The Comics and Popular Arts Conference (CPAC) invites submissions for our 13th Annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, September 4-7, 2020.

CPAC is an annual academic conference for the studies of comics and the popular arts, including science/speculative fiction and fantasy literature, film, and other media, comic books, manga, graphic novels, anime, gaming, etc., presented to a mixed audience of scholars and fans. The mission of CPAC is to promote scholarship on popular culture and to encourage the engagement between scholars and fans in order to deepen our understanding of comics and other popular arts. CPAC presentations are peer reviewed, based in scholarly research.

Please submit a proposal that engages in substantial scholarly examinations of comic books/graphic novels, anime, manga, science/speculative fiction, fantasy, or other parts of popular culture.

A broad range of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives is being sought, including, but not limited to, proposals pertaining to literary and art criticism, philosophy, linguistics, history, communications, law, pedagogy, and natural and social sciences. Some examples of appropriate subjects include: discussions of the nature of the comics medium; the science of a particular franchise; how to utilize pop culture in the classroom; analyses of particular works or authors; cross-cultural and cross-medium comparisons; etc.

This year, we are encouraging submissions on: sci-fi themes in African American music; sociopolitical topics in scifi media (Star TrekThe Expanse, etc.); diversity and representation in Person of Interest; narrative structure in video games; and a variety of digital media and online culture topics. However, we are open to any and all academic topics relevant to the study of the popular arts.

CPAC talks are presented to a mixed audience of academics and fans, and take place in conjunction with DragonCon. Presentations should be prepared with a general audience in mind. Presenters must register for DragonCon if their paper is accepted in order to present. Presenters from out of town should make lodging arrangements far in advance.

Individual and group submissions should both be tailored to fit in one of the following tracks:

  • Comics
  • Animation
  • Anime/Manga
  • American Sci-fi Media
  • Digital Media
  • Diversity in Speculative Fiction
  • Electronic Frontiers Forum
  • Sci-fi Literature
  • Star Trek
  • Tabletop Gaming
  • Horror
  • Paranomal Fiction
  • Video Gaming
  • Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic
  • Alt History/Steampunk
  • American Sci-fi Classics
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Fantasy Literature
  • Military Sci-fi
  • Puppetry
  • Star Wars
  • Asian Cimena & Culture
  • High Fantasy
  • Young Adult Literature

While there may be great intellectual merit in cross-track proposals, or proposals that include materials covered by various tracks, administratively, it can be very difficult to place such proposals. We prefer that you select one topic per proposal, though if your proposal would fully fit either track, you may select two.

We are interested in proposals for any of the above tracks, not only Comics.

Submission instructions: please follow the submission instructions for the kind of presentation as listed below. Prospective participants may submit multiple proposals, but only one per track.

For individual papers and presentations: please submit up to 500 word abstracts to the link below.

For group panels and presentations: in addition to the up to 500 word abstract, you should submit a 1-2 page document that further explains the rationale for a group session and explains the format and the planned contributions of all panelists. Group panels should not be individual papers loosely organized around a theme, but genuinely collaborative presentations with a strong reason to be considered as a group as opposed to individually. (This differs from our requirements from previous years.)

For informal sessions such as roundtables, workshops, and book sessions: please submit an abstract of up to 500 words to the link below, plus a 1-2 page document that outlines the objective of the workshop or roundtable, or a brief description of the format of the book session including title and subject matter of the book (author meets critic, book discussion, etc).

For all proposals, because this is an interdisciplinary conference, and because the reviewers come from a variety of scholarly and intellectual backgrounds, it can be to your benefit to include explicit language describing your critical approach or references the literatures your work is drawing on and responding to.

Please submit your proposal via the following link:

Submissions Deadline:To receive the fullest consideration, proposals will be submitted by January 7, 2020.

This submission process is open to everyone, but we are especially interested in receiving submissions from members of those groups traditionally underrepresented in academia, such as women, LGTBQIA+ academics, and academics of color.

Send any questions to:

CPAC Coordinating Board