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#FeatureFriday: Meet the Area Chair! Adrienne Domasin, The Last of Us

🙂 Adrienne Domasin. I currently live in Mission Viejo. Since completing my doctorate, I’m an independent scholar and professional writer. I’m the editor for a collection on The Last of Us due to be released in 2024 and I am under contract to publish a manuscript based on my dissertation on The Last of Us.

❓ Explain your history and involvement with SWPACA.
I discovered SWPACA in 2019 when I was writing a paper on Breaking Bad, which is one of my other media obsessions. I like SWPACA because the people are not as pretentious to those that I have met at other academic conferences that I have presented at. I also appreciate that I can present on various popular culture interests that I have.

❓ How did you become interested in The Last of Us?
I became interested in The Last of Us due to my fascination with post-apocalyptic narratives. I don’t know how, but I haven’t presented anything on The Walking Dead yet. I watched that series from day one every night the episode aired. In 2016, a very good friend of mine said, “If you like The Walking Dead, then you need to check out this video game, The Last of Us.” I was hooked from the moment after the first playable segment in the game ended and the screen read, “20 years later.” I came to the video game first and once I learned that it was going to be adapted to an HBO episodic melodrama, I modified my dissertation proposal to incorporate The Last of Us.

❓ What do you hope folks will gain from participating in The Last of Us in the future?
I hope that the folks presenting on The Last of Us will be able to continue the interest in this endearing story that offers audiences meaningful representations of people from various races and genders.

❓ What is your current pop culture passion/obsession?
My current popular culture obsession is actual gameplay of Part I and Part II on Twitch. While writing my dissertation on TLoU, I had little time to play the games. I hadn’t even opened Part II, which I purchased in 2020, until September of 2023. Since I defended my dissertation in July, I have finished both games, while live streaming. I’m still working on my streaming set-up and technology, but I plan to continue live streaming for fun indefinitely.

📢 Join Adrienne Domasin and The Last of Us folks at SWPACA24! Proposals now being accepted through 11/14 at

Celebrate 45 years at SWPACA24!

Calling all SWPACA attendees and supporters, past, present, and future: join us as we celebrate 45 years! These last four and a half decades have been filled with countless critical conversations, engaging writing and research opportunities, and most of all, new and long-lasting connections and friendships. Toast with us in Albuquerque, February 21-24, 2024.

There’s still time to submit to #SWPACA24! Check out our various Subject Areas and submit by November 14, 2023! 🥳🎉🥂

#FeatureFriday: Meet the Area Chair! Darrell Hamlin, Spy Culture

👨 Darrell Hamlin, PhD (he/him/his)
📍 Hays, Kansas
💼 Associate Professor of Political Science, Fort Hays State University

❓ Explain your history and involvement with SWPACA.
My first SWPACA conference was in 2013. I have participated in various ways at every conference since then. Papers, area organizing (Crime & Culture, Politics, Spy Culture), roundtables, recruiting guest speakers, etc. Currently I chair the sections for Politics and Spy Culture. I love seeing the friends I’ve made every year, working with them to create conditions for the best possible conference experience. I also keep coming back because the  executive Leadership Team has remained so stable, even as the conference and events evolve to be more relevant, scholarly, and fun.

❓ How did you become interested in Spy Culture?
I am trained as a political scientist, and what started off as a “guilty pleasure” of spy novels evolved into a focus for professional expression, a way to dig into something I love but also present papers and publish around. At the core of my interest is the paradox that democratic life requires a certain level of transparency, which is at odds with the covert, deceptive operations of the espionage world that presumably is there to protect the interests of democracy. I could not find a section at PCA explicitly dedicated to spy things, nor could I find any regional conference that has an active area on the subject. “Spy Culture” is intended to be a broad enough area to cover where tradecraft, operations, and espionage history intersect with lore and the representation of the spy world in art and popular culture.

❓ What do you hope folks will gain from participating in Spy Culture in the future?
I hope participants will find their own way into the creativity of scholarly expression around this thing that is supposed to be such a big secret! I also hope participants will help us build the section to a strength that showcases the exclusive dedication SWPACA has to it as an area.

