Thursday, October 12, 2017

Call for Papers: “Researching the Romance” April 13-14, 2018



The Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University, in association with the Department of Popular Culture, will be hosting “Researching the Romance”, a conference for scholars, authors, and readers of popular romance fiction. Our Guest of Honor will be award-winning author Beverly Jenkins. The conference will take place April 13-14, 2018 at the Jerome Library on the  BGSU campus as well as at the Wood County District Public Library in Bowling Green, Ohio.

From the website of Bowling Green State University:


Introduction:
In 1997, the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University held one of the first academically oriented conferences on the genre of popular romance fiction. Titled “Re-Reading the Romance,” the event included authors and academics from around the country sharing their experiences and love for the genre.  A follow up conference titled “Romance in the new Millennium” was held in 2000, featuring even more thoughtful looks at romance.

In the years since the last conference at BGSU, the romance industry has grown to more than $1 billion per year in sales, and the study of popular romance has grown by leaps and bounds along with it. And we think it’s high time we reconvene in Northwest Ohio to talk about it. So on April 13th & 14th, 2018, the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University will host a conference entitled “Researching the Romance.” 

The conference will be held in two locations over the course of the weekend. Most of the sessions will be held in the Jerome Library on the campus of Bowling Green State University, while Saturday afternoon’s events will be held at the Wood County District Public Library in downtown Bowling Green.


More about the Conference
Our Guest of Honor for the conference will be 2017 RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Beverly Jenkins. Ms. Jenkins has published more than 30 novels, and is well-known for the level of detailed research she puts into each of her books, making her the perfect guest for this conference.

Our Friday lunchtime keynote speaker will be Dr. Kate Brown, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana. Dr. Brown is a 2017 recipient of the Romance Writers of America Academic Research Grant for her work, which explores how English common law and constitutionalism give fundamental structure and substance to the historical romance genre.


Dr. Eric Selinger, Professor of English at DePaul University and Executive Editor of the Journal for Popular Romance Studies, will be in conversation with Beverly Jenkins on Friday afternoon. Dr. Selinger has a long history of research in romance fiction, and has frequently taught courses using Ms. Jenkins’ work.


Call for papers:
We are seeking presentations by graduate students and academics interested in the study of popular romance studies, as well as authors writing in the genre. Proposals for individual presentations or entire panels will be considered. The scope of this conference is deliberately broad, with the intention of highlighting the interdisciplinary nature and many different avenues of research possible within popular romance studies. Possible paper topics might include but are not limited to:
  • Textual analysis of individual books
  • In-depth analysis of particular authors’ work
  • Digital humanities approaches to popular romance research
  • The development of certain subgenres within popular romance
  • The rise of romance self-publishing in the age of e-books
  • Authors’ approaches to research on time periods, subgenres, etc
  • The growth in popularity of LGBTQ romance
  • Roadblocks to researching romance, for academics and authors alike
  • Romance novel covers across the decades
  • How authors build an audience in an era of subgenre specialization
  • Reception and fan communities for romance novels, subgenres, or authors
Presentation abstracts (max 250 words) should be submitted by Dec. 1, 2017 via the submission page of this site.
Notification of paper acceptance will be made by Dec 15, 2017.

Please contact Steve Ammidown (sammido@bgsu.edu) or Dr. Kristen Rudisill (rudisik@bgsu.edu) with questions.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Call For Papers: Publishing Queer/Queer Publishing





Submission Deadline: Friday 17th November 2017
Conference Date: Friday 16th March 2018

Location: University of London, Senate House Library

Senate House Library is calling for papers on queer publishing for presentation at a 1 day conference taking place at Senate House in March 2018.

The conference forms part of the events programme for the exhibition ‘Queer Between the Covers’, held at Senate House Library from January to June 2018.

