The History of the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Legend Area


Founded in 2008, the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Legend Area of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association is the successor to the organization’s various fantastic-themed areas (including Horror, Medievalism, and Sci-Fi/Fantasy), and we are grateful to carry on the work of our distinguished area chair emerita.

Area Chair History:

Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Legend Area
Michael A. Torregrossa (Independent Scholar) (2014-)

Horror Area (originally Horror Fiction & Film Area)
Michelle Ephraim (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) (2006-2014)
Mary Findley (Vermont Technical College) (2005-2007) (presently co-chair of The Vampire in Literature, Culture & Film Area of the PCA/ACA)

Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend Area
Michael A. Torregrossa (Independent Scholar) (2009-2014)
Faye Ringel (United States Coast Guard Academy, emeritus) (2008)

Medievalism in Popular Culture Area
Faye Ringel (United States Coast Guard Academy, emeritus) (at least 2002-2007)

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Area
Defunct at least from 2003.



ARCHIVE LIST OF CONFERENCE SESSIONS


THE SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, HORROR, AND LEGEND AREA YEAR 8

38th Annual Conference of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association
Colby-Sawyer College (New London, New Hampshire)
30-31 October 2015

Coming Soon



THE SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, HORROR, AND LEGEND AREA YEAR 7

Beyond the Pale: Alienation, Sites of Resistance, and Modern Ireland
2014 New England American Conference for Irish Studies Regional Conference (http://wheatoncollege.edu/english/neacis-conference/)
Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts)
21-22 November 2014

Friday, 21 November (Session II: 4:30-5:15 PM)
Panel 3: Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Contexts and Afterlives (Meneeley 201)
Sponsored by The Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Legend Area of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association (NEPCA)
Organizer/Presider: Michael A. Torregrossa, Independent Scholar

1. “Using Dracula to Explore 19th-Century Reactions to Medical Theories from the Preceding Century”
      Nicole Salomone, Independent Scholar

Nicole Salomone is an independent scholar whose research interests focus on the history of modern medicine. At present, Nicole is obtaining her degree in Liberal Arts, with an interest in continuing on for a degree in the History of Science and Medicine. She has spoken at local, regional, and national conferences about her research on scholarly medical theories of 18th century London and is presently a lecturer in the Thomas Jefferson University: History of Medicine Lecture Series. Nicole is also a co-author on a peer-reviewed article on Mary Edwards Walker to be published in the journal The American Surgeon. In addition to her scholarly pursuits, she has served on the Executive Board of the National Coalition for Independent Scholars and was that organization’s interim Vice President in 2013.  Outside of academia, Nicole has spent nearly 15 years teaching Renaissance-focused re-enactors the theoretical and practical sociology of 17th and 18th century dance and currently teaches classes on 18th century English medicine and modern research techniques. Furthering her outreach activities, Nicole is also a writer and has published a novella Forgotten (2011), which brings 18th century/medicine of the American Revolution to the average reader. [website]

2. “Re-fashioning Dracula: Psychic Vampires in Postwar American Culture”
      Kristin Bidoshi, Union College

Kristin Bidoshi is an associate professor of Russian and director of the Russian and East European Studies Program at Union College, where she teaches a course on the Vampire as Other in East European and American Culture. As a researcher, Kristin has conducted fieldwork in Eastern Europe and published on such subjects as the use of the oral tradition in the works of Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chekhov, and Liudimila Petrushevskaia and the evil eye in Albania. Her most recent research is on rites of passage in contemporary Albanian society. 

3. “A Transylvanian Count in Camelot? Investigating the Draculas of the Modern Matter of Britain”
      Michael A. Torregrossa, Independent Scholar

Michael A. Torregrossa is the area chair for the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Legend Area of the Northeast Popular Culture / American Culture Association (a. k. a. NEPCA), a regional affiliate of the national Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association. He is a medievalist with degrees in Medieval Studies from both Rhode Island College and University of Connecticut (Storrs). Michael’s present research focuses on the medieval in the post-medieval world, and he is am especially interested in how the monstrous has been appropriated into medieval legends, like the Matter of Britain. His talk grows out of a multi-year (and still ongoing) project tracing the absorption of themes associated with vampire fiction into the Arthurian tradition. 


