Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Popular Culture Association Annual Conference, 2008

Well, we're off to the Popular Culture Association Annual Conference. In San Francisco! ::big wide grin:: It's going to be an absolute blast.

I'll be trying to live blog the romance panels as they happen, posting it after they're done, depending on the hotel's wireless coverage. Otherwise it'll have to wait till I get back to my room. But I'll definitely be updating throughout the conference.

The program is a HUGE PDF. Really huge--my computer dislikes opening it. So here's the Romance Area panels:


Thursday, 8:00-9:30am
152 Romance Fiction I: Golden Gate Hall Salon B1
The Romance Industry: Authors, Editors, Translators, Readers
Chair: Eric Selinger, DePaul University
* “Romancing the Reader: Romance Authors on the Web” Glen Thomas, Queensland University of Technology
* “Romance Novels in France: Another World?” Severine Olivier, Université Libre de Bruxelles
* “A Genre of One’s Own” Glinda Hall, Arkansas State University
* “Romance Unbound: Comparisons in E-Publishing and Print Publishing by Erotica and Erotic Romance Authors” Crystal Goldman, University of Utah

Thursday, 10:00-11:30am
189 Romance Fiction II: Golden Gate Hall Salon B1
Histories and Rediscoveries
Chair: Darcy Martin, East Tennessee State University
* “Eleanor Sleath: A Writer Rediscovered” Carolyn Jewel
* “Romance for the Masses: The ‘Dime Novels’ of Bertha M. Clay” Darcy Martin
* “Australia Doesn’t Have to Rhyme with Failure: Australian Romance Pulp Fiction of the 1950s” Toni Johnson-Woods, University of Queensland
* “1960’s Chick Lit., Female Desire and Empowerment: Rereading Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls” Jennifer Woolston, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Thursday 6:00– 8:30pm
330 Romance Fiction Open Forum
Golden Gate Hall Salon B1
The Romance Fiction Area Chairs, Eric Selinger and Darcy Martin, invite conference attendees to an open forum on romance fiction. We have in attendance a fascinating and eclectic group of romance writers writing in every genre of romance fiction, publishers of romance, romance scholars, and others interested in the genre participating in the panels. This Special Session affords attendees the opportunity to participate in an informal discussion of a variety of topics of interest to the attendees. Please join us.


Friday, 8:00-9:30am
402 Romance Fiction III: Golden Gate Hall Salon B1
The Romance as Transformation (Special Session/Author Conversation)
Chair: Lynne Welch
* “Romance as a Practice of Freedom” Lynn Coddington
* “Transformation and Resistance” Kate Moore
* “Parallel Scenes and Transformation: Scene Structure in Austen and Kinsale” Alicia Rasley

Friday 2:30-4:00pm
502 Romance Fiction IV: Yerba Buena Salon 10/Salon 11
Recurring Figures, Enduring Debates
Chair: Eric Selinger, DePaul University
• “Rape as Memory: Re-examining Sexual Violence in Romance Fiction” Jayashree Kamble, University of Minnesota
• “Harems and Houris: Literary Antecedents of Orientalist Historical Romances” Hsu-Ming Teo, Macquarie University
• “Deconstructing Desire, Reconstructing the Bodice: Romance Novels and the Paradox of Love” Angela Toscano
• “‘The Measure of a Lady?’ Representations of Gender in 21st Century Christian Romances” Joanna Fedson, University of Western Australia

Friday 4:30-6:00pm
538 Romance Fiction V: Yerba Buena Salon 10/Salon 11
Beyond the Straight and Narrow: Power Exchange and Gay/Lesbian Romance
Chair: Sarah Frantz, Fayetteville State University
• “BDSM to Erotic Romance: Observations of a Shy Pornographer” Pam Rosenthal
• “Lesbian Romance: Identity, Diversity, and Power” Len Barot
• “Queering the Marriage Plot? Love and Heteronormativity in the Queer Romance Novel” Shruthi Vissa, Emory University
• “Power Exchange in Popular Romance Fiction” Sarah Frantz

Friday 6:30-8:00pm
574 Romance Fiction VI: Yerba Buena Salon 10/Salon 11
When Boy Meets Boy: It’s All About the Story (or) This is Not Your Father’s Homoerotic Romance (Special Session/Author Panel)
Chair: Sarah Frantz, Fayetteville State University
James Buchanan, Matthew Haldeman-Time, Raven McKnight, Stephanie Vaughan
Erotic romance editor Raven McKnight, popular authors James Buchanan, Matthew Haldeman-Time, and Stephanie Vaughan will take their cross-genre style and focus it onto m/m romance, one of today’s most popular subgenre elements. Addressing the particular importance of including the romantic element and character/plot development in m/m-inclusive stories, they will lead a discussion of m/m fiction, its critical elements and the importance of striking the balance.


