Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Romance Scholarship Comes of Age

Conference on Romance ScholarshipOn April 23 and 24, Princeton University will be hosting a historic event—Love as the Practice of Freedom? Romance Fiction and American Culture.

This two-day symposium will be the first national conference to focus on the multiple ways that romance novels—long the most maligned of literary texts—can provide rich critical insight for the interdisciplinary study of American culture, politics, and society. This explicitly contextual, interdisciplinary, and American focus represents a rich new direction for the field of romance fiction studies. It will examine the ways in which romance fiction might be understood to resist rather than perpetuate oppression, but also to liberate romance scholarship from the need to defend the genre against all comers and at all costs.

The conference is co-organized by Dr. William Gleason, Department of English, Princeton University, and Dr. Eric Murphy Selinger, Department of English, DePaul University. The schedule includes sessions, such as Love and Faith: Romance and Religion; Memory and Desire: Romance, History, and Literary Tradition; The Sweetest Taboos: Romance and Sexuality; and Whispers in the Dark: Romance and Race. Panelists include, author Dr. Mary Bly (w/a Eloisa James), Esi Sogah (editor @Avon), Dr. Sarah S. G. Frantz, author Jennifer Cruise, RWA president Diane Pershing, and SBTB blogger Sarah Wendell.

IASPR and JPRSDr. Frantz is also taking steps to further romance scholarship by setting up a society and journal respectively called the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR) and the Journal of Popular Romance Studies (JPRS), an online, open-source journal.

In Dr. Frantz's own words: State of Romance Scholarshippart I and part II.


Sarah S. G. Frantz said...

Thanks Keira! I appreciate the shout-out!

We're still working on our slate of Officers for IASPR. We haven't forgotten you and will be asking you to do something, if you're still interested. Things are just working more slowly than originally planned...

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, this sounds absolutely fascinating. Thanks for posting it! I wish I could be there!

Keira Soleore said...

Sarah, thanks much for stopping by. This is whole revolution is so full of win, it deserves shout-outs from rooftops.

Fo, here's the bit about academic happenings in Brisbane in August...

"We’ve got another conference in Brisbane, Australia in August (webpage forthcoming, of course), where we’re going to do something called “Iron Critic.” Four or five attending RWAustralia authors will assign one of their own books to a participating scholar. The scholar will read it and prepare a five minute presentation about one aspect/motif of the book that intrigued them, and the author will have five minutes to respond. We’ll have more academic presentations and round-tables, of course, but we’re excited about having a little fun with our scholarship as well."