37th Annual Conference of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association
Providence College (Providence, Rhode Island)
24-25 October 2014

Friday, October 24 (Session II: 2:45-4:15 PM)
Panel 13: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Legend: Horror and the Fantastic (Harkins LL01)
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. 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 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 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, October 25, (Session IV: 9:00-10:30 AM)
Panel 24: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Legend: Creature Features (Harkins 104)
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 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.


Saturday, October 25, (Session VI: 1:30-3:00 PM)
Panel 44: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend: Manufacturing Monsters (Library LL01)
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

Katy Rex is an independent scholar and writes comics analysis at End of the Universe Comics <http://endoftheuniversecomics.com/>, Comics Bulletin <http://comicsbulletin.com/>, and Bloody Disgusting <http://bloody-disgusting.com/>. She also runs a podcast at endoftheuniversecomics.com 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”
      Nathan Wallace, Ohio State 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”. 


Saturday, October 26, (Session VII: 3:15-4:45 PM)
Panel 49: Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Legend: Science and Science Fiction (Harkins 331)
CHAIR: Sabrina Starnaman, University of Texas – Dallas

1. “Identifying Frankenstein’s Creature in Nature”
      The 2014 Winner of the Amos St. Germain Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper
      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” (available online)
      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.



THE SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND LEGEND AREA YEAR 6

36th Annual Conference of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association
St. Michael's College (Colchester, Vermont)
25-26 October 2013

Saturday, 26 October (Session V: 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM)
Panel 25: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend: Science Fiction Character and Narrative
Chair: Michael Torregrossa (Independent Scholar)

Paper 1: “Mutant, Monster, Freak”: Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher Series and the Ethics of Genetic Engineering” 
      Kristine Larsen (Central Connecticut State University)

Kristine Larsen is a frequent presenter in our area and is Professor of Astronomy at Central Connecticut State University. Her research and teaching focus on issues of science and society, including the preparation of science educators, science outreach, and science and literature. Her publications include the books Stephen Hawking: A Biography and Cosmology 101 and two co-edited volumes, The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who and The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman, which received the Gold Medal for Science Fiction/Fantasy in the 2012 Florida Publishing Association Awards. Kristine is also the recipient of the 2013 Walter Scott Houston award from the Northeast Region of the Astronomical League for excellence in astronomy education and outreach.

Paper 2: “When Species Speak: Interspecies Communication in Sheri Tepper’s The Companions
      Kerry Shea (Saint Michael’s College)

[Biography not provided.]

Paper 3: “Hydeuous Evolution: Exploring How the Dwarfish Hyde Became the Monstrous Hulk in the Classroom”
      Lance Eaton (North Shore Community College)

Lance Eaton is the outgoing Comics and Graphic Novels Area Chair for NEPCA and graduated from University of Massachusetts, Boston, where his studies focused on gender & sexuality and popular culture and culminated in a Masters in American Studies.  Since then, he has continued to collect masters degrees and teach an assortment of courses, from Cultural Diversity to World History to Comics in American Culture, as well as publishing his writings on comics, audiobooks, and horror. At present, he is Coordinator of Instructional Design at North Shore Community College and continues to teach in a part-time capacity.  He is also an avid blogger and posts at By Any Other Nerd <http://byanyothernerd.blogspot.com/>. His presentation today is adapted from his essay, “The Hulking Hyde: How the Incredible Hulk Reinvented the Modern Jekyll and Hyde Monster,” which was recently published in the McFarland collection Fear and Learning: Essays on the Pedagogy of Horror edited by Sean Moreland and Aalya Ahmad.
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Paper 4: “Echoes of Frankenstein in the Comics: Adaptations and Continuations
      Michael Torregrossa (Independent Scholar)

Michael A. Torregrossa is the current (and original) Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend Area Chair for NEPCA.  He is a graduate of the Medieval Studies program at the University of Connecticut (Storrs). His research interests include adaptation, Arthuriana, comics and comic art, medievalism, wizards, and, most recently, monsters. His research on medieval subjects has been presented at regional, national, and international conferences and has been published in a variety of collections as well as the three most recent supplements to The Arthurian Encyclopedia. Lastly, he is also founder of The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain and co-founder, with Carl James Grindley, of The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages, and he serves as editor for these organizations’ various blogs and moderator of their discussion lists.



