Decodings Fall 2018 (Updated)


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter          

Fall (updated) 2018, Vol. 27, No.4

*SLSA 2019, “Experimental Engagements,” University of California-Irvine
*SLSA 2018, “Out of Mind,” Toronto, Ontario, Conference Reports

*2018 SLSA Awards
*2017-18 SLSA Financial Report

*AnthropoScene Book Series

*How to Help Our Colleague Jim McManus and the Town of Paradise

UPCOMING MEETING: 2019 SLSA Conference: “Experimental Engagements,” University of California-Irvine, November 7-10, 2019. Co-chairs: Jesse Jackson and Antoinette Lafarge.

Keynote speakers, Andrea Polli, co-sponsored by the UCI Department of Art, and Laura Kurgan, co-sponsored by the UCI Department of Film and Media Studies. 

In the past two meetings, SLSA has taken a close look at how we use concepts of time and mind to regulate our relation to the world. For SLSA 2019, we want to turn our attention towards embodied and experimental practices that engage with a world out of balance. We are especially interested in speculative and experimental engagements that take place at the margins of art, science, and literature.

A few of the concerns we imagine might be addressed at SLSA 2019 include:

• How new aesthetics and ethics of social engagement arise within individual lives and specific communities of practice

• How speculative practices tangle with reigning ideals of the utopic, communitarian, and transcendental

• How experimental practices may require working in stealth mode

• How marginal practices are defined as such, and how that can be changed

• How social media reframes the errors, failures, and missteps of experimentation as well as the possibilities of success

• How experimental practices differ from other forms of knowledge-building or making

• How counter-dominant forms and practices are attenuated or even flipped through normalization

• How engagement avoids such pitfalls as addressing symptoms rather than causes, or devolving into propaganda

• How practices and ideas written off by those in power as minor, obsolete, trivial, narrow, or crazy find a toehold

• How it might be necessary to change how we teach art, science, and literature to future generations

• How it is possible to transformatively address the center from the periphery

Submissions [Please note: link to be activated soon]

Proposals can be submitted here:

For individual papers, contributors should submit a 250-word abstract along with title and affiliation. Pre-organized panels submissions, which might include three or four papers per panel, should include an additional paragraph describing the rubric and proposed title of the panel. Roundtables, creative contributions, alternative format panels, and the like are encouraged. As usual, we request that you limit yourselves whenever possible to ONE proposal so that we are able to include as many participants as possible (exceptions will be made for those submitting to more than one format, e.g. panel, roundtable, exhibition, workshop).

SLSA Membership: Participants in the 2019 Conference must be 2019 members of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. For more information about joining SLSA, visit the organization’s website at

SLSA 2018 Conference “Out of Mind,” November 15-18, 2018, Toronto, Canada

Plenary Speakers: Jack Halberstam and Skawennati

Site Coordinators: David Cecchetto (York University) and Marcel O’Gorman (University of Waterloo)

Thanks to David Cecchetto, Marcel O’Gorman, Jason Lajoie, and their team of volunteers for their superb organization of this year’s SLSA in Toronto. “Out of Mind” encompassed terrific keynotes, exhibits, and panels involving more than 400 members.

President’s Report at SLSA 2018: Marcel O’Gorman introduced new officers David Cecchetto (1st VP) and Maria Whiteman (2nd VP); members at large John Hay (2017-2019) and Raymond Malewitz (2018-2020); graduate student liaisons McKenzie Stupiča, Northwestern University (2018-2020) and Jap-Nanak Makkar (2017-2018); and art liaisons Kiki Benzon and Dennis Summers.

SLSA 2017-18 Financial Report: Carol Colatrella presented the 2017-18 financial statement (included at end of newsletter).

European Society for Literature, Science, and the Art 2018 Report: Bruce Clarke for Manuela Rossini)
Recent conferences in Basel and Copenhagen were successful, but did not include many US SLSA members. Clarke encourages SLSA members to propose papers to the upcoming 13th conference of the SLSAeu (“SpaceTime”), to be held in Athens, Greece, June 25-28, 2019:

Configurations 2018 Report: Rajani Sudan, Melissa Littlefield, and Jeff Karnicky reported that the journal is in its third year of producing four issues per year and shared the upcoming schedule of issues. Submissions have increased, and the acceptance rate is 16% with a turnaround time of four months. Individual members will soon be able to opt for electronic only subscriptions. Book reviews now include fiction and non-fiction. The editors called for members to volunteer as reviewers. Future plans also include calling for short essays from scientists.

