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Decodings Archive

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2003 Fall

Fall 2003
vol.12, no.3


	Call for Papers for SLS2004, Durham
	Call for Papers for European SLS 2004, Paris
	Notes on Executive Board and Business Meetings,  2003
	2003 Essay winners & travel subsidy awardees
	Comments from SLS2003 Wrap-up meeting
	Arguments Considering Proposed Name Change of Society
	Calls for papers

Call for Papers: SLS2004, Durham, North Carolina

18th annual conference of the Society for Literature and Science will
be held at the Durham Marriott at the Civic Center, Durham, North
Carolina, October 14-17, 2004, with the cooperation of Duke University.
Karla Hollway, William R. Kenan Professor of English, Dean of
Humanities and Social Sciences, Duke University, will deliver the
Conference Co-organizers: Wayne Miller, Duke University (site
arrangements) and Eve Keller, Fordham University (program).

Please check upcoming issues of Decodings and subscribe to litsci-l (see
back coverf) for further details.


Please submit abstract/proposal via e-mail to both Eve Keller
(ekeller@fordham.edu) and Wayne Miller (wmiller@law.duke.edu).  

SLS2004, Durham (continued)

may submit abstracts (150 words) for individual papers as well as
proposals for panels, usually composed of 3-4 speakers plus discussion
in a 1-1/2 hour session. We encourage innovative proposals for papers,
panels, round-table discussions, and any non-traditional formats.
Sessions involving speakers and/or respondents that transcend
disciplinary boundaries are particularly welcome. 

Society for Literature and Science fosters the multi-disciplinary study
of the relations among literature and language, the arts, science,
medicine, and technology.

POSTED AT http://slsa.press.jhu.edu/awards.html

Call for Papers: European SLS2004, Paris

are invited for contributions to the 3rd SLS European Conference,
Paris, Wed. June 23rd - Sat. 26th, 2004 on the theme "Conversation
Enacting New Synergies in Arts and Sciences".

The work of the conference will be organized into a number of streams
Biotechnology - Between 2 cultures (medicine and literature; chemistry
and literature, etc.) 
-Complexity in art and science - Exemplary readings (Duchamp, OULIPO,
Wittgenstein, Gilles 
Châtelet) - Forgotten ancestors (Poincaré, Whitehead, I. A.
Richards, Bachelard) -
Thought experiments - Performative science - Rhetoric of science -
Standardization - 
Translating between disciplines - Visualization technologies -
Understanding social/technical 
The list is open to further suggestions.

Abstracts and papers may be in either English or French.

Abstracts of 200 words should be sent by e-mail to slsparis04@aol.com by
January 31, 2004 Please include your abstract within your message. 
Proposals for workshops are also welcome.

Paris is sponsored by the University of Paris 8. Co-organizers are Yves
ABRIOUX (Paris 3), Noëlle BATT (Paris 8), and Mathieu DUPLAY (Lille

Notes from Executive Board and Business Meetings at SLS2003

	Labinger introduced new member-at-large Elizabeth Wilson; she will
	serve a two-year term, succeeding Bernice Hausman and Arkady
	Plotnitsky, who held the post jointly.
	SLS 2003 conference organizers Linda Henderson and Bruce
	Clarke were thanked for their hard work in making site arrangements
	coordinating the program. 250 members participated in the Austin
	Kate Hayles stepped down as co-editor of the SLS/University
	of Michigan book series. On behalf of SLS, Jay Labinger thanked Kate
	for envisioning, establishing, and coordinating the series, currently
	consisting of 17 titles. [Titles are listed under the entry Literature
	and Science at www.press.umich.edu/subjects/lit.html.]
	Susan Squier will serve as interim co-editor of the SLS book series;
	she will work with co-editor Stephanie Smith. An executive board
	subcommittee will consider future arrangements for the SLS series.
	The SLS journal Configurations is behind schedule, but editor
	Jim Bono noted that 2002 issues are in process. One is a double issue.
	An executive board subcommittee will work with the journal editors and
	offer advice about future appointments.
	Executive Board members noted that SLS websites are not as
	up-to-date or easy-to-find as they ought to be. Jay Labinger, Carol
	Colatrella, and Sue Hagedorn will consult with Johns Hopkins
	to improve that site (slsa.press.jhu.edu) and to expand the
	www.litsci.org site, where the most recent Configurations bibliography
	Bernice Hausman (bhausman@vt.edu) and Arkady Plotnitsky
	will serve on the 2004 Nominating Committee for member-at-large and
	second vice-president, incoming 2004. Please send them