THE SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND LEGEND AREA YEAR 5

35th Annual Conference of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association
St. John Fisher College (Rochester, New York)
26-27 October 2012

Paper proposals and additional material are available (as noted) on St. John Fisher College’s digital archive at http://fisherpub.sjfc.edu/nepca/conference/.

Saturday, 27 October (8:30 AM-10:00 AM)
Panel 11: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Legend I: Visions of the Future (Kearney 317)
Chair: Michael Torregrossa (Independent Scholar)

Paper 1: “Bert the Turtle Won’t Save You: American Science Fiction Prose and Criticism of Nuclear Civil Defense During the 1950s” (proposal and paper)
      Cory Matieyshen (National University)

Cory Matieyshen is a Master of Arts in History student at National University in La Jolla, California. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Saturday, October 27 (10:15 AM-11:45 AM)
Panel 17: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Legend II: Old Legends, New Stories (Kearney 317)
Chair: Michael Torregrossa (Independent Scholar)

Paper 1: “Complex subjects in Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and True Blood” (proposal and PowerPoint)
      Mary Bridgeman (Trinity College Dublin)

Mary Bridgeman is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies and the School of English in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. She is in her third year of research, which is funded by The Irish Research Council. Her dissertation “Loving the Dark: Gendered Subjectivity in Three Popular 21st Century American Vampire Romance Narratives” focuses on negotiations of womanhood in Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and True Blood. As last year’s winner of the William E. Brigman award at the national meeting of The Popular Culture and American Culture Associations, Mary will have an article entitled “Forged in Love and Death: Problematic Subjects in The Vampire Diaries” published in The Journal of Popular Culture in February 2013.

Paper 2: “Witches, Elves, and Bioengineers: Magic and Science in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows” (proposal)
      Laura Wiebe (McMaster University)

Laura Wiebe is a Ph.D. Candidate (ABD) in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, where she will be teaching a course on Science Fiction in the Winter 2013 term. She also teaches in McMaster’s Women’s Studies program and at Brock University in the Department of English Language and Literature and the Department of Communications, Popular Culture and Film. Laura’s doctoral research focuses on science and technology studies, theories of gender and of genre, critical posthumanism, and popular culture, particularly contemporary speculative fiction. Her academic work also includes the study of metal music and culture.

Paper 3: “Robin Hood: from ‘History’ to Folklore and Back Again” (proposal)
      Kathleen Mulligan (Providence College)

Kathleen Mulligan has a B.A. in history from Providence College in Rhode Island, where she is currently continuing her studies in their Master’s program for Medieval and Modern European History. After obtaining her Master’s degree she hopes to continue on in a doctoral program to study British history.

Paper 4: “Once and Future Kings Revisited: The Theme of Arthur Redivivus in Recent Comics” (proposal)
      Michael Torregrossa (Independent Scholar)

Michael A. Torregrossa is a graduate of the Medieval Studies program at the University of Connecticut (Storrs). His research interests include adaptation, Arthuriana, comics and comic art, medievalism, vampires, and wizards. Michael is currently Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend Area Chair for the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association. He is also founder of The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Villains of the Matter of Britain, founder of The Institute for the Advancement of Scholarship on the Magic-Wielding Figures of Visual Electronic Multimedia, and co-founder, with Carl James Grindley, of The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages; he also serves as editor for these organizations’ various blogs. Michael has presented his research at regional, national, and international conferences and has been published in Adapting the Arthurian Legends for Children: Essays on Arthurian Juvenilia, Arthuriana, The Arthuriana / Camelot Project Bibliographies, Cinema Arthuriana: Twenty Essays, Film & History, The 1999 Film & History CD-ROM Annual, The Medieval Hero on Screen: Representations from Beowulf to Buffy, and the three most recent supplements to The Arthurian Encyclopedia.



THE SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND LEGEND AREA YEAR 4

2011 Annual Conference of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association
Western Connecticut State University (Danbury, Connecticut)
11-12 November 2011

Friday, 11 November (Session I: 4-5:30 PM)
Panel I-2: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend I: Science Fiction (Warner 320)
Presider: Michael A. Torregrossa (The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages)

Paper 1: “Surviving The Night of the Comet: Zombies, Space, and the 2012 Hysteria”
Kristine Larsen (Physics and Earth Sciences Department, Central Connecticut State University)

A veteran of the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend Area, Kristine Larsen is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Central Connecticut State University, where she regularly inflicts her deep interest in the intersection between science and society on unsuspecting students. Her publications include the books Stephen Hawking: A Biography and Cosmology 101 as well as numerous articles and book chapters on science in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, the role of women in the history of science, depictions of science and scientists in science fiction television series and films, and innovations in interdisciplinary science education. She is co-editor of the recently published book The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who.

