Presenting at PCA


Ready to submit?



Guide for First-Time Presenters

by Tamar Gablinger
Former subject area Chair of Conspiracy Theory/ Claims of the Paranormal

The PCA annual conference is a relatively large conference, which means that you are bound to be fertilized by many ideas, not necessarily from your discipline. Here are a few lines of advice:

  • The size of the conference shouldn’t alarm you– it is one of the friendliest conferences I have ever participated in.  Feel free to address anyone, including those who have “professor emeritus” and “conference organizer” next to their name.
  • I would highly recommend trying to share a room at the conference hotel and not using some other hostel/hotel. With four people in the room, the price is very reasonable, and you will be able to go to any presentation you would like to, regardless of the hour.
  • The time slot for all panels is 90 minutes. There are usually four presenters in each, and we also leave time for questions and discussion, which means that you should finish your own presentation in 15 minutes (with three presenters– 20 minutes).
  • A 15 minute presentation is approximately 5-6 double spaced printed pages. A 20 minute presentation is 6-7 such pages.
  • No ideas are so important that they should take time from other presenters. Always imagine how you would feel if you were the last one on the panel and your predecessors had talked for 30 minutes.
  • Presentations shouldn’t be “reading an essay aloud”. You should communicate with your audience; use the written script as reference, not as a sacred text to be repeated verbatim. When you practice, you will notice that some language works better on paper, but will need to be edited for verbal presentation.
  • Supporting technology, like PowerPoint, Prezi, video clips, are not sacred. Always prepare for the event of a natural disaster, with a candle-light presentation or more likely — to the event that your Power Point presentation wouldn’t work for some reason. In other words — think of a “Plan B” in case no technology works.
  • Most importantly, practice your presentation.  Doing so will allow you to perfect your timing, practice speaking clearly, and develop confidence that will show when you give your talk.

Chairing a Panel

The chair is often the key to a successful panel. Experience suggests following these guidelines facilitates success:

  1. Introduce the panelists to one another before the session, if possible, and, during the session, introduce them to the audience (Contact information is available through your area chair.)
  2. Decide whether to take questions from the audience after each presentation or after the session (to save time, you may wish to take them at the end).
  3. Alert presenters of time requirements. Panel chairs of 4-person panels usually allot 20 minutes per presenter, which includes time for questions.
  4. Alert presenters if they are running over their allotted time during their presentations. Running more than 5 minutes over the allotted time can seriously hamper scheduling.


Audio visual support

The following AV equipment will be standard in each presentation room (except for special conference events):

  1. VGA Cable

    VGA cable

    Presentation rooms will be equipped with the following: LCD data projector, speakers, and projection screen.  We will supply a standard VGA cable and a standard 3.5mm Audio cable.  You must supply your own equipment to attach to these cables.

  2. The PCA conference organizers strongly encourage each presenter using digital media to bring their laptops (either PC or Mac).  We do not supply devices for playing your media. Many devices do not have VGA ports, so be sure you bring the special adapter so your device will connect to the LCD projector. We encourage you to consult with your college/university media department to verify which adapter to bring with your device or by visiting the device manufacturer website.
  3. If your presentation requires AV equipment/support outside of #1 you will be required to contract with our conference AV provider and will be liable for all labor/equipment costs.  This is prohibitively expensive.
  4. Please Note: most VHS tapes, slide presentations, and other video formats can be transferred to DVD, either for a fee or, sometimes, through your college/universities AV/IT departments.  You can then bring a laptop or portable DVD player with you to play your media.
  5. Internet connection: We will probably be able to supply a WiFi internet connection for presenters, but you should have a back-up plan ready to go in case the network is slow or too busy to provide an adequate connection for your presentation.