The presence of queer works on twentieth century publishers’ lists tended to represent complex processes of equivocation, marked by streams of open titillation and multi-layered camouflage. Novels of queer love could be presented by mainstream firms as examining
‘social problems,’ released by pulp presses with lurid covers promising erotic excitement, printed in severely limited and expensive editions to avoid censure, or offered to the public by imprints more accustomed to gambling against censorship with works pornographic in their intent and content. This fragmented world, driven by simultaneous repression of and prurient interest in queer lifestyles, means that it is difficult to delineate a broad history of queer publishing.

This conference seeks to engender as broad a discussion as possible of the area in an English language context, and welcomes proposals from researchers in multiple disciplines. Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

• Evading censorship
• Criminal proceedings, and the fear of them
• Histories of specific presses
• Publishing case studies of individual texts or authors
• Cloaking and camouflage – the disguised queer story
• Tensions between published scripts and dramatic performance
• Dealing with ‘underground’ presses
• Pulp novels
• Histories of queer pornography
• Classical influences, ‘Uranians’ and other cliques

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers. To submit a paper, please send abstracts of up to 250 words to shl.whatson@london.ac.uk

Details from here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reminder: CfP for Romance at PCA/ACA 2018 closes on 10 October

The CFP for Romance at PCA 2018 in Indianapolis closes this Sunday, 1 October on Tuesday 10 October (the deadline has been extended).

Romance

Conference of the Popular Culture Association (PCA/ACA)
28-31 March 2017 – Indianapolis, Indiana

In response to Indiana’s role as a national player in debates about the rights and protections due to its LGBTQ residents, this year’s romance area will foreground the topic of popular romance and politics.  The popular romance community—scholars included—prides itself on prioritizing consensus and community over debate, sometimes at the expense of asking hard but necessary questions.  This year, we will open ourselves up to a few edgier panels, where participants are encouraged to push their boundaries and work together to think through some potentially divisive issues.  We are defining “politics” broadly, not solely in terms of governance but also, to borrow the OED’s language, as “the principles relating to or inherent in a sphere or activity, especially when concerned with power and status.”  Thus, this would span not only party politics in a particular national or regional arena, but also the politics of gender, sexuality, race, nationality, religion, and class, among others.
Paper topics on this special theme might include the following:
  • The politics of the popular romance novel
  • M/M romance and the straight female readership
  • African-American and/or multicultural romance and market segregation
  • The academic politics of studying the popular romance
  • Party politics and military romance
  • Politics within the RWA
  • African-American and/or multicultural romance in historical settings
  • Category romance and party politics
If you are sick of politics, or simply want to pursue your own intellectual passion, you are very welcome to do so.  PCA/ACA Romance invites any theoretical or (inter)disciplinary approach to any topic related to romance, including the following:  art; literature; philosophy; radio; film; television; comics and graphic novels; videos, webzines and other online storytelling.   We are deeply interested in popular romance both within and outside of mainstream popular culture, now or in the past, anywhere in the world.  Scholars, romance writers, romance readers, and any combination of the three are welcome: you do not need to be an academic to be part of the Romance area.

More details here.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Call for Papers: Conference on Popular Romance in the Digital Age

“Romantic E-Scapes: Popular Romance in the Digital Age”
9-11 July 2018
University of the Balearic Islands, Spain

This conference is organized in the context of the research project “The politics, aesthetics and marketing of literary formulae in popular women’s fiction: History, Exoticism and Romance” (HER) and aims to discuss recent developments in the production, distribution and consumption of popular romance that account for its escalating popularity and its increasing complexity. How comes that the genre’s traditional formulae are thriving in the murky waters of cultural industries in the global marketplace, particularly in light of the new ways and challenges of the Digital Age?

