Decodings Summer 2021 (updated)


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter                     

Summer 2021, Vol. 30, No.4

*ENERGY–SLSA 2021 Conference

*SLSA Awards: Essays, Book, Lifetime Achievement

*Election 2021 Results

*Recent Special Events

*5/14/21 Executive Committee Quarterly Meeting Notes

*Committee Members and Appointments: Social Media
*Membership Renewal

*Policies: Respectful Behavior and Freedom of Speech

*AnthropoScene Book Series

*SLSA Europe News

ENERGY–SLSA 2021, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN                                    CALL FOR PAPERS

The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts invites submissions for its 34th annual meeting on September 30 – October 3, 2021. Penny W. School of Art & Design and partners will host the SLSA2021, which will be held virtually from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Due to the uncertain nature of the continuing pandemic, the conference is currently planned as fully virtual.

The Call for Submissions on EasyChair can be found here:

The Submission link can be found here:

Participants in SLSA 2021 must be current members of SLSA. To become a member, go here:

Conference website:

Submissions for the 34th Meeting for the Society SLSA2021 will be accepted in these categories:

  •     Individual papers and pre-organized panels
  •     Workshops, roundtables, arts lounges, and social networking events
  •     A Poster Member Virtual Exhibition

UPDATE: Society for Literature, Science and the Arts Virtual Conference and Exhibition have a new, extended deadline for online submissions: Tuesday, June 15, 2021!

Upon request from members in our community who have been impacted by this difficult pandemic year and need more time to consider a submission for a paper, a panel, a roundtable/workshop, a curated event or an arts lounge to share your work, SLSA21 Energy virtual conference and exhibition (September 30-October 3, 2021) have now a new deadline for online submissions: June 15, 2021. The team at the University of Michigan and the Society are also making it easier for those who’ve been affected by the pandemic financially, especially graduate students and independent artists and scholars from around the world, to attend and present, with a no cost/reimbursed options. For more information, visit:

We seek submissions for panels, individual papers, roundtables, workshops, arts lounges, social networking events, and creative work that deals with topics related to the expanded notion of energy. Energy (etymologically meaning “in or at work, working”) connects us to the most pressing issues of the day: mental and physical vitality or fatigue (individual and collective, personal and political, creative and professional), including in the pandemic; the sources of energy (their extraction, depletion, abundance, and exhaustion; bitcoin mining and computational infrastructures; body energy, its flow, exploitation, alienation, and finitude); scientific theories and creative imagination around the relation between matter and energy (as in electromagnetic, particle, gravitational, acoustic forms of radiation; the living and the non-living, metamorphosis). Submissions are also invited that explore how energy is connected to power, science, and profit, history and war, flesh and labor. Building on previous SLSA topics “Out of Time” and “(Out of) Mind,” in Fall 2021 we also invite you to consider the meaning of having or being “out of energy.”

Due to the uncertain nature of the pandemic year, the conference is planned as fully virtual. Though our intention is to follow the format of previous SLSA conferences with synchronous live presentations (similar to the Modern Literature Association 2021 conference), chairs will be responsible for their panels and could decide with their individual panelists if a pre-recorded presentation is necessary due to time difference or other circumstances. To facilitate SLSA community gathering opportunities, in addition to individual papers, panels, roundtables, workshops, and artwork submissions, this year we invite submissions for organized social networking events and arts lounges to discuss and share research interests and creative work in less formal settings.

– For individual papers, contributors should submit a 250-word abstract along with title and affiliation; this year we are particularly interested in pre-organized panels that might include three or four papers per panel and should include the chair/panel organizer name, the title of the panel, and an additional paragraph describing the panel topic. All panels are expected to run for a customary length of 1 hour 30 minutes. Thematic streams of panels are welcome and will be sequentially scheduled as much as possible.

– For workshops, roundtables, arts lounges, and social networking events please submit up to 500 words of description, with participant names and affiliations where applicable; this year, we invite new submissions for arts lounges and social networking events. Arts lounges will serve as curated conversations around creative contributions responding to the topic of energy, such as visual arts, performing arts, and creative writing. Social networking events are meant to be virtual spaces for members to come together around their common interests, such as stream topics, ongoing conversations on new developing projects, new publication, and creative ideas, etc. Workshops, roundtables, arts lounges, and social networking events will be provided a customary length of 1 hour 30 minutes. Thematic streams are welcome and will be sequentially scheduled as much as possible.