Saturday 8:00-9:30am
625 Romance Fiction VII: Yerba Buena Salon 10/Salon 11
Filling an Information Gap: Preparation & Development of the Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction – an Interactive Presentation
Chair: Darcy Martin, East Tennessee State University
• Doug Highsmith, California State University, East Bay
• Kris Ramsdell, California State University, East Bay

Saturday, 10:00-11:30am
656 Romance Fiction VIII: Yerba Buena Salon 10/Salon 11
New Critical Approaches
Chair: Eric Selinger, DePaul University
• “Reading Romance through a Darwinist Lens: The Sylph and Indecent Proposal” Jonathan Gross, DePaul University
• “Romancing the Genre” An Goris, Ku Leuven
• “Beyond the Kitsch Mirror: Chick Lit and the Culture Industry” Laura Gronewold, University of Arizona
• “Nothing but Good Times Ahead? Romance, Optimism, and ‘Authentic Happiness’” Eric Selinger

Non-Romance Area Panels and Presentations that might be of interest:

WEDNESDAY 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
034 Eros, Pornography, and Popular Culture I
“Ten Cent Sex: The Homosexual Dimestore Romance in Mid-Century America” Joelle Del Rose, Wayne State University

WEDNESDAY 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
069 Eros, Pornography, and Popular Culture II
e-Romance as Electronic, Erotic, and Postmodern: Exploring New Forms of Third Wave Feminism and Gender Peformance in Internet Romance Communities” Kerrita Mayfield, Vassar College

WEDNESDAY 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
083 Film IV: Jumbled Genres–Western, Romance, Caper
Chair: Daryl Lee, Brigham Young University
“Analysis of the Balance of Genres in Films: The Western” Jule Selbo, California State University, Fullerton
“Abundant Loving in Housesitter” William Krier, University of Notre Dame
“Art Imitating Art” Michael Genz, Edinboro, University of Pennsylvania
“`Got No Imagination’: Kantian Poetics in the Heist” Daryl Lee, Brigham Young University

THURSDAY 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
185 Film and History VI: Representing an Era on Film
“‘The ‘New Woman’, Star Personas, and Cross-Class Romance Films in the 1920’s” Stephen Sharot


  1. Well, we're off to the Popular Culture Association Annual Conference. In San Francisco! ::big wide grin:: It's going to be an absolute blast.

    I'll be trying to live blog the romance panels as they happen

    I'm planning to live the experience vicariously, through your blog posts. So I'm really looking forward to "going" to the conference too!

  2. I am so jealous! I got to attend the conference way back in the early 1990s when it was in my home town, and I had a total blast. I will await your reports.

  3. Wow. What a neat conference. Can't wait to hear details. Any way for non-attendees to download the handouts?

  4. Sarah, that's an amazing program. I'm jealous and I'm thinking how wonderful it would be if RWA had a lot of similar panels at our annual conference instead of duplicating how-tos. I'd love to see us discussing some of those topics.

    And I love the phrase "recontructing the bodice." In some way that's the slogan for a mind-set revolution!

    Jo Beverley

  5. I noted that Alicia Rasley is giving a talk on transformation in Austen and Kinsale. She wrote some lovely trad Regencies a while back. If you see her, please tell her that at least one reader misses her writing.

  6. Gah! I am *so* simmering in envy -- ooh.

    Have fun! :)

  7. That's a pretty amazing coincidence. I am currently down the street in San Fran getting ready for the CALICO conference also running Thursday - Saturday, but this conference is about language teaching. Maybe I'll have to skip out on a couple teaching sessions and go get a little pop culture instead.... Registration is overrated. I'm sure PCA doesn't really care about that sort of thing.

  8. One other item which is mentioned in the schedule is this:

    Romance Fiction Dinner: All participants in the PCA & ACA conference are invited to join us for dinner at a local well-known restaurant.
    Friday, March 21, 5:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    Meet in Hotel Lobby
    Organizers: Eric Selinger & Darcy Martin

    I'm assuming that's the hotel lobby of the San Francisco Marriott. Would that be right? Would someone who hadn't registered for the conference be able to go to that? And if yes, would they need to let Eric know in advance?

  9. Laura, I think the dinner's off. That's during a panel on Thursday. Or two, actually, so we're probably going to have to change it to something else. But that's up to Eric.

  10. What I want to know is how Sarah managed to get the 15th president of the United States to return from the grave to participate in a romance panel!

  11. Hi, everyone! The dinner's not off, but delayed, or so I hope (I'll check in with Sarah and confer at the morning panel in a couple of hours). My hope is that we can go out after the homoerotic romance panel on Thursday: an 8 pm dinner, which isn't outrageously late, or at least an 8 pm get-together. (Glen Thomas and I found a great local brewry--organic, natch!--and tapas bar last night. The halibut cheeks were particularly fine.)

  12. I was wondering if "halibut cheeks" was a new euphemism, spawned from the mixing of thoughts about the homoerotic romance panel and a lot of organic beer. I hadn't quite got round to working out what it might be a euphemism for when I decided that perhaps I ought to resort to Google. Now I know that the truth is considerably more prosaic than anything I might have imagined.

    It sounds like you're having a great time already.

  13. Laura, go to your room.

    OK, I'll stomp off and sit grumpily in my room, waiting for the others to post about how much fun they're having at the conference.