Evidence has it that the scope, production and range of popular romance has continued to diversify throughout the late 20th and early 21st century, reaching an astonishing variety of imprints, categories and subgenre combinations. As an example, Ken Gelder lists the different “brand portfolios” (2004: 46) from the most popular romance publishing houses with series categories that identify subgenres of romance: Modern, Tender, Sensual, Medical, Historical and Blaze (Mills and Boon); or Desire, Sensation, and Intrigue (Silhouette). Beyond these, the list goes on to include other developments or subgenre combinations from the more classical, gothic, thriller or fantasy romance to the more reader oriented Chick Lit, Black (or African-American) romance and the, arguably, more radically modern Lesbian or Gay romance, etc. High in our agenda is then to interrogate the roots and consequences of this diversification of generic traits and target readers within the more general framework of Global Postmillennial cultural developments. Likewise we also aim to examine the political reasons that inspire and transpire from the industry’s imaginative and aggressive commercial and authorial strategies.

Departing from dismissive academic analyses and conventional understandings of popular romance as lowbrow, superficial and escapist, conference participants are asked to unpack the multiple practices and strategies behind the notion of “Romantic Escapes”. A critical or political reengagement with the recreation of these temporal or spatial settings, whether idyllic and exotic locations, specific historical contexts or alternative futuristic scenarios, can help rethink popular romance beyond the mere act of evasive reading or the unreflective consumption of literary romantic experiences, resituating the genre as a useful tool for sociocultural discussion (Radway 1984; Illouz 1997). In this sense, contributions may engage with the multiple ways which the escapist romantic experience can be put to use in more “serious” formats (e.g. Neo-Victorian, historical fiction and historiographic metafiction) and thus with the implications of adapting well-known romantic patterns, formulae or conventions to more culturally “prestigious” genres.

Moving on from these contested acts of escapism, and expanding on Appadurai’s well-known formulation of “scapes” as the multiple “dimensions of global cultural flow” (1996: 33), conference participants are also encouraged to explore the multivalent meanings of these “Romancescapes”, that is “the multiple worlds which are constituted by the historically situated imaginations of persons and groups spread around the globe” (1996: 33) articulated in ever increasing complex and diverse literary formulations of the romantic experience. What are the effects of the global flows of symbolic and cultural capital on the genre? To what extent are romantic narratives determined by specific local conditions and “situated knowledges” (Haraway 1988)?

The impact of these glocal forces is evident in the writing, teaching, translation, production, reception and marketing of romance as mediated by the global “E-scapes” (Rayner 2002) of the digital age. The ever-changing demands of the glocal literary marketplace have also altered the conventional roles of writers, readers, and publishers, now blurred in practices such as self-publishing, specific subgenres like fan fiction, or increasingly influential spaces of literary discussion like virtual book clubs. Participants who may want to venture off the beaten tracks of the conventional romance industry are also welcome to explore and chart these new E-scapes of popular romance.

We invite scholarly submissions that address these and other related topics in relation to any of the multiple sub-genres of popular romance as well as the multifarious “romancescapes” in other popular narrative media. Contributors may address these topics from different critical perspectives and disciplines: cultural studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, neo-Victorian studies, comparative literature, and digital humanities, among others.

Please submit a 200-word abstract and a short biographical note for a twenty-minute paper by 28 February 2018. Submissions of thematic panels are also welcome.

Submissions should be sent to Dr. Paloma Fresno-Calleja (University of the Balearic Islands) (paloma.fresno@uib.es)

For more information visit http://her.uib.es/romantic-e-scapes/

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Last reminder re IASPR 2018 conference!

The deadline for proposals is September 15, 2017. The Call for Papers can be found here.

Thanks to a generous donation from American romance novelist Kathleen Gilles Seidel, travel support for junior scholars will be available for “Think Globally, Love Locally,” the Seventh International Conference on Popular Romance.

This Seidel Travel Grant is intended to foster the future of scholarship on romance in genre fiction, film, TV, and other forms of popular culture by helping with travel costs for graduate students, non-tenured faculty (tenure stream or contingent / adjunct), and independent scholars attending the 2018 IASPR conference in Sydney, Australia.

Eligible scholars whose proposals have been accepted for the conference may apply for the Seidel Travel Grant. Details on how to apply will be included in the proposal acceptance email. All funds will be disbursed by check or cash at the conference.

