Decodings Summer 2020


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter                     

Summer 2020, Vol. 29, No.3 (July edition)

*SLSA 2020 Special Event

*Committee Members and Appointments
*Membership Renewal

*Policies: Respectful Behavior and Freedom of Speech

*AnthropoScene Book Series

*SLSA Europe News

SLSA 2020 Special Event–AI/IA:  Promises and Perils of Augmented/ Artificial Intelligence

Thursday, October 8, 2020 [tentative time for streaming 7 or 8 pm EST, 4 or 5 pm CA time]

Program (approximately 90 minutes over Zoom)

Welcome: David Cecchetto, Incoming President

Announcement of Lifetime Achievement Award & Remarks by 2020 recipient Richard Powers

Kate Hayles introduces lightning talks by Ed Finn, Jennifer Rhee, and Evan Selinger
Audience Q and A via chat

Announcement of Bruns Essay Prize by Marcel O’Gorman

Irina Aristarkhova introduces a conversation with Stephanie Dinkins and Srimoyee Mitra

Announcements of Schachterle Essay Prize and Kendrick Book Prize by Marcel O’Gorman

Conversation between Amaranth Borsuk and Kate Hayles

Moderated audience Q&A

“Lightning Talks on Futures (and Responsibilities) of AI/IA by Ed Finn and Jennifer Rhee”

Ed Finn is the founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University where he is an associate professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.  He is the author of What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing.  He also serves as the academic director of Future Tense, a partnership between ASU, New America and Slate Magazine, and a co-director of Emerge, an annual festival of art, ideas and the future.

Jennifer Rhee is an associate professor of new media in the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. She’s written about robotics and artiicial intelligence in technology, visual and performance art, literature, and film in her book The Robotic Imaginary: The Human and the Price of Dehumanized Labor (University of Minnesota Press, 2018). Her work can also be found in journals including Camera Obscura, Configurations, ASAP/Journal, Science Fiction Studies, Mosaic, and Postmodern Culture. She’s currently working on a book on big data and futurity in technology, literature, and art.

Evan Selinger, Professor of Philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, is the co-author of Re-Engineering Humanity, selected by the Observer as one of the “Best Books of 2016.”  He writes for many periodicals and blogs such as The Nation, Salon, and The Guardian.  He is currently a member of the Institute for Defense on Analysis‘s Legal, Moral, and Ethical Working Group, which contributes to a DARPA-funded project that uses artificial intelligence to enhance the autonomy of non-lethal technological systems.

“Conversation with Stephanie Dinkins and Srimoyee Mitra, introduced by Irina Aristarkhova” 

Stephanie Dinkins ( is a leading transmedia artist who creates platforms for dialog about artificial intelligence to confront questions of bias in AI, consciousness, data sovereignty and social equity. She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to co-create more inclusive, fair and ethical artificial intelligent ecosystems. Dinkins is a 2019 Creative Capital Grantee as well as Data and Society Research Institute Fellow. She is Associate Professor of Art at Stony Brook University.

Srimoyee Mitra is Director of the Stamps Gallery at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is an award winning curator and editor of Border Cultures (Windsor Gallery / Black Dog Publishing, 2015). Her research interests lie at the intersection of exhibition-making and participation, migration, globalization and decolonial aesthetics.

Irina Aristarkhova is Professor at the Stamps School of Art & Design and the Digital Studies Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is author of Hospitality of the Matrix: Philosophy, Biomedicine and Culture and Arrested Welcome: Hospitality in Contemporary Art 

“Conversation between Amaranth Borsuk and Kate Hayles”

Amaranth Borsuk is a poet known for her experiments with textual materiality and digital poetry. She is the co-author, with Brad Bouse, of, a book with visual icons that can only be read with the aid of a computer.  She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Washington Bothell.

N. Katherine Hayles is a literary and cultural critic who writes on the relations of literature, science and technology in the 20th and 21st centures.  She is the author of How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics.  She is Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and James B. Duke Professor of Literature Emerita at Duke University.


Wayne Miller, Electronic Resources Coordinator, asks for new images for the SLSA website homepage ( He noted that he is in the process of cleaning up the website and will archive many past conference programs. The difficulties with updating the Bibliography encouraged the executive committee to decide against continuing its production; however, a number of members will continue or will be enlisted to develop social media. Adriana Knouf has joined Ed Chang in developing SLSA social media. SLSA members interested in contributing to social media on behalf of the society are encouraged to email Adriana and Ed who are coordinating efforts: &

MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL: Please remember to renew your membership; 2020 rates are here:

Benefits of membership include the newsletter Decodings, the LITSCI listserv, and the journal Configurations, which explores the relations of literature and the arts to the sciences and technology. Founded in 1993, the journal continues to set the stage for transdisciplinary research concerning the interplay between science, technology, and the arts.

