NSU Graduate Students and Faculty Present at the 2019 Pop Culture Association National Conference
Published Monday, May 13, 2019


Pictured left to right: Veronica Diaz, Melissa Bianchi, Ph.D., Darius Cureton, M.A., and Nichole Chavannes

Students and faculty from NSU’s Department of Writing and Communication (DWC) at the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) presented on four panels at the 2019 Pop Culture Association / American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) National Conference, hosted by the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., Apr. 17-20. This group included:

  • two assistant professors from the DWC
  • two students from the CAHSS DWC M.A. in Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (CRDM) program, who also serve as graduate assistant coordinators in the Write from the Start Writing and Communication Center (WCC)

About the Panels

Title: “Ocean Ecologies and Dinosaur Zoos: How Games Make Arguments about Nature”

Presenter: Melissa Bianchi, Ph.D., DWC Assistant Professor

Summary: In this presentation, “ecoplay” was proposed as a concept for understanding how video games simulate nature in ways that are distinctly rhetorical, using ABZÛ and Jurassic World Evolution as examples. Video games often attempt to capture the operation of real-world processes and systems, influencing how players engage with these processes, systems, and their governing ideologies through play. These games are well-suited for applying a theory of ecoplay because of their engagement with environmental topics and their apparent connections to other environmentally focused media and rhetorics.

Title: “The Korvac Saga: The Avengers Teach Writing, Defeat the Supervillains, and Save the Universe and the University (A Live Comic Book Performance)!”

Presenter: Darius Cureton, M.A., DWC Visiting Assistant Professor; with colleagues from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and East Stroudsburg University

Summary: In this session, the presenters brought to life a comic book story of superhero teachers struggling valiantly to help their students learn to write by employing the use of comic books and graphic novels in their composition classrooms. In the world of comic books, when a publisher wants to increase sales, they reboot the title by giving the superhero a new costume or changing the members of the super team. The presenters proposed the need to reboot composition, English studies, and the academy.

Title: “The Unforgivable Curse of Consumerism: How ‘Official’ Fan Spaces in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World Exploit Fandom”

Presenter: Nicole Chavannes, CRDM student and WCC graduate assistant

Summary: Since The Sorcerer’s Stone was released in 1997, the Harry Potter series has spawned seven books, eight film adaptations, a play, and a second film franchise, along with a handful of secondary texts. However, the franchise has expanded beyond offering content for passive consumption; participatory fan spaces exist both online and in-person. This presentation explored how Rowling’s wizarding world exemplifies both transmedia storytelling and transmedia world-building through “official” fan spaces, and how those spaces are inextricably linked with consumerism.

Title: “The Beguiled: Blurring the Line Between ‘Gothic Misogyny’ and Contemporary Female Rage”

Presenter: Veronica Diaz, CRDM student and WCC graduate assistant

Summary: Adaptations offer authors and audiences the ability to reinterpret controversial themes in a different context, contributing to the additive comprehension surrounding a particular text or genre. This presentation explored the affective and effective elements at play in all three iterations of The Beguiled – the original 1966 novel by Thomas P. Cullinan, the 1971 film by Don Siegel, and the 2017 film by Sofia Coppola – that offer audiences transmedia via multiplicity, with drastically different retellings of the same story.


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