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?”  

NEPCA ALERT: Please Doublecheck

If you sent a proposal for NEPCA’s fall conference before April 27, please double check with program chair Kraig Larkin to make sure he has received it. We experienced a few difficulties with the Google form and we certainly don’t wish to miss any submissions. NEPCA apologizes for the glitch and thanks you for making sure we got your proposal.

Final Announcement: CFP for Fandom and Neomedia Studies (FANS) Conference

The third annual Fandom and Neomedia Studies (FANS) Conference will be held in Dallas, TX, on 6 and 7 June 2015.

Fandom includes all aspects of being a fan, ranging from being a passive audience member to producing one’s own parafictive or interfictive creations. Neomedia includes both new media as it is customarily defined as well as new ways of using and conceptualizing traditional media.

FANS is an interdisciplinary group, including historians, psychologists, scientists, writers, and independent scholars. This allows for a wide range of opinions in our peer review process, both for the conference and the journal. FANS welcomes contributions from all disciplines and from all levels of academic achievement as we value the intersection of fandom and academia. Our conference is thus unique in its blend of traditional and modern elements. Submissions are welcome from professors, students, and independent researchers. Topics may come from anime, manga, science fiction, television series, movies, radio, performing arts, or any other popular culture phenomenon and their respective fandom groups.

Abstracts of no more than 500 words must be submitted by 30 April 2015. Please also include your CV. Authors accepted for the conference will be notified by 8 May 2015. Successful submissions to the conference will also be published in the July edition of The Phoenix Papers, our annual peer-reviewed journal. If you wish to submit a paper for inclusion in the journal but not for conference consideration, the same requirements and deadlines apply but no registration fee is required. Please indicate your preference in your submission email. Because conference papers will be included in our journal, they must conform to our Style Guide. Presentations will be 20 minutes long with 10 minutes for Q&A sessions. The Sunday sessions will end with a final “How Did We Do?” panel.

The FANS Conference is hosted and sponsored by A-Kon, the longest continually running anime and manga convention in North America. Conference registration entitles you to the full enjoyment of A-Kon and its activities, including a chance to study anime, manga, and gaming fans in their native environment. Our event will be held at the Dallas Hilton Anatole Hotel. Conference pre-registration is $60 and includes a Saturday luncheon. Pre-registration closes on 8 May 2015. Pre-registration includes a full weekend pass to A-Kon 26, which will provide an excellent opportunity for in-person research into anime and manga fandoms. All presenters must pre-register. Information for the hotel can be found here.

FANS also accepts articles and reviews (book, film, game) submissions for those who are unable to attend the conference in person. No registration or fee is required for non-presenting publication.

Please use the Contact Us page should you have any questions. All submissions should be sent to fansconference @ gmail.com

 

Bob Dylan Was Right; The Times They are a’ Changing

As reported on Ars Technica, “This week, Norway’s Ministry of Culture announced its plans to transition completely towards digital radio and turn off FM radio nationwide, according to an English report from Radio.no . The switch-off is scheduled to begin in January 2017, and it would make Norway the first country in the world to ‘decide upon an analogue switch-off for all major radio channels,’ according to the announcement.”

The story from Ars Technica is here

http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/04/by-2017-norway-wants-to-be-the-first-country-to-di…

Bleak Journal Statistics

Are we reaching students through print? Or anyone else? This provocative article raises issues that deserve wider consideration. 

In this article from the Strait Times, authors Asit K. Biswas And Julian Kirchherr argue that academics should help shape public debate and policy. While Biswas and Kircherrs arguments center on the need for policy-making suggestions by academics, they do raise good questions as to the the utility and reach of the modern system of academic publishing.

The authors throw out some intriging statistics, such as that less than 10 people read an academic journal in its entirety and that in the 1930s and 1940s, 20 per cent of articles in the prestigious The American Political Science Review focused on policy recommendations, down to 0.3 per cent today. Up to 1.5 million peer-reviewed articles are published annually, with 82 per cent of articles published in humanities, 32 per cent of the peer-reviewed articles in the social sciences, and 27 per cent in the natural sciences never cited once.