Looking for the latest research in science and technology studies? Members can access to the Configurations online archive of articles, useful resources for teaching and scholarship at the above link.

POLICIES ADOPTED: Respectful Behavior and Freedom of Speech & Call for Ombudspersons

SLSA officers and the executive committee have developed two new policies and have shared them with members through the listserv. After incorporating revisions suggested by several members, the policies have been approved the executive committee and adopted by the society. The updated policies are posted here:

In accordance with the policies, SLSA is recruiting individuals to serve as ombudspersons who would receive and mediate any issues raised by members/conference attendees. Any member interested in volunteering to serve as ombudsperson, should apply by emailing Carol Colatrella (; include a short statement of why you are interested in serving in this role and what experience you can bring the position.

Marcel O’Gorman ( and Kari Nixon ( have volunteered to serve as ombudspersons. Current officers will also review future applications to make additional appointments.

Role of SLSA Ombudsperson                                                            

Each Ombudsperson is an impartial entity who strives to see that SLSA members and SLSA conference attendees are treated fairly and equitably. Any member/attendee can seek the advice of an Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson is impartial, neutral, and confidential. The rights and interests of all parties to disputes are considered, with the goal of achieving fair outcomes. The primary responsibilities of the Ombudsperson are:

  1. To work with individuals to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts and problematic issues or concerns.
  2. To bring concerns about the organization to the attention of leadership for resolution.

ANTHROPOSCENE: SLSA BOOK SERIES FROM PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS AnthropoScene is a book series from Penn State University Press, published in collaboration with the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. 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 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.

After five years, Lucinda and Bob have decided to step down. Penn State Press will continue to work with the authors who already have submitted manuscripts to the series; there are a number of manuscripts under consideration and others under contract. Send questions to: Kendra Boileau, Assistant Director and Editor‐in‐Chief, at Or contact the SLSA liaison Pamela Gossin at
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.

Titles in AnthropoScene: The SLSA Book Series
*Kieran Murphy’s book Electromagnetism and the Metonymic Imagination, is coming out in spring 2020. It will be available to order through the press website with the regular discount, despite warehouse operations being temporarily suspended:
*Love in a Time of Slaughters: Human-Animal Stories Against Genocide and Extinction by Susan McHugh
*Anthropocene Reading: Literary History in Geologic Times
. Edited by Tobias Menely and Jesse Oak Taylor
*Editing the Soul: Science and Fiction in the Genome Age by Everett Hamner

SLSA Member’s Discount from Penn State University Press: Use code SLSA30 for 30% off any AnthropoScene title purchased directly from PSU Press, plus free domestic shipping and discounts on foreign shipping!

15th SLSA EUROPE ANNUAL CONFERENCE                            

“Literary and Aesthetic Posthuman”
Bergen, Norway, March 4-7, 2021

Co-hosts: University of Bergen and University of Basel

Submissions: Send abstracts up to 500 words to Bruno Ministro ( Please include “SLSAeu21” in the email subject line. We are requesting these by 1 August, with a response in early October.

Topics: The organizers call for papers that revisit concepts and consiliences in literature, science, and aesthetics. While we welcome approaches that recognize the literal, material changes in literature and arts in a digital age, we hope also to continue and advance discussions of inherent uncertainties, along with possibilities that are more cognitive than instrumental. We will be featuring, in both our panels and an accompanying art exhibit, enactments of complex human-technical assemblages in which cognition and decision-making powers are distributed in both aesthetic and literary systems. For more information, including details about suggested topics, see

SLSAeu is the sister organization 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.


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Executive Board (2020)
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: Raymond Malewitz (2018-2020); N. Adriana Knouf (2019-21); Adam Nocek (2019-21)
Graduate Student Liaisons:  Brad Necyk, University of Alberta (;Ben Platt (;Tyler Gabbard:; McKenzie Stupiča: (

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

Configurations Editors: Melissa Littlefield, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and 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: Pamela Gossin; Raymond Malewitz; Bruce Clarke

Electronic Resources Coordinator: Wayne Miller, Duke University (

Arts Liaisons: Dennis Summers (; Kiki Benzon (;
Maria Whiteman (
Social Media Liaisons: Ed Chang (; Nicole Fletcher (; Adriana
Knouf (

Ombudspersons: Marcel O’Gorman ( and Kari Nixon (
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

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