Code of Conduct

The Popular Culture Association welcomes you and appreciates your participation at its conferences, online forums, meetings, and functions. Founded by Ray B. Browne in 1970, the PCA is committed to fostering an inclusive, multidisciplinary community dedicated to the study of everyday life. We invite diverse approaches, both traditional and innovative, to a wide array of topics in the arts, humanities and social sciences and seek to provide an intellectually and creatively stimulating environment for inquiry, expression, and learning. We are committed to mentoring new and young academic professionals, offering guidance and networking opportunities, and strive for the highest standards of scholarship and professional integrity. At our conferences, you will encounter a supportive, considerate, and enjoyable environment where you can express diverse views and encounter new ways of thinking about culture. PCA’s ethical values describe conduct based on a firm belief in the value of civil discourse and the free exploration of competing ideas and concepts—with a fundamental respect for the rights, dignity, and value of all persons. Thus, the PCA is committed to providing an inclusive and harassment-free environment for all, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, physical appearance, ethnicity, religion, geographic location, age, or other group identity. PCA members and all participants in PCA functions and events are expected to treat all persons with consideration and dignity while ensuring a robust exchange of ideas.  


To ensure a safe and supportive space for all, while also guaranteeing freedom of intellectual and creative expression, PCA ascribes to the following code of conduct. This policy applies to speakers, staff, volunteers, attendees, and exhibitors, at in-person and virtual events, and in all correspondence (including social media).

  • Behavior of any kind that demeans, humiliates, or embarrasses anyone, including physically or verbally threatening, annoying, unwelcoming attentions, stalking, pushing, shoving or use of physical force, which in any way creates a disturbance that is disruptive or dangerous, as well as any lewd or generally offensive behavior or language, using sexually explicit or offensive language or conduct, or racial, religious or ethnic slurs (all considered harassment).

  • PCA reserves the right to ask you to leave the Convention and refuse to refund your membership fee if you behave improperly. 

Critical examination of beliefs and viewpoints does not, by itself, constitute hostile conduct or harassment. Similarly, use of sexual imagery or language in the context of a professional discussion might not constitute hostile conduct or harassment. 

All attendees at conferences are expected to follow the above guidelines in all conference venues, including those online, and at conference social events. Speakers should frame discussions as openly and inclusively as possible and be aware of how language or images may be perceived by others. Attendees may always exercise their option to leave a session or a conversation. If a hostile altercation should arise, participants may be asked to leave and must do so at the request of a session chair or other PCA representative.


Considering PCA policy as stated, the behaviors described below are unacceptable.

  • Harassing, demeaning, humiliating, bullying, or intimidating others.

  • Discriminating against, harassing, or intimidating others based on gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, physical appearance, ethnicity, religion, geographic location, age, or other group identity.

  • Engaging in sexual harassment or intimidation, including unwelcome sexual attention, stalking (physical or virtual), or unsolicited physical contact. If people tell you “NO,” your business with them is done. If you continue contact with those people, you may be removed from the premises and your membership revoked.  

  • Shouting down, threatening, or defaming others.

  • Plagiarizing or presenting material that is not your own without proper attribution. The victim may also choose to pursue legal recourse. 

  • Sharing others’ personal information or intellectual property without consent. The victim may also choose to pursue legal recourse.

  • Misrepresenting your rank or identity during the conference registration or presentation process. 

  • Failing to appear for scheduled conference presentations without notifying PCA leadership in the case of non-emergency. Additional consequences are determined by the specific Area Chair and may include not being allowed to present at future conferences and a statement of non-attendance on the online conference program. 

  • Financial malfeasance. 


Anyone asked to stop a hostile or harassing behavior is expected to comply immediately. If a participant or exhibitor engages in harassing behavior, PCA leadership may take any action they deem appropriate, ranging from a simple warning to the offender to expulsion from this and future conferences as well as other organization spaces, such as social media platforms.

Contact Conference Services staff  at the conference registration desk if you believe you have been harassed or that a harassment problem exists. All such reports will be directed immediately to the Director of Conference Services, who will determine and carry out the appropriate course of action and who may consult with and engage other PCA staff, leaders, and legal counsel as appropriate. Event security and/or local law enforcement may be involved, as appropriate, based on the specific circumstances. A follow-up report will be made to individuals who report being harassed.

Report any physical assault or threats to hotel staff, a PCA Governing Board member, or other official PCA representative, such as an Area Chair or Session Chair, or the local police department.


PCA reserves the right to bar participation in organizational activities for violations of its policies, including serving as an Area Chair, member of the Governing Board, or employee. It also reserves the right to revoke or suspend memberships. Revocation or suspension of membership may be for a limited period (e.g., one year) up to permanently. 

Other penalties may include expulsion from the conference either for several hours or for the rest of the conference; expulsion from PCA social media platforms; and/or notification of the violation to the violator’s college, university, or employer. 

Anyone who breaks the law—city, state, or federal—may be arrested. 

All violations of the Code of Conduct will be evaluated by the PCA Ethics Committee which is composed of selected members of the Governing Board and the general membership. After a thorough investigation, the committee shall make the decision as to whether the CoC was violated. If so, then the committee shall make a recommendation to the President and/or the Governing Board regarding the violation and its consequences. The President and/or the Governing Board will then approve the consequences. If they do not approve the consequences either 1) the committee will be informed as to why the consequences were not approved, and they will meet to discuss new consequences, or 2) the President or Governing Board may make alterations. 

Adapted, in part, from the guidelines of the Modern Language Association and American Library Association

Revised 30 September 2022.