Romance Fiction and American Culture (deadline 1/4/10)

full name / name of organization: 
William Gleason/Princeton University and Eric Selinger/DePaul University


Call for Proposals and Essays

Romance Fiction and American Culture: Love as the Practice of Freedom?

Last April, Princeton University hosted an unprecedented two-day conference on popular romance fiction and American culture.  Gathering scholars, authors, editors, and bloggers, this interdisciplinary gathering featured panels on romance and history (both political and literary), romance and religion, romance and sexuality, and romance and race; each explored the ways that popular romance fiction has reflected, and also helped shape, American culture from the late 18th century to the present.  

Conference organizers William Gleason (Princeton) and Eric Selinger (DePaul) now invite proposals for a collection of essays that will build on the work of the conference: Romance Fiction and American Culture:  Love as the Practice of Freedom?  We welcome proposals from academic scholars from any field—American literature, popular culture, religion, women's and gender studies, African American Studies, or any other relevant discipline—as well as from authors, editors, and other members of the romance community who wish to reflect on their practice in light of the volume's concerns.  

We are eager to consider proposals or abstracts on the relationships between popular romance fiction and

•    the history of reading in America, from Pamela to the present
•    American cultures of sexuality, masculinity, and femininity
•    American religious cultures, in Christian and other traditions
•    Race, ethnicity, and exogamous desire
•    "High" culture:  literary fiction, poetry, visual art, etc.
•    Other popular genres:  mystery / detective fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy, non-romance bestsellers, chick-lit
•    Other popular media:  film, comics, music, gaming
•    The culture of sport (football, baseball, NASCAR, etc.)
•    American political / military culture, from the early Republic to the present
•    American psychological / therapeutic / self-help culture

We also hope for papers on the romance industry in America and the diverse community of romance readers, authors, and reviewers, both as they are and as they are represented in the media:

•    Romance sub-genres—Western, Gothic, Regency, Medieval, Paranormal (vampire, were, empath, etc.), Futuristic/time travel, Multi-cultural, Erotic, Gay/lesbian, etc.—and their shifting appeal to readers
•    American romance and other traditions:  comparative studies, texts in translation, transnational encounters
•    Romance publishing:  major presses, series and lines, the rise in e-publishing
•    Representations of American romance writers, readers, bloggers, book groups, conventions, etc.

Detailed abstract or draft essay and a short CV are due by January 4, 2010. Final essays will be due in June, 2010.  We are happy to answer any inquiries.

William Gleason,
Eric Selinger,