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This is NEPCA's official website, containing both information about the organization and the latest news about the profession.

2018 NEPCA Conference

NEPCA’s 2018 Fall Conference will be held at Worcester State University in Worcester, MA OCTOBER 19-20, 2018.

Proposals due before June 1, 2108.

Peter C. Rollins Book Prize

The deadline for publishers to submit nominations for the 2017 Rollins Prize is July 1, 2018. This prize will honor the best book written by a scholar working in New England or New York on a topic pertaining to popular or/and American culture during the year 2017.

Carol Mitchell and Amos St.. Germain Graduate Paper Prizes. Rolling date for consideration until July 1. Papers must be nominated by panel chair.

NEPCA’s 2018 Fall Conference

THE CALL FOR PAPERS for 2018 will be announced soon.

NEPCA’s 2018 conference will take place on the campus of Worcester State University, Worcester, Massachusetts on Friday October 19 and Saturday October 20, 2018.

Proposals are due before June 1, 2018. After this date NEPCA will only accept proposals that round out incomplete panels.

Periodic updates and information will be made on this site and can be viewed by clicking on the 2018 Conference tab above. 

PCA Nominations

Reminder: The PCA nominations committee extends its call for nominations for the 2018 PCA Elections.
Nominations are solicited for six elected positions in the PCA/ACA:
  1. Vice President for Awards
  2. Vice President for Area Chairs
  3. At-Large Member of the Governing Board
  4. At-Large Member of the Governing Board
  5. At-Large Member of the Governing Board
  6. At-Large Member of the Governing Board
Position #1: Vice President for Awards
Seeking nominations for a Vice President for Awards. Candidates must demonstrate a strong interest in:
  1. Structuring, defining, posting on the website, and supervising all PCA literary and film awards;
  2. Superintending all service and journal awards;
  3. Recruiting individuals to assist in this process;
  4. Producing all PCA awards with the oversight and approval of the Treasurer, making them available at the various conference;
  5. Offering advice to the President and the Governing Board on issues related to the awards.
Candidates must possess experience with the PCA, including having been a member of the PCA for four of the previous seven years.

Position #2: Vice President for Programming and Area Chairs
Seeking nominations for a Vice President of Curriculum & Instruction. Candidates must demonstrate a strong interest in:

  1. Managing the process of choosing, replacing, recruiting, and supporting of Area Chairs;
  2. Maintaining clear and succinct communication with Area Chairs as well as fostering communication among the Area Chairs, President, Governing Board, and Executive Director;
  3. Ensuring the quality of papers and presentations given at the annual conference;
  4. Offering advice to the President and the Governing Board on issues related to the Area Chairs.
Candidates must possess experience with the PCA, including having been a member of the PCA for four of the previous seven years.
Position #3: At-Large Member, Governing Board 
Seeking nominations for an At-Large Governing Board Member. Candidates must demonstrate a robust willingness to serve the organization, as well as possess significant experience within the PCA/ACA, including having been a member for four of the last seven years.

Position #4: At-Large Member, Governing Board 
Seeking nominations for an At-Large Governing Board Member. Candidates must demonstrate a robust willingness to serve the organization, as well as possess significant experience within the PCA/ACA, including having been a member for four of the last seven years.

Position #5: At-Large Member, Governing Board 
Seeking nominations for an At-Large Governing Board Member. Candidates must demonstrate a robust willingness to serve the organization, as well as possess significant experience within the PCA/ACA, including having been a member for four of the last seven years.

Position #6: At-Large Member, Governing Board 
Seeking nominations for an At-Large Governing Board Member. Candidates must demonstrate a robust willingness to serve the organization, as well as possess significant experience within the PCA/ACA, including having been a member for four of the last seven years.

Nominations and self-nominations should be submitted through the PCA website here:

Sports and Resistance CFP

Callaloo invites complete submissions for a special issue devoted to the interdisciplinary examination of sports guest edited by Eric Henderson (Stratagem Entertainment), Miya Knights (Middleton-On-Sea, UK), John McCluskey, Jr. (Indiana University), and Pellom McDaniels III (Emory University).

