Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Conference Programme for the 6th International IASPR Conference (23-25 June 2016)


The full conference programme is now available here. Among the papers are:

Elin Abrahamsson, Stockholm University, Sweden:
“Consuming Passions: a queer reading of the popular romance genre through the concept of masturbation”

Katherine Morrissey, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York:
“Keeping It Classy: Studying Sex and Romance”

Len Barot, Bold Strokes Books, New York:
“Diversity in Lesbian Romance Fiction: The Impact of Gender and Race on Marketing and Sales”

Heather Schell, George Washington University, DC:
Two Nerdy History Girls: Historical Romance Novelists as Teachers of History”

Caryn Radick, Rutgers University, New Jersey:
“Writing about History and Becoming Part of the Historical Record: Romance Writers’ Use of Archives and Archival Collections Documenting Popular Romance”

Jessica Matthews, George Mason University, Virginia:
“Romance as Propaganda: White Fantasy of Indian Love in the 19th –century ‘Civilize the American Indian’ Movement”

Javaria Farooqui, Institute of Information Technology, Lahore, Pakistan:
“‘Raging Seas and Cloudy Skies’: Macro to Meso Level Psychosemantic Movement in Stephanie Laurens’ Black Cobra Quartet

Erin Young, SUNY Empire State College, New York:
“Love in the Last Frontier: An Analysis of Alaskan Romance Novels”

Margot Blankier, Trinity College, Dublin:
“‘The Sweetest Story Ever Told’: ‘Cinderella’ as American Dream Narrative”

Pavla Stefanska, Masavyk University, Czech Republic:
“Blurring the Lines: Irish mythology and symbolism in Nora Roberts’ The Cousin O’Dwyer’s Trilogy

Eric Murphy Selinger, DePaul University, Chicago:
“‘Use Heart in Your Search’: Erotic Faith, the Heart Sutra, and the Allusive Art of My Beautiful Enemy

Jayashree Kamble, Assist. Prof. of English, City University of New York:
“Epistemes and Cultural Dominants: What Popular Romance Novels’ Heroes and Heroines Tell Us About Postmodernity”

Lesley Ann Smith, Curtin, University, Australia:
“Understanding the Formula”

Maryan Wherry, Independent Scholar & Writer, Quad-Cities, Illinois:
“Love and the American Dream in Popular Romance”

Amy Burge, Edinburgh University, Scotland:
“‘Shipping magnates and oil sheikhs’: Decoding the exotic hero in ‘Harlequin Presents’ romance novels, 2000-2015”

Kecia Ali, Boston University:
“Triangulating Desire: Navigating Islamland, Arabiastan, and Romancelandia in Suzanne Brockmann’s Into the Night

Sarah Ficke, Marymount University, Virginia:
“When Vampires Meet Clockwork: Fantasy Creatures in Steampunk Romance”

Maria-Isabel González-Cruz, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain:
“Intercultural and interlingual relations in a corpus of popular romance fiction novels”

Mallory Jagodzinski, Bowling Green State University, Ohio:
“Playing Tricks: Neoliberalism, Postfeminism, and Postraciality in Theresa Romain’s Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress”

Hsu-Ming Teo, Macquarie University, Australia:
“When a Jew loves a Nazi: Romance novels and the Holocaust”

Amira Jarmakani, San Diego State University:
“Radioactive Love: Mapping Desire from Agrabah to Abbottabad”

Jonathan Allan, Brandon University, Canada:
“What is the Ever After doing in Happily Ever After? Temporality and Futurity”

Maria Ramos-Garcia, South Dakota State University:
“Creating the Sense of an Ending in Urban Fantasy”

Friday, May 20, 2016

Romance Miscellany: Online, In the Media, In Journals/Academic Volumes


On the Internet:

Bornschein, Anne N. 'The Stars (and bars): race and racism in Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Chicago Stars series'.

