Popular Culture Course Syllabi

We have received a request from Sue Matheson who is working on behalf of the PCA Board to make available to our membership instructional materials on the PCA/ACA website. She is seeking syllabi from popular culture courses from people in our area.  Please send any material to her at smatheson@ucn.ca



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PCA July Newsletter, 2016

PCA July Newsletter
Swimming at Camp Mudjekeewis
Hop in, the water’s great!

Greetings from the PCA!

We hope your summer is off to a lovely start, and that you’re getting excited for the 2017 PCA conference in San Diego.  Here’s a brief update for you.

In this update:
1. Submissions open July 6.
2. BGSU Research Workshop a success!
3. Your conference team.
4. In Memoriam

1. Submissions open July 6

We’re very excited to show off our new submission system, part of a complete overhaul of the PCA’s web presence.  Alas, we found a couple bugs at the last minute that would have caused too much trouble, so we had to delay opening the system for a few days.

Take the time to polish your abstracts, and we’ll have the system open on July 6th.

2. The BGSU Research Workshop was a success!

At the end of May, the PCA co-sponsored a Research Workshop at Bowling Green State University’s massive popular culture library. Check out the program and description on our website:  pcaaca.org/workshop

We hope to see this as a continuing event, so watch these newsletters for more information.

3. Your Conference Team

Over the course of the year, this newsletter will introduce members of your leadership team at the PCA.  We thought we’d start with the conference team:

Joseph Hancock, Executive Director of Events

Brendan Riley, Executive Director of Operations

Jennifer Loeb, Conference Coordinator

If you have questions about the conference, Contact us!

4. In Memoriam

We’re sad to report that these members of the PCA community have passed recently.

Robert J Fyne, Veteran English professor at Kean University, 78. Born in New York City, Robert grew up in Elizabeth, N.J. He was an English professor at Kean University in Union, N.J. for 48 years, and influenced many students with his Russian Literature course taught on location in Moscow and Petersburg. Robert is survived by his wife of 22 years, Jo-Ann Dorio, and family. (Star Ledger)

Gary Lee Harmon, University of North Florida (among others). Gary was born in Aurora, Nebraska on August 16, 1935.  He began his long and satisfying career at Flint Community College, Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and the University of North Florida. Gary is survived by his wife of 25 years, Debbie and his three sons and family. (Dignity)

We also recently reported that the Journal of Popular Culture managing editor Deborah Carmichael passed away in late June.

Our condolences to the families and friends of these threegreat colleagues. They will be missed.

Questions: Contact us!
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Deborah Carmicheal, 2016

Popular Culture Association  / American Culture Association
Sad News – Deborah Carmichael
25 June 2016

A message from the Editor of the Journal of Popular Culture, Ann Larabee

I am sad to report that Deborah Carmichael, managing editor of The Journal of Popular Culture for many years, died peacefully this week after a short illness.

I know that many of you have had contact with Deb, either in her duties as managing editor or as the chair of the Sixties area of the national PCA/ACA conference. Deb had a big personality, a commitment to the profession, and a wonderfully sweet disposition. She was sage counselor and good friend to many colleagues and students here at Michigan State University. There was no one like her, and she will be missed.

A colleague of hers drafted this statement: “Deborah Carmichael was a thoughtful and caring teacher in the Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures Department at MSU. A good listener and friend, Deb always kept her door open for students and colleagues alike. She received her Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University, where she studied nineteenth-century American literature, and film and popular culture. There, she researched Oklahoma film circuits as cultural centers in small agricultural communities. Deb also served as managing editor of the Journal of Popular Culture and Editor-in-Chief of Film and History. She published scholarly articles, did textbook editing, and gave numerous conference presentations on popular culture at the regional, national, and even international levels. Deb was active in the American Federation of Teachers union, and had just been elected as its president. She traveled widely, to Australia (invited conference speaker) and to Europe and the Middle East, and had lived in Oklahoma, Florida, and New York City, where she was a fashion merchandiser. About one year ago, she was preceded in death by her long-time and much beloved partner Michael Baldwin.”