From the article

“MANY of the world’s most talented thinkers may be university professors, but sadly most of them are not shaping today’s public debates or influencing policies. Indeed, scholars often frown upon publishing in the popular media. “Running an opinion editorial to share my views with the public? Sounds like activism to me,” a professor recently noted at a conference, hosted by the University of Oxford.”

A solution put forward is if academics want to have an impact on policymakers and practitioners, they must consider popular media, which has been generally ignored.

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/opinion/more-opinion-stories/story/prof-no-one-reading-yo…

Conference in Australia

CFP deadline: 1 May, 2015

The State and US Culture Industries conference

June 25-26, 2015

United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney

Following recent scholarship (Erin G. Carlston, William J. Maxwell, Timothy Melley) that renews questions of state power, national security, and cultural production, this conference seeks to appraise critically, from a range of disciplinary perspectives, the contemporary and historical interrelations between the state and the culture industries in the United States. Topics for exploration include:

the relationship between government agencies (such as the CIA, FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Pentagon) and media formats (such as novels, film, video games, social media, news, and television series);
the history of representations of the state and government agencies in various cultural forms;
the historiography of critical theory (Frankfurt School, Birmingham School) and the US nation-state;
the US state as cultural critic;
how culture industries shape, support, or criticise US foreign policy;
debates around cybersecurity, diplomacy, and media.

Outstanding papers will be invited to appear in a special journal issue.

Conference registration is free.

Travel bursaries are available for strong postgraduate proposals to help defray travel and accommodation costs.

Please email 250-word abstracts to rodney.taveira@sydney.edu.au by May 1, 2015.

Check ussc.edu.au/state_and_us_culture_industries for further information and updates.

Film Summer Symposium

The organizers of the 2015 Northeast Historic Film (NHF) Summer Symposium invite proposals featuring studies of amateur, educational, industrial, and non-theatrical films that examine war and peace. Training and battlefield films, footage from ordnance and gun cameras, medical films, coming home reportage, peace movement films—from the beginning of moving image technology through the present, citizen-soldier-filmmakers and homefront amateurs have recorded alternate, complementary, and personal images of war and peace.

This year’s theme seeks to engage the widest range of approaches that scholars, artists, filmmakers, and archivists bring to the study and use of amateur and non-theatrical film. We encourage (and expect) participants to incorporate examples of interesting moving images as part of their presentations. NHF houses a 125-seat cinema with 35mm, 16mm, videotape, DVD, and wifi projection.

The NHF Summer Symposium is a multi-disciplinary gathering devoted to the history, theory, and preservation of amateur and nontheatrical moving images.  For over a decade and a half, the Symposium has been bringing together archivists, scholars, and artists in an intimate setting for three days of viewing and discussing lesser-known, amateur, and found films. NHF is located in Bucksport, a town of 5,000 on the coast of Maine (for more info on NHF, please visit: http://www.oldfilm.org  Presenters typically have 30-45 minutes in which to deliver their paper and engage in discussion with their colleagues. The symposium is open to archivists, artists and scholars from all disciplines. Please be advised that NHF is a non-profit organization. Unfortunately, we do not have resources to fund travel and lodging for conference presenters and participants. All presenters and participants must register for the symposium.

Please send a 250-500 word abstract outlining your paper idea and a brief cv via e-mail to:symposium@wunderkino.org  The Summer Symposium Co-organizers are Jennifer Jenkins, University of Arizona, Oliver Gaycken, University of Maryland, and Caitlin McGrath, University of Maryland and Greenbelt Theater. We are happy to discuss your presentation ideas with you in advance of a formal submission. The Symposium Program Committee will begin reviewing proposals on April 30, 2015 and will finalize the program by May 10, 2015.

Zeitgeist Novels for Those Teaching the 1990s

I like to read “period” novels whenever I teach a U.S. history survey course. I unshelf  Howells and Twain when I teach the Gilded Age, dust off Steinbeck for the 1930s, and dive into Angelou and Walker to get an African-American perspective. With the semester winding down, I’ve been reading about the 1990s.

Recent novels are tricky. Books only evolve from “noteworthy” to “classic” in retrospect; lots of heralded works come off as shopworn or silly a decade later. Even good books take on meanings that eluded the first batch of readers. The latter has certainly happened to A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000) and The Corrections (2001). Both were received in their initial runs­ as if they were sociology as well as literature. So they were, but now each also seems an indictment of Baby Boomers and Generation X excesses. Such generational labels are, of course, media inventions. As a historian, I don’t hold much stock in generational interpretations of the past, so I’ll just call these zeitgeist novels.