Horne, Jackie C. reviews Catherine M. Roach's Happily Ever After: The Romance Story in Popular Culture. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Linda. Review of Rita-nominated Toward the Sunrise by Elizabeth Camden at Smart Bitches Trashy Books ["unfortunately, underneath the charming plot ... was a backbone of unremitting Orientalism and historical revisionism."]

In the Media:

Anonymous, 2016. 'Roberta Gellis (1927-2016): Obituary'.

Roberta Gellis (1927 - 2016)

Obituary

Roberta Gellis (1927 - 2016)

Obituary

Roberta Gellis (1927 - 2016)

Obituary

Roberta Gellis (1927 - 2016)

Obituary

Bilde, Marie, 2016. 'It’s Springtime for Romance in Denmark', Publishing Perspectives, April 25, 2016. ["Romantic fiction in Copenhagen has mainly lived in kiosks alongside magazines — until now. As April smiles on Denmark, new imprints are bringing romance into the open."]

Owen, Jonathan, 2016. 'Gransnet jumps into bed with racy publisher Mills & Boon for content partnership', Campaign, May 03, 2016. ['Romantic publisher Mills & Boon and the website Gransnet have announced what they call a "budding romance", and will begin working together to capitalise on the interest of older women in sex and romance.']

Sanusi, Isa, 2016. 'A hunger for romance in northern Nigeria', BBC, 4 May 2016.

Academic Articles:
Hess, Jonathan M., 2010. 
Middlebrow Literature and the Making of German-Jewish Identity. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. [See Chapter 3: "Middlebrow Culture in Pursuit of Romance: Love, Fiction, and the Virtues of Marrying In"] Excerpt

Salmon, Catherine, 2016. 
"What Do Romance Novels, Pro Wrestling, and Mack Bolan Have in Common?: Consilience and the Pop Culture of Storytelling." Darwin's Bridge: Uniting the Humanities and Sciences. Ed. Joseph Carroll, Dan P. McAdams and Edward O. Wilson. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2016. 167-182. Excerpt
 
Tidwell, Christy, 2016. 
"“A Little Wildness”: Negotiating Relationships between Human and Nonhuman in Historical Romance", Creatural Fictions: Human-Animal Relationships in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Literature, Ed. David Herman, Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). 151-171. Excerpt Abstract [Focuses on Bertrice Small's Sky O'Malley and Patricia Gaffney's Wild at Heart]

Monday, May 09, 2016

Sad News: Conseula Francis

Eric posted the following message to the Romance Scholar listserv earlier today:

-------------------------

Very sad news this morning:  romance scholar Conseula Francis, who also worked on James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, and many other authors and topics, has died. Her husband posted this on Facebook this morning:

Dear Friends,
It is my sad duty to report, that shortly before dawn on May 9th, 2016, Conseula Alena Francis passed from this Earth. Not only was she the love of my life, but she also was a loving mother who blessed me with two wonderful girls.

Among her peers, she was well-respected as a scholar, academic, and administrator. As an educator, she was loved by her students, many of whom unabashedly agree that both in and out of the classroom she changed lives. She was beloved by her friends, and as a sister, daughter, sister-in-law, and daughter-in-law, she was adored by her relatives.

As her light passes into the next world, she leaves this world dimmer and colder. Please keep her in your memories.

I knew from FB that she had gone into the hospital, but her posts had indicated that it was nothing serious. It’s a terrible loss to her family, her academic community, and to the field.

Conseula’s groundbreaking essay on Zane as a romance novelist was published in the Romance Fiction and American Culture anthology last month; she was a contributor to the Popular Romance Project, with posts on iconography of the Obamas and on Zane and respectability politics. She was a deeply valued peer reviewer for JPRS, and appeared there in print as an interviewer of Joanna Russ.

She will be missed.

Best,
Eric

------------------------
The College of Charleston's tribute to her can be found here. The Post and Courier has published a short obituary as has ABCnews4.

[Edited to add: Another article, written by one of Conseula's colleagues, has been published at Inside Higher Education.]