Paper 2: “Ain’t I a Xenomorph?: Representations of Post-Feminist Identity in the Alien Films”
      Randy Laist (Goodwin College)

A newcomer to our area, Randy Laist received his doctorate from the University of Connecticut and is currently Assistant Professor of English at Goodwin College. He is the author of Technology and Postmodern subjectivity in Don DeLillo’s Novels and the editor of Looking for Lost: Critical Essays on the Enigmatic Series. He also wrote the lyrics for the recently published collection I'll Yo-Ho for Christmas: A Trove of Pirate Christmas Shanties.


Saturday, 12 November (Session II: 8:30-10 AM)
Panel II-6: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend II: Legends Old and New (Warner 320)
Presider: Brian Clements (Western Connecticut State University)

Paper 1: “Robin Hood in Ballad and Film”
      Kerry R. Kaleba (George Mason University)

Kerry Kaleba is a third year Masters Candidate in Folklore at George Mason University and planning to graduate in December. She holds a BA in Theatre from Virginia Tech and has also studied at the National University Ireland-Galway. Her interests in folklore focus on cultural heritage and tourism, as well as museums, storytelling, festivals, and film.

Paper 2: “What Do Vampires Have to Do with the Holy Grail?: The Transformation of the Grail Legend in Undead Arthuriana”
Michael A. Torregrossa (The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages)

Michael A. Torregrossa is a graduate of the Medieval Studies program at the University of Connecticut (Storrs). His research interests include adaptation, Arthuriana, comics and comic art, medievalism, wizards, and, now, vampires. Michael is currently Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend Area Chair for the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association. He is also co-founder, with Carl James Grindley, of The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages and serves as editor for the organizations various blogs.

Paper 3: “Vampires in Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire novels and the Twilight Saga”
      Andrea Siegel (Graduate Center/CUNY)

Andrea Siegel received her PhD in Sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center, where her dissertation was on King Kong and Hollywood Labor Unions, and she thanks NEPCA for helping that process. Andrea had published books on people obsessed with their wardrobes and women in martial arts, among other things. Her most recent scholarly publication appears in a book of essays on James Bond and looks at a dialectical relationship between early James Bond and Woody Allen films.


Saturday, 12 November (Session III: 10:30 AM – 12 PM)
Panel III-8: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend III: Fantasy (White 023)
Presider: Faye Ringel (United States Coast Guard Academy, retired)

Paper 1: “ ‘Close This Book Right Now’: The Writer-Character in Children’s Fantasy”
      Amie A. Doughty (SUNY Oneonta)

Amie Doughty is an Associate Professor of English at SUNY Oneonta, where she teaches courses in linguistics, composition, and children's literature, fantasy, science fiction, and folktales. She is currently writing a book about books, readers, and reading in children's fantasy fiction.



THE SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND LEGEND AREA YEAR 3

2010 Annual Conference of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (Boston, Massachusetts)
23 October 2010

Saturday, 23 October (Session I: 8:30-10:00)
Panel 7: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend I: Children’s Culture (Room W305)
Presider: Michael A. Torregrossa (The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages)

1. “War, Veterans, Disabilities, and How to Train Your Dragon
      Will Eggers (University of Connecticut)

Will Eggers is finishing his Ph.D. in medieval English literature at the University of Connecticut. His dissertation “ ‘Misticall Unions’: Clandestine Communications from Tristan to Twelfth Night” explores the continuing impact that changes in marriage law have had on communications between lovers, up to the romantic comedies of the twentieth century. Medieval lovers such as Tristan and Isolde fashion themselves as a “misticall union”: a conglomerate self that shares one mind and erases all distinctions between sender and receiver as grammatical subject and object. Will currently teaches courses on Chaucer, Medieval Myths and Legends, and linguistics at Wesleyan University. 

