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Igniting the Canon at 2019's Annual Conference

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

Bloomsburg University Hosts PCEA for Conference on (De) Constructing What Makes Reading 'Great' in the Classroom and Beyond

PCEA President Gian Pagnucci asks a question during the Q&A at this year's Conference, held at Bloomsburg University

For the 2019 Annual Conference, PCEA members from as far away as Maine traveled to Bloomsburg University in Central Pennsylvania, ready to present their work and discuss "What Makes Reading 'Great' in the Classroom and Beyond." The theme of the conference was "Igniting the Canon," and featured panels on a diverse array of topics, from graphic novels and comic books to horror film to pedagogical techniques.

What do we mean when we talk about 'great' texts? How can we navigate the notion of 'greatness' while maintaining divisions between canonical and non-canonical texts? How can marginalized writers re-appropriate canonical works for subversive purposes?

Local, regional, and national scholars convened for the conference, populating nearly 20 panels. The Keynote address was offered by Dr. Christina Francis, Associate Professor of English at Bloomsburg, on her love of reading and the complex relationship those who love reading form with attitudes about what should be considered canonical literature. Dr. Francis is the Director of BU's Gender Studies Minor and serves in leadership roles on a multitude of committees, for organizations like the Popular Culture Association of America, and the local Women's Center.

New Event

New to the conference this year was a pop-up art display and film screening that focused on James Whale's 1931 adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic novel, Frankenstein. Local artists and collectors lent items to the display in the lobby of Bloomsburg McCormick Center for Human Services preceding an evening exhibition of the film, restored in HD.

Enthusiastic attendees offered their expertise and thoughtful comments in panel discussion over two days following the close of the spring semester. Next year's conference will be held at Slippery Rock University in April; we hope you'll join us again then!

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