Saturday, April 30, 2016

University of Love Conference Agenda


The joint programme of events put together by the Romance Writers of Australia and Flinders University for the 2016 Romance Writers of Australia conference (18-21 August) is now online. It includes:

  • Cliteracy: Women and Sexual Pleasure in the Romance Novel
    - Presented by: Dr. Catherine Roach, New College, University of Alabama

  • Love and Listening: The Erotics of Talk in the Popular Romance Novel
    - Presented by: Dr. Jodi McAlister

  • The Genre World of Romance in the Twenty-First Century
    - Presented by: Dr. Lisa Fletcher, University of Tasmania; Dr. Beth Driscoll, University of Melbourne; Dr. Kim Wilkins, University of Queensland

  • Defying Decorative Objectification: The Appeal of the Heroine in Historical Western Romance Fiction.
    - Presented by: Dr. Amy Matthews, Flinders University

  • Representations of Single Mothers in Contemporary American Romance Fiction
    - Presented by: Ms. Michelle Douglas, University of Newcastle

  • The (Saggy) Bottom Line: Women of a “Certain Age” and Romance Fiction
    - Presented by: Dr. Sandra Barletta

Full details of all the papers and activities can be found here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Keira Soleore reports back on the PCA/ACA conference


Keira Soleore has posted summaries of papers presented on romance at the recent PCA/ACA conference:
The Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association's national conference was on Tuesday, March 22 in Seattle. I attended five of the seven sessions in the Romance Area, which was chaired by Eric Selinger of DePaul University.
Keira's first post summarises

"Novel" Representations of Female Sexuality in Popular Fiction Across Cultures by Claire Watson

Aspirational Labor in the Creative Industries: Becoming a “Real” Romance Writer by Jen Lois

Analyzing Dan Savage's "Monogamish" Claim by Shaun Miller

Keira's second post summarises

Poldark As Anti-Antihero: Rebooting Romantic Masculinity for an Age of Crisis by Kyle Sclabach

All Around Great Guys, Mostly: The Evolving Romantic Hero in Literary Webseries by Margaret Selinger

Alpha, Beta, and the Ambiguous Omega: The Diversity of Heroes by Veera Mäkelä

Constructing Black Masculinities in Romance Fiction by Julie Moody-Freeman

Keira's third post summarises

"Lifting as We Climb": Iola LeRoy and the Early African-American Romance by Pamela Regis

Making It American: Epic Romance and the National Myth by Maryan Wherry

You Say Anal Like It's A Bad Thing by Meagan Gacke

Muslim Love American Style: Islamic-American Hybrid Culture and Romance in Muslim Fiction by Layla Abdullah-Poulos

Keira's fourth post summarises

Session Four, on Diversity in Historical Romance

and

Lady Catherine's Descendents: Examples of the Older Other Woman in Romance Fiction by Olivia Waite

A Short Inquiry into the Gothic Romance by Angela Toscano


Friday, April 08, 2016

New Pages (and Videos) on Love (and Romance Scholarship)


Documentary-maker Laurie Kahn invited Eric
to curate some “Resource Pages” of links relevant to topics raised in Love Between the Covers, the romance documentary, and they’re now live!  They’re designed to be of use both to teachers and curious readers.
The pages include links to video-clips, documents and other web-pages on the topics of

Over on the website of Kahn's production company, you can see videos taken at the Library of Congress during
What Is Love? Romance Fiction in the Digital Age [...] a two-day Popular Romance Project conference that brought romance authors, readers, publishers, and scholars in many disciplines together for four fascinating panel discussions.
The links below take you straight to the videos on Vimeo:

Panel 1 discussed "What Belongs in the Romance Canon?"

Panel 2 asked "What Do The Science and History of Romance Reveal?"

Panel 3 looked at "Community and the Romance Genre"

Panel 4 focused on what's "Trending Now: Where is Romance Fiction Heading in the Digital Age?"

Details about all of the panelists, panels and the introduction to the conference as well as all the videos can be found here.