Publications Committee 2018 report from members Susan Squier, Ron Schleifer, Pamela Gossin: The committee called for nominations or self-nominations of members willing to serve on the Publications Committee, which consults with the journal editors and executive officers and which arranges book panels at the annual conferences.

Marcel O’Gorman called for members to volunteer to serve as Nomination Committee members and/or to nominate or self-nominate members willing to run for office as Member-at-large or to be appointed as graduate student liaisons. Volunteers and nominators can email him at or send expressions of interest to Carol Colatrella (

2018-19 Lifetime Achievement Award committee members are: Laura Otis (chair), Raymond Malewitz, and McKenzie Stupica. Nominations for the award for significant achievements and contributions in SLSA fields should be sent to them at lotis@emory,, and

Bibliographer’s Report: Kari Nixon was unable to attend SLSA 2018. She reported via email that she is working on a reconfigured bibliography and will soon make a proposal to the executive and membership.

Electronic Resources Coordinator’s Report: Wayne Miller called for members to send news, images, and short articles to him for posting on the society’s website.

SLSA-related book series: Bob Markley and Lucinda Cole reported that two books were published in the AnthropoScene book series at Penn State University Press and that six more books are under contract or in production.

Bob Markley also reported that the presentation of the 2018 Kendrick Book Prize will be deferred until fall 2019.

Recipients of the 2018 SLSA Travel Awards and of the SLSA NSF Travel Awards are noted in the financial report.

Awards Presented by President Marcel O’Gorman at the 2018 Members’ Meeting:

Bruns Essay Award, sponsored by Kate Hayles and judged by Gerry Canavan, English Department, Marquette University: In “Silver Linings: Visualising the (Post)Anthropocene, Technology, and Post-Human in Photography,” Peter M. Flannery extends and concretizes the concept of the Anthropocene by considering contemporary photography that embodies the concept, allowing us to deploy the theoretical frame in an entirely new (and too often overlooked) aesthetic context. Deftly moving between artists and theorists to show the commonalities of thought between them, Flannery advances the study of the Anthropocene and demonstrates a new register in which the concept can be seen to have immense critical purchase for contemporary scholarship. The contribution to the field of the ecological humanities is obvious and should find a publication home soon.

Schachterle Essay Award, founded by the first SLSA president Lance Schachterle, was presented to Michael Tondre for “The Impassive Novel: ‘Brain-Building’ in Walter Pater’s Marius the EpicureanPMLA (volume 133)

From judges Blake Leland and Jennifer Tuttle’s commendation: In The Impassive Novel: ‘Brain-Building’ in Walter Pater’s Marius the Epicurean,” Michael Tondre argues, ingeniously and stylishly, that Pater’s novel transposes an important 19th century psycho-physiological discourse concerning the paradox of reaction time—the fact that the present registered by the nervous system is always but a representation of what is objectively past. In Tondre’s reading, Pater both builds on Taine’s suggestion that delay offers the opportunity for self-conscious critique and contemplation, and rejects a British discourse insisting on a virile exercise of attention. Tondre shows that in its characterization, narrative form, and style, Marius presents an aesthetic transposition of cutting edge science serving as an implicit justification of the value of a psychology of “drift” for the subject of modernity.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Susan Squier, the Julia Gregg Brill Professor Emerita of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Pennsylvania State University; and an Einstein Visiting Scholar at Freie Universitët Berlin. From the commendation of Lifetime Achievement Award Committee members Suzanne Black and Robert Markley: Irina Aristarkhova notes Squier’s pioneering work in feminist science studies and medical humanities, including her authorship of monographs on topics as wide-ranging as reproductive technologies, the place of the human in biomedicine, poultry science, visual communication, and epigenetics. Chicken Culture won SLSA’s 2011 Kendrick Book Prize, and Epigenetic Landscapes is the topic of a book panel at this year’s meeting. As Jenell Johnson writes, “Susan has the distinction of being a groundbreaker in many different fields, and, indeed, she has helped to invent some new ones.” Notably, Squier has been central in the emergence of graphic medicine as a scholarly area. She co-authored the 2015 Graphic Medicine manifesto and has advocated for courses, collaborations, and publications in the area, often by under-represented voices. She has also championed the reissue of early works like the underground comic Abortion Eve (1973). Professor Squier’s colleagues also praise her generosity as a mentor.

