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News from the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association. Check back frequently for the most up to date information from us!

Partner Announcement: Call for Abstracts — Yoga in Popular Culture (edited collection)

Yoga-in-Popular-Culture-Partner-AnnouncementSeeking contributors for an edited volume on yoga in popular culture. This book is envisioned as a cross-disciplinary collection of scholarly work on yoga, with essays that explore the ways that yoga has reflected and changed popular culture in the West.

Yoga is experiencing its third “boom” in the United States. The first boom, at the turn of the 20th century, was marked by salons and contributed to interest in Orientalism, the occult, and physical culture. This boom ended during the depression. The second boom grew out of free love and communal living in the 1960s. This spawned interest in transcendental meditation and paralleled the burgeoning fitness movement. The third boom followed soon after, riding on the coattails of the credentialing movement in the health and fitness industry along with the growth in integrative medicine. Yoga teacher trainings grew into a viable business and yoga instruction began to cross over into medial education and healthcare to combat stress. Throughout each of these periods, yoga has held a place in the pursuit of spiritual and physical health as well as the popular culture of the day.

Yoga has been a driving force of change. While it serves as a vehicle for personal transformation, it has also become an opportunity for entrepreneurship. Commodification and commercialization of yoga would seem to contradict the teachings of ancient texts upon which the practice is rooted. Yoga can simultaneously be a spiritual pursuit and fitness practice. While there is potential for conflict between the traditionalists who promote authentic yoga and the growing fitness yoga market, a broader spectrum of yoga practice exists. This creates a paradox across yoga culture.

Cross-disciplinary contributors are sought from areas including (but not limited to) sociology, anthropology, history, communication, media studies, religious studies, exercise science, theatre, dance, education, health professions, medicine, business and finance. Please note that first person essays on self-transformation through yoga will not be considered. Contributors must be willing to commit to a 6,500 word paper on a scholarly examination of any topic relevant to yoga in popular culture.

Submission instructions: Send a 600-750 word abstract along with a 500 word bio in the text of an email to Do not include attachments. Please include complete contact information for principal author and put “Yoga in Pop Culture Proposal” in the subject line of the email. Deadline to submit abstracts is June 2, 2017 UPDATE June 30, 2017. Authors of selected abstracts will be asked to submit a 5,000 – 6,500 word paper by October 2, 2017.

Contact Info:

Virginia S. Cowen, PhD, LMT, eRYT
Assistant Professor
School of Health Professions
Rutgers University

SWPACA Film Series


The Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) is pleased to announce the inaugural SWPACA Film Series.

Join us Thursday, February 16 and Friday, February 17 Hyatt Regency Downtown Grand Pavilion I-II. For more information, download the PDF flyer.

2017 Breaking Bad Tour

Kuhr Sril By jaroh. Licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. Accessed March 16, 2014.

Kuhr Sril By jaroh. Licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. Accessed March 16, 2014.

The Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) is pleased to announce that registration is open for the for the “2017 Breaking Bad Tour of Albuquerque,” to follow the 38th Annual SWPACA conference to be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, February 15-18. The tour will be a guided driving tour of iconic “Breaking Bad” filming sites in Albuquerque, and is expected to last 3-3.5 hours. Space is limited, so pre-registration will be required.

The tour will be Saturday, 02/18/2017 at 1:15pm. Registered participants will meet at the Hyatt Registration Desk.

If you are interested in this tour register now at:

Pre-Con Workshop: Pop Culture & Pedagogy: Using Google Hangouts


As educators, we struggle with encouraging effective collaboration between our students, who tend to push back against these activities as too time consuming, too unfair, and lacking in accountability. This is particular true in an online environment as students who choose this educational path frequently have other commitments that preclude their attendance at brick-and-mortar classes. Why would they want to collaborate with others when they don’t have time to attend a synchronous class?

Well, I say it’s time to push back!  Google has transform our society in remarkably substantive ways: the way we do research, the way we collaborate with fellow educators, the way we network socially with our peers, even the we navigate to our favorite restaurants.  In short, Google has become so intrinsic to our popular culture, it’s hard to imagine living without it; it’s even become a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary!  When was the last time anyone used Yahoo or Alta Vista or Webcrawler to surf the web? Anyone?

Through the use of Google, especially their Hangouts app, you can increase student participation, reduce resistance and improve accountability.  This seminar will take a best practices and hands-on approach towards this powerful learning tool. You’ll be creating a Gmail account (if you don’t have one already), getting online with Hangouts, and making use of its amazing functionality to collaborate with other attendees. In the process, I will show you how you can use Hangouts to engage students in the study of popular culture and in turn, become more engaged with their digital native world.

So bring your smart device and/or laptop, get those creative juices flowing and prepare yourself for an enlightening and entertaining introduction to the powers of Google! It’s not just a search engine anymore!

Facilitator: Kurt Depner 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 8:30-11:30 am.

Limited to 25 participants; $35 registration fee. You will be sent an invoice at the email address you provide on this form in January for the workshop fee. Payment may be made at that timeor at the time of the workshop.

Please note that registering for the workshop is separate from conference registration, which may be completed at Your spot in the workshop is not guaranteed until conference registration is paid.


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Pre-Con Workshop: From Concept to Book with Cynthia Miller and Stephen Ryan

pre-conf-bookDo you want to turn your scholarly idea, article, presentation, or book into a volume that reaches a broader audience? This workshop, conducted by author and editor Cynthia Miller and Stephen Ryan, Senior Editor for Rowman & Littlefield, will focus on practical suggestions for framing your scholarly project in ways that will appeal to a wide range of educated readers as well as the scholarly community. The workshop will demonstrate not only how to move from “I’ve got a great idea,” to a book proposal, and beyond; we’ll talk about how to broaden your target audience while retaining scholarly rigor and integrity. Feel free to bring material from current projects to discuss and work on!

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