Also out recently is a podcast featuring Lisa Fletcher,
one of the scholars working on a project called Genre worlds: Australian popular fiction in the 21st century (2016–2019). This project won an RWA (US) grant, followed by a very prestigious grant from the Australia Research Council. Lisa talks about the project’s goals and  methodology, as well as other themes and topics in popular fiction that pique her interest. She also talks about the challenges of teaching romance at university, and some of the books and techniques she uses in her classes.
The podcast can be found here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

CFP: Representations of Romantic Relationships and the Romance Genre in Contemporary Women’s Writing


Representations of Romantic Relationships and the Romance Genre in Contemporary Women’s Writing

Saturday 11th June 2016, Sheffield Hallam University

Co-hosted with the Postgraduate Contemporary Women’s Writing Network

‘…It would be at best grossly incurious and at worst sadly limited for literary critics to ignore a genre that millions and millions of women read voraciously’ (Pornography for Women is Different, Ann Snitow, 1979)
Almost forty years have passed since Snitow’s ardent defence of the importance of recognising and examining the romance genre, however critical consideration of the romance remains limited. Some have suggested that this could be a result of a snobbery associated with romantic fiction, or perhaps even more startlingly due to a general lack of interest in the literature women write and read (Light [1984], Philips [2006] and Radway [1984]). Critic Emily S. Davis states ‘Romance…does not get much love in critical circles…it is no coincidence that the areas most frequently dismissed as inconsequential…are precisely those identified with disempowered groups such as women and queers.’

Although there remains an overall absence of criticism the importance of women writers’ relationship with the romance and the effect it has on women readers has been acknowledged, particularly in relation to feminism. In ‘‘Returning to Manderley’ – Romance Fiction, Female Sexuality and Class’ Alison Light acknowledges that romances are ‘…often seen as coercive and stereotyping narratives which invite the reader to identify with a passive heroine who only finds true happiness in submitting to a masterful male.’ In contrast the most well-known and acclaimed critic on the genre, Janice A. Radway, stressed ‘Romance is being changed and struggled over by the women who write them.’ Indeed, contemporary women writers from the Booker Prize winning Margaret Atwood to the self-proclaimed ‘chick-lit’ writer Sophie Kinsella have written novels which use the romance genre and/or focus on romantic relationships and could be seen to be part of a re-writing of the genre.

Given the significant links between the romance, women writers and women readers, conversation around the presence of the genre in contemporary fiction is crucial. This symposium seeks to encourage this discussion.

Topics may include yet are not limited to the thematic list below:

• The presence of romantic relationships and the use of the romance genre in contemporary women’s writing

• The relationship between the romance genre and feminism

• The perception of romance as a low-brow genre, and the extent to which this perception offers critical and intellectual insights into debates about how we define women’s writing and cultural contribution

• The future of the romance genre within contemporary women’s literature

A 250-word abstract for 20-minute papers including a brief personal statement, should be submitted to symposium@pgcwwn.org by Friday 8th April 2016.

[Details as posted at cfp.english.upenn.edu]

Saturday, March 19, 2016

CFP: Romance at the Midwest Popular Culture Association



Call for Papers: Popular Romance


2016 Midwest Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference
Thursday-Sunday, October 6-9, 2016
Chicago, IL
Hilton Rosemont Chicago O’Hare
(Conference info: http://www.mpcaaca.org)

Deadline for submission: 30 April 2016.

Love and romance are pervasive elements in popular culture, showing up in film, television, fiction, manga, advertising, advice columns, pop songs, and more. We are interested in any and all topics about or related to popular romance and its representations in popular culture (fiction, stage, screen—large or small, commercial, advertising, music, song, dance, online, real life, etc.)