Seidel wrote her first romance novel not long after finishing her Ph.D. in English literature at Johns Hopkins University. In addition to her many acclaimed novels, including the RITA-award winning contemporary romance Again (1995), she is the author of “Judge Me By the Joy I Bring,” the final essay in the 1992 anthology, Dangerous Men, Adventurous Women.

A supporter of IASPR since its inception, Seidel has funded travel grants for graduate students, independent scholars, and untenured faculty presenting on popular romance at the Popular Culture Association national conference and at IASPR’s international gatherings. We are grateful for her generous and continuing support. 

[The text of this announcement comes from IASPR itself.]

Monday, September 11, 2017

New to the Romance Wiki Bibliography: Feminism, Love, Heyer and Orientalism

Arvanitaki, Eirini, 2017. 
"Postmillennial femininities in the popular romance novel." Journal of Gender Studies. Published online: 28 Aug 2017. Abstract
McAlister, Jodi, and Hsu-Ming Teo, 2017. 
"Love in Australian Romance Novels." The Popular Culture of Romantic Love in Australia. Ed. Hsu-Ming Teo. North Melbourne, VIC: Australian Scholarly Publishing, pp.194-222.
McLeod, Dion, 2017. 
"'Try-error-try-it': Love, loss, and the subversion(?) of the heteronormative romance story in Will Grayson, Will Grayson." Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature 25.1: 73-94. Abstract

And in the section of the Romance Wiki bibliography for items in languages other than English:
Bianchi, Diana, 2017. 
"I gentiluomini si prendono per la gola: cibo e identità nei romanzi di Georgette Heyer". Lingua, Traduzione, Letteratura 1: 75-89. [Diana wrote to me to notify me of the publication of this article and her translation of the title is: "The way to a gentleman's heart is through his stomach: food and identity in Georgette Heyer's novels."]

林芳玫/Lin, Fang-mei. 
"性別化東方主義:女性沙漠羅曼史的重層東方想像/Gendering Orientalism: Women's Desert Romance and the Multiplicity of Oriental Imagination." Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese, vol. 13, no. 1-2, 2016, pp. 174-200. [There is an abstract in English, even though the paper is not.]

Thursday, August 24, 2017

New to the Wiki: Greece, Consent, War, Women, and Zombies


There's a new volume of essays out about Greece in British Women's Literary Imagination, 1913–2013 which includes two essays I've added to the Romance Scholarship Bibliography. I'm not just drawing attention to the volume because one of the items was written by me: I'd also like to note that there's a third article I've not included in the bibliography because it's about a work which is probably better classified as "romantic fiction" than "romance" but which might nonetheless be of interest. It's Keli Daskala's "Victoria Hislop’s The Island (2005): The Reception and Impact of a Publishing Phenomenon in Greece" which discusses the depiction of leprosy in that novel.
Dyhouse, Carol, 2017. 
Hearthrobs: A History of Women and Desire. Oxford: Oxford UP. Excerpt
Gifford, James, 2017. 
“Mary Stewart’s Greek Novels: Hellenism, Orientalism and the Cultural Politics of Pulp Presentation.” Greece in British Women’s Literary Imagination, 1913-2013. Ed. Eleni Papargyriou, Semele Assinder and David Holton. New York: Peter Lang, 2017. 99-118. Excerpt
 
Malloy, Audrey Miles, 2017. 
"Remnants of the Bodice Ripper: How Consent is Characterized in Heterosexual and Lesbian Erotic Romance Novels." Bard College, Senior Projects Spring 2017, Bard Undergraduate Senior Projects.
Regan, Lisa. 2017. 
"Women and the 'War Machine' in the Desert Romances of E. M. Hull and Rosita Forbes." Women's Writing 24.1 (2017): 109-122. Abstract
Vivanco, Laura, 2017. 
"'A Place We All Dream About': Greece in Mills & Boon Romances." Greece in British Women’s Literary Imagination, 1913-2013. Ed. Eleni Papargyriou, Semele Assinder and David Holton. New York: Peter Lang, 2017. 81-98. Abstract
 
