Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts

Due to the ongoing uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 SLSA conference and member exhibition will be virtual.

Extended Deadline for Submissions: June 15, 2021

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Dates: September 30 – October 3, 2021

Welcome to the 34th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, virtually hosted by the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 

Conference Chair: Irina Aristarkhova
Keynote: Lisa Nakamura

Partner Exhibition at the Stamps Gallery and Keynote: Stephanie Dinkins

Plenaries: Forthcoming

Partners: Digital Studies Institute, Comparative Literature, and English Language and Literature

CFP and Submissions:

Theme: Energy

We seek submissions for panels, individual papers, roundtables, workshops, arts lounges, social networking events, and creative work that deal 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.” We also welcome submissions from colleagues in the sciences, engineering, technology, computer science, medicine, the social sciences, the humanities, the arts, and independent scholars and artists that share a broader interest in problems of science and representation, and in the cultural and social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine.  

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. 

Submissions for 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

– 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. 

The Call for Papers can be found here:

The Submission link can be found here:

Submission deadline: June 15, 2021

Conference Registration costs for presenters and attendees at SLSA 2021 are (note that the registration link will become available at a later date):

For students, independent scholars, researchers or artists/designers, pension members, and members of sponsoring institution (U. of Michigan):  NO COST   

Faculty with limited institutional support for conferences/travel:      $50.00   

 Faculty with institutional support/professional development funds:  $150.00

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

NOTE: reimbursement of the membership fee is possible for some individuals
Graduate students, artists, and independent scholars who register for and attend SLSA 2021 (a virtual conference) and who wish to be reimbursed for membership fees will be asked to complete an online reimbursement request form that will be available on the society website ( between October 5 and December 1, 2021. Reimbursement will be in the form of a US bank check mailed to a postal address.


For questions and inquiries email: 

Conference Production Team:

Ariel Mallett (2020-March 21) and Kim Karlsrud (2020)

Conference Location

Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and partners will virtually host the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

We acknowledge that The University of Michigan, named for Michigami, the world’s largest freshwater system and located in the Huron River watershed, was formed and has grown through connections with the land stewarded by Niswi Ishkodewan Anishinaabeg: The Three Fires People who are the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi along with their neighbors the Seneca, Delaware, Shawnee and Wyandot nations.