❓ What is your current pop culture passion/obsession?
Memoirs by successful fiction writers who explore the connections between the deep background of their own childhoods and their commitment to a particular area of genre and the arts. In December, Lexington Books (part of Rowman & Littlefield) will publish a volume of essays I co-edited. Dark Places: Crime and Politics in the Personal Noir of James Ellroy.

📢 Join Darrell and the Spy Culture folks at SWPACA24! Proposals now being accepted through 11/14 at

#FeatureFriday: Meet the Area Chair! Lisa Wagner, Linguistics

👩 Lisa Wagner (She/Her)
🏡 Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
📍 Current Residence: Louisville, KY
💼 Associate Professor of Spanish and Linguistics and Director of Undergraduate Program in Spanish, University of Louisville

❓ Explain your history and involvement with SWPACA.
I began presenting an annual paper in “Gender” at SWPACA as an Assistant Professor in the early 2000s. I After receiving tenure in 2006, I turned my research focus to applied linguistics and began presenting annually in “Linguistics”. In 2017 (?) I became the Area Chair for Linguistics. I love the interdisciplinary nature of this conference and the kindness of everyone involved. It is a welcoming space to get constructive feedback on one’s latest research and creative activity!

❓ How did you become interested in Linguistics?
I come from a teaching background earning two teaching certificates with my Spanish BA degree: 7-12 Iowa and K-12 Pennsylvania. I applied to Graduate School as an afterthought but decided to pursue my MA in Latin American Literature at the University of Pittsburgh. Once there, I look my first course in linguistics and was hooked! I switched my area of study for the MA to Hispanic Linguistics my second semester at Pitt. After grading in Dec. of 1993, I took ½ a year off, teaching Spanish as a PTL at Pitt and working at a Real Estate Office before beginning my Ph.D. in Spanish Linguistics at The Ohio State University. I received my Ph.D. from OSU in 1999 in 1) Spanish sociopragmatics and 2) Spanish synchronic syntax, with a concentration in Synchronic Spanish Phonology and Phonetics.

❓ What do you hope folks will gain from participating in  Linguistics in the future?
I hope future participants will recognize that “Linguistics” is a venue for both theoretical and applied research: it is a positive space where we share information on linguistic varieties and cultivate new lines of inquiry. Want to expand your current work in the areas of advertising, literary studies, or pedagogy, and perhaps include a section or chapter on language use? Let the collective brainpower of linguists help you to develop a new slant to your current research project!

❓ What is your current pop culture passion/obsession?
My current pop culture obsessions are 1) travelling to location sites for movies, TV shows, and books, 2) identity markers of all types 3) sneaker culture, especially kicks designed by women athletes!

📢 Join Lisa and the Linguistics folks at SWPACA24! Proposals now being accepted through 11/14 at

SWPACA24 Deadline Approaching!

A reminder graphic with "REMINDER, Proposal deadline is October 31" and two click-button-like options: "ALREADY SUBMITTED" and "SUBMIT NOW," then "Submit your proposal at"

A friendly reminder that the deadline to submit to SWPACA24 is this Tuesday, October 31!

To get started, take a look at our full list of Subject Areas for where your research ideas will fit best. Then submit your proposal to our Conference Management System (create an account, if you don’t have one already!).

Already submitted? You should hear back within two weeks.

Reach out to us at with any questions!

#FeatureFriday: Meet the Area Chair! Kathleen Potts, Theater & Performance Studies

👩 My name is Kathleen Potts (she/her), and I am a transplanted New Yorker (Atlantic coast to the Hudson River!). This fall I received tenure and promotion (woo-hoo!) and am an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre & Speech at The City College of New York, CUNY.

