The Bylaws of the PCA/ACA call for elections at the national conference each year. To that end, the President of the PCA/ACA selects a committee of three people to produce a slate of candidates for the PCA/ACA Board, the Vice President for Programming and Area Chairs, the Vice President for Honors and Awards, and the Vice President for Curriculum and Instruction. This slate of nominees is then presented to the membership for an up or down vote with write-in votes possible.
There are four Board Member positions up for election this year. Below are the position statements of the four candidates selected by the Nomination Committee. (In alphabetical order by last name)
Roger C. Adams
I am a tenured, associate professor of library science at Kansas State University, since 1998, employed as curator of special collections and rare books. The largest collection in our holdings is our Cookery Collection, numbering nearly 40,000 printed volumes, making it the largest collection of its kind at a public academic library in the United States. Other popular culture collections in my care are the David J. Williams III L. Frank Baum Collection and the David J. Williams Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Collection. I have been a continuous member of PCA since 2001, attended all national conferences, presented seven papers in five different areas, and served in 2005 as acting area chair for Libraries, Archives & Museums in Popular Culture, an area in which I have also chaired six panels since 2006. My research and creative work for the past eight years has focused on food in popular culture. However, my interests are eclectic and range widely: from graphic novels/comics, the American Civil War, Appalachian literature, medical history, film, consumer culture, and collecting (all within the realm of popular culture). Among my proudest accomplishments in a leadership role was serving as president of the Kansas State University Faculty Senate, 2006-07, being the first faculty librarian elected to the position. In 2012, I completed two consecutive three-year terms as a Board Trustee for the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum (winner of a 2008 National IMLS Award), and was the first non-Crawfordsville area person to serve on that board.
PCA/ACA is very important in my academic life. I do not attend library or archive conferences, nor do I belong to library/archive organizations. PCA/ACA, in my opinion, is the best, most eclectic gathering of scholars available. The mix of participants, from undergraduate students up through senior professors, makes the conferences highly engaging and enjoyable to attend. Communication to the PCA/ACA membership is the best it has been in my 13 years of membership. Where I see a need for improvement is in area chair leadership. I would greatly like to help develop a mentoring program for new area chairs, open a dialogue with current and past area chairs about restructuring the length of area chairs’ terms of service, and help create a constructive evaluation process for area chairs for PCA/ACA Board review.
I am pleased to be a candidate for the PCA/ACA Board. If elected to the board, I want to encourage growth in what I see as the two most important strands of PCA/ACA: quality and openness. As funding for travel dries up at universities around the world, it is vital for any organization to both retain its membership and also create new opportunities for scholarship at multiple levels. PCA/ACA’s commitment to interdisciplinary research places it at the forefront of international organizations. As other conferences’ research niches are narrowing, PCA/ACA’s openness is its greatest strength. At the same time, the quality of research presented at PCA/ACA needs to be not only maintained, but strengthened. This means finding untapped areas of scholarship and up-and-coming scholars. Again, PCA/ACA’s openness and accessibility are its strongest assets. PCA/ACA is poised to become a model of organizations for the future, and I want to help by encouraging greater variety and greater depth in scholarship.
I will work with the other members to create new opportunities for young scholars to present and become involved. I want to give back to an organization that has given me much over my professional career. My first conference presentation was at the Midwest PCA/ACA, and I have been involved in that organization’s Executive Board for give years: first as Program Chair, then as Student/New Professional Representative, and now as Vice-President/President-Elect. I have been influenced, encouraged, and nurtured for over a decade, and I’m convinced the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association is one of the major reasons I went into academia. I learned what it meant to be a professor, a scholar, and a mentor at PCA/ACA, and I want to use my time productively in the organization helping
others reach those goals. PCA/ACA is the only conference and association that I promote to my students because of both the quality of the work presented and the openness to new types of scholarship. If the national organization can reach out to young scholars (as MPCA/ACA did with me when I was fresh in the academy), it can retain members for life. As someone who has benefited from the organization as a fresh face, I want to see this aspect of the organization strengthened as we head into the future.
James Von Schilling
I have been active in the Popular Culture and American Culture Associations for decades — from disco to digital! I was lucky enough to study under Ray Browne at Bowling Green in the late 1970s and early 80s and experience firsthand the pioneers of the Popular Culture Association and the genesis of the American Culture Association. Over the years, I’ve missed only a few of the national conferences, serving most years as an Area Chair, for Occupational Culture at first and now for Journalism and Media Culture and the new area of Baby Boomer Studies. I’m also on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Popular Culture and the Journal of American Culture.
I truly appreciate how the PCA and ACA encourage the acceptance of popular culture studies as a legitimate scholarly pursuit, especially for those academics fortunate enough to teach in this field. I fit under another category: those who find here an academic outlet for popular culture interests. I may grade freshmen writing for a living, but I live to research, write, and present papers on popular culture topics that stimulate and nourish me. As a Board of Governors member, I hope to keep the PCA and ACA as welcoming, accessible, and fulfilling to others as it has always been to me.
The PCA/ACA is one of only a few academic organizations that can be truly considered among the godfathers of interdisciplinary scholarship. It has served as a haven for those scholars whose work has all too often been ignored, marginalized or otherwise dismissed as “too flashy,” “out of the mainstream,” etc… by more ostensibly “conventional” organizations. Moreover, the extraordinary smorgasbord of diversity among the individuals who attend the annual convention (from humanities scholars to medical doctors) demonstrates the undeniable fact that this conference is one where both academics and non-academics can showcase their scholarship in an environment where pluralism is actually practiced and indeed reigns supreme.
I believe that I would be an ideal candidate to hold such a position for a few reasons. Firstly, a close examination of my curriculum vitae will demonstrate that the sort of college courses I have taught over the past 16 years, the public talks I have delivered as well as my books and articles personify the type of cutting edge, cross-disciplinary scholarship that defines the primary purpose of PCA/ACA and those who aspire to be part of such an entity. My 2001 Russel B. Nye Award winning co-authored article “The Miss America Pageant: Pluralism, Femininity and Cinderella All In One,” in The Journal of Popular Culture (Summer 2001) is one such example. I have also been a committed conference attendee since 2001 and have participated on a number of panels with topics ranging from Miss America to Masculinity to Generation X.
I currently serve as the area Chair for Generation X. I also serve as a member on the editorial board of the Journal Of American Culture. The examples that I have presented should make it evident that my interest in popular culture and American Culture is passionate, sincere and is in unison with the mission of PCA/ACA. It is for these reasons that I wish to be considered for a position on the PCA/ACA Board of Directors.