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Late September Newsletter: Registration Deadline for #MAPACA21, New Areas, and More!

This is the late September MAPACA newsletter. Our next conference is November 10-13, 2021 and will be held online.

In This Newsletter, We Have:

  • October 1 Conference Registration Deadline

  • Virtual Conference Rooms

  • New Area Spotlight: Gothic Studies and True Crime

  • Our Special Publisher’s Panel with University of Kentucky Press and McFarland

  • Special Conference Discount from McFarland (ad)

The Last Day to Register for #MAPACA21 is October 1st!

Don’t forget! October 1st is the LAST DAY you can register for this year’s conference. As you can see on our tentative schedule, #MAPACA21 will have a ton of great panels this year that you won’t want to miss. Since the conference is 100% online, you won’t have to worry about the costs associated with travel and hotel rooms, so register now at!

Welcome to Barsoom and Camelot!

For the 2021 MAPACA Conference, our virtual rooms will bear the names of famous sci-fi and fantasy worlds of authors who have made a firm imprint on American and popular culture. Up until the conference, we will be focusing on each world, the author, and their world’s impact.

Welcome to Barsoom!

One hundred and ten years ago, Edgar Rice Burroughs first published the serialized tales that became A Princess of Mars. Having never written before, he published under a pseudonym, too embarrassed for his family and friends to learn he wrote fiction. That quickly changed with the wild success of his stories of Barsoom, the world on Mars that he explored in 11 novels published from the 1910s through the 1960s.

Barsoom features a whole host of people and creatures, some human-like, others green with four arms, but all telepathic. Life expectancy can last a millennium, but wars and famine often curb that. An Earthian finds himself on Mars, suddenly superpowered by the lighter gravity and lower pressure. The series follows numerous characters and civilizations as they fight for water, power, freedom, and domination, all with Martian technology that has them flying in the skies, hosting video calls, and even terraforming.

The influence of Burroughs’s Martian series is overwhelming. Before Tolkien was inventing languages in Middle-Earth, Burroughs was including glossaries in the back of his Martian books to define people, creatures, customs, and idioms known only to Mars.

Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert A. Heinlein all professed how the Martian series inspired their sci-fi careers.

Jerry Siegel, one of the co-creators of Superman, said he was inspired by how an Earthian could travel to Mars, making giant leaps in a single bound and gaining superhuman strength just with the change in planet.

In film, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron all evoked Burroughs’s Martian series as inspiration while working on Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Avatar.

Yet, Burroughs’s influence wasn’t found purely in fiction. Throughout his foundational Cosmos television series (1980), astronomer Carl Sagan credited A Princess of Mars numerous times for first inspiring his interest in the stars.

This November, journey with us to Barsoom at MAPACA 2021, as we explore such influences in popular and American culture.

Welcome To Camelot!

It is a very silly place.

Unlike the other spaces, there is no one definitive Camelot; Sir Thomas Mallory (who may be any of a half dozen period figures with that name) put forward the modern idea of the Knights of the Round Table in Le Morte d’Arthur (The Death of Arthur), though those stories were drawn from much older folklore, and publisher William Caxton had a strong hand in the production (published likely after the death of Mallory). French poet Chrétien de Troyes is credited with naming Camelot in the 12th Century (and may have also created Lancelot).

Camelot is generally portrayed as a peaceful, arcadian kingdom, with its knights more likely to ride off on quests across the land than fight in border wars (though Mallory’s Camelot is a world of constant rebellions and social unrest, likely reflecting the Wars of the Roses raging in England when the story was written). For many, it reflects the ideal of a united Britain, with King Arthur prophesied to return in the hour of England’s greatest need.

The history of Camelot’s portrayal in broader popular culture is too long to outline here, with dozens of film and television adaptations, let alone literature and comics. Modern audiences likely know it from 1975 classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail (though it is only seen at a distance and in song), the BBC’s 2008-2012 series Merlin, and 1998 animated film The Quest for Camelot. “Camelot” also referred to the Kennedy administration, reflecting the idealism around the young president and the coincidencidental release of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Camelot. Most recently, a grim version of Camelot appeared in The Green Knight, though it goes unnamed in the film proper.

This November, join us in Camelot, where the crown has made it clear: the climate must be perfect all the year.

New Area Spotlight: Gothic Studies and True Crime

Gothic Studies

The Gothic Studies area invites proposals which engage with the genre and culture of the Gothic as it is represented in film, television, literature, art, and society. We are especially interested in ways that the Gothic aesthetic defines itself against other predominate modes, or genres, of storytelling or culture. We also invite proposals concerned with subgenres of the Gothic across media, like the American Gothic, southern Gothic, feminine Gothic, the “weird tale,” and the ecoGothic as represented film, television, literature, music, fashion, art, and culture.

For more information, please see:

True Crime

The True Crime area invites papers and presentations on all aspects of True Crime, including but not limited to nonfiction stories of crimes across a range of media such as podcasts, film/documentaries, and television. Papers may deal with particular case narratives, psychology of a crime, or investigative journalism as it pertains to True Crime. We recognize the interdisciplinarity of the True Crime genre, and also welcome submissions that explore topics such as gender/demographics of audiences, perpetrators or victims; sensationalizing high profile cases; criminology, victimology, and forensics; wrongful convictions and advocacy; prevention of crime and survivor stories; crimes against POC, indigenous groups, or marginalized peoples; and more. Presentations should be aware of and respectful to victims and their families as applicable to the specific topic being explored.

For more information, please see:

Special Panel: Academic Publishing Q&A, featuring The University Press of Kentucky and McFarland

Please join us for our special roundtable Q&A about academic publishing. Do you have questions about how to write a great book proposal? Do you want to know more about how long it takes for your publication to go to press? Come ask academic publishing professionals from several publishers, including The University Press of Kentucky and McFarland! This special panel will be open to all registered participants at this year’s conference. For more information about the panel, please see For more information about The University Press of Kentucky, please see For more information about McFarland, please see

Special Conference Discount from McFarland (ad)

During #MAPACA21, you can visit McFarland’s virtual book room, where you can browse our books and learn more about book proposals and submitting your manuscript. You can use the special conference discount code MAPACA30 for a discount on all purchases.

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