Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Area Sessions 2014 Final Update

Northeast Popular/America Culture Association
2014 Conference
Providence College, 24-25 October 2014

A final update on our sessions for this weekend's conference. The complete schedule (updated as of 12 October) can be accessed at A map of the campus is available at​. 

Friday, 24 October

SESSION II: Friday, October 24, 2:45–4:15 pm
CHAIR: Faye Ringel, United States Coast Guard Academy

1. “ ‘You’re a Trickster Singular, Rachel Morgan’: Collective and Individual Magic in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows Series”
Amie Doughty, SUNY – Oneonta

Amie Doughty is Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department at SUNY Oneonta and a three-time presenter in our area. Her primary area of research is children’s and young adult fantasy, and she is author of the books Folktales Retold: A Critical Overview of Stories Updated for Children (2006) and “Throw the book away”: Reading versus Experience in Children’s Fantasy (2013), both published by McFarland. Amie is also the Area Chair of the Children's Literature and Culture area of the Popular Culture Association.

2. “Just Desserts: NBC’s Hannibal and the Evolution of Cultural Morality”
Douglas Howard, Suffolk County Community College

Douglas L. Howard is Academic Chair of the English Department on the Ammerman Campus at Suffolk County Community College and a newcomer to our area. He has published and presented on literature, film, and television. He is also the editor of Dexter: Investigating Cutting Edge Television and the co-editor of The Essential Sopranos Reader. His paper today looks at another cult television program and is called “Just Desserts: NBC’s Hannibal and the Evolution of Cultural Morality”.

3. “ ‘Monstrosity Will Be Called For’: Holly Black and Melissa Marr’s Urban Gothic Fairy Tale”
Rhonda Nicol, Illinois State University

Rhonda Nicol also makes her first appearance in our area this year. She is an instructional assistant professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Illinois State University. Her research focuses upon issues of gender, power, and identity in contemporary fantasy, and she has published essays on works such as Harry Potter, Twilight, Supernatural, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

4. “Horrific Science and the Great Unseen in the Fiction of Francis Stevens”
Sabrina Starnaman, University of Texas at Dallas

Sabrina Starnaman, another newcomer to our area, is a literary studies professor at The University of Texas at Dallas. Her work focuses on Progressive Era (1880-1930) texts that involve women, urbanism, and disability, and today’s paper arises from her interest in the history of science and women writers who are doing things they aren’t supposed to—like writing dark horror fantasy stories in 1919.

Saturday, 25 October

SESSION IV, Saturday, October 25, 9:00–10:30 am
CHAIR: Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State University

1. “Dracula: Monster of Masculinity”
Michael Paul Pecora, Worcester State University

Michael Paul Pecora is a recent graduate of Worcester State University, receiving his master’s degree in 2014. He has worked as a teacher in the Worcester Public School system and will be pursuing his Ph.D. in English Literature beginning in 2015. His primary scholarly interests are Early Modern English Literature, as well as Contemporary Fantasy/Sci-fi, where he focuses his studies on gender, society, and masculinity. Aside from his work in the scholarly field, Michael is also a poet and writer of fiction, as well as a classical guitarist and music instructor.

2. “Nature Selects the Horla: Darwinian Influences on Guy de Maupassant’s Horror Tale”
Sharon Yang, Worcester State University

Sharon Yang is a longtime supporter of our area. She is a Full Professor in the English Department at Worcester State University and teaches courses in Renaissance literature, nineteenth-century British literature (including the Gothic), and Film and Literature.  Sharon has published and presented in these fields, including her book Goddesses, Mages, and Wise Women:  The Female Pastoral Guide in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century English Drama (2011) and her collection The X-Files and Literature: Unweaving the Story, Unraveling the Lie to Find the Truth (2007).  She is currently working on editing a collection of essays with Dr. Kathleen Healey called Gothic Landscapes:  Changing Eras, Changing Cultures, Changing Anxieties, which will include a more in-depth version of her paper today on “The Horla”.

3. “Like Lovecraft for the Little Ones: ParaNorman’s Gothic New England”
Faye Ringel, US Coast Guard Academy & Jenna Randall, Independent Scholar

Combing efforts, Faye Ringel, the founder of our area, and newcomer Jenna Randall offer insight into a recent film. Faye is Professor Emerita of Humanities, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and taught English there for over 25 years. She is the author of New England’s Gothic Literature: History and Folklore of the Supernatural and many articles in reference books and scholarly journals on this subject. Faye is especially knowledgeable about the works of Rhode Islander H. P. Lovecraft, and she has it on good authority that she is the reincarnation of his wife Sonia. (Don’t believe this? Ask Faye.) Her co-presenter, Jenna, gets paid to listen to audiobooks all day. When she’s not doing that, she’s chasing her 3 sons around. And when she’s not doing that, she’s conspiring with Faye to take over the world, one paper presentation at a time.

