CFP: Teaching Popular Culture, NEPCA 2019

A chalk board with Scrabble letters spelling out "NEPCA is coming" in the center.The Northeast Popular Culture Association (NEPCA) will be having its annual conference in Portsmouth, New Hampshire this year.  And I’m looking for interesting and unique proposals around teaching and popular culture.  

This area focuses on how to teach popular culture, which may include sharing unique approaches to:

  • Teaching courses focused specifically on “popular culture”
  • Teaching courses on an area within popular culture (e.g. courses that focus on the content and cultural aspects–not necessarily the “how-to” aspects of comics, video games, horror, Harry Potter, baseball, The Beatles, etc).
  • Teaching mainstream courses using popular culture (e.g. baseball statistics for explaining, statistics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer for explaining political theory, Star Trek for exploring biology).

This particular area is focused more on sharing successful and interesting teaching practices for other scholars and educators to learn or borrow from

Hopefully, this description clarifies that I tend to look at the Teaching Popular Culture area as a bit different than the other areas which are research focused.  I see this area more along the lines of providing some professional development, feedback, and reflection around how we employ popular culture in the classroom.  I feel like this is an often under-attended element of popular culture studies: how we meaningfully engage with it with our students.  

In the last few years, this area has picked up a lot more participants both presenting and in attendance as all of us are interested in applying our scholarship and research of popular culture into learning opportunities for our students.  

Therefore, I’m quite interested in hearing from people and encourage anyone who may teach a popular culture focused course or use popular culture in interesting and useful ways to put in a proposal.  Here are a few of the formats that I’m interested in seeing and/or participating in.  If you have questions or thoughts about these, please don’t hesitate to contact me:

The following are some ideas about how you might think about proposals.  

Round-Table of Popular Culture and Teaching

Those who teach a popular-culture-focused course (specifically about popular culture or thematically structured around popular culture) can discuss some of the challenges, benefits, and experiences in teaching such a course.  I imagine this format entailing a list of questions that the participants can go through followed up with questions by attendees.  I would also think we could capture the comments and produce some kind of interesting resource for the NEPCA website.  

Panel on Teaching

If you and other faculty teach a similar topic, area of popular culture, or have different strategies and approaches that you want to illustrate, a proposed full panel about teaching on popular culture is of great interest.  

Panel on Teaching Popular Culture Online

I’ll throw my hat into the ring with this one.  I’m really interested in working with and presenting with other faculty who have or regularly teach popular culture (or focus in some ways on popular culture) in an online environment.  I think there is a lot to discuss and explore with regards to this topic and would encourage anyone else in this vein to reach out to me.  

Panel of Students 

In the last few years, we’ve seen some really great panels that include students and their experiences in learning and studying about popular culture.  I think this is a great area for collaboration between faculty and students and if you have an idea, you should definitely consider submitting.  

Individual Presentations on Strategies, Approaches, Resources

Honestly, if you’ve got something related to teaching and popular culture, please submit a proposal.  Every year that I’ve done this, we get some really fantastic presentations on a range of great topics relating to teaching and popular culture.  If you’re stuck on the fence or need someone to brainstorm and flesh out your proposal a bit more, feel free to reach out to me and we’ll see what we can come up with.   

Some of our previous presentations have included titles such as:

  • Compare and Contrast in Sakai Lessons
  • Teaching Hip-Hop: Boosting Student Agency
  • Wanna Play? Creative Strategies for Teaching Pop Culture
  • Teaching Sociology through TV: An Update
  • Teaching Professional Ethics through Superhero Comic Books 
  • Course Design in the Age of Trump 
  • “Heroes and Superheroes: Pop Lit and Writing Studies
  • Challenges of Media Representation in the Media Classroom

So if you are interested, please check out the conference page before going and filling out the proposal form.  If you’re interested in putting in a proposal that isn’t Teaching and Popular Culture, then check out the other areas to determine which is the right area to submit.  

The deadline for applications is June 1, 2019. Proposals must be submitted to an online Google Form that can be found on NEPCA’s Website.  This page also includes a link to area chairs who can assist with any questions you have about your proposal. 

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