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

2015 NEPCA Conference

Proposals are now being accepted for NEPCA's 2015 conference at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH, which convenes October 30-31, 2015. Click on FALL CONFERENCE tab for full information. Scroll down to "How Do I Submit a Proposal"

Rollins Prize

NEPCA is now accepting nominations from publishers for the best work in popular and/or American culture published in 2104. Click on the NEPCA Prizes tab above for details.

Important Dates

June 15: Books to be considered for the Rollins Prize must be received by this date.

June 15: Last day to submit conference paper proposals.

September 1: Last day to submit items for NEPCA News.

September 30: Last day for pre-registrants to be listed in program.

October 10: Last day mail-in registrations can be processed in time for the conference.

October 30-31: 2014 Fall Conference.

NEPCA’s 2015 Fall Conference

NEPCA will meet on the campus of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH October 30-31, 2015

For conference information, click on the FALL CONFERENCE tab above. This will take you to a page where you find all the materials you need. Scroll down to “How Do I Submit a Proposal?”  

2016 MSU Comics Forum Panel CFP: Sexuality and LGBT Identities in Comics

No Straight Lines: Sexuality and LGBT Identities in Sequence panel of the 2016 MSU Comics Forum seeks papers that contextualize the histories of sexuality in sequential art. The goal of this panel is to provide a snapshot of the complexity and diversity of LGBT identities in comics, in the industry, and among readers/fans.
Papers that recover understudied narratives, creators, or historical moments in comics’ engagement with the shifting categories of queerness are preferred, though papers that bring a new perspective to well-documented topics are welcome contributions. Papers may address mainstream, independent, underground, or alternative comics/creators/audiences, as well as webcomics and comic strips.

Please send abstracts of 250 words (maximum) to the panel session organizer, Sean Guynes, at Include a tentative title and your institutional (or other) affiliation.

Proposals for the panel are due November 15, 2015. This will allow us to meet the panel session proposal deadline (December 1, 2015).

A PDF of the CFP is available here. Please share this with your colleagues and with any groups that you believe might draw presenters.

Weatherhead Initiative on Global History Grants

The Weatherhead Initiative on Global History (WIGH) at Harvard University identifies and supports outstanding scholars whose work responds to the growing interest in the encompassing study of global history. We seek to organize a community of scholars interested in the systematic scrutiny of developments that have unfolded across national, regional, and continental boundaries and who propose to analyze the interconnections—cultural, economic, ecological, political and demographic—among world societies. We encourage applicants from all over the world, and especially from outside Europe and North America, hoping to create a global conversation on global history.

WIGH Fellows are appointed for one year and are provided time, guidance, office space, and access to Harvard University facilities. They should be prepared to devote their entire time to productive scholarship and may undertake sustained projects of research or other original work. They will join a vibrant community of global history scholars at Harvard.

This fellowship is funded by a grant from the Volkswagen Foundation.

The competition for these awards is open only to scholars with a PhD (or comparable professional school degree). If still pursuing the PhD, WIGH Fellows must receive their degree no later than May 2016. There is no limit on time since submission of the candidate’s degree; we are open to candidates at various stages of their careers. We expect that candidates will be able to submit samples of independent work (articles, papers, dissertation chapters) in support of their candidacies on request. The WIGH Fellowship is residential and Fellows are expected to live in the Cambridge/Boston area for the duration of their appointments unless traveling for pre-approved research purposes, and they are expected to participate in WIGH activities, including a bi-weekly seminar.

Fellows will receive an annual stipend of up to $50,000, according to fellows’ needs. Because we cannot always offer the amount requested, we urge applicants to apply for funding from other sources as well. Applications are welcome from qualified persons without regard to nationality, gender, or race.

How to Apply
Applications are due December 15, 2015Letters of reference are due by January 8th, 2016.
Please visit our website ( to apply.

Jessica Barnard, Program Coordinator
Phone: +011 (617) 495-8923

Star Trek and History Needs Sharper Focus

Star Trek and History. Edited by Nancy R. Reagin. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2014.

