Thursday, October 20, 2016

NEPCA Fantastic at NEPCA 2016 Conference


Panel 3 - Fantastic #1: Women and Fantastic Fiction
Presider: Kristine Larsen (Central Connecticut State University)

The Lavender Menace: The Horror of 1980s Lesbian Feminism in Tony Scott’s The Hunger
William A. Tringali (Independent Scholar)

Our first presenter is William A. Tringali. William is a recent graduate of Bridgewater State University, and he is currently working for a cultural/historical nonprofit in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Manic Pixie Green Girl: On the Problem of the Green-Skinned Space Babe
Elizabeth Nielsen (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Our second presenter is Elizabeth J Nielsen, who makes her second appearance in our area this afternoon. Elizabeth is a PhD student in Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her MFA from New Mexico State University in 2010 and her BFA from the Ohio State University in 2005. Her research interests broadly focus on popular media, with a special focus on monsters and the monstrous, gender studies, and fan studies, as well as the frequent intersections between these areas. Elizabeth’s recent and upcoming publications include two book chapters, “Wearing the Woman in White: The Doomed Lives and Afterlives of Supernatural’s Women” in The Gothic Tradition in Supernatural: Essays on the Television Series and “A Bloody Big Ship: Queering James Bond and the Rise of 00Q” in Fan Phenomena: James Bond, and the article “Dear Researcher: Rethinking Engagement with Fan Authors” in the Journal of Fandom Studies vol. 4.3. Elizabeth is also co-editing a collection of essays on NBC’s Hannibal as well as guest editing an upcoming special edition of the Journal of Fandom Studies on virtual and physical fan spaces.Her most recent conference presentations have dealt with the figure of the Wendigo in popular culture as well as on the use of meta-text in the relationship between Holmes and Moriarty in BBC’s Sherlock.

Chinese Fantasy and Women: When Immortals Tell About Life
Jonathan Truffert (University of Geneva)

Our third presenter is Jonathan Truffert. Jonathan was born in France in 1985 and has spent most of his life in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. In 2013 he obtained a Master degree in Chinese Studies at the University of Geneva. Long stays in China, as well as language-related jobs during and after his studies (tour guide at the UN, translator, check-in agent, etc.), helped him maintain a very good level of the Chinese language, and in 2014 he accepted a position as a research assistant in a project on “Popular Literature in contemporary China”. Beside this main job, he works on his own translation projects, and occasionally does the extra at the opera, the perfect side job to pass from a sitting to a standing position.

The Treatment of Women Shown through Witches in Pop Culture
Hillary Di Menna (Independent Scholar)

Our final presenter is Hillary Di Menna. Hillary began her work as a journalist hoping to eliminate apathy within her communities. She has profiled those fighting for social justice and investigated shady practices in big business. Hillary tries to stay active within her community and is currently running the Feminist Internet Resource Exchange (FIRE). Hillary also acts as a guest speaker for Durham Rape Crisis Centre's training classes. In addition, she maintains her own blog, Misfit Matriarch, and is entering her final year of the Women and Gender Studies program at York University. Hillary writes regularly for This Magazine, most notably with her feminist blog Gender Block. Calling Toronto home, Hillary shares a cat-centric apartment with her eight-year-old-daughter and three black cats.

Panel 10 - Fantastic #2: Dangerous Fantasy
Presider: Amie Doughty (SUNY Oneonta)

Psychological Trauma in Curse of Strahd (2016)
Shelly Jones (SUNY Delhi)

Our first presenter is Shelly Jones. Shelly has a PhD in Comparative Literature from SUNY Binghamton. She studies ancient Greek tragedy and mythology and is an avid board gamer and D&D player. 

Nazi Zombies: B-Movies and a Metaphor for Horror
Mia Martini (University of Oklahoma)

Our next presenter is Mia Martini. Mia earned her doctorate at Purdue University and currently works as a lecturer in the First Year Writing Program at the University of Oklahoma. Her research interests include the American novel, narrative theory, trauma, and war narratives. 