2. “The Book’s the Thing: Books as Artifacts of Power in Children’s Fantasy”
      Amie A. Doughty (SUNY Oneonta)

Amie A. Doughty is an Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Oneonta where she teaches courses in linguistics, children’s literature, fantasy literature, and composition. Her research interests include children’s literature, folktales, and fantasy. She is the author of the book Folktales Retold: A Critical Overview of Stories Updated for Children (McFarland 2006), as well as articles in Barbarians at the Gate: Studies in Language Attitudes, Fairy Tales Reimagined: Essays on New Retellings, and Children’s Literature and Culture. Presently she is completing a book about books, readers, and reading in children’s fantasy for McFarland.

3. “From Muggle to Merlin: Translating the Character of Nicodemus from Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (1971) to Don Bluth’s The Secret of NIMH (1982).”
Michael A. Torregrossa (The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages)

Michael A. Torregrossa is a graduate of the Medieval Studies program at the University of Connecticut (Storrs). His research interests include adaptation, Arthuriana, comics and comic art, medievalism, and wizards. Michael is currently Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend Area Chair for the Northeast Popular/American Culture Association. He is also founder of The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Villains of the Matter of Britain and co-founder, with Carl James Grindley, of The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages. Michael has presented his research at regional, national, and international conferences and has been published in Adapting the Arthurian Legends for Children: Essays on Arthurian Juvenilia, Arthuriana, The Arthuriana / Camelot Project Bibliographies, Cinema Arthuriana: Twenty Essays, Film & History, The 1999 Film & History CD-Rom Annual, The Medieval Hero on Screen: Representations from Beowulf to Buffy, and the three most recent supplements to The Arthurian Encyclopedia.


Saturday, 23 October (Session II: 10:15-11:45)
Panel 16: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend II: SF TV (Room W305)
Presider: Wendy Wagner (Johnson & Wales University)

1. “From Dunne to Desmond: Disembodied Time Travel in Tolkien, Stapledon, and Lost
      Kristine Larsen (Central Connecticut State University)

Kristine Larsen is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Central Connecticut State University, where she regularly inflicts her deep interest in the intersection between science and society on unsuspecting students. Her publications include the books Stephen Hawking: A Biography and Cosmology 101 as well as numerous articles and book chapters on science in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, the role of women in the history of science, depictions of science and scientists in science fiction television series and films, and innovations in interdisciplinary science education. She is co-editor of the recently published book The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who.

2. “Watching Death in Torchwood: The Impact on Characters and Fans”
      Marla Harris (Independent Scholar)

Marla Harris has a PhD from Brandeis in literature, and she has published articles on a wide variety of topics, including Jane Eyre, Harry Potter, graphic novels, and Iranian women's memoirs. She grew up in East Tennessee, but became a Doctor Who fan when her family spent a couple of years in England. At present, she is an independent scholar living in the Boston area.

3. “Battlestar Galactica and the Cults of Seriality”
      Jordan Lavender-Smith (CUNY Graduate Center)

Jordan Lavender-Smith is working towards his Ph.D. in English and Certificate in Film Studies at CUNY Graduate Center. His academic interests include self-reflexivity in literature and film, seriality and addiction, Early- and Post-modern dramaturgy, and, more generally, the cultural causes and consequences of literary forms. He teaches in the English department at CUNY Queens College.


Saturday, 23 October (Session III: 1:00-2:30)
Panel 25: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend III: Monstrous Medievalisms (Sponsored by The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages) (Room W305)
Presider: John P. Sexton  (Bridgewater State College)

1. “An Unsung Hero: The Arthurian Legacy in the Gabriel Knight Game Series”
      Angela Tenga (Florida Institute of Technology)

Angela Tenga is an assistant professor at Florida Institute of Technology. She completed her graduate studies in English literature at Purdue University and was a professional writer and teacher in Germany before coming to Florida Tech. Her courses focus on literature, history, popular culture, and monsters in fiction, while her research interests include early English literature, popular depictions of monstrosity, and the virtual self.

2. “Staking them Out: Shakespeare’s Vampires”
      Danielle Rosvally (Rutgers University)

Danielle is a recovering actor and graduate student in English at Rutgers University where she has the occasion to teach acting and theatre production courses. She received her BA from New York University in Elizabethan Theatre and has also trained at the American Globe Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, the Actor’s Institute, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her research interests include performativity and theatricality with an emphasis on non-canonical texts, unconventional Shakespeare studies, and the intersection between practical and theoretical theatre.

