The Northeast Popular/American Culture Association was founded in 1974 as a professional organization for scholars living in New England and New York. It is a community of scholars interested in advancing research and promoting interest in the disciplines of popular and/or American culture. NEPCA’s membership consists of university and college faculty members, emeriti faculty, secondary school teachers, museum specialists, graduate students, independent scholars, and interested members of the general public.
NEPCA is an independently funded affiliate of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association. Membership is open to all interested parties, regardless of profession, rank, or residency.
NEPCA holds an annual conference that invites scholars from around the globe to participate. In an effort to keep costs low, it meets on college campuses throughout the region.
What is Popular Culture?
There’s no easy answer to that question, hence the Northeast Popular/American Culture Association (NEPCA) opts for a broad interpretation of the term. NEPCA adheres to these views of popular culture:
- The term references cultural practices, objects, trends, and movements with mass appeal rather than those associated with elite culture, unless those expressions are marketed to the masses or are appropriated by them.
- The organizational title denotes region, not subject matter. NEPCA does not confine its subject matters to the Northeast, the United States, or any international borders.
- It does not restrict cultural subjects to those associated with formal training or the acclaim of cultural experts.
- It avoids aesthetic judgments of the relative merits of one cultural expression over another.
- It embraces culture with commercial
- It sees value in studying trends, fads, amusements, practices, etc. (past and present) that were embraced by ordinary people.
- It uses the term popular in ways synonymous with the “populace” and culture to encompass a broader civic life that includes creative productions (art, comics, dance, fantasy, film, music, literature, television, etc.) but also pervasive practices (amusements, foodways, humor, sports, etc.) and mass involvement in social institutions (academia, education/teaching, politics, religion, urban life, war and peace issues)
- NEPCA is interested in the intersection of identity and popular culture (class, ethnicity, gender, health/disease, LGBTQI issues, race, etc.)
- NEPCA embraces the ways in which technology and popular culture intersect (digital culture, gaming, popular science).
- NEPCA does not use “popular” and “current” as synonyms. It embraces historical analyses on an equal footing with contemporary trends.
- None of the above is a hard and fast rule, nor are the above subjects exhaustive in their scope.