Project Description

It should come as no surprise that someone like Colin Kaepernick has emerged from the age of President Barack Obama, inspired, empowered, and ready to use his influence to challenge the status quo.  Choosing to stand up (or rather take a knee) in protest of the killing of African Americans by law enforcement, the twenty-eight-year-old former starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers has become the firebrand for a new generation of activist-athlete.  A student of history, Kaepernick has taken it upon himself to become a change agent, using what he has at his disposal as a public figure to influence the thinking and actions of the masses.  He has set himself apart as a model of selflessness and heroism.

While sports have occupied the global imagination as a source of entertainment, enlightenment, and, above all, opportunity, historically we have seen the importance of black athletes using their celebrity to bring attention to the ills which haunt black life around the world.  In fact, from the beginning of the twentieth century to today, there have been numerous individuals who have challenged both directly and indirectly the “isms” responsible for shaping North American, European, and South American cultures.  While most of these moments involve people of African descent competing against whites in an attempt to claim victory in the arena, and the financial rewards and social mobility that coincided, the greater goal of these black athletes was to claim their humanity and citizenship, and a place for their race in society through their performances on, for example, the playing field or the court.

The guest editors are seeking unpublished and complete critical articles, creative essays, poems, interviews, creative personal narratives, and visual art on “Sports as Art, as Resistance” from a variety of critical, creative, and interpretive perspectives. Specific topics, themes, subject matter may include, but are not limited to:

— black aesthetics in sports performances; the blues, jazz, and hip-hop impulse

— the body and labor; anti-colonialism

— gender studies; black masculinity and black femininity

— framing identity; nation-hood and citizenship

— the homoerotic; the black male body as fetish

— second sight; artistic representations through art, poetry, performances

— liminal spaces; the built environment, meanings associated with sports performances

— narratives of resistance; historical/archival evidence

Callaloo Submission Guidelines

Manuscripts must be submitted online through the Callaloo manuscript submission system by August 31, 2018. Please see the submission guidelines here:

http://callaloo.expressacademic.org/login.php.

In order to submit a manuscript, you must register with the online system. The registration process will take only a few minutes.  All manuscripts will follow the usual review process for submissions, and the Callaloo editor makes all final editorial decisions. Please note that all academic or critical manuscripts must follow the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd Edition) and include in-text citations, a works cited, and endnotes for any commentary.

Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts: Book Review

Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts: Twelve Journeys into the Medieval World. ByChristopher De Hamel. New York: Penguin Press, 2017.

Christopher de Hamel’s love letter to medieval manuscripts celebrates every component of the medieval book: the beauty and craftsmanship of each hand-written page, the passion and tireless dedication of the scribes, the romantic interiors of modern archives and the meticulous care of the archivists who have preserved these manuscripts. In his brief introduction, which reads like a giddy confession by a starstruck fan, de Hamel introduces his select body of manuscripts by explaining that he will treat them as celebrities. He explains that each one has its own personality, history, purpose and mystery, and that he intends to reveal each book’s intimate story through his own “interviews” with these superstars. His text flows effortlessly and draws readers in as we begin to understand the thrill de Hamel experiences each time he picks up a priceless centuries-old illuminated book and gets to know it personally. De Hamel, poignantly aware that most people will never gain access to the reading rooms of the St. Petersburg National Library or hold a Carmina Burana in their hands, hopes to recreate that experience with his own enthusiastic description of the texts and to transmit the electric jolt he feels each time he opens their covers for the first time.

The author has selected his celebrities carefully and offers extensive chapters on twelve manuscripts that represent as  broad a collection as possible. These twelve books span the sixth through fifteenth centuries, demonstrate illumination techniques from a myriad of European countries and most importantly, managed to survive centuries of tumultuous historical events that destroyed so many other medieval artifacts. Each chapter includes a detailed description of the book’s text and images, the history of its provenance and movement, theories as to its purpose, biographical information about its authors, illuminators and owners, and finally, his personal connection to each book. De Hamel travelled the world and spent years studying and cataloging these books, running his hands lovingly over their pages until he absorbed their essences and captured their unique personalities. Then, he sat down to write.