Stereo Cable

3.5 mm Stereo Cable

Advice for preparing to present with AV:

  1. Try out your media ahead of time at the testing station near registration.
  2. Be at your panel early to hook up and test your media.  If multiple people are using AV, consider putting all presentations on one machine to reduce transition time. (Coordinate using email ahead of time!)
  3. Bring your media on a flash drive too in case you need to use someone else’s machine.
  4. Bring necessary printouts/ notes so you can present without AV if there is a problem.
  5. Practice the AV part of your talk. Time your clips and practice queuing them up.

Rules & Exceptions for Presenting

Presenters may submit only one proposal to one area at a time and you may not submit the same proposal to multiple areas. (If a paper is not accepted, the proposal may be submitted to another area, but under no other circumstances.)

Individual presenters may give only one presentation per conference, except in cases where other presentations meet the following criteria:

  1. an invited speaker/writer/poet, etc., who presents by invitation may also deliver a paper/presentation on a panel.
  2. an author who presents his or her own original work (poems, short stories, novels, etc.) may also deliver a paper/presentation on a panel.
  3. a company, public service, or educational representative who gives a special talk may also deliver a paper/presentation on a panel.
  4. a person who meets any of the criteria listed above may also sit on a roundtable(s) and/or chair a panel(s).

Proposing a Presentation – Step-by-step

We strongly recommend you read and follow these directions carefully. Doing so will minimize the chance of user error or other problems.

  1. Explore our Subject Areas: 
    PCA/ACA scholars present within subject areas, each organized by a Chair or Co-Chairs.  Click here to visit the Subject Areas page.
  2. Select one Area:
    Due to limited space and time, presenters may only give one paper at the conference. We welcome fresh approaches to subjects that maintain our commitment to scholarship and to professional presentation.
  3. Craft a proposal: 
    Write a 100 to 250 word abstract on your proposed topic.  Be as specific as you can, even if your project is still gestating
  4. Log into your account.  If you do not have an account, you must create one and verify it. After creating your account and profile, you will receive a verification email. Failure to respond to this email will prohibit you from submitting your proposal. Check your spam file if you do not see this verification email. If your account is not verified, you will be denied access when submitting the proposal. USE THE HELP LINK TO CREATE YOUR ACCOUNT–it is your best friend. Following the directions carefully on account creation will assure your success.
  5.   Submit your proposal online:  
    1. Once logged in, choose “Submit a proposal” on the home page to submit a paper abstract or other kinds of presentations for inclusion in the PCA/ACA conference. Complete panels (with three to four individual papers) should be submitted as individual papers and [area chairs][chairs] should be contacted regarding the panel.
    2. The submission form will first ask you to pick your topic area and the type of proposal you want to submit. One person cannot be added to more than one paper proposal per conference.
    3. Next, list the email addresses of all the presenters in your proposal. Please note that your co-presenters must already have an account on the website before you can add them to your proposal.
    4. After clicking “Continue” you’ll be able to enter your presentation’s details. Title your presentation using title-case capitalization. Abstracts must not exceed 300 words.
    5. BE SURE TO KEEP A COPY OF YOUR PROPOSAL.  Once submitted, you may not be able to recapture it.

Be sure your abstract is free of grammatical, structural, and spelling errors. Be sure everything is correct.

**Note:** do not add any personal details your abstract, such as email addresses, phone numbers or mailing addresses. Abstracts won’t immediately become public, but they will be used to build the digital conference program.

  • Submitting panels – presenters must submit their papers individually (ideally noting that they’re part of a panel and listing the names of their co-panelists), and then the organizer should email the area chair to let them know you intend to present together.
  • Multiple submissions – You may only present one paper at the conference.  See our exceptions listed in section above
  • Cut and Paste – Please avoid special characters when possible, especially in titles.  If you use Word, please click the “Paste from Word” button to clean up the text before you paste.
  1. Receive your response:
    You should hear back about your proposal within two to three weeks. If the wait goes longer, first contact the Area Chair, and then, if you receive no response, contact David Silvermanl, the PCA/ACA VP of Area Chairs, (david.silverman@kwu.edu). He may be able to expedite a definitive answer.
  2. Register and reserve accommodations:
    You can find links to register and reserve your hotel room on our main conference page.

