RSS: Reception Study Society 1

Article I: Purpose

The Reception Study Society (RSS) is a non-profit organization which seeks to promote informal and formal exchanges between scholars in several related fields: reader-response criticism and pedagogy, reception study, history of reading and the book, audience, communication, and media studies, and any other studies engaging these primary areas. Bringing together theorists, scholars, and teachers from all of these areas, this association will promote a much-needed cross-disciplinary dialogue among all areas of reception studies, advancing teaching as well as research. Since 1985, scholarship in these areas has exploded, with important expansions of research and new theoretical, historical, and textual studies. Although associations such as SHARP (Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing) examine one or two of these areas, the advances and developments in specific fields have remained largely disconnected. The RSS is the only association to promote dialog and discussion among all the diverse areas and scholars of reception study.

The RSS provides several benefits to its members:

  1. The RSS will organize a conference every two years. The RSS will also arrange for panels and other presentations at scholarly conferences which, like The Midwest Modern Language Association or the American Literature Association, allow RSS participation in their programs.

  2. The RSS will maintain a website which provides information about past and future conferences, as well as upcoming RSS panels and members’ publications.

  3. The RSS will produce an annual journal which promotes the dialog sought by the RSS. The Executive Board selects the editors of the journal and decides its major policies.

Article II: Membership

  1. Membership in the RSS shall be open to all scholars, teachers, students, and other individuals interested in the study of reception, audiences, and reading.

  2. Individuals and institutions shall become members of the Society by paying biennial dues as determined by the Executive Board. Categories of membership shall be specified by the Executive Board. Membership dues will support the administration of the Society, the biennial conference, and, if needed, the journal.

  3. Payment of biennial dues shall entitle individual members to participate in its panels and conferences, to vote in the elections of the Society, and to be nominated for election as one of the Society’s officers or as a member of its Executive Board or one of its committees.

Article III: Officers

  1. The Reception Study Society is governed by an Executive Board which includes the Director, President, President-Elect, seven representatives, and the Journal Editor(s) (ex-officio with up to two votes). Only members of the Society are eligible to serve as officers. No person may simultaneously serve as more than one officer.

  2. The members of the RSS vote on the officers and executive board members, including the Director. They are nominated four months prior to the biennial convention Elections of the officers and executive board are conducted two months prior to the biennial convention by mail or electronic mail. Their terms of office begin January 1 after the biennial conference.

  3. The Executive Board members serve four-year terms, with one-half elected every biennial year. Members may be re-elected to new four-year terms. The Board’s composition should include at least one person in each of the three primary areas of RSS interest (literature, book history, and media) and one graduate student. With the Director’s assistance, the Executive Board organizes the conferences, ensuring that the Society’s three primary areas are well represented. It suggests and votes on speakers, distributes the call for papers, accepts paper proposals, organizes panels, sets up the conference schedule, and sets the dates and chooses the place of future conferences. The host institution provides the facilities and arranges the receptions, banquets, transportation, and housing.

  4. The Executive Board shall meet at least once every other calendar year, at the biennial conference. The purpose of this meeting will be for budgeting, planning, review of society operations, etc. Outside of formal meetings, Executive Board members may consult via mail, electronic mail, or telephone as needed.

  5. The Director will be elected every four years and may be renewed. The Director, with the Executive Board’s agreement, sets and collects the dues, takes minutes of meetings, proposes constitutional amendments to be ratified by the membership, maintains the website, and distributes the funds for conference facilities, speakers, and participants and for other financial needs, including the dissolution of the organization.

  6. The President will serve a two-year term as President-Elect and then a two-year term as President. The President-Elect will serve as Conference Program chair. The President will preside over meetings of the Society and the Executive Board and will work with the Director to administer RSS.

  7. The Journal Editor(s) will serve a four-year term, renewable. The RSS Executive Board will approve the Journal’s Editorial Board which will be proposed by the Journal Editor(s). The Journal Editor may appoint assistant editors as needed. The Journal’s Editorial Board and assistant Editor positions will serve during tenure of the Journal Editor(s). If renewed, the Journal Editor(s) may propose changes to the Editorial Board and assistant Editor positions.

Article IV: Procedures and policies

  1. The organization is formed exclusively for charitable, educational, and literary purposes within the meaning of section 501c3 of tax form 557. The organization is limited to these purposes and meets the organizational test.

  2. Upon the dissolution of the organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes with the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose. Any such assets not disposed of shall be disposed of by the Court of Common Pleas of the country in which the principal office of the organization is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.

  3. Amendments to this constitution must be approved either by two-thirds of the members present at the biennial conference or by a vote of two-thirds or the members responding to a mail or electronic mail ballot.


  1. This constitution was first established in 2006, and updated in 2015.