I wish that she could have been here to celebrate the journal’s fiftieth anniversary, but I know she will be here in spirit and in her lasting contribution to the organization.

Ann Larabee
Editor, Journal of Popular Culture

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Call for National PCA, San Diego 2017


Conference of the Popular and American Culture Association (PCA/ACA)

12 – 15 April 2017 – San Diego, CA


One of the largest and most vibrant of the association, the Science Fiction and Fantasy (SF/F) Area invites proposals for its 2017 national conference to be held at the San Diego Marriott Hotel. The goals of our area are (1) to share and support research, scholarship, and publication and (2) to mentor emerging scholars. As a result, we invite proposals from professors, independent scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates (with the guidance of a professor).


PCA/ACA SF/F welcomes any theoretical or (inter)disciplinary approach to any topic related to SF/F:  art; literature; radio; film; television; comics and graphic novels; video, role-playing, and multi-player online games.  The SF/F Area is also interested in featuring science fiction and fantasy writers and poets. Creative writers are welcomed.


Special Sessions


Canada 150

In honour of the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation, the Science Fiction Fantasy will be holding a special session (or sessions depending on proposals received) on Canada’s contribution to Science Fiction and Fantasy.  Papers are welcomed on any topic which includes Canada – from its SFF authors (Margaret Atwood, Cory Doctorow, Tanya Huff, William Gibson, Elisabeth Vonarburg) SFF television (Starlost, Forever Knight, X-Files, etc.) or Canadian cities which have stood in for alien worlds (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal).  We welcome any perspective of Canadian SFF or the influence of Canada on SFF.


Collecting Science Fiction Fantasy

The areas of Science Fiction Fantasy and Collecting & Collectibles are holding special joint sessions on the intersection of these areas.  We are seeking papers which approach the tie-ins between SFF movies, comics and books and the world of collecting, and how each influences the other; and the important role that memorabilia play in the world of the fan, and how SFF fans use these items to mark their loyalties to specific franchises. Some examples of tie-ins could include (but are NOT limited to Marvel, Star Trek, Star Wars, Outlander, and Lord of the Rings.   Any SFF tie-in from any era will be considered. We encourage a wide variety of approaches to these subjects from conceptual to particular. When making your proposals please indicate your desire to have it considered for the special session to the area chairs.


SFF Crossing Over – Canonicity and Creativity in the Comic Arts

The areas of Science Fiction Fantasy and Comics and Comic Arts are holding  special joint sessions on the (dis)connection between comic canon and the cinematic versions of the story (for example Marvel, DC and the Walking Dead), and how series have found new life outside of their television/cinematic origins in comic crossovers (for example Doctor Who, Star Trek) or the extension of the stories (such as Agents of SHIELD).  We encourage a wide variety of approaches to these subjects, from the conceptual to the particular.  When making your proposals please indicate your desire to have them considered for the special session to the area chairs.



When proposing for a special session please clearly indicate this, and contact the area chairs pcasff@gmail.com to ensure that your paper is considered for the appropriate session.


Submission Guidelines:  In Word (.doc/.docx), Rich Text Format (.rtf), or PDF, completed papers or 250-word proposals for individual papers, or creative writing readings should be submitted through the PCA website and only through the PCA website. If you wish to submit a panel for the conference, all presenters must submit individually through the website, and then notify the Area Chairs of your intentions to present together. Please do not include panel colleagues on the electronic submission as this confuses the program.  Instructions for submission can be found at www.pcaaca.org/conference/instructions.php and submissions made at http://ncp.pcaaca.org .


Submissions can be made on the site after July 1st, 2016.


The document should contain the following information in this order:


  • Name of presenter—indicate main contact person if submitting a multi-authored paper
  • Institutional affiliation—if applicable
  • Name and contact information of Supervising professor—undergraduates only
  • Address(es), telephone number(s), and current email address(es) of presenter(s)
  • Title of paper
  • Completed paper(s) or 250-word proposal(s)—if submitting a workshop, please specifically indicate what those in attendance will gain


Roundtables and special sessions can only be created by Area Chairs—if you wish to organize one of these sessions, please contact the Area Chairs, who will create the event for you in the schedule. Note that beginning with the 2015 conference, ALL areas are limited in the number of roundtables that can be held. If you wish to propose one, then do so as soon as possible.