Wilt, Judith, 2014. 
Women Writers and the Hero of Romance. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. [See in particular the chapter on "Exotic Romance: The Doubled Hero in The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Sheik."]
I've also added a new item to the Rom-Com bibliography (because it seems to mostly focus on romantic films/movies):
Romancing the Zombie. 
Romancing the Zombie: Essays on the Undead as Significant "Other". Ed. Ashley Szanter and Jessica K. Richards. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2017. Excerpt

Thursday, August 03, 2017

New to the Romance Wiki Bibliography: Australian Romance, Nora Roberts, M/M


There's a high proportion of theses/dissertations in this round-up of new additions to the Romance Wiki Bibliography but I'll start with one which I haven't actually added to it, because it isn't exactly about romance, though it does mention romance a few times: "Breaking the Cycle of Silence: The Significance of Anya Seton's Historical Fiction," a PhD thesis by Lindsey Marie Okoroafo (Jesnek), which can be downloaded here.

Driscoll, Beth, Lisa Fletcher and Kim Wilkins, 2016. 
"Women, Akubras and Ereaders: Romance Fiction and Australian Publishing." The Return of Print?: Contemporary Australian Publishing. Ed. Emmett Stinson and Aaron Mannion. Clayton, Victoria: Monash University Publishing. 67-87. [I was very pleased to be cited in this article but unfortunately I think the information actually came from a post I wrote about Australian romance rather than, as stated, from my For Love or Money. I just thought I should mention that in case someone followed the link and then consulted FLoM to find more details.] 
 
Goris, An, 2011. 
"From Romance to Roberts and Back Again: genre, authorship and the construction of textual identity in contemporary popular romance novels." PhD thesis, University of Leuven. Abstract and Index, Pdf [Note that the pdf starts rather abruptly, without a title page or index, but those can be found on the page with the abstract.]

Shumway, David R., 1999. 
“Romance in the Romance: Love and Marriage in Turn-of-the-Century Best Sellers.” Journal of Narrative Theory 29.1: 110-134. Excerpt
Whalen, Kacey, 2017. 
"A Consumption of Gay Men: Navigating the Shifting Boundaries of M/M Romantic Readership", MA thesis from DePaul University. [with a focus on the works of K. J. Charles.]

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

CFP: Popular Romance and Men’s / Masculinity Studies

From Eric Selinger:
Brandon University professor Jonathan A. Allan (Canada Research Chair in Queer Theory) is looking for proposals on men / masculinities in popular romance fiction for the 2018 American Men’s Studies Association conference, which will be held March 22-25 in Minneapolis, MN. The deadline in the CFP is October 15, 2017.
Jonathan was one of the guest editors of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies special issue on Queer/ing Popular Romance, and he is currently at work on a book called Men, Masculinities, and Popular Romance (Routledge).
There’s a lot of work to be done on this topic, not least because the romance archive includes masculinities that range from the hyper-hegemonic to the quietly or radically disruptive, and the Call for Papers makes it clear that the conference is open to an equally wide range of topics. Their bullet point list includes:
  • Queering masculinities, sexualities, bodies
  • Transgender studies and men’s studies
  • Men and/or masculinities in BDSM and leather cultures
  • Masculinities and sexualities (i.e. heterosexual, gay, bisexual, pansexual, etc.)
  • Effeminophobia in/and theories of masculinity
  • Fantasies and desires in/through bodies and masculinities
  • The material, phenomenological, and real body
  • Pharmaceutical and medical interventions on the body
  • Masculinities without men, men without masculinities
  • Men, bodies, and digital technologies
  • Aging, youth, and sexualities across the life-span

If you’re interested in pursuing this, please get in touch with Jonathan, or with me (Eric Selinger, IASPR president) before the October 15 deadline.
The intersection of popular romance studies and men’s / masculinity studies is a very promising development in our field. There is work, wild work, to be done!