In his writing, de Hamel does make each chapter feel like an interview conducted with fascinating individuals in exotic locations. He beckons his readers to follow him into the Royal Library at Copenhagen. He details the strangers he chitchats with as he crosses Trinity College campus on a crisp autumn morning to see the Book of Kells. He lets his readers feel the warmth of the sun on a beautiful day in Los Angeles as we accompany him into the Getty Museum to chat with the Spinola Hours. De Hamel captures and conveys the romantic and rarified atmosphere of these marbled reading rooms with cathedral ceilings and endless rows of ancient books reaching far out of view. We sit with him at a long desk as he narrates the heft and fragrance and sheen of each book. He introduces each paragraph before him and offers to turn the page whenever we are ready.

De Hamel fills his book with tasty little anecdotes that appeal to history buffs of all centuries and build connections between readers and these beautiful books. We learn that Winston Churchill formatted his speeches the same way that sixth century scribes did. He typed his words in two columns, in a “by clauses and pauses” style that allowed for dramatic caesuras and punctuated phrases (22). De Hamel discloses in a hushed whisper that the great bibliophile Guglielmo Libri, who lived in France as an exile from 1831 on, always carried a stiletto with him for fear of assassination, a fear – hopefully- shared by few modern librarians today (197). He explains that as the Bastille fell, eager book collectors such as the Russian diplomat Piotr Dubrowsky, swooped in to loot its large repository of medieval manuscripts and scattered them throughout Europe. His stories weave in and out of the past and the present and are often interrupted by his own itinerary; he has to leave the library to meet his wife for lunch or perhaps he slips into a cherished memory of being denied access to the Parker Library as a graduate student. (He later became full time curator and Fellow of that library in 2000.) He fills his book with honest and personable glimpses into his world of precious books, quirky archivists and gorgeous art.

This is a beautiful book. Nearly half its pages contain reproductions: full-page color reprints of the initial pages of the Book of Kells, zodiac illustrations from the Leiden Aratea, torn, faded pages of text from the Hengwrt Chaucer, sumptuous portraits of saints from the Hours of Jeanne de Navarre. There are also dozens and dozens of photographs of university libraries, portraits of archivists and paleographers bent over their desks smoking intently, and pictures of Nazi trains smuggling precious books out of their native lands. Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts is a genuine pleasure to read, so bright and beautiful, and exemplifies a generosity of the archives and the publisher that pays great tribute to its subject.

A broad audience can enjoy this book. Although a 632-page book about medieval manuscripts may not seem like an obvious choice for a pop culture topic, its broad appeal is a testament to the author’s excellent writing and exuberance throughout. As current American culture grows increasingly virulent in its anti-intellectualism, this type of book that so innocently and sincerely revels in the simple pleasure of academic pursuit can remind our students of the value and delight of intellectual activities. Both our undergraduates and graduate students would benefit from his accessible descriptions of his research methods and undeniable enthusiasm about spending a Saturday afternoon at the library. Given the straightforward prose and conversational tone, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts could also be equally enjoyed as a recreational read for a general audience. It’s so easy to pick this book up, read a chapter, and then put it down again until you simply can’t resist diving back in and being introduced to the next remarkable manuscript.

Katherine Allocco

Western Connecticut State University

Animals and the Left CFP

One-Day Workshop, NYU Animal Studies

29 June 2018, New York City

Organisers: Sunaura Taylor (NYU), Troy Vettese (NYU), and Alyssa Battistoni (Yale)

In 1917 Rosa Luxemburg wrote to a friend from her prison cell in Breslau:

The hide of a buffalo is proverbial for its toughness and thickness, but this tough skin had been broken. During the unloading, all the animals stood there, quite still, exhausted, and the one that was bleeding kept staring into the empty space in front of him with an expression on his black face and in his soft, black eyes like an abused child. It was precisely the expression of a child that has been punished and doesn’t know why or what for, doesn’t know how to get away from this torment and raw violence.

She, however, was far from the only revolutionary to ponder the plight of animals within broader systems of oppression. Karl Marx studied how early capitalism transformed animals’ bodies to maximise production of fat and flesh. A century after Marx toiled in the British Library, Cesar Chavez organised farm workers in California and later became a vegan, a stance he considered inseparable from his broader politics. Another Californian, Angela Davis, is not only a leading Marxist theorist and activist, but also a notable vegan. Yet, despite this lineage, Marxists have largely shied from carrying out scholarship and activism for animals. This has left animal-rights as the prerogative of other traditions, such as utilitarianism, rights theory, virtue theory, and care theory. Indeed, many Leftists breezily dismiss animal-rights as an example of bourgeois sentimentality.