5148lPFlpYL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ Confession: I haven’t watched television since 2005, the year Star Trek Enterprise was canceled. I didn’t even like that show very much, but here’s my second confession: “My name is Rob and I’m a Trekker.” (That’s “Trekker,” a fanboy status that’s quite different from the costumed get-a-life “Trekkies.”) I’ve been a Trekker since I was a lad watching Captain Kirk (William Shatner) preen across the screen in TOS (The Original Series, 1966-69). To this day I tell everyone who will listen that the greatest sci-fi since Stanley Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was TNG’s (The Next Generation, 1987-1994) two-part cliffhanger “The Best of Both Worlds” (1990) in which Captain Picard was assimilated as Locutus of Borg.

All of this is to say that I was excited to review Nancy Reagin’s edited collection Star Trek and History (ST & H). I am less thrilled to report that it’s more of a serviceable shuttle than an academic starship. The work is an anthology of 19 essays, plus Reagin’s introduction and an afterword on fan culture from Rick Worland. Like most anthologies, the quality varies from writer to writer, though the book’s major shortcoming lies its imprecise treatment of its central concept: history. Do the writers mean the history of the franchise, the evolution of each product within the franchise, the way Star Trek played with concepts of time, or how Star Trek portrayed the human past? ST & H seeks to address all four of these, but it’s too fine a line to walk. The first approach appeals mainly to Trekkers, the second to television scholars, the third to sci-fi geeks, and the fourth to historians. I’m enough of a Trekker that I enjoyed most of the essays, but I’m too much of a historian to think that they’d all be useful in a classroom.

I would definitely assign Margaret Weitkamp’s essay on Nichelle Nichols, the African-American actress whose appearance in the secondary role of Uhura in TOS knocked down so many barriers that even the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. implored her not to quit over disputes concerning underwritten parts. Weitkamp reminds us anew of how far down the path to racial justice we’ve traveled, even though there’s a lot of road in front of us. The folklorist in me appreciated Alice George’s exploration of Old West motifs, and my history training steered me to Lori Maguire’s look at Star Trek and the Cold War, H. Bruce Franklin’s analysis of embedded Vietnam War themes, and John Putnam’s take on Trek terrorism. The last three were mined from TOS and appear in a section titled “Kirk and Spock Take on Earth History.” I wondered why the chapter wasn’t simply called “Star Trek’s Take on Earth History,” which would have allowed Christian Domenig’s essay on the medievalism of the Klingons and Amy Carney’s Cardassian/Nazi parallels to be moved to what Mr. Spock would have called a more “logical” part of the book.

Alas, for historians, the rest of the essays are of dubious use—not because they’re bad, which is true of just a few of them—but because they take us too far from our scholarly galaxy. This is especially true of the essays that dwell on Star Trek’s dual timelines or ponder over the internal logic of scripts. Cool stuff—but probably too arcane for classroom use. Therein lies a problem. Only about one-quarter of the book meets history’s academic mission, and it’s doubtful it’s the same 25% that would work for other disciplines. Put another way, unless one is also a Trekker, this book will frustrate as much as it illuminates.

We need to return to the book’s central concept: history. One need not insist upon rigid definitional boundaries, but there’s little utility in yielding to postmodern impulses to collapse and elide categories. If you will, they strand us inside intellectual nebulas. More to the point, a book on books about Star Trek would be a hefty volume in its own right. A tighter conceptual focus would have made ST & H more useful for academics, not just another Star Trek product.

Robert E. Weir

University of Massachusetts Amherst

 Postscript: Star Trek badly needs a new franchise soon, or this book’s utility will be limited further. Few of my students have more than a passing familiarity with Star Trek—understandable, as most of them were ten or younger when Enterprise went off the air. If they’ve seen any of the films, it’s likely to have been Into Darkness (2013), which requires some knowledge of TOS to appreciate.




