CFP: Popular Culture Association 2023 National Conference

Submission deadline: December 20, 2022

Conference date(s):
April 5, 2023 - April 8, 2023

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association
San Antonio, United States


The field of science and religion, while relatively new as an identifiable field of study, has been growing fast in methodological sophistication and scope over the past thirty years. Similarly, so too has popular culture studies. These two growing fields of scholarly investigation, however, have not had much contact until now. This exciting new area of the PCA will allow for scholars who dip into both the ‘territories of “science” and “religion”’, who investigate the dynamics, however that may be, at work in texts of popular culture. Critically, however, is that this area is for those scholars who are working on projects that are neither just about science nor just about religion. This area of the PCA will ask scholars to consider how science and religion are portrayed, discussed, etc. in popular culture, specifically and in detail. Our task will be to have scholars of popular culture push the boundaries of what the field of science and religion currently offers by bringing into the discussion a rather overlooked aspect of the popular imagination—popular culture and all it entails. In doing so, we can add to and build up the field of science and religion while also developing new avenues of investigation and scholarly discourse within the field of popular culture studies.

The scope of this area to begin will be quite broad, reflecting the wide range of topics and discourses available at the PCA. The reason to keep the scope open, at least for the time being, is two fold. First, to begin to establish the area of ‘science and religion and popular culture’ by bringing PCA scholars into contact with the wider field of science and religion; and second to show how popular culture can fit within the study of science and religion. As such, I welcome all papers that explore science and religion(/spirituality/belief/nonbelief/etc.) so that we can begin to build the community and recognize those scholars working in this area. This means that scholars working on this area from all academic disciplines, methods, and approaches involved with PCA are encouraged to submit.

Example Topics
• MCU/DCEU and representations of or interactions of science and religion. (Ex. Tony Stark vs Thanos as technology and human will vs destiny and purpose, or Batman v Superman and the ideological difference between the two heroes played out/shown in the world).
• Star Trek—Federation personnel interacting with religious alien species.
• The historicity of the ‘Universe’ as praiseworthy in TV/film, or as a ‘guiding force’.
• Conceptions of science in religious television programming.
• Conception of religion in science television programming.
• How does the media portray science and religion broadly? How do they portray different sciences and different religions/spiritualities more specifically?
• What do films/television/etc. portray science and religion to be?
• How is the conflict thesis perpetuated in popular culture? Is it?
• What are the narrative strategies at work in portrayals of science and religion? What do they say?

• And anything you can think of that relates “science”, religion/belief/spirituality/etc., and popular culture in interesting and thoughtful ways!

Submission Requirements
To submit to this Area of PCA, please include a 300-word abstract with title, as well as your name and institution and title (i.e. Associate Professor, MA student, PhD Candidate, etc.). 

For more information or to submit, please visit the CfP on the PCA website here: 

Note: This is for the 'Science and Religion in Popular Culture' Special Area. Please copy/paste the link above for this CfP, not the one for the event generally (though this area can be found by searching the main conference page). 

Questions, please contact area chair:
Anthony K Nairn
York University (Toronto) – Department of Humanities
[email protected]

Supporting material

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Custom tags:

#popular culture, #science, #religion