Angels and Demons: Physiological and Psychological Vivisection in the World of SyFy’s Dominion (2014-15)
Kristine Larsen (Central Connecticut State University)

Our third presenter, Kristine Larsen is an eight veteran of our area. Kristine is Professor of Astronomy at CCSU where her teaching and scholarship focus on the intersections between science and society. 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 and has presented and published on depictions of science and scientists in such varied sources as the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, George R.R. Martin. J.K. Rowling, Phillip Pullman, Robert Heinlein, and Andrzej Sapkowski, and the tv series Lost, The Walking Dead, and Land of the Lost. She was the recipient of the 2014 Ralph Donald Award for Outstanding Conference Paper (Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture/American Culture Association)  for “Monsters Inside Me: Zombification as Parasitism.”

Knowledge, Form and Function: Checking Out the Posthuman Condition in Gene Wolfe’s A Borrowed Man (2015)
Nova M. Seals (Salve Regina University)

Our final presenter is Nova Seals. Nova is a Ph.D. student in Humanities at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. She is also the Director of the Library and Archives at St. George’s School, an independent preparatory school in Middletown, Rhode Island. Her academic and research interests are philosophy, technology and aesthetics. Nova is particularly interested in how groups use technology, especially social media, to transform knowledge.

Panel 16 - Fantastic #3: I Am the Master of My Fate (Right)? Searching for Morality and Reality in the Postmodern Age [organized by Kelly Kane]
Presider: Amie Doughty (SUNY Oneonta)

Coming of Age in the Age of Uncertainty: Moral Relativism in Animorphs
Catharine Kane (Independent Scholar)

Our first presenter is Catharine Kane. Catharine is presently an independent scholar. She recently graduated with a MA and MFA in Children's Literature from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. Her primary area of focus is middle grade fiction, especially fantasy/scifi series that deal with identity formation, trauma, and war narratives. When not filling out PhD applications, she can be found eating buffalo wings while cheering on the New York Giants.

White Rabbits, Blue Pills, and Vanilla Skies: In “Psy Fi,” the Final Frontier is the Human Mind
Kelly Kane (Iowa State University)

Our second presenter is Kelly Kane. Kelly is a social cognition graduate student researching the ways that readers' attitudes and beliefs respond to the process of becoming immersed in, or transported by, fictional narratives.  She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Psychology from Ithaca College, and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at Iowa State University.

I'm Not Calling You a Liar: Unreliable Narration and Complicated Canon in Dragon Age II
Charlotte Reber (Independent Scholar)

Our final presenter is Charlotte Reber. Charlotte is also an independent scholar. She recently graduated this past May from Simmons College's school of Library & Information Science. Her interests are in creative writing and children's literature.

Panel 23 - Fantastic #4: Frankenstein and the Fantastic I--Shelley’s Frankenstein
Presider:  Kathleen Healey (Worcester State University)

“And What Was I?” The Power of Aesthetic Perception in Shelley’s Frankenstein
Jobin Daniel Davis (University of Central Missouri) [WITHDRAWN]

There is No Monster: Monstrous Imitation in Frankenstein
Saraliza Anzaldua (Independent Scholar)

Our next presenter is Saraliza Anzaldua. A second-time presenter in our area, Saraliza studies teratology (the study of monsters and the monstrous) and recently graduated from National Taiwan University with an M.A. in English Literature. She has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Texas and studied Philosophy at Harvard University for a year as a visiting graduate student. At last year’s NEPCA conference, she presented a paper on contemporary monster erotica as a method of sexual displacement for readers uneasy fantasizing about men. This year, she contributes another teratological paper. This one argues that there is no monster in Frankenstein, and Shelley did not intend to write a novel about one. Instead, she offered a critique of her own monstrous society.

Social Revolution’s Terrible Price:  Mary Shelley’s Failed Pastoral World in Frankenstein
Sharon R Yang (Worcester State University)

Our final presenter is Sharon Yang. Sharon is a longtime supporter of our area and presents her second paper for us today. 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 has most recently edited a collection of essays with Dr. Kathleen Healey called Gothic Landscapes:  Changing Eras, Changing Cultures, Changing Anxieties due out next month.