A Heartbreaking 3805Work of Staggering Genius was and is a genre-defying work that obliterates the line between fiction and autobiography. Its narrator, Dave Eggers, is both author and principal character. It tells of the travails of the Eggers clan. Paterfamilias John, a nasty drunk, died in 1991, followed the next year by the cancer death of the family rock: Heidi. Her death threw the Eggers children upon their own devices. Eldest son William was already living an independent life in Los Angeles, and soon the remaining children–Beth, Dave, and Christopher–depart Illinois for San Francisco. Challenges arose immediately, as youngest child, “Toph,” was just nine and his primary caretakers were Beth (24) and Dave (22). Both cared deeply for Toph, but neither was prepared to be a parent. (Beth played a larger role than assigned in the book, but she had demons of her own and committed suicide in 2001.)

Anyone who has been to San Francisco knows that it’s a tough town in which to be poor. Dave and Toph eek out a living from their inheritance, Social Security, and whatever work Dave can drum up, but he’s more of a slacker/hipster-wannabe than breadwinner. The book purports to recount his on-the-job-training lessons in responsibility and parenthood, but in retrospect it reads like Eggers’ thinly veiled anger at being robbed of his adolescence. He and Toph trash one cheap rental after  another, as neither is very good at adult basics such as wiping up messes, taking out the garbage, or housekeeping. Dave lands a job, but with a magazine that never made a dime; his real talents include prowess at tossing Frisbees and imagining himself in the sack with sexologist Sari Locker.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius remains a very good read, though a title meant to be ironic now feels solipsistic. Like works such as Running with Scissors, it  has a “look at me” quality whose true irony lies in how badly Gen X mangled attempts to emulate what it lampooned. That is to say, for all the Gen X contempt for Baby Boomers, many of them tried to become hippies and simply weren’t very good at it. Blame the “Dream,” or blame Gen X-fueled MTV, hipster mags, and reality TV. Or, as I prefer to do, read Eggers to gain insight into what confused twenty-somethings were thinking in the 1990s.

heartbreakingJonathan Franzen’s National Book Award-winning The Corrections is the superior novel. Today it seems the ultimate pre-apocalyptic novel as it ends with the Stock Market “correction” of 1999, and was published just months before 9/11/01. The novel tracks the highly dysfunctional Lambert family. Parents Alfred and Enid still live in the prototypical Midwestern town of St. Jude, but their adult children have bolted to the East. Alfred is a retired railroad engineer/inventor who, in his prime, was a tyrant. Parkinson’s and advancing dementia have transformed him from being difficult to being impossible. Enid, his wife of 50 years, realizes time is short, tries to rally Alfred for a few last hurrahs, and harbors the dream of a final family Christmas in St. Jude.

Good luck with that! The kids are to busy making of hash of their lives. Eldest son Gary is a Philadelphia banker obsessed with the Stock Market, all things material, and few things emotional. He has a postcard family, but Gary is either bullied by his equally selfish wife, or is clinically depressed–depending on whose point of view you believe. Middle child Chip, the family intellectual, is a college professor hurtling toward self-destruction by violating the school’s sexual conduct code that he helped write. That avenue leads him to New York, where he fails as a playwright, and to post-Cold War Lithuania, where he falls in with oligarchs. Diane escapes a bad marriage and reinvents herself as a celebrity chef, only to jeopardize it all by having simultaneous affairs with her boss and his wife. Different problems, but each is too mired in imagine a warm-and-fuzzy Christmas in St. Jude.

Franzen’s novel crosses generations—Depression era parents, a Baby Boomer-turned Yuppie eldest son, an idealist-gone-egoist “tweener” middle child, and a Gen X youngest daughter. Each is a metaphor for the hope and greed of the Clinton years. The first brick fell when the dot.com bubble popped in 1999, Nasdaq lost 78% of its value, and its 457 IPOs shrank to just 76 in 18 months. Looming on the horizon: the falling masonry of September 11. Looking back now, The Corrections feels like the warning siren in advance of the tornado.  Rob Weir

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