Topics can include, but are not limited to:
•       critical approaches, such as readings informed by critical race theory, queer theory, postcolonial studies, or empirical science
•       depictions in the media and popular culture (e.g., film, television, literature, comics)
•       literature and fiction (genre romance, poetry, animé)
•       types of relationships (marriage, gay and lesbian)
•       historical practices and traditions of and in romance
•       regional and geographic pressures and influences (southern, Caribbean)
•       material culture (valentines, foods, fashions)
•       folklore and mythologies
•       jokes and humor
•       romantic love in political discourse (capitalism)
•       psychological approaches toward romantic attraction
•       emotional and sexual desire
•       subcultures: age (seniors, adolescents), multi-ethnic, inter-racial
•       individual creative producers or texts of popular romance
•       gender-bending and gender-crossing

Submit a one-page (200-250 words) proposal or abstract by 30 April 2016 to the Popular Romance area on the MPCA/ACA website http://submissions.mpcaaca.org. Please include name, affiliation, and e-mail address with your abstract. MPCA/ACA can provide an LCD projector for presentations, but it must be requested with your proposal. If necessary, indicate and submit potential scheduling conflicts along with your proposal. If you wish your presentation to be listed as MACA (rather than MPCA), please include this request with your proposal.

More conference information can be found at http://www.mpcaaca.org/.

For further inquiries or concerns, please contact Popular Romance Area Chair, Maryan Wherry, wherrym@gmx.com.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

RWA Academic Award-Winners and a CFP


The Romance Writers of America have announced that this year:
Two RWA Academic Research Grants were funded: (1) Kelly Choyke’s project, “The Power of Popular Romance Culture: An Ethnography of Feminism, the Romance Genre, and Womanhood in North America,” and (2) Joanna Gregson and Jennifer Lois’s project, “Shifting Identities and Reimagined Careers: Romance Authors and the Self-Publishing Revolution.”
Kelly, "a teacher at Ohio University and a Ph.D. Candidate in Women’s Studies", last year "approached the RWA/NYC chapter to solicit interviews for her research study, The Power of Popular Romance Culture: An Ethnography of Feminism and the Romance Genres" (Macwilliam).

Gregson and Lois's previous project on romance was covered by the New York Times.

--------
Thanks to jay Dixon for alerting me to the following CFP (details announced here) which isn't about romance novels, but is in a closely related area so I thought I'd post it here:

CFP: The Power of Love 
An area of multiple panels for the 2016 Film & History Conference:
Gods and Heretics: Figures of Power and Subversion in Film and Television
October 26-October 30, 2016
The Milwaukee Hilton
Milwaukee, WI (USA)

When romance is brought to life on film and television, it becomes a public discourse capable of either normalizing or challenging behaviors and activating social criticism. Debates over the shape and form of love on the silver screen have been at the center of film and television history, pointing to its significant cultural power. This area, then, will explore both “the power of love” in screen history and the implications of love in film and television.
Who are we allowed to love, where, when, why, and how? What do these various relationships illustrate about our social worlds? Under what circumstances are characters not allowed to love, and why? What role have entertainment executives and other key figures played in dictating “appropriate” behavior through on-screen loves? By analyzing the patterned representation and censorship of love, film and television scholars can address the important dialectic between what is revealed to us and what is concealed during any historical period, highlighting the critical power of love.

This area invites 20-minute papers or complete panels that explore the varying powers of love. Possibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Forbidden Love and Unlikely Couples 
  • Censoring Love: The Production Code and Beyond 
  • What’s Love Got to Do With It?: Plot and Narrative
  • From Real to Reel: Biographical Romance
  • The Politics of Teaching Desire 
  • Speaking Love: The Power of Dialogue
  • Bachelors and Bachelorettes: Normalizing Gender Roles in Reality TV
Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (www.filmandhistory.org).

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by June 1, 2016, to the area chair:

Nicole Amber Haggard
Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles
nhaggard@msmu.edu

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

New to the Wiki: Around the World with Romance

This is a collection of recent items in the media, journal articles and details of two new books on popular romance fiction.
 
Chandra, Elizabeth, 2015. 
"Blossoming Dahlia: Chinese Women Novelists in Colonial Indonesia", Southeast Asian Studies 4.3: 533-564.
 
