Science Fiction and Fantasy

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Conference of the Popular and American Culture Association (PCA/ACA)

15-18 April 2020 – Philadelphia, PA


One of the largest and most vibrant of the association, the Science Fiction and Fantasy (SF/F) Area invites proposals for its 2020 national conference to be held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, PA. The goals of our area are (1) to share and support research, scholarship, and publication and (2) to mentor emerging scholars. As a result, we invite proposals from professors, independent scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates (with the approval / guidance of their professors).


PCA/ACA SF/F welcomes any theoretical or (inter)disciplinary approach to any topic related to SF/F:  art; literature; radio; film; television; comics and graphic novels; video, role-playing, and multi-player online games.  We plan to hold joint sessions with the Romance Area and the Dime Novels and Series Books Area in 2020. If your SF/F interests intersect with those, then by all means submit a proposal. We will have more information about those joint sessions soon.


Submission Guidelines:  In Word (.doc/.docx), Rich Text Format (.rtf), or PDF, 250-word proposals for individual papers should be submitted through the PCA website and only through the PCA website. If you wish to submit a panel for the conference, all presenters must submit individually through the website, and then notify the Area Chairs of your intention to present together. Please do not include panel colleagues on the electronic submission as this confuses the program.  Instructions for submission can be found at www.pcaaca.org/conference/instructions.php and submissions made at http://ncp.pcaaca.org .


Submissions can be made on the site after 1 August 2019.

The document should contain the following information in this order:

  • Name of presenter—indicate main contact person if submitting a multi-authored paper
  • Institutional affiliation—if applicable
  • Name and contact information of Supervising professor—undergraduates only
  • Address(es), telephone number(s), and current email address(es) of presenter(s)
  • Title of paper
  • 250-word proposal(s)

Roundtables and special sessions can only be created by Area Chairs—if you wish to organize one of these sessions, please contact the Area Chairs, who will create the event for you in the schedule. Note that ALL areas are limited in the number of roundtables that can be held: two. If you wish to propose one, then do so as soon as possible, as we already have one scheduled for 2020.

The proposal will be acknowledged within 2 days of its receipt, and the sender will be notified of the submission’s status no later than 15th November 2019.  Please be aware that acknowledgement of receipt does not automatically denote acceptance.  Deadlines for submission are firm, and we cannot accept any papers made after the deadline.  Earlier submission is appreciated.

Please, do not simultaneously submit proposals to multiple areas. Doing so is a discourtesy to area chairs and will result in your paper being refused. Per PCA/ACA guidelines, a person may present only one paper at the annual meeting, regardless of subject area. If you try to submit to two areas, the master program will not accept your proposals (which may result in your paper not being accepted in either area).


Submission Deadline:  24 November 2019


Each year the SF/F Area hosts a fundraising event that includes a film, snacks, and a prize raffle of DVDs, novels, academic books, action figures, etc.—thousands of dollars in merchandise. Come enjoy the food, friendship, and fun! This year’s movie will be a science fiction film, The Philadelphia Experiment. Fundraising supports area activities and a cash award to the best student paper. Beginning in 2020 we will institute two new awards: student travel and junior faculty / independent scholar travel.  More details about these awards can be found at the area’s website: www.pcasff.wordpress.com. We do accept donations of items for the raffle, so if your shelves are starting to bulge under all of your SF/F memorabilia, ask yourself if you really need 3 Thor action figures. If not, then donate that stuff to us.


Please be aware that the PCA offers several (highly competitive) travel bursaries and deadlines for them are 01 November 2019.  Check the PCA website www.pcaaca.org for more information.


Hope to see you in Philadelphia!


PCA/ACA SF/F Area Chairs          

Gillian I Leitch, Sherry Ginn and Heather M Porter


Direct all enquiries to our email address. Gillian responds to email via this address:   pcasff@gmail.com


NOTE: While the PCA/ACA welcomes fresh approaches to subjects, serious commitment to scholarship and to presenting at the conference is expected.


Please note that this is a professional conference and once you are accepted, your presentation becomes integral to the success of the event.  If you must cancel, please notify the Area Chairs of your withdrawal as soon as you know.  Failure to do so will impact future opportunities to present at this conference.


Next year’s conference will commence early Wednesday morning. Be advised that your panel will be assigned a time randomly by the master scheduler. We cannot change the schedule after it is completed, so please ensure that you will be able to attend the entire conference before you submit your proposal. In other words, clear your schedule from Wednesday through Saturday. We will notify you of your exact presentation time as soon as we can, but the final program is not likely to be completed before 20 January 2020. You have to register for the conference by the 1st of January 2020, otherwise your paper will be dropped from the schedule.  Make your hotel reservations as soon as possible. The number of reserved rate hotel rooms is limited; you can always cancel a reservation (by the date dictated by the hotel) but you cannot make a reservation after the room block is full.


Please consult our handy guide for proposing here.




2021 Conference Dates and Deadlines


August 1, 2020————— Submission Page Goes Live

October 5, 2020————–Early Bird Registration Rate Begins

November 1, 2020———–Deadline for Paper Proposals and Grant Applications

December 6, 2020———–Early Bird Registration Ends

December 7, 2020 ———-Regular Registration Begins

January 1, 2021————–Regular Registration Ends

January 2, 2021————–Late Registration Begins

January 20, 2021———– Preliminary Schedule Available

February 1, 2021————Presenter Late Registration Ends at 11:59 pm: Non-registrants Dropped from Program

February 2, 2021———–Non-Presenters Registration Continues

March 31-April 3, 2021—-National Conference in Boston

All presenters must be current, paid members of the PCA and fully registered for the conference.

Refund requests must be submitted in writing. Full or partial refunds will be processed according to the following schedule:
Requested by Jan. 1: 100% refund
Requested by Jan. 15: 75% refund
Requested by Jan. 25: 50% refund
Requested by Feb. 1: 25% refund
After Feb. 1: 0% refund

Membership fees are not refundable.