2019 Pacific Coast Philology Outstanding Article Award

On behalf of PAMLA’s Pacific Coast Philology Award Committee, we are honored to inform our community that there were two winners of PAMLA’s Pacific Coast Philology Outstanding Article Award for 2019: Jeremiah B.C. Axelrod’s “Mutiny on the Sofa: Historical Patterns of Patriarchy and Family Structure in American Science Fiction, 1945–2018” and Kathryn K. Stevenson’s “Felons, Not Families”: U.S. Immigration Policies and the Construction of an American Underclass.” Both essays are incredibly engaging, innovative, and knowledgeable articles that serve as exemplars of the intellectual, academic writing we strive to publish. The articles will be available to read open access for one year, thanks to our publisher, Penn State University Press.

Pacific Coast Philology (PCP), the journal of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, has been a leading literary and cultural studies journal, publishing peer-reviewed essays of interest to scholars in the classical and modern languages, literatures, and cultures for over fifty years. PCP publishes two annual issues on a wide array of timely, thought-provoking topics in the areas of culture, literature, aesthetics, ideology, film, and theory.

Jeremiah Axelrod’s essay examines post-war American science fiction and its relationship with “the trope of the autonomous nuclear family homesteading the cosmos in their own little space ship. This particular depiction of family reflects an ideology of frontier nostalgia, but it also almost inevitably conflates fatherly patriarchal authority with the strictures of naval discipline, providing an unsettling note of authoritarian tyranny in a genre intended to reinforce ideologies of ‘togetherness’ and the comfortable “natural” order of familial authority. Analyses of Robert Heinlein’s The Rolling Stones, TV series Lost in Space and Star Trek, Becky Chambers’s The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Disney’s Miles from Tomorrowland, and the graphic novel series Saga trace the decline of the ‘retrospective utopian’ patriarchal family model and counterbalance it with the emergence of new, more flexible family authority structures appropriate to the twenty-first century.”

Jeremiah Axelrod is the Director of the Institute for the Study of Los Angeles and Non-Tenure Track Associate Professor of History at Occidental College where he has taught courses in urban history, restaurant culture, and “Disneyland and Urbanism,” among others. He is also the author of the book, Inventing Autopia: Dreams and Visions of the Modern Metropolis in Jazz Age Los Angeles (University of California Press, 2009).

Kathryn Stevenson’s essay is a very timely analysis of “two competing discursive constructions of undocumented immigrants: as ‘families,’ a move that coincides with efforts to offer more inclusive immigration reform; or as ‘felons,’ a move that coincides with efforts to offer more exclusive immigration reforms. In examining these binary depictions of undocumented immigrant populations, this article argues that the deployment of the figure of the felon or criminal to describe immigrants casts immigration as a criminal anomaly and contributes to more punishing immigration policies, troubling kinship trends, and the criminalization of undocumented populations and Latinos more generally.”

Kathryn Stevenson is an Associate Professor at Moreno Valley College, and she has been a fantastic PAMLA member for many years.

We greatly appreciate the academic dedication and intellectual rigor of Jeremiah and Kathryn’s articles, and encourage all of our members to read her article, found online via JStor or Project Muse, hopefully via your library’s website, or in your print issue. We also encourage PAMLA members to submit essay proposals to Pacific Coast Philology. We will also be awarding our two award winners at this year’s PAMLA General Membership Meeting (Saturday, November 16, 4:45 pm-5:10 pm, Wyndham San Diego Bayside Pacific D).

We hope that Jeremiah and Kathryn’s articles are widely read across our great academic community, and that this new award will encourage even more of our members to submit their scholarly articles to Pacific Coast Philology for consideration.

On behalf of PAMLA, we wish to thank this year’s Pacific Coast Philology Award Committee members, John Schwetman, Marta Albala Pelegrin, and Emily Butler-Probst, and PAMLA Assistant Director David John Boyd. PAMLA thanks the committee and our two award winners for all of their work.