The paper proposal will be acknowledged within 2 days of its receipt, and the sender will be notified of the submission’s status no later than 15th October 2016.  Please be aware that acknowledgement of receipt does not automatically denote acceptance.  Deadlines for submission are firm, and we cannot accept any papers made after the deadline.  Earlier submission is appreciated.


Please, do not simultaneously submit the same proposal to multiple areas. Doing so is a discourtesy to area chairs, and will result in your paper being refused. Per PCA/ACA guidelines, a person may present only one paper at the annual meeting, regardless of subject area. If you try to submit to two areas, the master program will not accept your proposals (which may result in your paper not being accepted in either area).



Submission Deadline:  1 October 2016


Each year the SF/F Area hosts a fundraising event that includes a film, snacks, and a prize raffle of DVDs, novels, academic books, etc.—thousands of dollars in merchandise. Come enjoy the food, friendship, and fun! This year’s movie will be a fantasy film, TBD. Fundraising supports area activities and, beginning with the 2011 conference, awards to the two best papers, graduate student and professional. The Student Award includes a cash prize. More details about these awards can be found at the area’s website: www.pcasff.wordpress.com. We do accept donations of items for the raffle, so if your shelves are starting to bulge under all of your SF/F memorabilia, ask yourself if you really need 3 Thor action figures. If not, then donate that stuff to us.


Please be aware that the PCA offers several (highly competitive) travel bursaries and deadlines for them are the 7 January 2017.  Check the PCA website www.pcaaca.org for more information.



Hope to see you in San Diego!


PCA/ACA SF/F Area Chairs


Dr. Gillian I Leitch

Independent Scholar                                                               Dr. Sherry Ginn

23 Blvd Mont-Bleu, #1                                                            Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

Gatineau, QC                                                                          1531 Trinity Church Rd

Canada J8Z 1H9                                                                      Concord, NC 28110   USA



Direct all enquiries to our email address:                              pcasff@gmail.com


NOTE: While the PCA/ACA welcomes fresh approaches to subjects, we also appreciate serious commitment to scholarship and to presenting at the conference.


Please note that this is a professional conference and once you are accepted, your presentation becomes integral to the success of the event.  If you must cancel, please notify the Area Chairs of your withdrawal as soon as you know.  Failure to do so will impact future opportunities to present at this conference.


Next year’s conference will commence early Wednesday morning. Be advised that your panel will be assigned a time randomly by the master scheduler. We cannot change the schedule after it is completed, so please ensure that you will be able to attend the entire conference before you submit your proposal. In other words, clear your schedule from Wednesday through Saturday. We will notify you of your exact presentation time as soon as we can, but know that the program is not likely to be completed before December 1st; make your hotel reservations as soon as possible. The number of reserved rate hotel rooms are limited.


Please consult our handy guide for proposing here:





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Call for Proposals: Considering Sydney Newman, 2016

Call for Proposals

“Considering Sydney Newman”



Sydney Newman, image from Doctorwhowatch.com

In light of the recent fiftieth anniversary of the long-running science fiction television series Doctor Who, it seems only fair that some attention be paid to its creator Sydney Newman (1917-1997).  Newman enjoyed a long and interesting career in broadcasting and films.  While his ‘claim to fame’ might very well be as creator of Doctor Who and Avengers, he also worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as Supervising director of features, documentaries and outside broadcasts (1952-1958), the Associated British Corporation as head of Drama (1958-1962), the British Broadcasting Corporation as head of Drama (1962-1967), and the National Film Board of Canada as a film editor (1941-1949) and as Commissioner (1970-1975).  He then became a special advisor on film to the Canadian Secretary of State, and was Chief Creative Consultant for the Canadian Film Development Corporation (1978-1984).


His work at these institutions was important in the history of Canadian and British broadcasting, and popular culture. His influence was far-reaching.  But thus far, while there have been some studies which have taken into account the particular roles which he has played during his career, no study has taken his roles together, to provide a more complete picture.