For information about 2019 Travel Awards, Essay and Book Prizes, and the Lifetime Achievement Award, see

ANTHROPOSCENE: NEW SLSA BOOK SERIES FROM PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS: AnthropoScene is a 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 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.

HOW TO HELP OUR COLLEAGUE JIM MCMANUS AND THE TOWN OF PARADISE: Our wonderful SLSA colleague Jim McManus, who had lived in Paradise, CA, for many years, lost his home and his library in the horrific Camp Fire that started November 8. Thankfully, he and his wife escaped in time. Many of Jim’s friends in SLSA and beyond have wanted to show our support for him and, after talking with Jim, we have determined two ways that you could offer your help. For those who want to assist his fellow members of St. Thomas More Catholic Church (many retirees who have lost everything), the church’s website has full information about how to make a donation. As scholars, we can also empathize with the pain of a lost library and have thus set up a GoFundMe account, “Jim’s Library Fund” at

You have a choice there of making an anonymous contribution or one showing your name.  We see this as a two-month campaign (through January), after which Jim will receive the funds as well as a list of donors’ names.

Please feel free to share this link with friends outside of SLSA who know Jim, including on Facebook. If you have any questions, contact Linda Henderson (

Jim Housefield is overseeing the collection of books by Jim’s author friends whose works on Duchamp, Dada, Surrealism, and Fluxus were lost in the fire.  An e-mail to the SLSA listserv will follow Decodings and share information on that process as well as the GoFundMe project.


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Executive Board (2018-2019)

President: Marcel O’Gorman, University of Waterloo
Executive Director: Carol Colatrella, Georgia Institute of Technology
First Vice-President: David Cecchetto, York University, Toronto
Second Vice-President: Maria Whiteman, Indiana University
Members-at-Large: John Hay, University of Nevada-Las Vegas (2017-2019); Raymond Malewitz (2018-2020)
Graduate Student Liaisons: Jap-Nanak Makkar, University of Virginia (2017-18); McKenzie
            Stupiča, Northwestern University (to fall 2020).
Past Presidents: Ron Broglio, Arizona State University; Robert Markley, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; 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: Kari Nixon, Whitworth University. Email:
Electronic Resources Coordinator: Wayne Miller, Duke University (
Arts Liaisons: Dennis Summers (; Kiki Benzon (; Maria
            Whiteman (
Social Media Liaison: Nicole Fletcher (

The Executive Director can be reached at (404) 894-1241 or

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

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, Financial Report, 10/1/17-9/30/18

Prepared by CarolColatrella, Executive Director, October 5, 2018     

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, Financial Report, 10/1/17-9/30/18

Prepared by Carol Colatrella, Executive Director, October 5, 2018     

Balance on hand 9/30/17    Wells Fargo Bank account, Atlanta                                    125,380.32
                                                           Wells Fargo CDs                                                                            30,000.00                                         

                                                                                 TOTAL BALANCE                                                155,380.32

Income:    Dues, SLSA share                                (9/17-8/18)                                                8192.04
                     Donations (unrestricted)                                                                                            508.00                  

                    Essay Prize donation                                                                                                      500.00                                                  

                      Configurations dividend                                                                                        32,167.00                                                              

                      SLSA 2017 Tempe conference fees (Sept-Dec 2017)                              62,783.00
                    SLSA 2018 Toronto conference fees  (Feb-Aug 2018)                            22,090.00             

                    Wachovia/Wells Fargo Bank Interest on CDs                                                        5.73

                      2016 SLSA NSF Travel Grant Reimbursement from HSS                           4668.07

                      2017 SLSA NSF Travel Grant Reimbursement from HSS                          6687.00

                      SLSA 2018 Rochester Institute of Technology subsidy                              1600.00               

                                                                       TOTAL INCOME                                                  139,200.84

Expenses:  Conferences–SLSA 2016 Atlanta/to HSS & Georgia Tech                 9161.68

                                                  SLSA 2017 Tempe-artists                                                         7950.00
                                                                                          -band                                                            1000.00
                                                                                          -SLSA travel grants                               4969.00
                                                                                          -SLSA NSF travel grants                      6700.00
                                                                                          -Essay Prizes                                               750.00
                                                                                          -Book Prize                                                  250.00

                                                                                          -Conference workers                           1500.00
                                                                                          -Speaker gifts                                              300.00
                                                                                          -Honorarium                                            2000.00
                                                                                          -Graduate Hotel/Dance                       5191.24
                                                                                          -ASU Union                                            11,685.00
                                                                                          -Aramark Catering                            42,358.41
                                                                                          -Catering/Alasta                                     1202.54
                                                                                          -Alcohol                                                       9000.00
                                                                                          -Art Museum                                            1384.10                
                                                                                                            Tempe subtotal                 96,267.29                                  

