Decodings Fall (Dec) 2020

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter

Fall 2020, Vol. 30, No.1 (December edition)

*Executive Committee Meeting Notes
*Election Results
*Committee Members and Appointments
*Membership Renewal
*Policies: Respectful Behavior and Freedom of Speech
*AnthropoScene Book Series
*SLSA Europe News


President’s Report: David Cecchetto suggested that the executive committee meet online four times per year, and others agreed it makes sense for our group to have conversations throughout the year and for small symposia to supplement the annual conference, an effort he will lead. Send David ( ideas for virtual symposia. David also reported that he and Arielle Saiber are in negotiations to start a new SLSA-related book series.

The executive committee reviewed the 2019-20 financial report. Carol Colatrella pointed to the decreasing numbers of paid members and mentioned that the History of Society Science is checking whether the NSF grant that previously supported travel for U.S. graduate students, artists, and recent PhDs can instead subsidize SLSA memberships for individuals in those groups.

Electronic resources coordinator Wayne Miller has renewed certificates for the society’s website and arranged for a Duke University faculty member to serve as a moderator of the SLSA listserv along with Carol.

Editors Melissa Littlefield and Rajani Sudan reported on Configurations issues in the journal pipeline; the report is attached. They are encouraging suggestions from members for future special issues. The editors are also discussing with Hopkins University Press whether it makes sense to adjust membership year required to the year following the conference so they can better estimate the number of copies needed in each print run. Under this suggested plan, someone participating in SLSA 2021, for example, would be expected to pay for 2022 membership and would receive journal issues from 2022.

2021 conference organizers Irina Aristarkhova and Jane Prophet discussed their plans for a hybrid meeting sponsored by the University of Michigan Stamps School in late October/November. They have confirmed that University of Michigan is willing to offer some funding and will allow them to reserve some rooms for an in-person conference, which they will plan with virtual elements. They will send a questionnaire to the membership to inquire about attendee preferences (in person, online) so that they can continue to plan the 2021 meeting.

Appointments were made to the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Committee (chair: Laura Otis, Elizabeth Donaldson, and a student member TBD), which will review nominations for the award, as well as to the 2021 Nomination Committee (chair: Melissa Littlefield, Raymond Malewitz, and a student member TBD), which will seek two candidates to run for one member-at-large position, replacing Adam Nocek and Adriana Knouf.
Send nominations or self-nominations for candidates to run for member-at-large to Melissa (
Send nominations for the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award to Laura (

Our next executive meeting will be held virtually in late February or early March 2021.

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:;!!OToaGQ!99qNcL1M61saRrEtMZyAeLdlS-bCqE2rYk414Xks5OYKXxD5w7PeY4ViYBd_6DRm$

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.;!!OToaGQ!99qNcL1M61saRrEtMZyAeLdlS-bCqE2rYk414Xks5OYKXxD5w7PeY4ViYLVO_rGW$

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:;!!OToaGQ!99qNcL1M61saRrEtMZyAeLdlS-bCqE2rYk414Xks5OYKXxD5w7PeY4ViYHsb3MgZ$
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 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.;!!OToaGQ!99qNcL1M61saRrEtMZyAeLdlS-bCqE2rYk414Xks5OYKXxD5w7PeY4ViYBkMsTej$ .

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:;!!OToaGQ!99qNcL1M61saRrEtMZyAeLdlS-bCqE2rYk414Xks5OYKXxD5w7PeY4ViYNRzMmcU$
*Love in a Time of Slaughters: Human-Animal Stories Against Genocide and Extinction by Susan McHugh;!!OToaGQ!99qNcL1M61saRrEtMZyAeLdlS-bCqE2rYk414Xks5OYKXxD5w7PeY4ViYGirQuIJ$
*Anthropocene Reading: Literary History in Geologic Times. Edited by Tobias Menely and Jesse Oak Taylor;!!OToaGQ!99qNcL1M61saRrEtMZyAeLdlS-bCqE2rYk414Xks5OYKXxD5w7PeY4ViYInA1OeO$
*Editing the Soul: Science and Fiction in the Genome Age by Everett Hamner;!!OToaGQ!99qNcL1M61saRrEtMZyAeLdlS-bCqE2rYk414Xks5OYKXxD5w7PeY4ViYPUBAG5m$
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;!!OToaGQ!99qNcL1M61saRrEtMZyAeLdlS-bCqE2rYk414Xks5OYKXxD5w7PeY4ViYM-7370a$
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.;!!OToaGQ!99qNcL1M61saRrEtMZyAeLdlS-bCqE2rYk414Xks5OYKXxD5w7PeY4ViYKho2crd$

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: 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: (
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 (; Nicole Fletcher (; Adriana
Knouf (
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: https://litsciarts.org