Decodings Winter 2023 (December 1 edition)

Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter                      
Winter 2023, Vol. 34, No.1 (December 1 edition) 

*SLSA 2024: Climate (Dallas) 
*Executive & Business Meeting Notes
*SLSA Awards: Essay, Book, Lifetime and Travel Stipends
*Social Media Liaisons
* Policies:Respectful Behavior and Freedom of Speech & Call for Ombudspersons
*New Book Series: Proximities: Experiments in Nearness 

*AnthropoScene Book Series 
*European Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts  

SLSA 2024: Climate: The next SLSA conference will be held in Dallas in fall 2024 (dates TBA). Rajani Sudan is the organizer, and her institution Southern Methodist University will sponsor the meeting. Additional support will come from the Bass School for Arts, Humanities and Technology and the University of Texas-Dallas. SLSA members will be invited to propose presentations, roundtables, and exhibits related to climate, including issues pertinent the diaspora. Other SLSA topics are also encouraged. 

12/1/23 Executive Committee Notes: David Cecchetto reported on the Proximities book series and thanked Adam Nocek, Stacey Moran, and their ASU team for their hard work and the excellent outcomes of the 2023 conference. Rajani Sudan reported on plans for SLSA 2024: Climate, which will include attention to diasporic issues. The executive committee formed the Nominations and Lifetime Achievement Award Committees and began to discuss ways to diversify society membership and to make the conference more affordable for those without institutional travel support. Paula Leverage of Purdue University and Shane Denson of Stanford University are serving two-year terms, which will conclude in fall 2025. Graduate student liaisons are Ben Platt (Oregon State) and Elena Maloul (University of Michigan). The next executive meeting will be held virtually in early February on a date to be announced. 

Journal Book Review Editor: Melissa Littlefield announced that Jay Labinger will serve as the new Configurations book review editor. She also thanked the outgoing Book Review Editor, Jeff Karnicky, for his decade of service to Configurations. Jay Labinger plans to publish around 10 reviews per year, of books–on any topic–that are likely to interest a wide cross-section of SLSA members and Configurations readers.  If you wish to propose a book for review, please email Jay ( the author/title/publisher, a very brief description and statement of why it merits being reviewed in Configurations, and whether you would like to do the review yourself or, if not, any suggestions you may have for appropriate reviewers. Authors are welcome to propose their own recent book for review, with the same info. Jay will post a list of books on litsci-l and ask anyone interested in reviewing one of them to respond to him. Look at an issue of Configurations to get an idea of the preferred length and style for reviews. After a reviewer has been matched up with a book, Jay will ask for submission of the review within four months or so; publication can usually be expected within one or two issues following receipt.

Elections and Nominations: Members should send nominations of candidates to run for the positions of member-at-large and of second-vice-president to the Nominations Committee chair Alan Rauch ( and member Paula Leverage (; they also welcome suggestions of student members who would like to be appointed graduate student liaisons. Information about the leadership positions is available at the society’s Governance website at

Nominations of individuals to be considered for the Lifetime Achievement Award should be sent to committee chair Dennis Summers ( ) and to members Laura Otis ( and Elizabeth Donaldson ( 

Travel Awards: SLSA provides a limited number of travel awards for underfunded individuals attending the annual conference. Members of SLSA who present at the annual conference may apply for travel subventions by emailing their name, title of their SLSA presentation, and an indication of how long one has been a member of SLSA to the executive director by August 1. Please provide estimated travel expenses and the amount of support anticipated from other sources. If you have received travel support from SLSA in the past, please include information about that support (when and how much). SLSA officers will review applications and approve funds for as many as our budget permits; preference will be given to students and those most in need. Each person awarded funds will be presented with a US check at the conference business meeting. SLSA funds can be used to defray hotel, registration, transportation, or other travel expenses.

SLSA NSF Travel Grants: SLSA members who are US citizens or students enrolled in US institutions may apply for NSF funds. More details and a link to an application will be posted in spring 2024 at

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 nontenured 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. The prize will be announced at the annual SLSA conference. 

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.

To be considered for this year’s Kendrick Prize, please send three copies of your book by June 30 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

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.

