President’s Message

Sue Matheson


Founded in 1970 by Ray and Pat Browne in Bowling Green, OH, at Bowling Green State University, the Popular Culture Association (PCA), is devoted to promoting the study of popular culture. The PCA champions innovative and traditional approaches in an open and flexible environment and recognizes excellent scholarly and creative contributions. Its first annual conference took place in 1971 in East Lansing, Michigan, at Michigan State University and has become the organization’s signature event. Every year, scholars from around the world develop ideas and learn from one another. Each summer (unless there is covid-cancellation), the PCA also 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.


 Affiliated with a number of regional and international organizations dedicated to popular culture study, the PCA also supports two prestigious peer-reviewed journals published by Wiley: The Journal of Popular Culture and The Journal of American Culture. Both are official publications of the PCA. The Journal of Popular Culture, first published in 1967 and edited by Ray Browne, continues to break down barriers between so-called “low” and “high” culture and focuses on filling in gaps in our understanding of society. Multidisciplinary in focus, The Journal of American Culture, first published in 1983, combines studies of American literature, history, and the arts, with studies of the popular, the taken-for-granted, and the ordinary pieces of American life to produce analyses with a breadth and holism lacking in traditional American studies.


 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. This year, the PCA continues to celebrate its fifty-year celebration of the study of popular culture and invites you to be a part of its special initiatives and events at our National conference.


 This conference 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.


 On behalf of the Popular Culture Association, I thank all of you for your dedication and service to not only this organization but also, more importantly, your service to the scholarly study of popular culture, the complex phenomenon that is the everyday world around us. As President, I will continue to update you regarding the many exciting endeavors of the association. In the midst of planning our final fiftieth-anniversary celebrations at our National Conference for 2023, we will update you as the conference schedule develops.


I wish you well and look forward to seeing you at our next National Conference as we celebrate the study of popular culture, the PCA’s last fifty years and its promising future.


Sue Matheson
PCA President