Decodings Spring 2024 (May edition)


Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Newsletter                     

Spring 2024, Vol. 34, No.2 (May edition)

*SLSA 2024: Climate Diasporas (Dallas)
*SLSA 2024 Awards and Prizes: Travel Grants; Essay, Book, and Lifetime Achievement Awards
*Executive Meeting Notes

*Election Statements: 2nd Vice President and Member-at-Large
*Social Media Liaisons
*Policies:Respectful Behavior and Freedom of Speech & Call for Ombudspersons
*New Book Series: Proximities: Experiments in Nearness

*AnthropoScene Book Series
*Configurations Book Reviews

*European and British Science Societies

SLSA 2024: Climate Diasporas: The next SLSA conference will be held at the Sheraton Dallas, North Olive Street, Dallas, Texas, from November 7 through November 10, 2024. 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 may propose presentations, roundtables, and exhibits related to climate, including issues pertinent to diasporas, by May 30, 2024, to this Easy Chair site:

This conference seeks contributions that think through the co-constitution of climates and diasporas. Today more than ever, these are mutually informed concepts. They are also plural, with ‘climate’ describing everything from political moods to affective exchanges to habitats to global temperatures. Likewise, “diaspora” indicates not just migrations and movements of people but dispersions more broadly including those of other animals, plants, germs, ideas, ideologies, cultures, and concepts.

Perhaps our most pressing understanding of climate relates to issues of global temperature, the rise of which is no longer debated. Fires, floods, famines, drastic temperature changes, and rising seas, to name but a few natural “disasters,” all attest to the fact that the world as we have known it is no longer the case; however, that does not mean the narratives or knowledge of climate change have stabilized. The ways in which the Global North and the Global South experience temperature fluctuations and environmental shifts differ quite radically. This conference will consider issues of climate change, not as a universally experienced singularity, but, rather, as a global phenomenon that is ideologically structured. If we take diasporas to mean dispersions, the migrations and movements of people, other animals, plants, germs, ideas, ideologies, cultures, and concepts, then the varied responses to climate change also undermine and threaten hegemonic ideologies that have historically structured climate.

We welcome papers that address these differences as well as proposals (presentations, panels, roundtables) on other SLSA-related topics. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

Indigeneity                    Environmental Humanities         Accommodations
Race                            Blue Humanities                        Confusions
Class                            Capitalism                                Breaks and Breakdowns
Gender                         “Natural Disasters”                    Chaos
Cultural Difference        Collisions and Collusions           Sustainability

Climate                         Conflicts

All conference presenters and essay award recipients must be SLSA members; to join or renew membership:

Contact email for conference inquiries:
Conference Website:
Conference Registration:
Program Committee: Rajani Sudan (conference organizer), Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal, Elizabeth
         Donaldson, Raymond Malewitz, and Alan Rauch

SLSA 2024 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 may 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 also apply for NSF funds. See more details posted These funds may be used to defray registration or certain transportation expenses.

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 longtime 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:
Prof. Robert Markley, English Department, 608 South Wright Street, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801
Send donations for the Kendrick Prize (checks made out to SLSA, with Kendrick Prize in memo) to:

Carol Colatrella, SLSA Executive Director, LMC, Georgia Tech, 686 Cherry Street, Atlanta, GA 30332-0165

Note: All 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 Lifetime Achievement Awards Committee calls for nominations for the 2024 recipient of the SLSA Lifetime Achievement Award. Consider nominating those whose significant, interdisciplinary scholarship or artwork is exemplary of SLSA. If you would like to nominate a scholar or artist for this award, please write a one-page (about 250-word) nomination statement outlining the person’s contributions to our field studying the resonances of literature, science, and art. Nominations of scholars or artists from diverse, underrepresented, or nontraditional groups are strongly encouraged.  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 (

SLSA Executive Meeting Notes, 3/8/24

Attendees: David Cecchetto, Alan Rauch, Paula Leverage, Ed Chang, Melissa Littlefield, Raymond Malewitz, Jay Labinger, Wayne Miller, Elizabeth Donaldson, Dennis Summers, Ranjodh Dhaliwal, and Carol Colatrella
 Prompted by Dennis Summers, the group discussed mechanisms to increase outreach to improve diversity noted various suggestions, including asking for member ideas and volunteers. As social media liaison, Ed Chang agreed to lead a Diversity and Outreach initiative; he will invite others to assist in this effort. Paula Leverage and Carol Colatrella agreed to help as needed.
President’s Report:
 David Cecchetto mentioned a member’s concern about holding SLSA 2024 in Texas and forecast that a call for papers for the conference would be available soon. He explained that the book series Proximities has published one book and that he and Arielle Saiber expect another volume to come out soon. He also mentioned they have received a number of inquiries and submissions.

The Nomination Committee (Alan Rauch, Paula Leverage) reported that they were finalizing the slate of candidates who will run for the offices of 2nd Vice President and Member-at-large. Carol indicated that the elections statements and a ballot would be available online to 2023 and 2024 members in late March.
SLSA 2024:
 Carol and David reported that hotel and AV arrangements have been contracted for SLSA 2024 in Dallas at the Sheraton Dallas hotel on North Olive Street. In lieu of the society holding a Saturday dance, participants will be able to visit restaurants and clubs that are nearby. The Executive Committee recommended that Rajani Sudan, conference organizer, use Easy Chair to collect proposals and have them vetted by a program committee. Elizabeth Donaldson, Ranjodh Dhaliwal, Alan Rauch, and Raymond Malewitz volunteered to assist Rajani to develop the conference program.  Wayne Miller and Carol will coordinate arrangements for contracting with Easy Chair.


SLSA is pleased to announce the elections of Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal and Nathanael Elias Mengist to the positions of 2nd Vice President and Member-at-Large respectively. We are deeply grateful to the other candidates who put their names forward, and we look forward to continuing to work you in the coming years. Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal, PhD, is Ruth and Paul Idzik Collegiate Chair of Digital Scholarship; Assistant Professor of English; Concurrent Assistant Professor of Film, Television, and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame, will serve as 2nd Vice President from fall 2024 to fall 2026, and subsequently will serve two-year terms as 1st Vice President and President. Nathanael Elias Mengist, PhD Student, Human Centered Design and Engineering, University of Washington, will serve a two-year term (fall 2024 to fall 2026) as Member-at-Large on the SLSA Executive Committee. Congratulations to them and thanks to Irina Aristarkhova, Stacey Moran, Shannon McMullen, and Antoine Traisnel for agreeing to run.


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:

SLSA Ombudsperson: 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.

       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 (

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:This book series from Penn State University Press was published in collaboration with SLSA. 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 The series includes these titles:

     Electromagnetism and the Metonymic Imagination by Kieran Murphy
     Love in a Time of Slaughters: Human-Animal Stories Against Genocide and Extinction by Susan
     Anthropocene Reading: Literary History in Geologic Times
. Eds. Tobias Menely,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!   See

Configurations Book Reviews: Jay Labinger is the new Configurations book review editor. He 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.

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, hosted by the Center for Literature and Natural Science in Birmingham, was held April 10-12, 2024, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS) and the biennial conference of the Commission on Science and Literature (CoSciLit).


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:  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 (; Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal (

Ombudspersons: Marcel O’Gorman (; 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