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Monthly Archives: August 2014



Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) National Conference

April 1–4, 2015

New Orleans, LA

Deadline for Abstracts is November 1, 2014

Pulp magazines were a series of mostly English-language, predominantly American, magazines printed on rough pulpwood paper. They were often illustrated with highly stylized, full-page cover art and numerous line art illustrations of the fictional content. They were sold for modest sums, and were targeted at (sometimes specialized) readerships of popular literature, such as western and adventure, detective, fantastic (including the evolving genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror), romance, and sports fiction. The first pulp Argosy, began life as the children’s magazine The Golden Argosy, dated Dec 2, 1882 and the last of the “original” pulps was Ranch Romances and Adventures, Nov. 1971.

The Pulp Studies area exists to support the academic study of pulp writers, editors, readers, and culture. It seeks to invigorate research by bringing together scholars from diverse areas including romance, western, science fiction, fantasy, horror, adventure, detective, and more. Finally, the Pulp Studies area seeks to promote the preservation of the pulps through communication with libraries, museums, and collectors. With this in mind, we are calling for papers and panels that discuss the pulps and their legacy.

Possible authors and topics:

Magazines: Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Wonder Stories, Fight Stories, All-Story, Argosy, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Spicy Detective, Ranch Romances and Adventures, Oriental Stories/Magic Carpet Magazine, Love Story, Flying Aces, Black Mask, and Unknown, to name a few.

Editors and Owners: Street and Smith (Argosy), Farnsworth Wright (Weird Tales), Hugo Gernsback (Amazing Stories), Mencken and Nathan (Black Mask), John Campbell (Astounding).

Influential Writers: H.P. Lovecraft, A. E. Merritt, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, C. L. Moore, Fritz Leiber, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Robert Bloch, Donald Wandrei, Clark Ashton Smith, and Henry Kuttner. Proposals about contemporary writers in the pulp tradition, such as Joe Lansdale and Michael Chabon are also encouraged. New Weird writers and others, such as China Mieville, whose work is influenced by the pulps, are also of interest.

Influences on Pulp Writers: H. Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sax Rohmer, and Jack London were all influences, along with literary and philosophical figures such as Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edgar Allen Poe, and Herbert Spencer.

Popular Characters: Conan of Cimmeria; Doc Savage; Solomon Kane; Buck Rogers; Northwest Smith; The Domino Lady; Jiril of Joiry; Zorro; Kull of Atlantis; El Borak; The Shadow; The Spider; Bran Mak Morn; Nick Carter; The Avenger; and Captain Future, among others. Also character types: the femme fatale, the he-man, the trickster, racism and villainy, etc.

Artists: Popular artists including Margaret Brundage (Weird Tales), Frank R. Paul (Amazing Stories), Virgil Finlay (Weird Tales), and Edd Cartier (The Shadow, Astounding).

• Periods: The dime novels; Argosy and the ancestral pulps; Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, and the heyday of the pulps; the decline of the pulps in the 50s and 60s; pulps in the age of the Internet.

Theme and Styles: Masculinity, femininity, and sexuality in the pulps; the savage as hero, the woman as hero, the trickster as hero, colonialism in the pulps, racism and “yellow peril,” Modernism in the pulps, etc.

Film and Television: Possible topics could include film interpretations such as Conan the Barbarian, pulp-inspired television such as Amazing Stories, and new work based in the “pulp aesthetic” such as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. 

Comics: Comic book incarnations of pulp magazines and series; “new weird” reinventions of the pulps such as the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and The Watchmen; comic adaptations of old pulp series such as The Shadow, The Spider, Doc Savage and others.

Cyberculture: Cyberpulps such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies and pulp-influenced games such as the Age of Conan MMORPG or the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game.

These are but suggestions for potential panels and presentations. Proposals on other topics are welcome. For general information on the Pulp Studies area, please visit our website:

How to Submit Proposals: Proposals must be submitted through the official PCA conference website:

Please send all inquiries to:

Justin Everett, PhD

Interim Director of Writing Programs

University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

600 S. 43rd St.

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Jeffrey H. Shanks, RPA

Southeast Archeological Center

2035 E. Paul Dirac Drive

Johnson Building, Suite 120

Tallahassee, FL 32310

Paradoxa: Call for Papers: “The Futures Industry”

More than thirty years ago, Fredric Jameson suggested in “Progress versus Utopia” (1982) that, far from providing us with blueprints of the future, the function of science fiction was to dramatize our inability to imagine a future distinct from the capitalist present. Much of his work since, including his “genealogy of the future” in Valences of the Dialectic has focused on the importance of speculative fiction for working through the difficulties of utopian thinking in a context thoroughly saturated by capitalist thinking.

Capitalism has colonized our present and our ability to think about the future. But more importantly, it has also consumed this future in the form of futures markets that script certain trajectories as we deplete limited oil reserves and watch the extinction of hundreds of species due to pollution and climate change.

In the twenty-first century, the future has never seemed so polarized, and we oscillate between dystopian visions of scarcity and collapse (what Chris Harmon calls Zombie Capitalism, 2010) and visions of corporate advertising for products such as cellular phones and luxury cars. These “essential” items suggest that their consumers can live in the future now through these technological marvels. Everyone from Monsanto ( to Verizon ( to biotech entrepreneur Craig Venter—in his book Life at the Speed of Light (2013)—claims to be building a better world. Such discourse appropriates and erodes the language of those who seek to articulate alternative futures.

This issue of Paradoxa invites papers that address the struggle to imagine—and shape—the future in interdisciplinary frameworks. Mark Fisher argues in Capitalist Realism (2012) that the language of advertising is a key mechanism by which we are encouraged to invest in the future as the future of capitalism. It is imperative that we interrogate these limiting visions of the future and reinvigorate the utopian project of imagining and nurturing alternative visions of the social.

As examples of this reimagining, authors are referred to Arjun Appardurai’s call for “an anthropology of the future” in The Future as Cultural Fact; Elizabeth Povinelli’s analysis of the frozen space-time of neoliberalism and her observation that it destroys alternative futures by “denying them social substance” (Economics of Abandonment 134); Kaushik Sunder Rajan’s work on the economies of biocapital and its Derridean rhetoric of “truth”; Melinda Cooper’s work in Life as Surplus on what she calls “capitalism delirium [which] seeks to refashion the world rather than interpret it” (20).

How might we reclaim the future, not only the material future as a space of greater equity and social justice, but also the future as our imaginative ability to think about estranged and new worlds rather than to capitulate to a future as envisioned by global capital? Can science fiction foster a critical understanding of the intersections of political economy and contemporary technoscience, or does its own status as an entertainment commodity inevitably compromise its capacity as a tool for social critique? What is the role of speculative thinking in political struggle and social justice today?

We invite proposals of 500 words for papers of 5000-9000 words. Proposals are due October 1, 2014 and contributors will be notified within 3 weeks if their abstract is accepted. Full papers will be due July 1, 2015; each paper will be subject to external peer review before acceptance is final.

Please send proposals to Sherryl Vint at