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NEPCA Views on Popular and American Culture

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.

What is American Culture?

NEPCA is the regional affiliate of both the American Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association. The definition of “American culture” is even broader than that of popular culture. Most topics pertaining to North America fall under NEPCA’s purview.

Is There Any Topic You Won’t Accept?

 NEPCA is a community of scholars. For the most part we do not consider conference proposals for the following:

  • Original creative works (films, plays, poetry, music, stories)
  • Memoirs unless they connect to a deeper analytical study
  • Impressions and musings disconnected to research and analysis
  • Subjects that are too narrow in the sense that they are particularistic rather than connected to mass society
  • Subjects that fall outside the realm of humanities

What If I’m Not Sure?

Run it by us! Chances are pretty good your idea fits somewhere. Check the Area Chairs link under the Conference tab. It will direct you to people who can help you shape a conference paper proposal.

 

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