This peer-reviewed collection seeks to understand Sydney Newman in relation to his long career in Canada and in Britain. Articles can deal with specific aspects of his career, specific institutions, specific programs he developed, his influence as a producer/filmmaker, or administrator.  Biographical articles are also welcome.

The aim is that the collection taken as a whole will provide a balanced look at his varied career in two countries during periods of significant development and change in the entertainment industry.


Proposals should be approximately two hundred words, and sent to gilliandoctor@gmail.com by the 1st of September 2016.  A decision will be communicated by the 15th of September, and final articles should be submitted by the 15 May 2016.


Gillian I Leitch, PhD

Independent Scholar

Co-Chair, Science Fiction Fantasy Area, PCA/ACA





Key Words: Canada, United Kingdom, National Film Board of Canada, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, British Broadcasting Corporation, Associated British Corporation, television, film, policy, public broadcasting


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Fan Phenomena: Mermaids!

Fan Phenomena: Mermaids

Fan Phenomena: Mermaids


Distributed for Intellect Ltd

150 pages | illustrated in color throughout | 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 | © 2016
Disney’s Princess Ariel would give anything to be “where the people are,” but little does she know there’s an ever-growing fan base of humans dying to be down in the ocean where she is. Movies like theLittle Mermaid and Pirates of the Caribbean have sparked the interest of newer generations of mermaid fans, but our enchantment with these mythical creatures of the sea goes back for centuries.Fan Phenomena: Mermaids takes a deep dive into these fascinations and the cultural creations that mermaids inspire among fans of all ages.

Mermaids, and merfolk more generally, are everywhere you look. Merfolk devotees march in themed parades and practice mermaid-ing—swimming with a mermaid tail. There’s mermaid fiction and mermaid virtual reality; mermaid art and #mermaid trends. You may not know it, but transgenerational merfolk fan communities stretch around the world—from sea to shining sea. And their popularity is only growing.

In Fan Phenomena: Mermaids, Matthieu Guitton assembles a star-studded cast of scholars and popular culture insiders to decode the mermaid phenomenon. The book explores how merfolk have evolved in popular culture and what it is that grants them their privileged status among fantasy creatures. Illustrated throughout with fan photographs and stills from a plethora of films and TV shows, this new addition to the Fan Phenomena series promises to both fascinate and delight readers—earthbound and ocean-going alike.

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And soon the conference!

Wizard of Oz
“Off to the Emerald City!”

Greetings PCA/ACA Conference Attendees!

We hope you’re packing your bags and getting ready for the trip to Seattle.  It’s going to be great!

Conference Tips: 

Here are a few reminders for the successful delivery of your research and scholarship presentations:
  • Bring the appropriate VGA adapter for your laptop (the standard VGA cable, a standard 3.5 mm Audio cable and speakers are provided in the presentation room). We’re told the projectors DO have HDMI capability, but you will need your own HDMI cables.
  • We will have wifi available, but we recommend downloading videos or other materials to your personal machine if possible.
  • Arrive to your presentation room 10-15 minutes prior to your panel’s start time to setup/check your laptop and meet your Session Chair.
  • Monitor your time closely. Running more than a couple of minutes over will hamper scheduling (most panels have 4 presenters).

Key Links:
Here are a few links and reminders for you to use as you prepare:

The conference program is available at the program submission site here:

Election Results
I’m pleased to announce the results of the PCA/ACA Governing Board election.  Michael Johnson Jr has been elected as Vice President of Diversity, Outreach, and Inclusion, and Sam Grogg has been elected to serve as a trustee of the Governing Board.  If you see them at the conference, do say hello.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the process, especially to those who submitted materials to the nominating committee.
Other news on the way soon!
We also have a PCA/ACA Conference Program App, available as a downloadable “standalone” app for iOS and Android devices, as well as a Desktop app for other mobile platforms. Our technicians are working to correct one last bug in the iOS version, but as soon as it’s ready, we will let you know.
Safe Travels!  We can’t wait to see you next week.
Joseph Hancock
Executive Director of Events
Brendan Riley
Executive Director of Operations
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