❓ Explain your history and involvement with SWPACA.
My first conference was in 2017, when I presented on a Supernatural (TV Series) panel. I immediately fell in love with the people at SWPACA. Those of us who work in Popular Culture Studies can be anomalies in the traditional Humanities and Arts disciplines. We are often seen as smart and experts in our fields (in my case, Theater & Performance Studies), but with this quirky love of exploring how our disciplines intersect with popular culture. That definitely describes me, and I was happy to find other scholars who share their knowledge and passions at SWPACA. The next year (2018) I became the moderator for my panel – again on the Supernatural (TV Series) – and in 2020 I was recruited to take over as Area Chair for Theater and Performance Studies.

❓ How did you become interested in Theater & Performance Studies?
I have been a theatre geek since elementary school, when I first played Lucy in A Charlie Brown Christmas. In high school, I acted in numerous plays and talent shows and won the service award for our drama club, The Deering Players. In college, my focus began slowly shifting from acting to playwriting, an area where I had more control over my creativity. After achieving some national recognition, I was accepted into Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Upon earning my MFA, I began focusing on balancing my playwriting with teaching, leading me to pursue a doctorate in Theatre History because I understood that the extra credential (MFA + PhD) would give me more options for employment as a college professor.

❓ What do you hope folks will gain from participating in Theater & Performance Studies in the future?
I believe that folks will gain confidence and community by participating in my subject area – or really any subject area at SWPACA – and my hope is that spending time with us will lead to presentations and publications that they can list on their CVs. That first presentation – my first presentation at SWPACA – was a disaster! It was too technical and detailed, but the audience was kind and shared gentle and constructive feedback. As a tenure-track scholar who needed to publish or perish, the feedback helped me to eventually get that paper published as a chapter in SUPERNATURAL Out of the Box: Essays on the Metatextuality of the Series. I am grateful to all who took the time to listen to or read my work.

❓ What is your current pop culture passion/obsession?
The “Supernatural (TV Series)” area continues to appeal to me, so I am sure that I will keep attending their panels. I would love to write something for the “Buffy and Beyond” subject area in the future. For my own area of “Theater and Performance Studies,” Broadway musicals are very much of interest to me. The study of musicals and plays can overlap with so many of the subject areas featured at SWPACA, from “Stardom and Fandom” to “War and Culture.” The possibilities are limitless, even if the time that we have available to pursue these passions is not…

📢 Join Kathleen and the Theater & Performance Studies folks at SWPACA24! Proposals now being accepted through 10/31 at

Now Accepting Nominations for Rollins Book Award 2024!  

📚🏆 At our last conference, we announced 2023 winners Peyton Brunet and Blair Davis for their work, Comic Book Women: Characters, Creators, and Culture in the Golden Age, published by University of Texas Press in 2022. Brunet and Davis’s text offers a revisionist history of women’s pivotal roles as creators of and characters in comic books.

Who’s next to join our Rollins Book awardees? 🤔

Submit your nomination(s) today at

#FeatureFriday: Meet the Fellows! David Powers Corwin

🧑 David Powers Corwin (they/them)
📍 Winchester, VA
💼 Asst. Professor of Social Justice and Human Rights, George Mason U

❓ What are your research interests?
•LGBTQ+ Studies
•Friendship studies
•TV studies
•Appalachian Studies

❓ What got you interested in pop/American culture studies?
TV was such an integral part of my childhood and was part of the home and really an additional family member (as scholar Roger Silverstone would say). When I figured out in college that I could write about TV as a career, I never really turned back. I saw a SWPACA ad on H-NET and applied and here we are. I’ve been every year since 2015 with the exception of one year.

❓ What are your goals as a SWPACA Leadership Institute Fellow?
I have met so many new people who have shared interest and look at the world in similar ways to me. It’s also been great to learn the ins and outs of a regional conference—I had only been part of planning university level ones before.

❓ What is your current pop culture passion/obsession?
I’m developing some courses on classic television so I’m mostly watching older stuff right now, but I’m getting back into Cheers and the Mary Tyler Moore World to demonstrate the radical nature of some of those relationships that we often overlook particularly friendships.

📢 Join our next class of Schoenecke Fellows! Applications now being accepted through 12/1/23!