2003 Essay Prizes

winner of the 2003 Bruns Prize, presented to the best essay by a
graduate student member of SLS, is Colin Milburn (Harvard University)
for his essay "Nanotechnology in the Age of Posthuman Engineering:
Science Fiction and Science," which will appear in Configurations.
In his commendation, Judge Istvan Csicsiery-Ronay considered the essay
"a brilliant interrogation of the cultural discourse of
Admirably clear in its use of critical language, sophisticated in
concept, and useful to researchers in many different fields, the essay
exemplifies the use of deconstructive strategies for understanding the
role of narrative imagination in creating cultural legitimacy for
putatively hard science. . . . In a bravura conclusion, Milburn
proposes that the discourse of nanotechnology has succeeded in making
the posthuman condition imaginable through its involuntary, but
necessary, discursive fusion of science and fiction." 

2003 Schachterle Prize for the best published essay written by an
untenured scholar who is an SLS member was awarded to Maura Brady,
Lemoyne College. Judges Blake Leland and Peter Logan praised Brady's
essay "Galileo in Action:The Telescope in Paradise Lost,"
in Milton Studies, noting that she "offers a compelling
of the role played by social history in defining the meaning of
technological developments, and its use of that social history to open
up both Galileo's and Milton's texts is original and important. . . .
[the essay] exemplifies the successful fusion of social history and the
history of technology, treating them as component parts of a single,
larger discourse."

Travel Awards were presented to Simone Perks, Nan Curtis, Lori Emerson,
Paul Fyfe, Kristen Gallagher, Michaela Giesenkirchen, Leslie Graff,
Gordon Hadfield, Benjamin Joplin, Lewis Klatt, Sharon Lattig, Elizabeth
Mazzolini, Ann Millett, Antje Pfannkuchen, Ben Robertson, Martin
Rogers, and Sasha Steenson.

Some comments from Wrap-up meeting at SLS2003, Austin

	participants praised Linda Henderson and Bruce Clarke for their the
	excellence of the site arrangments and the program, particularly
	commending the number of panels on art and art history. 
	Proposed improvement for sessions: having microphones
	available. Linda noted the high cost of audio-visual equipment and
	their Austin efforts to borrow (instead of rent) needed items.
	Registration fees might need to increase to offset these costs.
	Having preorganized panels for the conference is an aid to the program
	Schedule: Participants like having sessions on Thursday night
	better than attending a plenary. They also preferred having 30-minute
	breaks between some sessions.
	Putting papers/abstracts up on the conference website in advance of the
meeting facilitates discussion. 
	Attendees considered the possibility of changing the name of the
society to the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts.  

Changing the Society's Name: Procedure

proposal to change the SLS bylaws requires approval by 2/3 of
respondents to a mail ballot. The next issue of Decodings, to be
published in mid-March 2004, will likely contain a specific motion and
a ballot on this proposal. This issue will be sent to all 2003 and 2004
members of the society; you can check the address label on this copy of
the newsletter to see the last year you paid dues

Executive Board determined that all members should have the opportunity
to take part in the discussion of the proposal to change the
organization's name, a conversation that began at the conference and is
extended by the contributed statements appearing below this notice.
Further discussion will continue on the LITSCI-L listserv. Directions
about subscribing to the list appear on the inside back cover of this
issue of the newsletter. 

make sure that you have renewed your membership dues and that you are
subscribed to LITSCI-L to take part in the debate and to vote on the
question of the name change.

about membership can be directed to Carol Colatrella or to the Johns
Hopkins University Press Journals Division staff. Their contact
information is located on the inside back cover of this issue.

