Decodings Winter 2019


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter                                          

Winter 2019, Vol. 28, No.1

*SLSA 2019, “Experimental Engagements,” University of California-Irvine
*SLSA Awards

*AnthropoScene Book Series

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: submission link to be activated soon; updates to be shared via LITSCI-List]

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 Travel Awards

SLSA provides a limited number of travel awards for underfunded individuals attending the annual conference. Members of SLSA who present at the annual conference may apply for travel subventions. 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. 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 at the conference business meeting. Some applicants may also be eligible to apply for SLSA NSF Travel Grants (see below).

SLSA NSF Travel Grants

Applicants must be a US Citizen or at a US institution. An applicant must be a grad student, independent scholar, or recent PhD (received in the last 5 years). The grant only covers travel to and from the hotel and registration costs. The grant does not cover travel during the meeting or hotel expenses. Airfare must be booked on US-flag airlines. Applicant must participate in meeting to apply for award and receive reimbursement. This travel support requires completion of online forms. See directions at and links to forms at

The Bruns Essay Prize

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, has 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.

SLSA Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize

SLSA holds an annual competition for the Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize awarded each year to the best academic book on literature, science, and the arts published by an SLSA member. The prize will be announced at the annual SLSA conference. Click for the Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize winners.

Established in the fall of 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 July 1 and June 30 for awarding in the following fall. The winner will receive $250.00.

To be considered for the Kendrick Prize, please send or arrange with your publisher to send three copies of your book by June 30 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, with Kendrick Prize in memo) can be sent to

Carol Colatrella
SLSA Executive Director
LCC, 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 will each spring appoint a committee to seek and review nominations for the SLSA Lifetime Achievement award. Members of this committee will 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 Awards 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.

Information about 2019 Travel Awards, Essay and Book Prizes, and the Lifetime Achievement Award appears at

ANTHROPOSCENE: 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 AnthropoSceneseries 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.


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Executive Board (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