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 48th Annual Comparative Literature Conference

 “We cannot attribute any purity of political expression to popular culture, although we can locate its power to identify ideas and desires that are relatively opposed, alongside  those that are clearly complicit, to the official culture.” ~ Andrew Ross, No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture

“His [the pedestrian’s] elevation transfigures him into a voyeur. It puts his at a distance. It transforms the bewitching world by which one was ‘possessed’ into a text that lies before one’s eyes. It allows one to read it, to be a solar Eye, looking down like a god. The exaltation of a scopic and gnostic drive: the fiction of knowledge is related to this lust to be a viewpoint and nothing more.”   ~ Michel de Certeau

“At the pedestrian crossing the sign of a green man lit up. The people who were waiting began to cross the road, stepping on the white stripes painted on the black surface of the asphalt, there is nothing less like a zebra, however, that is what it is called.” ~ José Saramago

“The ancestors of printed comics drew, painted and carved their time-paths from beginning to end, without interruption, … the infinite canvas.” ~ Scott McCloud 

“This is Port of Spain to me, a city ideal in its commercial and human proportions, where a citizen is a walker and not a pedestrian, and this is how Athens may have been before it became a cultural echo.” – Derek Walcott 

“Popular Culture is the new Babylon, into which so much art and intellect now flow. It is our imperial sex theater, supreme temple of the western eye. We live in the age of idols. The pagan past, never dead, flames again in our mystic hierarchies of stardom.” ~ Camille Paglia


Popular Culture(s) ~ Thursday, April 25th – Friday, April 26th, 2013 

Popular culture has been defined as everything from “common culture,” to “folk culture,” to “mass culture.” While it has been all of these things at various points in history, popular culture is undeniably associated with commercial culture and all its trappings: movies, television, radio, cyberspace, advertising, toys, games nearly any commodity available for purchase, many forms of art, photography, games, and even group “experiences” like collective comet-watching or rave dancing on ecstasy.

This interdisciplinary conference aims to examine and critically engage with issues related to “Popular Culture” across various time periods, cultures, concerns and mediums. The conference hopes to explore the ongoing analysis of the varied creative trends and alternative cultural movements that comprise popcultures and subcultures within both cultural and political contexts. Of particular interest are papers that pertain to the various forms of popular culture, including literature, music, film, television, advertising, sports, fashion, toys, magazines, video games, games and comic books, and the medium in which this message moves, cyberculture.

“Popular Culture(s)” is the 48th Annual Comparative Literature Conference, an interdisciplinary gathering of scholars, artists, and practitioners from all walks of popular culture, the arts and the academy, that aims to consider Popular Culture in a broad scale across time periods, disciplines and languages. It seeks to examine literature, images, visual objects and mechanisms, the political and social events from diverse cultures, across national boundaries, and within global contexts.

Conference Schedule

Final Version (PDF File)


Plenary Talk: “Literacy, Democracy, Comics”

Hillary Chute, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of English, University of Chicago

Friday, April 26th, 2013 at 2:00 pm  ~ Karl Anatol Center

Dr. Hillary Chute is one of today’s preeminent scholars in comics and graphic narratives. Presenting, a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Chute has widely published on graphic narratives. Her book Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics (Columbia Univ. Press, 2010) examines the graphic narrative work of five authors, including Alison Bechdel and Marjane Satrapi, and argues that the medium of comics has opened up new spaces for nonfiction narrative—particularly for expressing certain kinds of stories typically relegated to the realm of the private. She is also the Associate Editor of a MetaMaus (Pantheon, 2011), a book by Art Spiegelman, which examines the making of his terrain-shifting graphic narrative Maus.

In 2009 Dr. Hillary Chute founded the MLA’s Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives. Most recently, Dr. Chute collaborated with Inaugural Mellon Fellow Alison Bechdel, through the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, and organized the “Comics: Philosophy and Practice” conference at the University of Chicago in May 2012.


Special Event Screening: Documentary On Photographer Julius Shulman

Thursday, April 25th, 2013 at 7:00 pm ~ University Theater (UTC 108)

“Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman” won the Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for best documentary at the Palm Springs International film Festival, the Audience Award for best documentary at the Austin Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the Lone Star International Film Festival and Outstanding Achievement in documentary filmmaking at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

The film about architectural photographer Julius Shulman will be introduced by Industrial Design’s David Teubner, and the film’s director Eric Bricker will be interviewed by Film and Electronic Arts Chair Jerry Mosher. Admission is free.

More Information.

Sponsored by the Film and Electronic Arts Department and the Department of Industrial Design’s Duncan Anderson Design Lecture Series.


Inside CSULB News Article on the Conference


VOL. 63 NO. 7 : APRIL 15, 2013

Take a peek and peruse the news article on the conference!



Genre Journal: Call For Submissions

Volume 34: Popular Culture(s)

Deadline: May 20th, 2013

We welcome submissions of papers on a wide range of topics pertaining to Popular Culture and its cultural practices globally and through time.

Call for Submissions Information

Submissions Guidelines


General Conference Information 


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Conference Organizer and Staff

 Please direct all inquiries to:

Dr. Nhora Serrano, Dept. of Comparative World Literature & Classics

Matthew Gonzales, Conference Assistant

Levon Parseghian, Conference Assistant

at the official conference email:


Co-Sponsored by