Arguments in favor of changing the SLS to the SLSA, 
Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts 
By Bruce Clarke with input from Linda Henderson and Hugh Crawford

	name SLS no longer captures the actual composition of our membership
	our conferences. A name-change to SLSA confirms the real growth of the
	society from its original literary base to a wider arts-and-humanities
	A name-change to SLSA ratifies the active connection to the
	arts that has been a feature of the organization for a number of
	The inside front cover of Configurations reads: "The Society for
	Literature and Science fosters the multi-disciplinary study of the
	relations among literature and language, the arts, science, medicine,
	and technology." In addition, since 1997 the annual bibliography
	Configurations has been titled "Relations of Science to Literature
	the Arts." 
	SLSA works nicely to position Science at the center between
	Literature and the Arts. Adding the A to SLS both preserves the
	original acronym and makes clear that the organization recognizes
	visual imagery as a central type of the "configurations" it
	One third of the participants in SLS 2003 were in the arts.
	While some have come year after year, many were new. Without some
	gesture towards the arts, it is not certain that the SLS can count on
	continued growth in this area. A name-change to SLSA will be an
	opportunity to actively secure the ongoing participation of the many
	new arts attendees at this year's meeting.
	The half-page ad in Leonardo: Journal of the International
	Society for the Arts, Science and Technology (published by MIT Press)
	that brought a number of European and American artists and scholars to
	the conference, also had to include additional information about why
	artists and art historians might be interested in a group that seemed
	to focus only on Literature and Science. A name-change to SLSA will
	eliminate this problem, and also make it less problematic for artists
	and art historians to secure institutional funding to attend our
	The SLS is not just a cultural science studies organization
	using multiple approaches to study science, medicine, and technology.
	Many members focus on a variety of creative fields (literature, art,
	new media, etc.) in the context of the history of science, technology,
	etc. The descriptive extension to SLSA maintains and clarifies this
	two-way orientation.
	There is currently no professional organization for digital
	media arts and scholarship. With the name-change to SLSA we become the
	home organization for media arts and ratify our connection with this
	increasingly active creative and academic area.
	This name change will create opportunities for new publicity
	to reintroduce the society to the wider scholarly community both
	national and internationally.

Arguments opposing changing the name of the Society for Literature and
By Arkady Plotnitsky and Elizabeth Wilson, with input from Jim Bono and
Richard Nash

discussions concerning the name of the Society have produced lively
exchanges and reasonable arguments for a name change, in particular
from SLS to SLSA (Society for Literature, Science, and Art), although
other possibilities were entertained as well. However, there are
potential problems with alternative names; specifically, the risk of
losing the identity and history that the name SLS carries with it. The
present statement summarizes reservations concerning changing the
Society's name, and proposes that we keep the name SLS. 

is, we all agree, a need to target specific groups in our membership
(such as the digital art community, art practitioners, art theorists
etc), to encourage their attendance at meetings and their ongoing input
into the organization's structure. The 2003 meeting was particularly
successful in this regard. We all understand that the impetus behind
the name change proposal is to build on and extend this success. The
proposed name change, however, does not merely add a category to a
list-it departs from an institutional identity that has been built over
time, and in doing so something valuable may be lost. 

can all agree that a major strength of this organization has been its
intellectual flexibility, adapting to changing currents of disciplinary
practices and objects of study. Our active commitment to
interdisciplinary investigation has established our reputation as a
home for a wide variety of research interests and methodologies. We are
distinctive for being open to science studies research that draws on
rhetoric, literary studies, philosophy, cultural studies, theories of
representation, graphic and visual technologies, mathematics, history,
and ethnographies. No other science studies organization can boast such
a rich membership base, such hospitality to a diversity of
methodologies, and such openness to the potential of science studies in
the years ahead. 