There is hope! Some excellent works have been written, such as Ashley Dawson’s Extinction, Sunaura Taylor’s Beasts of Burden, Kenneth Fish’s Living Factories, Donna Haraway’s When Species Meet, and Frank Wilderson III’s ‘Gramsci’s Black Marx.’ What we want is to deepen these connections between Left theory and practice to animal-rights. We are most interested in analyses using approaches from Marxism, post-Marxism, Frankfurt School, post-structuralism, queer theory, Afro-pessimism, Afro-futurism, Afro-veganism, disability studies, Karl Polanyi, feminism, anarchism, and other radicalisms. We invite scholars, writers, and activists working on these themes, especially those who live in New York City and its environs as we have limited funds for travel subsidies (but come from afar if you can finance your voyage).

The keynote will be given by film-maker and writer, Astra Taylor.

Please come to share your work on activist campaigns, poetry, ethnography, journalistic investigations, scientific experiments, essays, and academic articles. Projects in all stages of completion will be considered. Please send a three-hundred word abstract and a short CV to Troy (tgv208@nyu.edu) by February 28.

H.G. Wells and Bicycles: A Book Review

The War of the Wheels: H. G. Wells and the Bicycle, by Jeremy Withers, Syracuse: New York: Syracuse University Press, 2017.

Jeremy Withers in The War of the Wheels: H. G. Wells and the Bicycle provides the “first in-depth analysis of bikes in Wells’ long and prolific writing career” (p. 3). This book joins other studies that have analyzed specific objects from Wells’ works. The War of the Wheels provides a window into an aspect of Wells’ work that is critical to understanding more completely the ways in which technology mesmerized Wells, yet repulsed him at the same time. Wither argues that the bicycle is an instrument exemplifying the conflicts Wells noted between the versatility, accessibility, and usefulness of technology versus the destructiveness to life and health when used carelessly, the extravagant financial expenditures which capitalist marketing encouraged, and the ways in which humans could become oppressed in their blind pursuit of technology.

Withers uses Wells’ writings, including The War of the Worlds, The Sleeper Awakes, Tono-Bungay, The War in the Air, The First Men in the Moon, Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought, A Modern Utopia, The Shape of Things to Come, Experiment in Autobiography, Kipps, War and the Future, “The Land Ironclads” and “The Argonauts of the Air” as primary source documents to ascertain Wells’ views of the bicycle. Withers expands his analyses to demonstrate how Wells’ portrayal of the bicycle reflects a broader interest in technology of all kinds and grounds his research in the history of the bicycle, pertinent technological advancements of Wells’ era, and historical events occurring during Wells’ lifetime. Endnotes and the bibliography provide adequate documentation and direct the reader to additional useful resources.

In six chapters, an introduction, and a conclusion Withers uses Well’s writings to take the reader through the different stages of his life. Overall Withers highlights a progression from distrust of the bicycle to acceptance followed by enthusiastic endorsement to a gradual disillusionment, and finally a loss of interest in the bicycle as automobiles took their place in Wells’ psyche. Withers notes that while other writers of the period also found bicycles fascinating and may also have had ambiguous relationships with them, the extreme endorsement and eventual disillusionment Wells experienced is an outlier in intensity and duration. Other writers moved on from bicycles to automobiles to aircraft, war machines, and trains quickly while Wells continued writing extensively about bicycles for an additional twenty-year period.

Withers shows how Wells’ personal experiences and his love of cycling impacted his writing about bicycles and technology. As Wells’ personal life became more complex and his financial status rose exponentially, Withers notes the gradual acceptance of the automobile by Wells as more useful and less physically demanding. Along with Wells’ personal acceptance of the automobile and Wells’ decreased use of the bicycle, Withers points out the decreased enthusiasm for bicycles by Wells in his writing and the increased emphasis on other modes of transportation and alternative ways Wells represented technology. During a period of physical impairment suffered by Wells during which he was unable to cycle, Wells’ work began to emphasize the era’s concern with health risks associated with bicycles.