3. “The Impaling of Vlad: Dracula, Literary Tourism, and National Identity”
      Tony Giffone (Farmingdale State College/SUNY)

Tony Giffone is a professor in the English and Humanities Department at Farmingdale State College. His research interests include Victorian novels, detective fiction, film, and travel literature, and has published articles on Dickens, detective fiction, and contemporary Chinese film. He co-edited a special issue of the Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Association’s journal, The Mid-Atlantic Almanak, on the topic of “Aspects of Victorian Culture in Popular Culture.”


Saturday, 23 October (Session IV: 2:45-4:15)
Panel 35: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend IV: Race and Gender (Room W307)
Presider: Macey M. Freudensprung (The University of Texas at San Antonio)

1. “The Lilith Character: Critically Analyzing Women’s Roles within African-American Speculative Fiction According to the Portrayal of Lilith within Jewish, Greek, and Afro-Diasporic Folklore and Mysticism”
      Macey M. Freudensprung (The University of Texas at San Antonio)

Macey Freudensprung is a Master’s student for the Department of English at The University of Texas at San Antonio. She specializes in Rhetoric and Composition with a focus on Technical and Professional Writing. Macey’s current research interests involve the phenomenon of self-representation and identity performance in social networking sites.   

2. “Vampire as Tragic Mulatto: Angel and Spike in the Whedonverse”
      Wendy Wagner (Johnson & Wales University)

Wendy Wagner is associate professor of English at Johnson & Wales University where she teaches composition and literature courses. Her dissertation focused on motherhood and characters of mixed racial ancestry in African American women's writing. Her research interests include race and gender in popular culture, writing assessment, and the integration of technologies in the classroom. Her article on Jennifer Crusie appeared in the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of Teaching American Literature: A Journal of Theory and Practice.

3. “Nyota Uhura: Feminist Star of Freedom”
      Mayan A. Jarnagin (The University of Texas at San Antonio)

Mayan Jarnagin is currently attending the University of Texas at San Antonio seeking a master’s degree in English and American literature. Mayan is currently an active member of Sigma Tau Delta English honor society. Mayan’s interests include the appropriation and alteration of mythology to further ideology, poetry and poetic prose, the use of music in film and literature, creative writing, satire, and depictions of race, gender, and the military in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and video games.



THE SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND LEGEND AREA YEAR 2

2009 Annual Conference of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association
Queensborough Community College (Queensborough, New York)
23-24 October 2009

Saturday, 24 October (8:30-10:00 AM)
Panel 17: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend I
Presider: Michael A. Torregrossa (The Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages)

1. “How a Young Man’s Invention Became the Inspiration for American Popular Science Fiction”
      Joseph Rainone (Independent Scholar)

Joseph Rainone has been a collector of popular fiction for close to 30 years now.  His collection (currently at 40,000 items) encompasses the entire field of American Popular Fiction (from the mid-17th century to the mid-20th century) with an emphasis on 19th-century periodicals, pulp magazines, dime novels, story papers and comic almanac and other such related ephemera. Joseph has served as an advisor for “The Victorian Era” in the Overstreet Price Guide and pulp prices for The Comic Art Price Guide, and he has published articles in the magazines Blood & Thunder and Comic Book Marketplace and two books on Frank Reade Jr. for The Art and History of American Popular Culture Series.

2. “The Limits of Watchmen (1986-87)”
      Geoff Klock (Borough of Manhattan Community College)

Geoff Klock (D. Phil, Oxford University) is the author two academic books: How to Read Superhero Comics and Why and Imaginary Biographies: Misreading the Lives of the Poets. He presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of their Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy exhibit. He is an assistant professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College, and his name was the inspiration for villain in a work by Marvel Comics writer Matt Fraction. You can find him online at geoffklock.blogspot.com.

3. “Searching for the Well of Surcease: Ethical Choices in Sherri Tepper’s The Gate to Women’s Country (1988)”
      Marlene San Miguel Groner (Farmingdale State College)

Marlene San Miguel Groner is currently Chair of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Department at Farmingdale State College. Her prime area of specialization is twentieth-century women writers.


