place in a long-term project on “The Culture of Modernism.” He edited Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture for many years and served as interim co-editor of Configurations.

Member-at-Large (2 candidates)

Rebecca Perry, Research Associate, Department of Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Statement: I have been a member of SLSA for several years, and continue to be grateful for this wonderful community that enthusiastically supports all of our lively and diverse interests. Last fall as your representative member-at-large, I attended the first inaugural “Rest of the World” SLSA conference at the University of Western Australia, hosted by Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr and SymbioticA. The conference was a tremendous success. Oron and his team created an exciting mix of talks, exhibitions and live performances both on campus and in nearby Perth. A number of attendees told me that SLSA continues to be their favorite conference. Oh, and I hand fed a wild kangaroo and dipped my toes in the Indian Ocean. It was my great pleasure to serve as an informal voice for members during the recent SLSA web page redesign, and I hope that everyone is pleased with our new look. Both SLSA Australia and the SLSA conference at Rice University incorporated a number of live arts performances. I would encourage us to continue to nurture these efforts to bring new experiences fully into the mix, as challenging as they can be to orchestrate. If re-elected as member-at-large I will listen, look to represent your interests, and continue to be a voice for SLSA members as we explore new collaborations and new formats.

Biography: I am an STS scholar and historian of technology, focused on visual representation and the histories, technologies and tools for digital 3D modeling of virtual objects and environments. My research explores the collaborations of computer scientists, software designers and artists in creating 3D objects and spaces. I am especially interested in how human thinking will evolve in our future interactions with virtual reality and augmented reality objects and environments. I graduated from MIT’s HASTS program in the Fall of 2014, and I am currently a post-doc researcher at the University of Virginia. I teach a course called “Engineered Objects” on visual literacy for engineers. I am co-editing a volume on the history of technology for Oxford University Press. I am also a researcher and writer at the National Air and Space Museum, and am beginning an exciting new project involving 3D modeling of iconic objects in the museum’s collections.
Charissa Terranova, Associate Professor of Aesthetic Studies in the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at The University of Texas at Dallas

Statement: I am running for SLSA Member-at-Large for two overarching reasons. First, I believe the combination of literature scholars, art theorists and historians, artists, and scientists that is the driving force of the organization is fascinating and urgent in topicality. The interdisciplinary crossings of SLSA are a source of oxygenation for all disciplines involved. Second, I believe I have found my tribe. I am an art-and-architectural theorist and historian working on the history of biology in art and architecture. I am somewhat new to SLSA, having presented at last and this year’s conferences in Texas. And, I was happily prepared and en route to Perth for SLSA NeoLife, when I unfortunately had to cancel my trip due to illness. I have been investing my scholarly energies for roughly fifteen years in the greater humanities conference circuit (having presented papers at conferences for professional groups affiliated with architectural, art, urban, and mobility history), and without a doubt, I believe the publications and conferences sponsored by SLSA to be the most stimulating and relevant. SLSA brings together two realms of disinterested scholarly interrogation, humanism and science, opening up a new expanse for critical thinking, problem-solving, and artistic creativity. I would like to offer my time and energies to SLSA because I want to support and perpetuate its general air of high quality and innovation.

Biography: Charissa Terranova is Associate Professor of Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, author of Art as Organism: Biology and the Evolution of the Digital Image (2016) and Automotive Prosthetic: Technological Mediation and the Car in Conceptual Art (2014), and coeditor with Meredith Tromble of The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). Inaugural director and curator of Centraltrak: The UT Dallas Artists Residency, Terranova regularly curates and writes art criticism. With Davidson College Professor of Biology Dave Wessner, she co-curated in February 2016 Gut Instinct: Art, Design, and the Microbiome, an on-line exhibition about art, the gut-brain axis, and gastrointestinal microbiome. In the fall of 2015 at Gray Matters Gallery in Dallas, Texas she curated Chirality: Defiant Mirror Images, an exhibition about art and the scientific concept of “chirality,” or non-superimposable mirror images.

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, University of Virginia (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