Logo for the PCSA association.

The PCSA members invite you to participate and be a part of their third annual academic popular culture conference which will take place in the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus on March 10 through 12, 2017. The conference’s theme is titled Adjusting the Moral Compass: Highlighting the Dark Sides of Fiction and Reality. More details to come soon. Below is our CFP in traditional text, JPEG format, and PDF here: cfp-moral-compass-pdf

Adjusting the Moral Compass:

Highlighting the Dark Sides of Fiction and Reality

Hero vs Villain, Good vs Evil, Light vs Dark; these are the dichotomies that have shaped identity in just about every element of our lives. In our desire to fall within the former, we categorize this moral Other as worse and lesser. From a storytelling standpoint, there would be no plot without an antagonist to be the counterpoint for our hero. To quote Tony Montana, “You need people like me so you can point your fingers and say, ‘That’s the bad guy.’” But what happens when the need to be good puts you down a dark path? Or better yet, what happens when we look at evil beings and see that there is a lot more than meets the eye.

With the popularity of Wicked, Deadpool, Suicide Squad, an upcoming Boba Fett movie, and many other texts out there we see that those who wouldn’t consider themselves to be good still have a gravitas towards them. Be it through villains with fan clubs, anti-heroes with a mission, monsters that can save the day, femme fatales with a chance for mercy, highly functioning sociopaths on a quest for the truth, or just with people who wouldn’t call themselves saints, the other side is full of wonder. The third annual Puerto Rican Academic Popular Culture Conference asks scholars from all majors and backgrounds to analyze, explore, and shine a light on why is it so good to be bad.

Sample themes within different areas include but are not limited to:

  • Literature: The role of antagonists and how they can make a hero more memorable.
  • Sociology: In local and international politics, we see how the other side is quickly vilified and demonized. Why is this propaganda so common and does it work?
  • Psychology: What makes someone capable of committing acts of evil? Can nature vs nurture explain this?
  • History: Besides Hitler, who are the other bad guys (and girls) that ruled their lands? How does cultural bias affect who we see/remember as hero or villain?
  • Pedagogy: We’ve all heard of the evil professor/teacher. Do tougher styles of teaching work better when it comes to our students’ learning?
  • Music: Jay Z’s “Say Hello to the Bad Guy” shows how one can own this moniker. Still, hip hop and rap tend to glorify the thug and gangster identity. Why?

Submission Directions: We are accepting 200-250 word abstracts for individual presentations or 700-750 word abstracts for panel presentations. Undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty from all departments in any University of Puerto Rico campus, as well as independent scholars, are welcome to submit. We ask that participants only limit themselves to one abstract per person. Since the UPR is a bilingual institution, abstracts and presentations can be submitted in English or in Spanish. Please submit your abstracts alongside corresponding biographical and contact information to pcsarum@gmail.com by November 4, 2016.

UPDATE: You still have until DECEMBER 8TH to submit!