Panel 28 - Fantastic #5: Frankenstein and the Fantastic II--Rebuilding Frankenstein
Presider: Jesse Weiner (Hamilton College)

Frankenstein and Epigenetics—The Future of Paradise
Gloria Monaghan (Wentworth Institute of Technology)

Our first presenter is Gloria Monaghan. Gloria is a Professor of Humanities at Wentworth Institute in Boston. Her research focuses on cyborgs, gender identity and masculinity, and she is working a book about the spectrum of masculinity. Gloria is also a creative writer.
Her first poetry chapbook, Flawed, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2012.  Her second book The Garden (Flutter Press, 2015) was recently published.  Her poetry has appeared in Slope, Spoonful, and Aries, Blue Max Review and 2River. Her fiction has appeared in Ezine and Tracks, and she is also working on a collection of short stories.

Franken-faeries, or the Conflation of Creator and Created in the October Daye and Merry Gentry Series
Amie A. Doughty (SUNY Oneonta)

Our second presenter today is Amie A. Doughty. A five-time presenter in our area, Amie is an Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department at SUNY Oneonta, where she teaches courses in linguistics, children’s literature, fantasy, science fiction, mythology, and folk literature. She is the area chair of the Children’s Literature and Culture area of Popular Culture Association and the 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).

Clockwork Resurrection:  Steampunk and Frankenstein in Mackenzi Lee’s This Monstrous Thing (2015)
Kathleen  Healey (Worcester State University)

Our final presenter is Kathleen Healey. Kathleen made her first appearance in our area last year, and we are glad to welcome her back this year. Kathleen is a Visiting Professor at Worcester State University.  She is co-editor with Sharon Healy-Yang of a book entitled Gothic Landscapes: Changing Eras, Changing Cultures, Changing Anxieties to be published by Palgrave in October 2016.  This edition includes an essay she has written entitled "Dark Shadows in the Promised Land: Landscapes of Terror and the Visual Arts in Charles Brockden Brown's Edgar Huntly."  Her teaching and research  interests include Gothic Literature, Science Fiction, American Literature, and Literature and the Environment.

Panel 35 - Fantastic #6: Frankenstein and the Fantastic III--Frankenstein on Screen
Presider: Martin F. Norden (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and The Hollywood Production Code
Joseph Sgammato (SUNY/Westchester Community College)

Our first presenter this afternoon is Joseph Sgammato. Joseph makes his second appearance in our area this year. He is a writer and teacher.  After earning an M.A. in English from Fordham University, he studied film at New York University and Columbia University, receiving an M.F.A. in Film Studies from the latter. He is also a Fellow of the CUNY Writers’ Institute in New York City. He has written about film, literature, art, and medicine. His work has appeared in Sight and Sound, The Wordsworth Circle, The College Language Association Journal, Patient Care, and other periodicals. He was a contributor to the essay collection The Book of Firsts published by Anchor Books in 2010 (new edition Spring 2016.)  He teaches in both the English Department and the Film Department at Westchester Community College, a division of the State University of New York, in Valhalla, New York. He lives in Norwalk, Connecticut.

From Frankenstein’s Monster to Ultron: Man’s Unbridled Ambition Gone Awry
Cheryl A. Hunter (University of Massachusetts Lowell)

Our next presenter is Cheryl A. Hunter. Like Joseph, Cheryl is now a two-timer presenter in our area, having also made her debut appearance last year. Cheryl attended the University of New Hampshire Manchester and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Humanities and a minor in English. She has extensive coursework in Philosophy, Literature, and Classics. She received her Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from the University of New Hampshire Durham with a concentration in Philosophy and Literature and has since completed 18 graduate hours beyond the Master’s degree since graduation. Cheryl’s Philosophy focus includes Greek and Roman Philosophies, Enlightenment, and Transcendental Philosophy; she was a National Endowment of the Humanities Fellow at a weeklong workshop on Henry David Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts in 2010. Cheryl is also the author of Myths and Archetypes in The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, which was published in February 2011 by Lambert Academic Publishers. This book looks at the roles of Philosophy and Mythology in modern literature and what important lessons about the human condition are conveyed to the audience through the hero and journey archetypes used in The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Cheryl is currently an adjunct professor at UMASS Lowell and Southern NH University. She teaches in a variety of formats (including 100% online, hybrid, and traditional classroom) and a diverse group of courses (including English Composition,  Introduction to Philosophy, Humanities I – Ancient Culture to Renaissance, Humanities – Heroes, Humanities – Mediterranean Culture, Ethics, Critical Thinking, and Communications).

