March 17, 2005
Dr. Marty Knepper, professor and chair of English at Morningside College, and Jess Horsley, a senior who is majoring in English at Morningside, have both had papers accepted for the national conference of the Popular Culture Association (PCA)/American Culture Association (ACA), which will be held this month in San Diego, Calif.
Knepper will chair the panel discussion “Mystery and Detective Fiction: A Sense of Place.” She will also present her paper “Miss Marple’s St. Mary Mead: A Geographical Exploration” in the same session. Knepper’s presentation will unveil a new theory about the location of St. Mary Mead, the fictional English home of author Agatha Christie’s popular detective character Miss Marple. She will also discuss how Christie uses the village of St. Mary Mead to illustrate the social history of Britain in the mid-twentieth century.
Horsley will present his paper “Collecting Action Figures: From Toys and Play to Art and Display” during the session on “Collecting and Collectibles.” His presentation will discuss how action figures have evolved from toys originally created for children’s play into modern day art forms and popular collectibles.
“It is unusual and quite an honor for an undergraduate to present a paper at a national academic conference,” said Knepper.
Knepper, a member of Morningside’s faculty since 1984, has been active with the PCA/ACA since 1978 and served as its national president from 1991 to 1993. She has written articles, presented papers, and spoken widely on detective fiction, women’s issues, and writing, and is a member of the editorial board of Clues, an academic journal on crime fiction. She has a bachelor’s degree from Morningside College, a master’s degree in English from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and a doctorate in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Horsley is currently pursuing a degree in English education at Morningside after having served in the United States Marine Corps from 2000 to 2003. He began collecting action figures at the age of 13. He is a writer and toy reviewer for www.figures.com and a film critic for the anime website www.animeniacs.com.