PCA National Conference (Seattle, WA 3/22-3/25), Adaptation Area. Defining Adaptation

full name / name of organization: 
Glenn Jellenik (Adaptation area chair)/Popular Cultural Association
contact email: 

Call for PCA/ACA 2016 (Seattle, WA, 3/22-3/25)
Defining adaptation.

Linda Hutcheon points out that one difficulty in developing adequate theories of adaptation stems from the dual nature of the word "adaptation," which is used to describe both "the process and the product" of adaptation. Along with that unstable terminology, the field of adaptation studies also deals with another fundamental instability: the definition of adaptation. One of the challenges to productively theorizing adaptation is that we can't seem to agree on what "adaptation" is. Within adaptation studies (individual works, not the field), there's a good (or bad) bit of vagary around the definition. Tom Leitch argues that such vagary can be enabling for the field ("Adaptation and Intertextuality, or, What Isn't an Adaptation, and What does it Matter?"). Others argue that it … confuses things. Clearly, a single definition of what an adaptation is (and isn't) is neither possible nor desirable. But it might be really fun—and critically productive!—to rehearse various theoretical definitions of adaptation. So …

This year our area is interested in papers that, in some sense, work toward, through, or around a critical definition of "adaptation" (or interrogate an existing critical definition). More than likely, this critical defining or positioning will be in service of a specific critical approach to adaptation studies. For instance, Hutcheon's Theory configures adaptation as "repetition, but repetition without replication …. derivation that is not derivative … second without being secondary. It is its own palimpsestic thing." She also argues that adaptation's "appropriation" must be acknowledged, and that this appropriation is "creative and interpretive." Definitions/positionings of adaptation underpin Hutcheon's (and, at least implicitly, all) theories and approaches to adaptation. To be clear, we're absolutely not interested in developing a single consensus definition. Quite the opposite, in fact. The conference seeks to foster the potentially enabling plurality or spectrum of definitions that underpins various theories and approaches.

As always, we consider "adaptation" as much a reading strategy as a way of constructing texts, or as much a way of looking at texts as a particular brand of texts. Thus we welcome papers on any and all aspects of what you read and conceive of as adaptation.
We are also particularly interested in developing the following panels:
*Novelization panel/s: Exploring the critical implications of the act of novelizing film.
*Pedagogy panel/s: Exploring approaches to teaching adaptation.
*Soundtrack panel/s: Exploring the work of movie soundtracks on the act of adaptation.
*If you're working in one of these areas and interested
in chairing a panel on one, please contact me.
Contact Glenn Jellenik (gjellenik@uca.edu) with questions.