Frankenfilm: Bill Morrison’s Spark of Being (2010)
Jesse Weiner (Hamilton College)

Our final presenter today is Jesse Weiner. Jesse is Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. He publishes broadly in Greek and Latin literature and its reception in modernity, and his work has appeared in Classical Receptions Journal, International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Law, Culture and the Humanities, The Atlantic, and several other journals and edited volumes. Jesse’s work in classical reception studies has a particular emphasis on science fiction and fantasy. This work includes studies of Homer and Kurt Vonnegut, epic poetry and the aesthetics of high fantasy, and archaeology and the fantastic in Wilhem Jensen’s Gradiva: A Pompeiian Fantasy. Jesse is also developing a monograph on classical traditions in science fiction, centered on moral ambiguities created in the wake of speculative science. In Frankenstein studies, Jesse is the author of “Lucretius, Lucan, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” (in Rogers and Stevens, Classical Traditions in Science Fiction, OUP, 2015) and he is presently editing a volume of essays, entitled The Modern Prometheus; or, Frankenstein, which is dedicated entirely to Frankenstein and classical traditions. In April 2016, Jesse organized and hosted an international conference dedicated to Frankenstein and the classics, timed to celebrate the bicentennial of the “Year without a Summer” and the ghost story challenge among the British Romantics that precipitated Frankenstein’s conception. In public humanities, Jesse has worked as a National Program Scholar with Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives, an outreach program based in New York with NYU and the Aquila Theater. Jesse is the 2013 recipient of the Women’s Classical Caucus Prize for Best Paper (Post-Ph.D.) in Women’s or Gender Studies in Antiquity.

Panel 44 - Fantastic #7: More Monsters
Presider: Shelly Jones (SUNY Delhi)

The Folly of Faithlessness in Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
Martin F. Norden (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Our first presenter today is Martin F. Norden. Returning to our area for a second time this year, Martin teaches film history and screenwriting as a Professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has published more than one hundred books, book chapters, journal articles, encyclopedia essays, and reviews, almost all of which have been about film. At last year’s NEPCA conference in New London, NH, he presented a paper on the classic 1930s horror film, Bride of Frankenstein.

Gender Monsters: Angels, Demons, and Fans in the CW’s Supernatural
Megan Genovese (University of Pennsylvania)

Our next presenter is Megan Genovese. Megan is a second-year PhD student at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated summa cum laude from Baylor University, where she was in the University Scholars interdisciplinary program and pursued concentrations in media and culture studies. Her research interests include superhero narratives and fan works.

Winchester Abbey: Poking Fun at the Gothic Tradition in the CW’s Supernatural
Nan King (Eastern Connecticut State University)

Our third presenter is Nan King. Nan is a part-time instructor in the Women’s & Gender Studies and English Departments at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic. She earned her BA in English with a minor in Women’s Studies from ECSU and her MA in English Literature with a focus on contemporary women writers from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her current research interests include contemporary perceptions of women and gender, fan studies, and gender in science fiction and fantasy. Nan’s article “Fan Appreciation No 4: CousinCecily and Winter, Bond Crossplayers” appears in the collection Fan Phenomena: James Bond. Her recent conference subjects have been gender in fandom, James Bond, and Sherlock Holmes.

Did the Aliens Do It? The Disappearance of Franklin Expedition and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Donald Vescio (Worcester State University)

Our last speaker for both this panel and the conference is Donald Vescio. With today’s talk, Don becomes a two-time presenter in the area. He is a faculty member of Worcester State University’s Department of English.  After serving ten years as Worcester State’s Chief Information Office/Vice President of Information Technologies and two years as Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing, Don now focuses his energies on teaching undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of disciplines.  His research interests are in critical theory, narratological analysis, and information design.  

Thank you again for your attendance at today’s session of the Fantastic (Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction) Area. Should you like to join us next year at UMass Amherst, contact the area chair, Michael Torregrossa, at

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