a name, "SLS" is associated with all these things. Neither
nor "science" is, has been, or should be construed narrowly in
the name
of this organization. Rather, those words are balancing gestures toward
a comprehensive sweep that includes a great deal more than any
practical list of nuanced particularities can hope to enumerate. Our
name is more than the sum of its constituent parts; we have fashioned
an institutional identity marked by strategies of openness and
inclusion, and the familiar name for that identity is "SLS." 

we recommend that the membership vote to keep the name the same--that
is, to retain the identity of the organization as defined by its
intellectual and academic diversity, not by the letters in its acronym.
In no way should this be construed as opposition to the inclusion of
any of the diverse constituencies that help this organization to
flourish. Retaining the name SLS is less about retaining a narrow set
of initials than it is about retaining the identity that has been
created over the past twenty years. Changing the name is not just a
matter of "buying a vowel"; we would also lose some of the
identification that has been built up (sometimes at cost) during that

FOR PAPERS - The Maine Women Writers Collection at the University of
New England solicits proposals for individual papers or thematic
sessions on "Women, Health, and Representation" for an
interdisciplinary conference to be held June 17-19, 2004, in Portland,
Maine. Keynote speaker: Lori Arviso Alvord, M.D. 

program committee seeks submissions that explore the theme of women and
health through a broad range of critical approaches to representation.
Though the Maine Women Writers Collection hosts the conference, the
committee invites theme-related proposals focusing on all regions,
cultures and time periods. 

1-page abstract and 1-page CV to: Dr. Jennifer S. Tuttle, University of
New England, Department of English, 11 Hills Beach Rd., Biddeford, ME

For more detailed information on the conference theme and guidelines for
submission, see  www.une.edu/mwwc or contact jtuttle@une.edu.


TOPIC:	"Medicine and Media: The Delicate Balance"
PLACE: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
DATES:  March 12 - 14, 2004

CO-CHAIRS are Therese Jones, Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics,
University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
(jonest2@uthscsa.edu) and Lester D. Friedman, Medical Humanities and
Bioethics Program, Northwestern University

conference will interrogate and reflect upon the complex and
complicated relationship between the media and medical researchers,
practitioners, ethicists and educators. Whether we are using an episode
of E.R. in our courses or answering questions about cloning for the
local television station, medical humanists and ethicists are
constantly engaged in a dynamic process of affecting and being affected
by the media, a process that demands and deserves critical analysis. We
look forward to proposals addressing a range of relevant issues from a
variety of disciplinary perspectives. 

or e-mail a 300 Ð 400 word abstract of the proposed paper, a short
bibliography (10 item maximum) related to the subject, and a brief
biographical note which includes your phone number, e-mail address and
mailing address to Lester D. Friedman PhD, Medical Ethics &
Humanities Program, Northwestern U, 750 Lake Shore Drive (ABA 627),
Chicago IL 60611 or l-friedman@northwestern.edu.



An Evensong (corrected text of poem appearing in summer issue)

I remember
what I read
in some
medical journals.

They said
there are symptoms
that include 
memory loss,

and loss
of orientation
and impairment
of judgement,

and loss
of control
over the functions 
of the body.

I do remember
what I read
in some
medical journals.

Will you turn
the TV on?
Did I miss
the evening news?

No, honey,
you did not miss.
You did not miss
the evening news.

Vish Ayengar, Wappingers Falls, NY

SLS MEMBERSHIP--Join or renew online at


Or click "Online membership" at SLS website

for 2004: $40 for individuals ($24 for students, $28 for annual income
under $20,000. Members/ subscribers should add $5.40 for Canadian or
Mexican addresses, $6.75 for addresses outside North America, $5 for
joint membership (2 votes, 1 set of mailings). 

payments, address changes, and subscription inquiries should be sent
to: Johns Hopkins University Press, Journals Division, P.O. Box 19966,
Baltimore, MD 21211-0966. For faster service, call toll-free
1-800-548-1784 (U.S. and Canada only, all others call 410-516-6987)
Mon.-Fri., 8:00-5:00, or FAX (410) 516-6968.

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