Kentucky Historical Society Short-Term Fellowships, Fall 2015

The Kentucky Historical Society scholarly research fellowship program encourages and promotes advanced study and research in KHS collections on all aspects of Kentucky-related local, regional, national and transnational history. Fellowships support visits to KHS within one year of the award and are designed to assist researchers with travel and living expenses while using the KHS research collections. Applications are judged on the merits of the proposed research and the extent to which the judges believe that research can be advanced through use of collections at KHS. Awards typically range from $400 (one week of research) to $1,600 (four weeks of research). Applicants from outside the U.S. are also encouraged to apply. Application materials for the Fall 2015 cycle are due no later than September 1, 2015. For additional details and application forms, go to 

Contact Info: Dr. Amanda L. Higgins —

Jewish Sports in/and the Metropolis

Conference: “Jewish Sports in/and the Metropolis“

Vienna, Austria , March 14.-15, 2016 

Organized by the University of Applied Arts Vienna / University of Vienna. This conference addresses the history and importance of Jewish sports in different major European cities. Beginning with the establishment of sports as part of mass culture after the Great War, the main focus lies in the public assessment and self-positioning of Jews committed to sports. This includes Jewish athletes as well as the large number of those who held positions in sports and gymnastic clubs as officials. It will be asked, how “Jewishness” as a category was constructed in the different urban settings. What role did the athletes’ and officials’ involvement in sports play with regard to the negotiation of “Jewish Difference” and the universalistic projects of emancipation connected to it, in the context of religion, Zionism, politics and “assimilation”? How was a “non-Jewish society” positioned on the basis of what ascriptions to the “Jewish” as the other, and in which interactions could these respective changing constructions be found?

We invite papers that focus on, but are not limited to, the following topics, which are neither prescriptive nor comprehensive:

  • the significance of sports as means of identification and self-assertion of Jews – esp. with regard to ascriptions by the public
  • the importance and potential of sports with regard to the participation in – and the integration into – the society and the public (sports) discourse
  • the significance and the impact of different mechanisms of exclusion (“Aryan Paragraphs”), or anti-Semitic debates and conflicts
  • the social and political orientation of sports clubs and associations and their meanings in the media and the public
  • questions of “Jewish Difference“ with regard to sports
  • case studies of individual athletes, sports officials or teams
  • Jewish sports in the context of gender, class and migration
  • differences and conflicts between the varied teams and individuals characterized as “Jewish“
  • cultural topographies of Jewish sports in specific urban localizations
  • similarities, differences and singularities in the work of Jewish sports officials compared to active athletes
  • concepts of “muscle Jews“ (Muskeljuden) in sports, esp. in relation to the gymnastics movement

The aim is to provide an international setting for discussing similarities and differences in urban Jewish sports through its various facets.

The conference committee welcomes abstracts of 200-250 words for 15-20 minute presentations. Please send your abstract and a brief biography to jsovienna(at)

The Deadline for the abstract is October 15. 2015.

Applicants will be informed in October. In order to give the respondents enough time to prepare, participants are asked to submit papers by February 2016 to the organizers.                                                                               

CFP Children in the Films of Steven Spielberg

Collection title: Children in the Films of Steven Spielberg

Editors: Adrian Schober and Debbie Olson

Children are an almost essential feature of the landscape in the films of Steven Spielberg: from the alien-abducted Barry in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Elliott and his unearthly alter-ego in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), to the war-damaged Jim in Empire of the Sun (1987), the lost mecha child David in A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), and the eponymous boy hero of The Adventures of Tintin (2011). There are many other instances across Spielberg’s oeuvre. And contrary to his reputation as a purveyor of innocuous ‘popcorn’ entertainment, Spielberg’s vision of children/childhood is not all sweetness and light. Indeed, more discerning critics have noted the darker underpinnings of this vision, often fraught with tensions, conflicts and anxieties. While childhood is Spielberg’s principal source of inspiration, his ‘subject matter,’ this has never been the focus of a collection. We therefore seek an original article addressing both the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ aspects of childhood, or the interplay between childhood/adulthood in Spielberg’s Hook. Our collection currently contains an impressive range of articles, but we feel an article on Hook would be an important addition to our collection.

We seek full essays or near complete essays that can be ready for submission to the publisher by end of September 2015. Deadline for submission isSeptember 6th, 2015. Send essay as a word doc to Adrian Schober, or Debbie Olson,

This collection to be published by Lexington Books in the “Children and Youth in Popular Culture” series.


The Website has been updated as of August 18 re: available lodging in the New London area. Local arrangements chair Kate Turcotte is looking further afield for more options. These will be posted as soon as they become available.

Book early if you want to be in or immediately adjacent to New London. Keep checking the website as periodic updates will be posted.


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