Decodings: Winter 2022 (February Edition)


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter                     

Winter 2022, Vol. 31, No.2 (February edition)

*SLSA 2022: Reading Minds, Purdue University, Call for Papers

*SLSA 2021: Energy, University of Michigan, Keynote Recordings

*1/20/22 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 2022, Purdue University, Call for Papers

“Reading Minds: Artificial Intelligence, Neural Networks and the Reading Human”

The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts invites submissions for its 35th annual meeting that will take place October 6-9, 2022, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The Center for NeuroHumanities in the School of Languages and Cultures and co-sponsors will host SLSA2022 as an on-site conference (subject to future guidelines relating to evolving concerns with COVID-19). For Purdue University’s response to the pandemic, please refer to for updates.

The conference theme is “Reading Minds: Artificial Intelligence, Neural Networks, and the Reading Human.”

Engaging scholars of literature, science, and the arts in questions pertaining to the nature of reading inevitably suggests new lines of enquiry which extend beyond disciplinary fields and reach to apprehend the “grand challenges” of the twenty-first century. Historically, the definition of reading has been narrowly defined as a human mind deciphering text, as written traditions of communication replaced the oral. With machine learning, natural language processing, and imaging, both the understanding of “reading” and “mind” are in flux. Over the course of the pandemic, the pivot to remote work and social distancing have led to an augmented virtual experience with the attendant consequences of new patterns of reading and an accumulation of data from that engagement.

We seek papers, panels, workshops, and creative work that might address the following concerns, broadly defined:

  • Artifacts of reading: print and digital
  • The embodied mind problematized from the perspective of AI
  • Natural language processing, especially machine translation and natural language generation.
  • Neuro networks: human, animal, and other organisms
  • Data mining and data mine analysis
  • Imaging and reading images, especially reading images of the brain / mind
  • Cognitive processes of reading, and how they relate to the construction of meaning
  • Theory of Mind in relation to reading, data mining, and algorithms
  • Empathy, and its simulation, through cognitive and affective lenses
  • Creativity and computer-assisted processing and generation of art and literature
  • Critical discourse in academia in the contexts of increasingly sophisticated algorithmic reading and the digital humanities, including future directions and caveats

Papers/panels on all SLSA-related topics are also welcome.

We invite proposals for:

  •     individual papers, posters and pre-organized panels
  •     workshops, roundtables, arts lounges, and social networking events
  •     creative work

The submission deadline for abstracts is April 22, 2022. Information about how to submit your abstract will be available soon.

Participants in SLSA 2022 must be current members of SLSA. For membership inscription, please refer to the society’s website:

For updates and further information, as it becomes available, please see the conference website: Questions may be sent to

Conference attendees will be able to book accommodation at the newly renovated on-campus Union Club Hotel, where a block of rooms is reserved: In addition, there are a number of other options for accommodation, both in West Lafayette and Lafayette. For conference participants arriving by air, the closest airport is IND (Indianapolis). Information about accommodation and travel will be posted to the conference website in the coming weeks.

SLSA 2021: Energy, University of Michigan, Keynote Recordings

Irina Aristarkhova, Conference Chair of SLSA 2021: Energy, shares links to two videos posted on Youtube with SLSA2021 Keynotes (who consented to the recording):

  1. Lisa Nakamura (moderated by Osman Khan), “The Minor Energy of Anti-Asian Digital Racism: Women of Color and the Digital Labor of Repair”at
  2. CristóbalMartinez and Liz Lerman (moderated by Jane Prophet), “Our Fathers, Crimes, and the Nature of Energy in the Universe” at

SLSA Executive Committee Meeting Notes 1/20/22

Attending: David Cecchetto, Maria Whiteman, Rajani Sudan, Joshua DiCaglio, Elizabeth Donaldson, Carol Colatrella, Jay Labinger, Melissa Littlefield, Wayne Miller, Laura Otis, Alan Rauch, Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal, Dennis Summers

Melissa and Rajani reported they are planning for the 30th year of Configurations. Other discussion focused on 2022 conference plans, establishing membership for various committees, and cost-of-living stipend increases for the executive director and electronic resources coordinator.

The next annual SLSA meeting will be hosted by Purdue University on its West Lafayette campus, October 6-9, 2022. The theme of the meeting will be “Reading Minds,” and it is being planned as an in-person event with some virtual events. Depending on public health circumstances there could be a pivot to a virtual meeting. Purdue Conference Services is managing registrations, meeting rooms, and catering for the event.  See information about the measures in place at Purdue to keep everyone safe:

Executive discussion focused on establishing the membership of 2022 committees:
Lifetime Achievement: Alan Rauch (chair), Raymond Malewitz, Elizabeth Donaldson.

Nominations: Laura Otis (chair), Joshua DiCaglio.

Bylaws: David Cecchetto, Maria Whiteman, Rajani Sudan, Carol Colatrella

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 share a nomination for these offices with the Nominations Committee, or if you are a graduate student interested in volunteering as a member of the committee, please email Laura (

Nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee should be emailed to Alan (; a graduate student member interested in serving on this awards committee should let Alan know.

The executive committee will next meet virtually in April on a date TBD.


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

EUROPEAN Society for Literature, Science, and the Art 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 (2022)
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