President’s Message

Welcome the Popular Culture Association!

The Popular Culture Association (PCA), founded in 1970 by Ray and Pat Browne in Bowling Green, OH, at Bowling Green State University, is an academic organization devoted to promoting the study of popular culture.  Its first conference took place in 1971 in East Lansing, Michigan, at Michigan State University, and its members have met regularly since—bringing together scholars from around the world to develop ideas and learn from one another. The PCA strives to be the preeminent international multidisciplinary organization in the study of popular culture.  It champions both innovative and traditional approaches in an open and flexible environment and recognizes excellent scholarly and creative contributions. The association has affiliations with a number of regional and international organizations dedicated to popular culture study and supports two prestigious peer-reviewed journals: The Journal of Popular Culture and The Journal of American Culture.  Each summer the association co-sponsors a Summer Research Institute at Bowling Green State University with The Ray and Pat Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies, The Music Library and Bill Shurk Sound Archives, and the William T. Jerome Library. This year PCA begins its fifty-year celebration and invites you to be a part of its special initiatives and events. Over the past half century, PCA has continued to mature and professionalize while at the same time recognizing its pioneer roots and the weird and wonderful world that drives the study of popular culture.  


To do service to its mission, the Governing Board of the PCA has developed and implemented a 2019-2022 strategic plan built upon the following ten goals:

  1. Improve the operational and managerial structure of the PCA
  2. Foster continued legitimation of popular culture studies and the PCA inside and outside the academy
  3. Establish the appropriate size and composition of the PCA
  4. Establish institutional and personal accountability across the PCA
  5. Foster increased inclusion and distribution of under-represented groups in the Association and in leadership positions.
  6. Establish a robust professional development program for all members.
  7. Establish an enhanced public engagement program for the PCA
  8. Enhance PCA regional and international participation
  9. Continue the growth of the PCA Endowment and achieve a corpus of $2 million by 2021
  10. Upgrade and expand PCA’s digital presence by greatly enhancing the website, social media activities, and virtual communication initiatives.


These goals and the action plans supporting them represent the ideology of the PCA turned into operational reality. As implemented by the Governing Board in concert with the members of PCA, the strategic plan determines the direction of the association.  All are encouraged to contribute to the fulfillment of these goals as we continue to build a stable and vibrant scholarly association. 



The annual national conference is the association’s signature event. Each year, thousands of scholars from many academic disciplines across the globe travel to meet in a major American city to share and discuss their research at the conference in a number of venues: panel presentations, roundtables, special sessions, film screenings, local tours, keynote speakers, awards ceremonies, and other events.

The organization is organized into dozens of diverse Subject Areas, each representing one aspect of popular culture. Each Subject Area is chaired by one or more individuals who are experts in that particular field of study. The PCA is strengthened by its myriad Subject Areas and the many talented scholars who contribute to them.

We are already planning our 2021 conference in Boston as part of our fiftieth-anniversary celebration. We will continue to update you as the 2021 conference schedule develops.

On behalf of the Popular Culture Association, I thank all of you for your dedication and service to not only this organization but also to the larger cause of the scholarly study of popular culture. As President, I will continue to update you regarding the many exciting endeavors of the association. I wish you well and look forward to seeing you in Boston as we celebrate fifty years of PCA!


Kathy Merlock Jackson
PCA President