Wells drew an analogy between the human power that propelled the bicycle and how mechanical sources of power were multiplied by technology. Initially, Wells seemed satisfied that the bicycle would become a utopian vehicle that all social classes would use to increase their mobility—a positive advance that allowed urbanites to experience the adjoining natural world. However, the bicycle’s inherent limitations discouraged urbanites from forsaking completely the company of their fellows or traveling over great distances. Over time Wells came to see the bicycle as a health hazard for both riders and bystanders. Additionally, Wells argued that the aggressive sales techniques bicycle companies and their representatives employed resulted in extravagant expenditures for accessories that did not make the bicycle any more useful, but encouraged frivolous spending and provided ways to set oneself apart from others. As his personal riding habits decreased, Wells’ written works grew more negative toward bicycles. Eventually Wells’ loyalties shifted to automobiles.

Wells’ belief that bicycles would become ubiquitous and highly useful instruments of war dominated much of Wells’ writing during the period before World War I. When bicycles played a limited role in the conflict despite curtailments in other forms of transportation, Wells’ expectations required reevaluation. He eventually removed bicycles completely from his writings.

Positives of The War of the Wheels include its comprehensive use of a wide variety of Wells’ writings to document his attitudes toward bicycles and technology, the excellent grounding of The War of the Wheels in the historical events that Wells experienced, and Withers’ interactions with others who have written about Wells and technology. Several weaknesses exist. The most serious is the lack of acknowledgement of the discrepancy between Wells’ written endorsement for socialist political ideology and Wells’ personal life, which reflected an increasing striving for capitalistic accoutrements. Although Withers notes some of Wells’ inconsistency in this area regarding the types of automobiles Wells favored, Withers does not probe other inconsistencies in Wells’ political philosophy with his lived example. Moreover, Withers’ chapter on health hazards to bicycle operators lacks the same high level of historical and cultural development that the rest of the work displays.

Overall this is a well-written book that draws interesting and, for the most part, well-supported conclusions, about Wells’ views of technology as refracted through his views of the bicycle. Although this book is probably best geared toward undergraduate and graduate college level literature students, any reader capable of reading Wells will be able to read this book to advantage.

 Joseph Baumstarck, Jr.

University of Louisville

 

 

 

Hockey Conference

The Hockey Conference is a biennial event held at various locations throughout North America. It has instrumentally advanced scholarship on ice hockey, and brings together hockey scholars and community members interested in or working in hockey. The upcoming conference will be hosted by Dr. Cheryl A. MacDonald of the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education in Edmonton, Canada.

The conference committee invites abstract submissions from scholars in various fields whose work engages with the sport of hockey, in all its diverse forms, in a multitude of ways. These can include, but are not limited to, historical, empirical, conceptual, and artistic approaches to the sport. This is the second and last call for abstracts; please submit them to Dr. Cheryl MacDonald at cheryl3@ualberta.ca by Friday March 16th. A key theme of the conference is diversity and inclusion; however, all abstracts are most welcome.

 

Hockey is played and experienced in variety of manners. In some ways, it is ever changing. In others, it remains timelessly the same. Like many aspects of the social world, it can be influenced by factors such as globalization, the economic market, health and safety concerns, and the identities of those participating in it. Although diversity and inclusion will be highlighted, the conference will provide an interdisciplinary forum for researchers to present their work and facilitate discussion surrounding topics such as the following:

 

  • Analytics                                                                                                    –    History
  • Business and economics                                                                          –    Literature
  • Coaching                                                                                                   –    Management
  • Community building and development                                                      –    Media
  • Embodiment and ability                                                                             –    Popular culture
  • Family                                                                                                        –    Race and ethnicity
  • Gender and sexuality                                                                                 –    And more…
  • Globalization

 

 

Guidelines:
–      Abstracts should be 150-250 words and include a presentation title
–      Please provide your name, institutional affiliation, and contact information on the abstract
–      Multiple abstract submissions are permitted
–      The final deadline is Friday March 16th
–       Submissions and questions can be directed to Cheryl MacDonald at cheryl3@ualberta.ca

Weir Publishes on Madame Sherri

Rob Weir, Executive Secretary for NEPCA, has just published an article in Magazine Americana on New Hampshire eccentric Antoinette Sheri. It evolved from a paper he gave at NEPCA in 2016.

Here is the URL: http://www.americanpopularculture.com/style.htm

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