A Message from the PCA President

A Message from the PCA President…


My PCA Colleagues,


I am delighted to welcome you to the Popular Culture Association’s new normal and invite you to our first post-Covid National Conference.  A common ground for thousands of scholars who hail from many academic disciplines around the world, our annual national conference is the Popular Culture Association’s signature event. After three long years, we can meet in person to share our research at film screenings, local tours, keynote speaker events, special awards ceremonies, and other gatherings. We encourage you to join us in San Antonio to attend panels and roundtables that highlight the people, publications, and ideas defining the study of popular culture. 


The positive energy at our National Conference always has been unparalleled; networking and publishing opportunities abound in the friendly and supportive atmosphere that popular culture studies produce. This year, we’ll also be hailing half a century of scholarly work of study, bringing forward new ideas, and ensuring new growth and a healthy future for the PCA. Our 2023 National Conference in San Antonio promises to be the conference of a life time. From April 5th to 8th, we’ll be celebrating the Popular Culture Association’s fiftieth birthday.


I am honored to report we are presenting this year’s Lynn Bartholome Eminent Scholar Award to Robin R. Means Coleman. Dr. Coleman is the Vice President & Associate Provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, and the Ida B. Wells and Ferdinand Barnett Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University. An award-winning scholar, Dr. Coleman focuses her research on media studies and the cultural politics of Blackness. She is the author of Horror Noire: A History of Black American Horror from the 1890s to Present, 2nd ed. (2023); Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present (2011) and African-American Viewers and the Black Situation Comedy: Situating Racial Humor (2000).  She is a co-author of The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror from Fodder to Oscar (2023) and Intercultural Communication for Everyday Life (2014). She is the editor of Say It Loud! African American Audiences, Media, and Identity (2002) and the co-editor of Fight the Power! The Spike Lee Reader (2008). 


I am excited to announce we will have a world premiere in San Antonio revealing a treasure trove of materials about The Beatles—manuscripts, personal diaries, photographs, audio, and much more that have been under wraps for five decades. One of the world’s foremost writers and thinkers about the Beatles, Kenneth Womack will also be speaking about the mysterious circumstances of Mal Evans’ death. In addition to Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles (2007), the Cambridge Companion to the Beatles (2009), and The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four (2014), Womack is the author of a two-volume biography devoted to the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin, including Maximum Volume (2017) and Sound Pictures (2018). His book, Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles (2019), was feted as the go-to book by the Los Angeles Times for readers interested in learning about the band’s swan song. Published in 2020, John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life was an Amazon Bestseller, earning rave reviews from the likes of Forbes and The Boston Globe.


The PCA’s President Award recognizes the contributions of outstanding individuals who have contributed to the study of Popular Culture. I am thrilled that Doug Brode will be our 2023 President Awards recipient and speaker. Doug has always been a trail blazer. A screenwriter, playwright, novelist, film historian, and multi-award winning journalist, Doug has a staggering knowledge of film and his study of American culture is simply inspiring. On Wednesday, April 5th, he will be presenting a radical, new interpretation of The Graduate (1967). Then on Thursday, April 6th, he will be delivering a critique of The Alamo legend that has been long overdue. Please join us to celebrate the study of Popular Culture with one of the best in the business. Doug’s books include the popular 1970s text Crossroads to the Cinema (Holbrook Press) and numerous entries in the Citadel Press “Films of …” series including volumes on the 1950s and 1960s, directors Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen, and stars Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro. His other books on film and popular culture include Shakespeare in the Movies for Oxford University Press. Brode has edited or co-edited nearly a dozen anthologies on subjects as diverse as Star WarsStar Trek, Walt Disney, The Twenty-First Century Western and The American Civil War on Film. He has appeared often on national TV and radio shows as a guest speaker and has been interviewed by numerous magazines and newspapers including The New York Times. His articles on film and popular culture have appeared in such mainstream magazines as Rolling Stone and TV Guide as well as such journals as Cineaste and Television Quarterly.


On Friday, April 7th, the PCA is proud to present its first Diversity Series Deni Chamberlin (Iowa State University), Adrien Sebro (University of Austin at Texas), and Dustin Takmahkera (University of Oklahoma) will be addressing pressing issues of race and gender in Popular Culture. An associate professor of journalism at Iowa State University, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and the Director of Photography at the Food & Environment Reporting Network, Deni Chamberlin has more than 20 years of experience as a newspaper and magazine photojournalist with many publications throughout the world, including TIME Magazine, The Economist, GEO, The New York Times Sunday Magazine and National Geographic. Her current work examines the intersectionality of identities, with an emphasis on gender. Adrien Sebro is an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in critical media studies at the intersections of comedy, gender, and Black Popular Culture.  He is currently completing his first book with Rutgers University Press, Scratchin’ and Survivin’: Hustle Economics and the Black Sitcoms of Tandem Productions. Dustin Tahmahkera (Comanche) is a professor of Native American cultural studies at the University of Oklahoma. A writer and scholar of Indigenous sound, film, and theatre, he has authored the books Tribal Television: Viewing Native Peoples in Sitcoms (University of North Carolina Press) and Cinematic Comanches: The Lone Ranger in the Media Borderlands (University of Nebraska Press).


Meeting in San Antonio  promises you all access to the most recent publications and best publishing opportunities in popular culture. Our Book Room is a place you will want to be. Representatives from the best independent and university presses will be there to talk to you about your book proposals.  The newest and best publications in Popular Culture Studies will be on the book tables waiting for you to take them home.


San Antonio itself is a wonderful experience. Bursting with culture, this city is inclusive and welcoming, rated above Chicago as a top vacation destination. Its legendary, life-changing artifacts and popular culture include first class museums and breath-taking caverns, unparalleled hauntings, friendly breweries, and discriminating wine-tasting. A stone’s throw from San Antonio’s beautiful Riverwalk, the Marriott Rivercenter, our conference hotel, is a short distance from one of the most important historic sites in the United States—the Alamo. I look forward to seeing you in person in April and listening to your papers.  I wish you all well as we continue to further the scholarly study of Popular Culture.


Sue Matheson, President