PCA membership/registration costs and deadlines

We are using the same system that we used last year, so if you have attended before, this should be familiar.

registration is now closed for presenters.

MAIL-IN Registration: We much prefer that you use the electronic registration listed above, but if you want to pay by check, you can use the mail-in form (available in September 2017).

Please note, as always, there is a $10 processing fee to pay by check.

Registration: We have three registration levels for the conference: Presenter, Retired, and Guest (non-presenting attendee).


  Early bird
Register by
1 DEC 2018
Program Deadline
Register by
1 jan 2019
Register after or on site
2 jan 2019
Presenter $150 $175 $200
Retired $75 $100 $125
Guest $50 $100 $125


Membership: Everyone presenting (except undergraduates) must be a current member of the Popular Culture Association.  When you register, your membership fee is determined by the journal subscription you select.

 Membership level JPC only JAC only JPC & JAC
Electronic $38 $38 $69
Print $59 $59 $90


Want to join without attending the conference?
Follow the links on our journal pages here.

Reminder – You must register in order to be included in the program. In order to appear in the program and present at the conference, YOU MUST REGISTER and PAY IN ADVANCE.  This will insure that we have fewer no-shows and a better conference.  If you are accepted to present but do not register by the program deadline below, you will not be included in the program and may not be able to present at the conference.

applying for travel support

The Endowment Fund of the Popular Culture Association was established in 1997 as a commitment to the long-term future of the study of popular culture.

How to apply for travel grants.

Our History

The Endowment Fund of the Popular Culture Association was established in 1997 as a commitment to the long-term future of the study of American culture and popular culture in all its forms, venues, contexts, and exchanges. Since that first group of about 20 contributors made an investment in the future of the two organizations and their roles in priority research and critical inquiry, hundreds of individuals and organizations have contributed and helped increase the Endowment to its current level of about $1,500,000.

What is distinctive and special about the PCA/ACA Endowment is that it incorporates contributions of various levels and reflects a broad-based support. An endowment is the hallmark of professional academic organizations that believe their work has substantial cultural significance and impact as well as long-term implications and applications.

In 2018, seventy-six scholarships will be offered to support travel to the meeting–forty for graduate students ($500), fifteen for early-career faculty ($1,000), fifteen for International faculty ($1,000), and six for faculty from 2-year colleges ($1,000).  Research and travel to collection grants ($1,000) will be given to three individuals and one grant ($7,500) will go to support collection building.


Donate to the Endowment

To inquire about donating to the endowment, reach out to the Director of the Endowment:

Michael Marsden
Professor of English, American Studies and Media Studies Emeritus
Dean of the College and Academic Vice President Emeritus
St. Norbert College
16 Marquette Drive
Marquette, Michigan 49855

email: mike.marsden@snc.edu

Over the years, the PCA Endowment has granted graduate students, new faculty, international scholars, and others funds to support travel to the National Popular Culture Conference.  The Endowment has also helped build collections and also made it possible for scholars to travel to and use various archives, depositories, and collections.  To continue and increase availability of funds, the PCA Endowment requests funds.  Any monies sent will be placed in the Endowment and will help support travel and scholarship in the future.  If you would like more information about the Endowment or about donating to the Endowment, please contact Michael Marsden at the address above.

The Endowment has four central goals:

  • To develop and sponsor initiatives which encourage scholarship and promote the dissemination of knowledge and new perspectives in Popular Culture Studies and American Culture Studies;
  • To stimulate and support the internationalization of the fields of Popular Culture Studies and American Culture Studies, broadly and inclusively conceived;
  • To encourage the collection and preservation of cultural artifacts and materials needed by scholars and historians for study;
  • To increase professional recognition and public visibility of the Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association and to enhance the members’ roles as public scholars connected to society and culture.

Giving Categories:
(over a ten-year period)













Ray Browne Society