The Persistence of Pulps: An Academic Symposium (April 25-26, 2014)

full name / name of organization: 
Edward P. Comentale/Indiana University
contact email: 

The Persistence of Pulps: An Academic Symposium
April 25th-26th, 2014

The Pulps are alive and well. Despite their reputation as a cheap and disposable medium with a tendency to degrade over time, they have persisted for well over a century as a vital form of cultural production and subcultural investment. This conference is dedicated to exploring this long and enduring cultural phenomenon as it shapes and responds to larger transformations in twentieth and twenty-first century history. The organizers seek original research on the pulp universe as it extends from the early days of Argosy to the present New Pulp movement, both in the States and abroad, and across media from print to paint to comics to film and gaming. The conference will be loosely organized according to five aspects of the pulp universe: Pulps Writers, Pulp Producers, Pulp Artists, Pulp Audiences, and Pulp Technology.

The conference will be held in Chicago in conjunction with the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, a world-class pulp trade show and art exhibit. Participants will have access to all Convention events, including auctions, film screenings, and collector talks. The pairing represents a unique opportunity for pulp scholars, pulp fans, and pulp artists to gather together and explore--through original pulp artifacts--their shared interest in the pulp universe.

The conference organizers seek papers that promote new thinking about cultural studies and cultural critique—adventurous work that moves beyond the limits of disciplinary protocols without compromising intellectual rigor. We also seek stylish approaches that would appeal to popular as well as academic audiences; we won't sacrifice intelligence for accessibility, for we believe these two terms are compatible. The conference organizers plan to publish the best papers through the Year's Work series by IU Press, which specializes in new scholarship on fan cultures and cultural objects.

Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words to Edward P. Comentale ( by December 1, 2013.