Sunday, July 09, 2017

News + New Items: Thai Romance, Keepers, Disability and more


I'm always very happy to see scholars moving into the field of romance studies, so I'm glad to be able to mention that Johanna Hoorenman "is currently working on a cultural history of Native American themed popular romance novels, tracing the roots of the subgenre to early American women's captivity narratives and James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans" (http://muse.jhu.edu/article/662582).

Ria Cheyne's written a post for Public Books about "Disability and the Romance Novel."

Kecia Ali's been at Smart Bitches Trashy Books to talk about her Human in Death: Morality and Mortality in JD Robb’s Novels.

Mary Lynne Nielsen writes at Dear Author that "the idea of some level of financial security is interwoven in romance."

Christian Peukert and Imke Reimers have found that "romance novels are more likely to be self-published than other genres [...]. The difference becomes particularly evident after 2010, as self-publishing became a successful “mainstream” distribution channel" and "After 2008 (the year after the introduction of the Kindle), there is a small increase in advances for romance novels, compared to a slight drop in advances for other genres. More pronounced, there is a sharp increase in deal sizes for romance novels after 2010 (the introduction of the iPad), whereas the deal sizes for all other categories remain almost constant." They write that:
The fact that more deals were made with future stars among the romance genre throughout the time period of our study suggests that publishers have been able to predict the future success of romance novels better than the success of non-romance books. After 2010 – concurrent with the large rise in self-publishing among romance bestsellers – the ability to predict bestsellers among romance novels increased further, with an increase in the share of future bestsellers among romance deals from about 2% to 5%.

New to the Romance Wiki academic bibliography are:

Markert, John, 2017. 
“God is Love: The Christian Romance Market.” Publishing Research Quarterly. Online First.
Christian publishers have long produced romance novels, but the production of these slim books of love have not been a significant part of their overall output. This started to change in the 1980s in response to the increased sensuality found in secular romance novels. The Christian romance has undergone even more of a resurgence at the outset of the new millennium for the same reason: secular romances have notched up the sensuality of their romances today and Christian houses have responded to their constituents who tire of the sexual slant of these secular novels. Indeed, the strength of the Christian market has not gone unnoticed by mainstream houses and numerous secular houses, notably Harlequin, are today producing Christian-themed romances. The secular Christian message is somewhat attenuated, however, which helps explain the continued popularity of those romances produced by Christian publishers. (Abstract)
Khuankaew, Sasinee, 2017. 
"Femininity and Masculinity in Twenty-First Century Thai Romantic Fictions." The Asian Conference on Literature 2017: Official Conference Proceedings. [pdf available free in full online]
This paper is a thematically chronological supplement to the work in
Khuankaew, Sasinee, 2015. 
"Femininity and masculinity in three selected twentieth-century Thai romance fictions." Ph.D thesis, Cardiff University. Abstract Pdf
Veros, Vassiliki, 2017. 
"Keepers: Marking the Value of the Books on my Shelves." Proceedings from the Document Academy 4.1, Article 4. [pdf available free in full online]

Saturday, July 08, 2017

The Canary Islands in London (July 2017)


The Canary Islands group of romance scholars will be at EUPop2017 (The 6th international conference of the European Popular Culture Association at the University of the Arts London) on 27 July to present a panel:

"Sociolinguistic awareness in a corpus of popular romances set in the Canaries" - María Isabel González Cruz

"Sights and Insights into Spaces of Romantic Desire: Representations of Landscape and Place in contemporary romance Novels set in the Canary Islands" - Mª del Pilar González de la Rosa

"The Exotic ‘Other’ in Jane Arbor’s Golden Apple Island" - María del Mar Pérez Gil

"Cultural symbols, myth and identity in four 20th century English popular romance fiction novels set in the island of Tenerife" - María Jesús Vera Cazorla