4. “Cyborgs in Western Science Fiction: Triumphs and Tribulations in Human-Machine Relations”
Petra Vannucci-Henkel, University of Denver

Petra Vannucci-Henkel has had to withdraw her paper. 

SESSION VI: Saturday, October 25, 1:30–3:00 pm
CHAIR: Michael Torregrossa, Independent Scholar

1. “Harvesting the Little Sisters: Sexualization and the Exploitation of Children in the BioShock Series”
Ashley Barry, Independent Scholar

Ashley Barry currently works at a publishing house in Boston and recently earned a Master’s degree in children’s literature at Simmons College. Having written a number of Facebook posts about complex narratives in video games, her favorite professor from her undergraduate institution reached out and encouraged her to present at the NEPCA conference.

2. “Scopophilia and Ocular Mutilation: Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Vision for Pretty Deadly
Katy Rex, Independent Scholar [ADDED]

Katy Rex is an independent scholar and writes comics analysis at End of the Universe Comics <>, Comics Bulletin <>, and Bloody Disgusting <>. She also runs a podcast at featuring academic and creator interviews focusing on the topics of both comics and music.

3. “Should Your Car Kill You?”
Don Vescio, Worcester State University

Don Vescio is a member of Worcester State University’s Department of English, where he teaches courses in critical theory and rhetoric. Prior to this, Don served, for ten years, as Worcester State’s Vice President of Information Technologies; he then became Vice President for the newly formed division of Enrollment Management. Don’s research interests include the connections between contemporary critical theory and data networks, information design, and predictive analytics in the humanities.

4. “The Cosmic Gaze: Polyocularity in H. P. Lovecraft-Related Visual Culture”
Nathaniel Wallace, Ohio University

Our final presenter this afternoon is Nathaniel Wallace, a PhD candidate at the Ohio University school of Interdisciplinary Arts, where his focus is on the visual arts and film. His academic credentials also include an AAS in interactive media from Columbus State, a BA in political science from the Ohio State University, and an MA in political science from Ohio University, where he concentrated on international relations. Nathaniel’s recent work centers on the writings of Rhode Island author H. P. Lovecraft and their afterlives, and he is currently finishing his dissertation, “H. P. Lovecraft’s Literary Supernatural Horror in Visual Culture,” and working on related creative projects, including a video game adaptation of Lovecraft’s unpublished novella “The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath”.  Nathaniel’s presentation today is entitled “The Cosmic Gaze: Polyocularity in H.P. Lovecraft-Related Visual Culture”.

SESSION VII: Saturday, October 26, 3:15–4:45 pm
CHAIR: Sabrina Starnaman, University of Texas – Dallas

1. “Identifying Frankenstein’s Creature in Nature”
Janna Andrews, Arcadia University

Janna Andrews was originally born and raised in San Antonio, and she is currently a sophomore at Arcadia University, where she is pursuing a double major in creative writing and graphic design. Fascinated with the created world around us, she holds a passion for nature and expresses that love through words and images. An illustrator, writer, and coffee aficionado, she is working towards a career in book design and travel writing.

2. “ ‘I Miss Science Class’: Emasculating Scientists in The Walking Dead
Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State University

Kristine Larsen, a six-year veteran of our area, is Professor of Astronomy at Central Connecticut State University, and her research focuses on the intersections between science and society, including science and popular culture. She is the author of Stephen Hawking: A Biography and Cosmology 101 and co-editor of The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who and The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman.

3. “Did Chris Carter Want to Kill His Franchise? A Feminist Reading of The X-Files: I Want to Believe
April Selley, Union College

April Selley, a Rhode Island native and previous presenter in our area, received her BA in English at Providence College and earned a PhD in English and American Literature from Brown University. She now teaches American Literature and the Writing of Fiction in the English Department at Union College in Schenectady, New York. She, also, has been a Fulbright Lecturer in Portugal and in Japan. Her published work encompasses scholarly articles on a variety of subjects, such as Poe, Dickinson, fellow Rhode Islander Lovecraft, Fitzgerald, and Star Trek, and an impressive literary output, which includes over forty poems and eight short stories, as well as creative nonfiction and flash fictions, both in print and online. April has also delivered many papers at regional, national and international Popular Culture Association Conferences, mostly on the subject of Star Trek, but, today, she turns her attention towards a different franchise and asks: “Did Chris Carter Want to Kill His Franchise? A Feminist Reading of The X-Files: I Want to Believe”.

4. “Echoes of Frankenstein in the Comics: Recasting the Story in Humor Comics”
Michael Torregrossa, Independent Scholar

Michael Torregrossa is also Rhode Island born and bred and holds degrees in Medieval Studies from both Rhode Island College and University of Connecticut (Storrs). A scholar of both the medieval and the modern, he is the current Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Legend Area Chair, a position he has held since 2009. Michael’s present research focuses on monsters, and he will present a paper entitled “A Transylvanian Count in Camelot? Investigating the Draculas of the Modern Matter of Britain” next month at Wheaton College as part of the 2014 Meeting of the New England Region of the American Conference for Irish Studies.

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