– For Poster Member Virtual Exhibition submissions, submit up to 500 words describing your artwork (include the title of work; media; year created; URL to your website; image credit) and a .JPG file of up to 10 MB in file size and image of 1500 pixels or higher (horizontal orientation preferred). Format: .jpg.


For questions and inquiries email:


–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. 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. NOTE: The committee will consider books published from July 1, 2019-June 30,2021 for the 2021 award.

To be considered for the Kendrick Prize, please send or arrange with your publisher to send three copies of your book by September 1, 2021 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, LMC, Georgia Tech, 686 Cherry Street, Atlanta, GA 30332-0165

Lifetime Achievement Award

The SLSA Lifetime Achievement Award committee collects nominations for candidates whose significant, interdisciplinary scholarship is exemplary of SLSA. If you would like to nominate a scholar whose lifetime of work has made a great contribution to the interdisciplinary study of literature, science, and the arts, please explain in a brief statement (about one double-spaced page, or about 250 words) why you think this candidate would make an ideal recipient of the SLSA Lifetime Achievement Award. Thanks to the 2021 committee members–(Laura Otis, Elizabeth Donaldson, and Ben Platt

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.


There was a tie vote in the election. Both candidates have been invited to serve two-year member-at-large terms (2021-23), and both have agreed to do so.

–Josh DiCaglio is an Assistant Professor in English at the Texas A&M University, specializing in rhetoric of science, history and theory of rhetoric, and environmental humanities. His book, Scale Theory: A Nondisciplinary Inquiry, is forthcoming with the University of Minnesota Press in 2021.

–Anne Hudson Jones is the Hobby Family Professor in the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, where she is Director of the Medical Humanities Track in the School of Medicine. She is a founding editor and former editor-in-chief of Literature and Medicine.

SLSA Quarterly Executive Meeting Notes, 5/14/21

Attending: David Cecchetto, Maria Whiteman, Rajani Sudan, Melissa Littlefield, Ed Chang, Wayne Miller, Elizabeth Donaldson, Raymond Malewitz, Joshua DiCaglio, Anne Hudson Jones, Irina Aristarkhova, Laura Otis, Marcel O’Gorman, Jay Labinger, Carol Colatrella

President’s report: David Cecchetto indicated that he and Arielle Saiber have received correspondence from many interested in publishing in the new SLSA book series Proximities that they will co-edit. David also reported on the SLSA-sponsored special event “Reading Accidentals: Scholars, Scientists, and Novelists in Conversation”; held on March 25, 2021, it was a great success, with 65 person attending and a robust discussion following presentations by scholars Ursula K. Heise and Jay Clayton, biologist Auriel Fournier, and novelist Susan M. Gaines. A video of the event is available at

SLSA 2021 Conference Update: Irina Aristarkhova reported that there are 31 submissions so far and that she is expecting many more to arrive by the June 1 deadline. She has communicated with a number of people preparing proposals for streams and roundtables. She is consulting with University of Michigan Conference Services, which is advising about the virtual conference platform for the event in late September/early October. Carol Colatrella noted that the NSF grant awarded to the group of science societies would subsidize memberships for graduate students, artists, and underfunded US citizens.

SLSA 2022 Conference Update: Paula Leverage reported that she is consulting with Purdue University Conference Service about reserving space for an in-person conference to be held in late October/early November; the date will depend on the university’s football schedule.


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.  Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal has joined Ed Chang in developing SLSA social media, Twitter and Facebook respectively. SLSA members interested in contributing to social media on behalf of the society are encouraged to email Ed ( ) and Ranjodh (

MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL: Please remember to renew your membership; 2021 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.

Graduate students, independent scholars, and artists are eligible to receive reimbursement for the 2021 membership. Between August 1 and December 31, one should send an email with the subject “2021 SLSA membership” along with confirmation of payment to Hopkins Journals Division to Carol Colatrella (; she will send reimbursements in the form of checks from a US bank.  Members can access 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 the series.

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 AnthropoScene titles purchased directly from PSU Press, plus free domestic shipping and discounts on foreign shipping!


SLSAeu 2021 – Bergen, was held 4-7 March 2021 in Bergen, Norway: Literary & Aesthetic Posthumanism
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 (2021)
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: Elizabeth Donaldson (2020-22); Adam Nocek (2019-21); Joshua DiCaglio (2021-23);
Anne Hudson Jones (2021-23)
Graduate Student Liaisons: 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 (; 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