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Food for Thought: Romance Readers More Moral, a Philosophical Romance and more


According to some new research on popular fiction
the more Romance [...] authors participants recognized, the fewer morally dubious [...] scenarios they believed permissible [...]. In fact, once Moral Purity concerns - a measure of the importance people place on purity or sanctity when making moral decisions - was controlled for, Romance was the only variable besides Science Fiction that was clearly related to Moral judgment.(22)
The authors do note that "the correlational nature of this study limits any causal inference: it could [...] be the case that when it comes to choosing novels, people pick stories that will enforce their existing beliefs and desires" (23) but perhaps
reading romance novels, in which clearly identified heroes and heroines achieve an "optimistic, emotionally satisfying" ending [...], may encourage readers to view the world in black and white terms. That romance novels tend to end with a "happily ever after" may be particularly relevant given prior research showing a relationship between fiction exposure and Just World beliefs. (24)
The paper by Jessica E. Black, Stephanie C. Capps and Jennifer L. Barnes can be found here. Please note, though that this is a pre-print version and the final version of "Fiction, Genre Exposure, and Moral Reality" may differ a little from the version in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

-----
Sydney E. Thorp, an Honours Philosophy student at Hamline University, has written their honours project in the form of a romance novella, complete with a central love story and happy ending. The protagonists do briefly discuss popular romance fiction, too: Eva, our philosopher heroine, comments
"You want another example of how women and romantic love are easily dismissed?" Ava asked, frustrated. "Two words: romance novels. Even though the romance novel industry is an enormous, billion-dollar-a-year industry, almost entirely dominated by women - female authors, editors, publishers, et cetera - no one takes romance novels seriously as a genre of fiction. And why? Most likely, because it is connected with women." (15)
 The story
follows two people as they try to determine what romantic love is, and why it was a neglected or minimized philosophical object for centuries. As the characters converse, they develop the concept of philosophy described above, discuss the place of women, passion, and reason in philosophy, and determine – to the extent they are able – that romantic love is something people do, rather than a feeling or state of being, and is based on an unjustifiable attraction to another person and Aristotle's concept of friendship, specifically philia.

The idea of romantic love being a practice, rather than an emotion or a state of being, seems to be uncommon in philosophical work on the topic. It seems just as rare, especially historically, to think of romantic love as being between equals, who mutually care for each other and commit equally to the relationship.
You can read the abstract and download the whole of Entangled: Romantic Love and Philosophy as a pdf from here.

-----
Still on the topic of love, Olivia Waite argues that, in romance novels, love isn't "a prize you earn for doing everything correctly" but, rather, "It would be far more accurate to say not that romance novel characters are looking to get love, but that love is looking to get them" and that, in terms of the plot and what the characters are hoping to achieve, "The real villain of any romance novel is love itself."

[Photo by Wolfgang Moroder and taken from Wikimedia Commons. It is not in the public domain.]


---- 

What's food for love? Food! At least according to Jennifer Crusie, who argues that:

1) "The kind of food makes a difference because it characterizes the people eating it."

2) "food doesn’t just build romances, it builds all relationships."

3) "The person who controls the table, controls the interaction."

4) "food also says a lot about place."
 
----

In the context of "place," another reminder that the next IASPR conference is all about place:
Space, place, and romantic love are intimately entwined. Popular culture depicts particular locations and environments as “romantic”; romantic fantasies can be “escapist” or involve the “boy / girl / beloved next door”; and romantic relationships play out in a complex mix of physical and virtual settings.
and
We’ve pushed the due date for IASPR conference proposals back by two weeks, to September 15, 2017. The conference will be in beautiful Sydney, Australia, just a 15 minute walk from the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge; it runs from June 27-29, 2018. The full CFP is here. Please feel free to repost and distribute it!
-----

Still on academic matters Amy Burge has written about the status of the "independent scholar" and I've been thinking about some gaps in the history of popular romance.