Pop Culture in/as Speculative Resistance

deadline for submissions: 
January 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
The Pop Culture Consortium, Wayne State University
contact email: 

Update (12/22/17): We are extending the deadline of this call for papers! Please submit your proposal by January 1st, 2018 for consideration. We also wanted to add that we now have four confirmed members for a "diversity in comics" roundtable: Saladin Ahmed (author of Marvel's Black Bolt), Andre Batts (independent comic producer of Dreadlocks, owner/operator of the Motor City Black Age of Comics Convention), Dr. Matt Yockey (Associate Professor of Film at University of Toledo, editor of Make Ours Marvel: Media Convergence and a Comics Universe), and Dan Merritt (owner of Green Brain Comics, Dearborn, MI). 

Update (12/11/17): Dr. Sheena Howard is confirmed as our keynote speaker for this event. Dr. Howard is an Associate Professor of Communications at Rider University. Dr. Howard has written and edited several important books on race and representation in comics, including the Eisner Award winning Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation (Bloomsbury, 2013). Dr. Howard is also the producer, writer, and director of the documentary Remixing Colorblind, which examines the role of the education system in shaping our understanding of race and race relations.   

Call for Papers:

Pop Culture in/as Speculative Resistance


Deadline for submissions: 

December 15th, 2017


Conference location/date:

Wayne State University (Detroit, MI); February 16-18, 2018



The goal of this conference:


Whether in film, television, music, comics, video games, or through fandoms and fan production, pop culture has regularly created space for work which imagines alternate histories, new realities, and potential futures. These works act as both a critical lens to challenge prevailing hegemonies of gender, race, culture, and sexuality, and as a mirror reflecting our current societal challenges. In what ways do these media also create or influence the reality they are commenting on?


This conference will feature papers, interactive roundtables, and workshops. Papers will be organized into panels of three and each presenter will be allotted 15 minutes per paper presentation. Workshops and Interactive Roundtables will be an hour in length.


Topics might include the following:


  • Expanding representation in comics, film, and/or games, including but not limited to race, gender, culture, and sexuality
  • Creating and/or navigating diverse digital spaces for fan engagement
  • Afrofuturism (and other futurisms) as praxis
  • The emerging role of the fan/activist (groups of fans who have influenced media producers to include more positive representations of women, people of color, and other marginalized identities)
  • Gendered and/or racialized constructions of professionals and fans ("fangirls", "fanboys", "blerds")
  • Engagement on social media between media producers and consumers
  • Resistance to resistance - the backlash to speculative resistance and diversity, creating tensions among real world fandoms
  • How speculative resistance is visualized in film, comics, and video games
  • “Celebrity” as social activist (Colin Kaepernick, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, Ta-Nahesi Coates, Gabby Rivera, etc.)
  • Folklore and folk art as forms of speculative resistance
  • Rhetorical advantages of visual and auditory media as sites of speculative resistance
  • Speculative resistance and pedagogy; ways to encourage students to build skills in speculation and creative problem solving


Paper Proposals: Paper proposals must include an abstract of 300-500 words, a 50-100 word synopsis of presentation to be published in the conference agenda, and a biography of 100 words or less.


Interactive Roundtables: Interactive roundtables may have up to 5 presenters. Interactive roundtable proposals must include a brief explanation of topic (250-500 words), 10-15 discussion questions, a list of presenters which identifies the moderator, and a biography of 100 words or less for each presenter. 


Workshops: Workshops may have up to 3 facilitators. Workshop proposals must include a brief explanation of topic (250-500 words), a list of facilitators, and a biography of 100 words or less for each facilitator. Workshop proposals should be skill-focused and can be: creative (media production, including comics, films/fan vids, music, indie games, etc.); research (utilizing archives of fan-produced media, discussion boards, listservs, ethnographic studies, etc.); or pedagogy-oriented (how to teach game design, games as texts, comics as visual narratives, films as texts, fan studies, etc.).



Please note that preference may be given to workshops and/or interactive roundtables that have more than one presenter.



Proposals are due December 15th, 2017, and should be submitted to kinoclub313wsu@gmail.com.


Presenters will be notified of acceptance into the conference via email in the beginning of January.


All inquiries should be sent to kinoclub313wsu@gmail.com.