De Vera, Ruel S., 2016. 'The Rise of the Filipino Romance in English', Asiannewsnetwork, 7 March 2016.
 
Markert, John, 2016. 
Publishing Romance: The History of an Industry, 1940s to the Present. ???: McFarland. Abstract and table of contents
McAlister, Jodi, 2016. 
'Traveling Through Time and Genre: Are the Outlander Books Romance Novels?', Adoring Outlander: Essays on Fandom, Genre and the Female Audience, ed. Valerie Estelle Frankel (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland), pp. 94-105. Excerpt
Page, Thomas, 2016. 'Beyond heartache and Boko Haram: Nigerian women prove love is universal', CNN, 16 February 2016.
Roach, Catherine M., 2016. 
Happily Ever After: The Romance Story in Popular Culture (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press).Excerpt

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Call for Papers: Romance in the Zombie Genre

Romancing the Zombie: Falling in Love with the Undead in the 21st Century

Editors:
Ashley Szanter, Weber State University
Jessica K. Richards, Weber State University

Project Overview:

Editors Szanter and Richards seek original essays for an edited collection on romance in the zombie genre. This collection is under contract with McFarland Publishers. The 21st century has seen a greater willingness to portray the undead as possible candidates for sexual and romantic partnership as well as engaging with overarching themes of romance and relationships in apocalyptic settings. Romance is a generally neglected corner of zombie scholarship largely because of its implied necrophilia. However, it is flourishing in films, literature, and television shows that explore romantic relationships with corpses in various states of decay. This collection will explore this generation’s relatively new tendency to sexualize zombies as attractive and alluring.

Abstract Due Dates:

Preference will be given to abstracts received before May 15, 2016. Abstracts should be no longer than 350 words and be accompanied by a current CV.

Final manuscripts of 6,000-8,000 words should be submitted in MLA style by September 15, 2016.

More details here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

CFP: Masculinity and Romance

Masculinity Studies Meets Popular Romance

Deadline: January 6, 2017
In her canonical and contested study Reading the Romance, Janice Radway describes the romance hero as characterized by an “exemplary” and “spectacular” masculinity. Romantic films, TV, and popular music likewise offer what Eva Illouz calls “ideal-typical” representations of men and masculinity, even as popular culture often insists that “real men” have no interest in romance media. What, then, can critical and historical studies of men and masculinities offer to the study of popular romance media? And what can attention to popular romance teach us about blind-spots and other lacunae in the study of men and masculinities?
The Journal of Popular Romance Studies solicits papers for a special issue on masculinity and popular romance media, now and in the past, from anywhere in the world. We are interested in how masculinities are and have been represented in the texts of both heterosexual and queer popular romance media, including fan-produced media. We are also interested in papers on masculinity in the marketing of such media (e.g., movie trailers and romance novel covers), and in the discourse of the global romance communities that produce, enjoy, and discuss such media (editorial guidelines, recaps and reviews, blog posts, Tumblrs, etc.). Papers that explore the intersection of masculinity with other cultural phenomena, including race, religion, and class, are welcome.
For this issue, we define both “romance” and “masculinities” broadly. We are open to submissions about texts from the margins of love and romance culture (e.g., “bromances”) as well as those which focus on texts which participate wholeheartedly in the popular culture of romantic love. We also recognize that masculinity does not belong exclusively to cisgendered men’s bodies, and we encourage the submission of papers that follow Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s call for scholars of gender “to drive a wedge in, early and often, and if possible conclusively, between the two topics, masculinity and men, whose relation to one another it is so difficult not to presume.”
This special issue will be edited by Jonathan A. Allan, Canada Research Chair in Queer Theory (Brandon University) and Eric Murphy Selinger (DePaul University). Papers of between 5,000 and 10,000 words, including notes and bibliography, should be sent to Erin Young (managing.editor@jprstudies.org). To facilitate blind peer review, please remove your name and other identifying information from the manuscript. Submissions should be Microsoft Word documents, with citations in MLA format.