SLSA Lifetime Achievement Award: The SLSA Executive Committee will each spring appoint a committee to seek and review nominations for the SLSA Lifetime Achievement award. Members of this committee will include a former President of SLSA, one currently serving member at large, and one other SLSA member. The Lifetime Achievement Awards Committee will send out an announcement asking members to nominate candidates whose significant, interdisciplinary scholarship or artwork is exemplary of SLSA. The committee members will nominate candidates and should collaborate on reviewing nominations from the membership to select a living recipient of the award or to decide not to make an award for that year. The Lifetime Achievement award will be presented at the annual business meeting.


Wayne Miller, Electronic Resources Coordinator, asks for new images for the SLSA website homepage ( Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal and Ed Chang are developing SLSA social media. SLSA members interested in contributing to social media on behalf of the society are encouraged to email Ed ( and Ranjodh ( 

POLICIES ADOPTED:Respectful Behavior and Freedom of Speech & Call for Ombudspersons 

The updated policies are posted here:

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 (

NEW SLSA BOOK SERIES Proximities: Experiments in Nearness, from University of Minnesota Press: Adjacencies abound. We are past the moment of merely thinking in terms of how opposites attract and nodes network. Today, disciplines and fields move consciously proximate to one another, in conversation and growing together. Further, the future is no longer sometime in the distance, but appears near to us, often grasped as an impending horizon of political, social, economic, and environmental catastrophe. Now more than ever, so much is so close. See the Call for Proposals ( for more information.Books in the Proximities series think proximately, that is, in disciplinary tandem, about the relationships within and between the arts, literature, and science, as well as how scholarship can best be in active dialogue with communities and the world around us today, and in the future. Published in association with the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, this series not only thinks across disciplines, but thinks about the continuities and crossings themselves, interrogating how and why their disciplinary proximities matter. Proximities publishes work that is crafted with nearness in mind: human nearness to one another and the world around us; nearness to one another’s thoughts; to our written and unwritten pasts; to critical trends and crises; to our futures ahead. This kind of scholarship powerfully catalyzes awareness of what it means to work interdisciplinarily by challenging assumptions about disciplinary thinking from the outside in, and the inside out. If interested in submitting a proposal, please contact the editors with a short description of your book project.
Series Editors: David Cecchetto—York University (Toronto, Canada) and Arielle Saiber—Johns Hopkins University

ANTHROPOSCENE: PREVIOUS SLSA BOOK SERIES, 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. Send questions to: Kendra Boileau, Assistant Director and Editor‐in‐Chief, at Or contact the SLSA liaison for the series, Pamela Gossin at or

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! 

The 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. The last meeting of SLSAeu was hosted by the Center for Literature and Natural Science in Erlangen, Germany, was held May 18-21, 2023. 
     The International Conference of Three Societies on Literature and Science willbe held with two other science societies in Birmingham (UK), 10-12 April 2024. See
    For 2024, the annual conferences of the European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (SLSAeu) the British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS), together with the biennial conference of the Commission on Science and Literature (CoSciLit), will be combined into a single meeting. This will be the first time that these three societies have joined together to share research at the many intersections of literature and science.
       See more details at the conference website. 


President: David Cecchetto, York University, Toronto (

Executive Director: Carol Colatrella, Georgia Institute of Technology     (
First Vice-President: Rajani Sudan, Southern Methodist University (

Second Vice-President: Adam Nocek, Arizona State University (

Members-at-Large: Joshua DiCaglio (2021-23); Anne Hudson Jones (2021-23); Amanda K. Greene (2022-24), Paula Leverage (2023-25), Shane Denson (2023-25).
Graduate Student Liaisons: Ben Platt (, Elena Maloul (

Configurations Editors: Melissa Littlefield, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Rajani Sudan, Southern Methodist University. Configurations Email address:
Configurations Book Review Editor: Jay Labinger, California Institute of Technology (
Publications Committee: Pamela Gossin; Raymond Malewitz; Bruce Clarke 

Electronic Resources Coordinator: Wayne Miller (

Arts Liaisons: Dennis Summers (; Maria Whiteman (
Social Media Liaisons: Ed Chang (; RanjodhSingh 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