Popular Romance Studies: an International Conference (August 13-14, 2009, Brisbane)

full name / name of organization: 
Eric Murphy Selinger / International Association for the Study of Popular Romance
contact email: 

For decades, scholars have studied popular romance, whether in romance novels, films, comics, or other media. They have studied its sexual politics and aesthetic structures, its audiences, its authors, and the industry that produces and distributes it world-wide. For the most part, however, they have done so in isolation, divided by boundaries of nation, genre, and academic discipline.

On August 13-14, 2009, the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology will host "Popular Romance Studies: an International Conference," to be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Romance Writers of Australia. Scholars from Australia, the United States, and elsewhere will convene for this event, which will take place on the QUT campus (Thursday) and at the University of Queensland's Fryer Library, home to a remarkable archival collection of Australian romance materials.

We are interested in papers on romantic love in the popular media (print, film, music, etc.), now or in the past, anywhere in the world. Topics addressed might include:

--Romance on the World Stage (texts in translation, romance manga, romantic films in Western, Indian, and Far Eastern traditions, non-Western writers, readers, texts, and publishers of romance fiction)

--National romance traditions and the impact of global publishing

--New critical approaches: critical race theory and romance; postcolonial readings of romance; romance and cosmopolitanism

--The romance industry (print, film, electronic, other)

--Romance between media: crossover texts and the relationships between romance fiction and romantic films, music, art, drama, etc.

--Romance high and low: texts that fall between "high" and "low" culture, or that complicate the distinctions between these critical categories

--Romance then and now: ancient, Renaissance, modern, postmodern love

--Romance in marketing; the Business of Love

--Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Romance; same-sex love within predominantly heterosexual texts; BDSM romance

--Romance communities: authors, readers, websites, blogs

--Theoretical models for, or approaches to, popular romance

We note that 2009 marks the 90th anniversary of E.M. Hull's novel The Sheik (the film dates from two years later), the 70th anniversary of the film version of Gone With the Wind, and the 10th anniversary of Paperback Hero, the Australian film in which Hugh Jackman plays a truck driver turned romance novelist. Papers related to any of these subjects are particularly welcome.

Submit a one-page (150-250 word) proposal or abstract no later than May 30, 2009 to the conference organizers; email is preferred. Early proposals will receive an early response, in order to facilitate travel plans and travel funding requests. A small amount of travel funding for full-time U.S. faculty has been made available by the Romance Writers of America; please mention your interest in your proposal.

IASPR welcomes proposals from independent scholars, and from romance authors, editors, and publishers, as well as from those with academic affiliation.

Proposals and questions should be sent to:

Prof. Eric Murphy Selinger
Dept. of English
DePaul Univ.
802 West Belden Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614

Dr Toni Johnson-Woods,
English, Media Studies and Art History,
University of Queensland
St Lucia Q 4072 AUSTRALIA
E: t.johnsonwoods@uq.edu.au

Dr Glen Thomas
Creative Writing and Cultural Studies
Creative Industries Faculty
Queensland University of Technology
Victoria Park Road
Kelvin Grove, Q. 4059.
E: gj.thomas@qut.edu.au