    {digruntled pout}But really, I don't think it was fair of Eric to post something with the word "homoerotic" in one sentence and "[hali]but cheeks" in the next. Particularly not after the long discussion we had last year at TMT about were-clams.{/disgruntled pout}

    And I wanted to have my disgruntled pout between pointy brackets, but Blogger wouldn't let me have them! It's so unfair!

  14. Sarah & Eric, lucky, lucky you! Why do I feel like Cinderella left behind sitting among the ashes of the cold, cold hearth ... *sniff*

  15. Enjoyed reading the were-clam piece and have some comments:

    Snakes: I know of one fantasy novel in which the World-Snake is the hero's mother; but he's basically a year-king type.

    Have I got a were-clam for you! Meet Pubert the Disco Clam:

    (He sometimes slips into a phone booth and emerges in costume as SuperD!ck, a crime-fighting winged phallus.)

    And there is a genre of Japanese erotic art showing women having sex with octopi:

    Can you tell I've spent too much time in the company of the Tigress?

    Fredric Brown wrote a short-short story about a man who fell madly in love with a beautiful mermaid and went through untold suffering to become a merman. Just as he was ready to consummate their passion, he noticed that they were both fish from the waist down; and she informed him that she would now lay her eggs on the ocean floor and he could swim over them to deposit his sperm....

    Ignore Leviticus: It also claims moles are unclean.

    Sophie is the heroine of Diana Wynne Jones's HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE. In CASTLE IN THE AIR, she is the secondary character who has her child as a kitten. Poor Morgan is SO frustrated when the spells are all lifted and he has to be a helpless baby instead of a lively and adventurous kitten!

    I enjoyed the were-clam piece so much that you may now come out of your room, Laura, and have a cookie

  16. Sandra: Your problem is that you don't know any rats who know how to drive a pumpkin with a stick shift.

  17. That Pubert the Disco Clam is the most obscene yet humorous looking geoduck I've seen (albeit I haven't seen many pictures of geoducks).

    Katsushika Hokusai's "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" (1820) is interesting. According to what I've been able to find out using Google this interest in tentacles was revived by Toshio Maeda to get round certain legal prohibitions. As he said in one interview:

    At that time [pre-Urotsuki Doji], it was illegal to create a sensual scene in bed. I thought I should do something to avoid drawing such a normal sensual scene. So I just created a creature. [His tentacle] is not a [penis] as a pretext. I could say, as an excuse, this is not a [penis], this is just a part of the creature. You know, the creatures, they don't have a gender. A creature is a creature. So it is not obscene - not illegal.

    Drawing intercourse was, and is, illegal in Japan. That is our big headache: to create such a sensual scene. We are always using any type of trick.


    Can you tell I've spent too much time in the company of the Tigress?

    She's got an interest in the depiction of animals in art, hasn't she?

    I enjoyed the were-clam piece so much that you may now come out of your room, Laura, and have a cookie

    Thanks! It can join all the others I've got stored on my computer.

  18. "She's got an interest in the depiction of animals in art, hasn't she?"

    Well, yes; but I also published quite a successful book on Graeco-Roman erotic art many years ago. The drawing of Pubert the Clam (and of his metamorphosed form as a winged phallus) is mine by the way. ;-)

  19. The drawing of Pubert the Clam (and of his metamorphosed form as a winged phallus) is mine by the way

    Is his cloak supposed to look a bit like a magic carpet? It's the pattern on it that gave me that idea, and the fact that he's obviously quite a magical sort of geoduck.

    I also published quite a successful book on Graeco-Roman erotic art many years ago

    That made me try to remember the name of the god with the huge phallus, so I ended up at this page, about Priapus and there it says that "It has been suggested by some scholars that the modern popular garden gnome is a descendant of Priapus." I wonder how long it'll be before I can look at a garden gnome without remembering that.

  20. I believe you are actually thinking of the herm, or herma--the boundary markers with prominent genitalia and a head of Hermes on top. Or rather, since you are quoting Wiki, that it's a better source for the garden gnome than the one given.

    If you put that cookie into your computer (use the CD slot for cookie delivery), it's going to get the works all gooey.

  21. I think it's a bit of a stretch, frankly, from either Priapus or herms to garden gnomes, not least because there's a kind of 2000-year hiatus... However, Priapus did watch over gardens and other cultivation, as well as harbours, while herms, as Tal has mentioned, protected boundaries. Herms were not necessarily ithyphallic, but Priapus normally was.

    I often considered, myself, that it might be good to have a small garden Priapus to ensure that the plants grew well, but I have never got round to it, I fear.

  22. You really ought to do it, Tigress. Now that you're married, you'll be wanting to start a family....

  23. I wonder how many homes have both a Priapic gnome and a buried St Joseph. Perhaps some of the holes in gardens are due not to moles but to clashing gods and saints.

    Chin up, Laura. You can have pointy brackets if you call them less-than and greater-than symbols:

    < /disconsolate >
    < /disconsolate >

  24. The Mole will have her little joke. Sigh.