Saturday, 24 October (10:30 AM-12:00 PM)
Panel 27: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend II
Presider: Marlene San Miguel Groner (Farmingdale State College)

1. “America’s First Arthurian-Inspired Superhero: Quality Comics’ Merlin the Magician (1940-42)
      Michael A. Torregrossa (The Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages)

Michael A. Torregrossa, current Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend Area Chair, is a graduate of the Medieval Studies program at the University of Connecticut (Storrs). His research interests include adaptation, Arthuriana, comics and comic art, medievalism, and wizards. He is founder of the Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Villains of the Matter of Britain and co-founder, with Carl James Grindley, of the Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages. Michael has presented his research at regional, national, and international conferences and has been published in Adapting the Arthurian Legend for Children: Essays on Arthurian Juvenilia, Arthuriana, The Arthuriana / Camelot Project Bibliographies, Cinema Arthuriana: Twenty Essays, Film & History, The 1999 Film & History CD-Rom Annual, The Medieval Hero on Screen: Representations from Beowulf to Buffy, and the three most recent supplements to the Arthurian Encyclopedia.

2. “Who’s Afraid of the Beowulf? The Anglo-Saxon Hero as a Modern Movie Monster”
      John P. Sexton (Bridgewater State College)

John P. Sexton is an Assistant Professor of English at Bridgewater State College. John received both masters and doctorate degrees in Medieval Studies from the University of Connecticut (Storrs) and has published essays on Anglo-Saxon hagiography, medieval Icelandic literature, and (with Joshua R. Eyler) Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. He is also Co-President of the New England Saga Society (NESS).

3. “Rebooting an American Myth: Nurturing Males in the 2009 Star Trek Film”
      April Selley (Union College)

April Selley teaches American Literature and Creative Writing in the English Department at Union College in Schenectady, New York. She has delivered four previous papers on Star Trek at Popular Culture Conventions and has published the following articles: “ ‘I Have Been, and Ever Shall Be, Your Friend’: Star Trek, The Deerslayer and the American Romance,” “Transcendentalism in Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “The Final Farce: Demythologizing the Hero and the Quest in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” (with Louise Grieco), and the entry on Star Trek in The Guide to United States Popular Culture.


Saturday, 24 October (1:30-3:30 PM)
Panel 37: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Legend III
Presider: April Selley (Union College)

1. “Mr. Tompkins, the Philadelphia Experiment, and Land of the Lost (1974-77): Parallel Universes, Closed Universes, and the Dangers of Interdimensional Travel”
      Kristine Larsen (Central Connecticut State University)

Kristine Larsen is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Central Connecticut State University. She completed her graduate work in Physics at the University of Connecticut (Storrs) and has published works on science in popular culture, including essays on the Harry Potter series, the Lost television series, and the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Kristine is also the author of Stephen Hawkings: A Biography (Greenwood, 2005; revised ed. Prometheus Books, 2007) and Cosmology 101 (Greenwood, 2007).

2. “Narratives of Credulity and Disappointment: Histories of Magic and Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004)”
      Jennifer T. Abeles (University of Hartford)

Jennifer T. Abeles is a Visiting Professor of English at the University of Hartford. She received a PhD in English and Interdisciplinary Certificates in both Medieval Studies and Renaissance Studies from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Jennifer’s research focuses on early modern English literature, and she has published (with Kenneth MacMillan) an edition of John Dee’s The Limits of British Empire (Greenwood, 2004).

3. “ ‘I Won’t Feel a Thing’: Invulnerable Male Superheroes Made Emotional through Internet-Broadcasted Song in Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008)”
      Derek S. McGrath (SUNY Stony Brook)

Derek McGrath is a third-year graduate student in the English PhD program at Stony Brook University. He previously studied liberal arts and science at Florida Atlantic University, with interests in the themes of home and travel in nineteenth-century American literature. His other research interests include the description of human bodies in text and film, including Henry Louis Gates’s African American Lives television series, the works of Charles Darwin, and his scheduled presentation on Dr. Horrible. By this year, Derek will have presented twice at the Modern Language Association convention, and he has presented at the Northeast MLA conference.

4. “The Road to Hell is Paved in D20s: Evangelical Christianity and Fantasy Role Playing Games”
      John Walliss (Liverpool Hope University)

John Wallis is a member of the Department of Theology, Religious Studies and Philosophy at Liverpool Hope University in the UK and serves as Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Religion and Director of the Hope Centre for Millennialism Studies.