                                                      SLSA 2018 Toronto-Hilton Hotel                                 37,000.00

Configurations–copy editing/layout (to LMC, Georgia Tech)                  2270.62

                                                      –Univ. of Illinois publication assistant                        11,875.00

                                                                               Publications subtotal                                 14,145.62

                  Executive Director (10/17-9/18) salary                                                       10,650.00
                                                                               2017 travel stipend                                 1000.00

Other:     Insurance Premium                                                                                  1,108.00

Website Certificate                                                                                            49.99

                                    Postage                                                                                                                55.03

                                    Office supplies                                                                                                    15.99

                                    Tax Preparation                                                                                              590.00

                                    Massachusetts Corporation Fee                                                               35.00
                                   MA Attorney General                                                                                  70.00
                                    Bank Fees                                                                                                              55.00
                                                                                                                                                                  1978.98                                                                                                                               TOTAL EXPENSES  170,203.57                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Balance on hand 9/30/18    Wells Fargo Bank account, Atlanta                    94,799.98
                                                           Wells Fargo CDs                                                          30,000.00     

                                                                                 TOTAL BALANCE                             124,799.98

Members                     2008                  2009     2010      2011      2012         2013     2014    2015     2016   2017   2018

      Life Member                                                                                                                                                                     1              1               1
Benefactor                        6                    4          1               1               2                                                    1              2              2               2

      Gratis                                   6                   6          9               9               9                  9                 10         9             10            11             14

      Individuals                  324              246         316       291            323           345          359      285          307         337       387

      Joint Memberships        3                  6         6           4 4               3                 8                4           6                                   7             7

      Patron Member               2                  3          2               1               1                 1                2           1               1               1              1

      Pension Member         16                10         12          10              16              16              1           14           16             16            24

      Sponsor                             6                     4         2              2               1                  4               3           8               5                5             1

      Student                          123                 92       124       132            179            109        113        92             123          135         134

Total memberships     486               371      473       450           539           487         505      414        473          515        570

2017-18 Donors and Benefactors:

Thanks to the following life members, donors, benefactors, and patrons for their monetary contributions supporting SLSA general expenses, travel subsidies for students and others, and essay and book prizes:
Kate Hayles, Jay Labinger, James Bono, Robert Markley, Alan Rauch, Vivian R. Pollack, Ron Broglio, Angelika Potempa, Dilyana Mincheva, Livia Monnet, Kathryn Eddy, Philipp Schweighauser, Hannah E. Drayson, Derek Woods, Stephanie S. Turner, Jim Swan, Suzanne Black, Colin Milburn

2018 SLSA travel awards of $200 will be presented today to the following individuals: Brittany Roberts, Laura Hyunjee Kim, Terence Shih, Stina Attebury, Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal, Garrett Johnson, Bethany Doane, Amanda Hickok, Jason Lajoie, Judy Ehrentraut, Benjamin Murphy, Peter Flannery, Sara Madandar, Melissa Wills, Sandrine Schaefer, Jye O’Sullivan, Vanya Rachel Gnaniah, Megan Maria Honsberger, Ben Wirth, McKenzie Stupica

2018 SLSA NSF travel awards of $350 will be sent to the following individuals, pending documentation:
Kate Martineau, Amanda Hickok, Garrett Laroy Johnson, Derek Woods, Ashley Shelby, Els Woudstra, Laura Hyunjee Kim, Benjamin Murphy, Sara Madandar, Bethany Doane, Melissa Wills, Sandrine Schaefer, Brittany Roberts, Anneke Schwob, Gillian Andrews, Amy Brady, Stina Attebury, Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal, Ben Wirth

Ways to donate to SLSA:

1. Donations made in the form of checks written out to SLSA and mailed to

Carol Colatrella/SLSA, LMC/Georgia Tech, 686 Cherry St., Atlanta GA 30332

2. Donations made from your retirement account to SLSA and mailed to
Carol Colatrella/SLSA, LMC/Georgia Tech, 686 Cherry St., Atlanta GA 30332

3. Donations via John Hopkins University, Journals Division, membership renewal:

4. Designate SLSA to receive a percentage of your purchases on Amazon Smile; click on link at the bottom of this webpage: