Call for Papers

The Ninth Biennial Conference of the Reception Study Society
at New Mexico State University and the Courtyard Marriott Las Cruces at NMSU
Sept. 28-30, 2023, Las Cruces, NM

The Reception Study Society promotes informal and formal exchanges between scholars in several related fields: reader-response criticism and pedagogy, reception history, history of reading and the book, audience and communication studies, media studies, institutional studies, and gender, race, ethnic, sexuality, postcolonial, religious, and other studies. We welcome presentations on all aspects of reception, but this year we especially encourage papers or panels on the theme: Diverse Audiences, Diverse Receptions.

Audience has often been overlooked in text-centered approaches to literary study, but is central to reception studies, which focus on the process by which a text is received, and meaning is made, by an audience. The rise of media and pop culture studies has made the study of audience central to understanding works of literature, film, and culture. Social media has increased interactions and tensions in the relationships between audiences and creators, making the study of audiences all the more critical. We invite panelists to consider the role of audience or fandom in reception studies; what social media (Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms) reveals about audience behavior and interactions with creators; how writers and creators engage diverse audiences in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and politics; the economics of audiences, publishing, and content creation; adaptations and marketing to specific audiences; how public reception through book bans, laws and other discourses are shaping access to books and media as well as their reception with specific audiences.

Proposals for papers or panels in this or any area of reception studies are now welcome.

Please submit proposals of 250 words or less, along with a one-page CV to Kelsey Squire at by June 1, 2023. Please feel free to contact Dr. Squire over email with any questions or queries.

The Janet Staiger Honorary Scholarship is available to pay conference registration and banquet attendance fees for one graduate student presenting on a topic in Media Studies. Graduate student applicants should indicate interest in the award on their conference proposal.

Selected conference papers will be solicited for publication in the RSS journal, Reception: Texts, Readers, Audiences, History, published by Penn State University Press. For information about past conferences, please scroll down, and membership and registration fees will be updated by June, 2023. For a printable PDF version of this call for papers, please download this file.

Previous conferences

Our 2021 conference was cancelled due to the pandemic.
2019 RSS Conference (Brigham Young University, Provo, UT)

Our last conference took place from September 26-28, 2019 and the presentations included a wide array of topics within the fields of reader-response criticism, reception history, book history, media studies, and more, while several panels focused on the conference theme, “Reception/Politics.” The program is available here, and the plenary speakers included Dr. Racquel Gates, Associate Professor of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island/CUNY, and author of Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture (Duke UP, 2018) and Dr. Greg Barnhisel, Professor and Chair of English at Dusquesne University, editor of Book History, and author of Cold War Modernists: Art, Literature, and American Cultural Diplomacy.

2017 RSS Conference (St. Catherine University, Saint Paul, MN)

The theme of our 2017 conference was “Feminist Reception: Celebrating Thirty Years” in commemoration of the Women’s March on Washington as well as the publication of books like Gender and Reading, the anthology by Beth Flynn and Patsy Schweickart. The program can be downloaded here, and the keynote speakers were: Paula Rabinowitz, University of Minnesota ("Scenes of Women Reading/Scenes of Reading Women: The paperback revolution and feminist consciousness"); Sumana Chattopadhyay, Marquette University ("Understanding Voters in a mediated world: Authoritarianism, Trust, Cynicism and Political Interest in Election 2016"); and Patsy Schweickart, Purdue University ("Reading Gender in the Interstices of Theory").

2015 RSS Conference (IPFW, Fort Wayne, IN): See the program.

2013 RSS Conference (Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI): See the program.

2011 RSS Conference (Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, MO): See the program.

2009 RSS Conference (Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN): See the program.

2007 RSS Conference (University of Missouri at Kansas City): See the program.

2005 RSS Conference (University of Delaware, Newark, DE): See the program.