THE SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND LEGEND AREA YEAR 1

2008 Annual Meeting of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association
University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth Campus (Dartmouth, Massachusetts)
31 October-1 November 2008

Saturday, 1 November (8:30-10:00 AM)
Panel 10: Varieties of Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Chair: Michael Torregrossa (The Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages)

Paper 1. “My Girlfriend is a Lipstick Lesbian from Outer Space: Gender Performance and Identity Formation in Torchwood’s ‘Greeks Bearing Gifts’.”
      Jennifer Elizabeth Love (Independent Scholar)

Jennifer Love is a Senior Informatics Consultant for Public Health Foundations Enterprises, Inc. She has worked as a business analyst and quality assurance specialist in software development since 1998, primarily in the grants management and public health care industries. Jennifer received Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, History, and Social Science from the University of Southern California, located in Los Angeles, California, in 1995. She also received a Master of Arts in English Literature and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Chapman University, located in Orange, California, in 2002.

Paper 2. “Intertextuality and Dr. Who
      Lisa LeBlanc (Anna Maria College)

Lisa LeBlanc is an Associate Professor of English at Anna Maria College. While her doctorate and background is in medieval literature, she has recently begun to explore film studies, both on the big and small screens. This is her second time presenting at NEPCA, and she's very glad to have a forum in which to explore this new interest. She is presenting a paper on the blending of genres in the science fiction TV show, Doctor Who.

Paper 3. “Aslan’s Song, the Themes of Iluvatar, and the Real Music of the Spheres”
      Kristine Larsen (Central Connecticut State University)

Kristine Larsen is Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and Director of the University Honors Program, at Central Connecticut State University. Her research interests include the history of women in astronomy, astronomy education and outreach, and the astronomical motivations and motifs in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and other writers. She is the author of two books, Stephen Hawking: A Biography and Cosmology 101.

Paper 4. “Hunting Down Pirates: The Influence of Peter Pan and Treasure Island on Contemporary Picture Books”
      Patricia Kirtley (Independent Scholar)

Patricia Kirtley is a recent graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier VT with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her critical thesis discussed the Influence of Peter Pan and Treasure Island on Contemporary picture Books, and she has published papers in the National Social Science Association journals on Ageism in Children’s Literature and Pirates in Children’s Literature. Pat has recently retired from her 40-year career as a Medical Technologist in a hospital laboratory and is now a full-time writer of children’s literature.


Saturday, 1 November (10:30 AM – 12:00 PM)
Panel 22: Medievalism at War
Chair: Amy West (Worcester State College/Higgins Armory Museum)

Paper 1. “ King Arthur for the Union: The Motif of Arthur Redivivus in the Writings of Abolitionist Moncure Daniel Conway”
      Michael A. Torregrossa (The Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages)

Michael A. Torregrossa holds a master’s degree in Medieval Studies from the University of Connecticut (Storrs) and is co-founder, with Carl James Grindley, of the Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages.  Michael is also the organizer of the “The Comics Get Medieval” sessions, in its sixth year in 2009, at the Joint Meeting of the Popular Culture /American Culture Associations.  His research focuses on representations of the Matter of Britain in popular culture, and Michael has presented on this topic at regional, national, and international conferences, and his work has been published in Adapting the Arthurian Legends for Children: Essays on Arthurian Juvenilia, Arthuriana, the Arthuriana / Camelot Project Bibliographies, Cinema Arthuriana: Twenty Essays, Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies, The Medieval Hero on Screen: Representations from Beowulf to Buffy, the 1999 Film & History CD-ROM Annual, and the 2001, 2005, and forthcoming supplements to The New Arthurian Encyclopedia.  At present, Michael is completing work on a collection of essays entitled The Reel Matter of Britain, due out next fall, and, next spring, he will be presenting on invocations of the Arthur redivivus motif during World War Two. 

Paper 2. “The Platoon Genre in Medieval Cinema”
     Pete Burkholder (Fairleigh Dickinson University)

            [Biography not provided]

Roundtable Discussion of Medievalisms at War
      Amy West (Worcester State College)
      Peter Burkholder (Fairleigh Dickinson University)
      Michael A. Torregrossa (The Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages)
      Faye Ringel (Coast Guard Academy)


Earlier sessions organized by Faye Ringel, Amy West, and Michael A. Torregrossa anticipate the future formation of the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Legend Area.