Decodings Fall (revised October) 2020


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter                     

Fall 2020, Vol. 30, No.1 (revised October edition)

*SLSA 2020 Special Event

*Election Results

*Committee Members and Appointments
*Membership Renewal

*Policies: Respectful Behavior and Freedom of Speech

*AnthropoScene Book Series

*SLSA Europe News



On Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 7pm EDT incoming SLSA President David Cecchetto opened the event AI Futures and presented a plaque to the outgoing president, Marcel O’Gorman, expressing gratitude for his service as an officer and conference organizer and his generous mentoring of scholars and artists. Reading from Hugh Crawford’s nomination statement, Cecchetto presented the 2020 SLSA Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard Powers in honor of his innovative, impactful fictional works connecting literature, science, and the arts and exploring important social and environmental issues. Powers’ remarks were followed by

– lightning talks by Ed Finn, Jennifer Rhee, and Evan Selinger;
– a conversation between curator Srimoyee Mitra and artist Stephanie Dinkins, introduced by Irina                         Aristarkhova; and

– a conversation between N. Katherine Hayles and Amaranth Borsuk.

During the event Cecchetto also announced 2020 recipients of other awards. The Bruns prize for the best essay by a graduate student member was awarded to Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal for his essay “On addressability, or what even is computing?,” which “charts the shift from having an address, in a physical sense, to being addressable, that is, to be able to be found and become functional within a system.” The Schachterle prize for the best essay by an untenured scholar was awarded to Joshua DiCaglio for “Scale Tricks and God Tricks, or, the Power of Scale in the Powers of Ten,” which offers “a stimulating and provocative contribution to the important contemporary discourse on scale—in science, the humanities, and the post-humanities;” the essay was published in Configurations Vol. 28.4 (Fall 2020) 457-88. Subramanian received the Michelle Kendrick Book prize for Holy Science: The Biopolitics of Hindu Nationalism (University of Washington Press, 2019). As the judge’s commendation for the book notes, “Imaginative in conception and remarkably nuanced and precise in its articulations, Holy Science offers both bold claims and a responsible basis for hope as we challenge ourselves to create a more just future.” Thanks to the judges for their work in making these selections: Kate Hayles, Blake Leland, Jennifer Tuttle, and Robert Markley.

Here is the information page, including the Youtube link:

This is the direct link to the video:



Rajani Sudan, Southern Methodist University, will serve as second vice-president in fall 2020-fall 2022 and in subsequent two-year terms as first vice-president and president. Elizabeth Donaldson, New York Institute of Technology, will serve as Member-at-Large fall 2020-fall 2022.



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 for the series, Pamela Gossin at or

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!


SLSAeu 2021 – Bergen, 4-7 March 2021: Literary & Aesthetic Posthumanism
Submission Guidelines
Proposals: abstracts up to 500 words should be send by email to Bruno Ministro (brunosantos4[at]
Please include “SLSAeu21” in the email subject line. We are requesting these by 1 August 2020, with a response in
early October.
The conference will be held in Bergen, Norway.
Co-hosts: University of Bergen and University of Basel
Conference chair: Joseph Tabbi (U. of Bergen)
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 (2020-21)
President: David Cecchetto, York University, Toronto (

Executive Director: Carol Colatrella, Georgia Institute of Technology (
First Vice-President: Maria Whiteman, Indiana University (

Second Vice-President: Rajani Sudan, Southern Methodist University (
Members-at-Large:  N. Adriana Knouf (2019-21); Adam Nocek (2019-21); Elizabeth Donaldson (2020-22).
Graduate Student Liaisons:  Brad Necyk, University of Alberta (; Ben Platt (; McKenzie Stupiča: (

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 (

Arts Liaisons: Dennis Summers (; Kiki Benzon (;
Maria Whiteman (
Social Media Liaisons: Ed Chang (; Adriana Knouf (; Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal (
Ombudspersons: Marcel O’Gorman ( and Kari Nixon (
Past Presidents: Marcel O’Gorman, University of Waterloo; 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