What is a "Pulp"?
Pulp magazines were a series of mostly English-language, predominantly American, magazines printed on rough pulp paper. They were often illustrated with highly stylized, full-page cover art and numerous line art illustrations of the fictional content. They were sold for modest sums, and were targeted at (sometimes specialized) readerships of popular literature, such as western and adventure, detective, fantastic (including the evolving genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror), romance and sports fiction. The first pulp Argosy, began life as the children’s magazine The Golden Argosy, dated Dec 2, 1882 and the last of the “original” pulps was Ranch Romances and Adventures, Nov 1971.
The Pulp Studies area exists to support the academic study of pulp writers, editors, readers, and culture. It seeks to invigorate research by bringing together scholars from diverse areas including romance, western, science fiction, fantasy, horror, adventure, detective, and more. Finally, the Pulp Studies area seeks to promote the preservation of the pulps through communication with libraries, museums, and collectors.
The Pulp Studies Area resulted from the realization that within the Popular Culture Association a number of scholars each year were making presentations about different writers, editors, themes, audiences, histories, and trends but within separate academic "areas" at the national conference. Scholars working on H.P. Lovecraft were presenting in the Horror area, those interested in Amazing Stories were giving papers in the Science Fiction/Fantasy area, and others speaking about Black Mask or other detective fiction were presenting in the Mystery area. Prior to the creation of the Pulp Studies Area, these scholars were largely unaware of each other. In 2009 the Pulp Studies Area was created to address this problem.