Decodings Fall 2021 (December Edition)


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter                     

Fall 2021, Vol. 31, No.1  (December edition)

*12/9/21 Executive Committee Quarterly Meeting Notes 

*Committee Members and Appointments: Social Media
*Membership Renewal 

*Policies: Respectful Behavior and Freedom of Speech

*AnthropoScene Book Series 

*European Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts  


SLSA Executive Committee Meeting Notes 12/9/21  

Attending: Irina Aristarkhova, David Cecchetto, Ed Chang, Carol Colatrella, Anne Hudson Jones, Jay Labinger, Paula Leverage, Melissa Littlefield, Wayne Miller, Richard Nash, Laura Otis, Alan Rauch, Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal, Rajani Sudan, Dennis Summers

In a discussion facilitated by  David, who serves as president,  executive members discussed society initiatives, including finances, the journal, and conferences. The financial report for 2020-21 indicates the society’s balance is stable despite a recent decrease in memberships. The largest source of revenue is the dividend earned by Configurations; its earnings depend on memberships and journal article downloads. Please renew your membership and remember to download Configurations articles for your research and teaching

Editors Melissa and Rajani reported that the journal continues to receive excellent submissions and to publish four numbers per year. The most recent issue of Configurations is a special issue, which they edited with Tim Urban: “Science, Technology, and Literature during Plagues and Pandemics,” 29.4 (Fall 2021). The print issue has been mailed to members and subscribers, who also have electronic access. Any individual with access to Project Muse, which is often purchased by college and university libraries, can also download articles. Melissa and Rajani will soon issue a call for reviewers willing to evaluate manuscripts for the journal, and Ranjodh and Ed agreed to post the journal announcement on social media channels. You can volunteer to serve as a reviewer or submit manuscripts to the journal editors at

2021 conference organizer Irina indicated that the University of Michigan is almost finished processing payments for the 2021 mostly virtual conference. She will soon be able to share the final budget report. The conference evaluation report illustrated that attendees judged the panels and events they attended as excellent. While some respondents prefer in-person meetings, a significant number approved the virtual format and hoped it would be used for future conferences. Dennis and Richard proposed always including some virtual element, which David noted should be offered at the discretion of the conference organizer.

2022 conference organizer Paula reported on arrangements for the next annual meeting of the society to be hosted by Purdue University on its West Lafayette campus, October 6-9, 2022. The meeting will be an in-person event with some component of virtual events; although depending on public health circumstances there could be a pivot to a virtual meeting. Paula reported that Purdue Conference Services is managing registrations, meeting rooms, and catering for the event. She will soon announce the conference theme and the call for papers on the conference webpage at

Paula recommends this link with information about the measures in place at Purdue to keep everyone safe:

The executive will next meet virtually in mid-January on a date TBD to determine who will serve as members on the Nominations Committee and the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee. If you are interested in running for office as a member-at-large (two-year term) or for 2nd Vice-President (a two-year term followed by successive two-year terms as 1st Vice-President and President), or if you would like to serve on the Nominations Committee or the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee, email


Wayne Miller, Electronic Resources Coordinator, asks for new images for the SLSA website homepage ( 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; 2022 rates are noted 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.

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.

Current officers will review applications to make 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.

Ombudspersons: Marcel O’Gorman ( and Kari Nixon ( 

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

Titles in AnthropoScene: The SLSA Book Series
Electromagnetism and the Metonymic Imagination by Kieran Murphy
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
The Art of Identification. Eds. Rex Ferguson, Melissa M. Littlefield, and James Purdon
Fear and Nature: Ecohorror Stories from the Anthropcene. Eds. Christy Tidwell and Carter Soles
Fragments from the History of Loss by Louise Green
Oil Fictions. Eds. Stacey Balkan and Swaralipi Nandi.
Under the Literary Microscope. Eds. Sina Farzin, Susan M. Gaines, and Roslynn D. Haynes.  

SLSA Member’s Discount from Penn State University Press: Use promo code NR21 for 30% off AnthropoScene titles purchased directly from PSU Press, plus free domestic shipping and discounts on foreign shipping!

EUROPEAN Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts  is the sister organization of the international, USA-based Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. SLSAeu welcomes colleagues in the humanities, the social sciences, the arts, and all fields of science, medicine, engineering, and computer sciences as well as independent scholars, artists and scientists.

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Executive Board (2021-22)
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