I am writing today to tell you about all those exciting things that we're doing for, with, and to IASPR:
- The IASPR website.
- The IASPR members' forum.
- The IASPR Cafe Press store.
- The RWA conference next week, Washington DC.
- The IASPR conference in Brisbane, Australia next month.
- The Call For Proposals for 2010 IASPR conference in Belgium.
- Future conference plans and Call for Conference Organizers for 2011 and 2012.
- The Call for Submissions for the Journal of Popular Romance Studies.
- Do you know scholars who do popular romance studies? Let me know!
1. First of all, our beautiful logo and website are up and running. This the portal for most of the rest of the stuff I'll be talking about. Dennis Crothers designed our amazing logo and he and Rob Landrigan designed and built the website. We're very proud of its clean look and (hopefully) the ease of navigation.
Please click through the About tab for our History and the list of our Officers and current (growing) Board of Directors. Check our Conferences tab for news and registration for upcoming conferences. Check back regularly for IASPR updates on the front page. And please direct your friends and colleagues there for information about IASPR.
2. The interactive (and, to me, the most exciting) part of the website is the Members' Forum: a standing messageboard where IASPR members (and non-members) can interact, sharing news of and discussions about popular romance studies. Anyone can register as a member of the board and navigate through "Chatter," "Books," "Articles," "Suggested Reading," and other Topics. Members of IASPR, once they register and are approved by the Board moderator, will have access to a members only section of the forum, in which we discuss Professionalization, Job Opportunities, Publishing Venues, and in which we will create writing critique groups and beta-reading groups for academic writing. Please join us there as soon as you can so we'll have a vibrant, active community of IASPR members!
3. IASPR has a Cafe Press store where you can buy shirts, mugs, and pins with our logo as well as fun slogans like "Romance Readers Make Better Scholars," "Romance: Think About It," "In UR bodice, analyzin UR literachur," and many more. If you have any ideas for more slogans, just email me to let me know and I'll see what I can do to add it to the options. Every purchase supports IASPR, so feel free to splurge! Or tell your friends and family about the Store, so that they can spoil you.
4. A few IASPR Officers and members will be at the annual conference of the Romance Writers of America in Washington D.C. next week at various events:
- Our President Sarah Frantz, our Vice-President Pamela Regis, and NYT best-selling author Sabrina Jeffries will be presenting "If you like the Classics; Or, How to recommend romance to Literature Snobs in your library" at the Librarians' Day on June 15, 2009.
- Sarah, Pam, and IASPR member, Jessica Lyn Van Slooten, will be presenting on "The Wit, Wisdom, and Writing Advice of Jennifer Crusie" on Friday, July 17, 3:15-4:15pm, in Washington 3. IASPR Board Member Jenny Crusie herself will be responding to the panel! We'd love to see IASPR members there.
- After this panel, IASPR will have a get-together from 4:30-6:30 in a room to be announced. Watch the IASPR Twitter page for announcement.
- IASPR will have a table at the Moonlight Madness Bazaar on Thursday, July 16, 8-midnight. We'll be talking about IASPR to anyone interested. We'll also be handing out IASPR swag to members: a tote bag, a membership pin, pens, a lanyard, bookmarks, etc. So come and get come cool IASPR stuff and meet your Officers.
- Sarah, our Secretary Melissa Golden, and a few other IASPR officers will be wandering around the conference, trying to sign up members and handing out membership swag. Catch one of us and introduce yourself (and get your stuff)!
5. Our first IASPR conference will take place next month in Brisbane, Australia, 13-14 August, 2009. Our exciting, truly international schedule is up on the website. And registration is open. Registration is AU$120 for IASPR members and AU$150 for non-members (who will then be members). The registration page will collect the money in Australian Dollars through PayPal, whether or not you have a PayPal account and whether or not you live in Australia. All you need is a credit card. If you're in the area, we'd love to see you there!
The conference has been generously sponsored by Samhain Publishing, the Romance Writers of America, DePaul University, the University of Queensland, Queensland Institute of Technology, and the Fryer Library. Eminent Australian scholars of popular romance fiction, Juliet Flesch and Lisa Fletcher, will be presenting, as will 22 other amazing scholars.
6. The IASPR conference next year will be in Belgium, 5-7 August, 2010, on the theme of "Theorizing Romance." Lynne Pearce of the University of Lancaster has already agreed to be a keynote speaker. The Call for Proposals is up at the IASPR website. I've had a lot of feedback from people who are excited about having a popular romance studies conference in Europe and I'm thrilled that I'm going to be able to meet so many of you. We'd love to have you there as a presenter, so please consider submitting a proposal. Of course, you all are welcome as audience members, too. Many more details will go up on the website in the New Year about registration, etc.
7. We plan to have our 2011 conference in New York City, NY on the theme of "The Business of Romance," and our 2012 conference in Los Angeles, CA, on the theme of "The Music and Movies of Romance." I'm excited about these conferences as a chance to bring together the disparate aspects of popular romance studies--remember that popular romance studies are not just the study of literature, but of all aspects of the popular representation of romance.
If you are interested in being involved in the planning and organization of either of these conferences, please email me. I would love for a member to step up for these conferences, as they have done already for Brisbane and Belgium. This is your chance to be deeply involved IASPR. Just let me know!
8. The Journal of Popular Romance Studies has posted its Call for Submissions. Our first volume will be released on February 14, 2010, and the deadline for submission for the first volume is October 1, 2009. But if you do not make that cut-off, please still submit to the journal. We're planning on having at least two issues a year, so the second issue will be released in August, 2010.
If you're interested in writing book reviews of volumes of popular romance studies, please email our Book Review Editor. Or if you're interested in having your volume reviewed, please email her too.
9. Finally, do you know anyone else working on popular romance studies? Don't forget other fields: anthropology, sociology, art, film, business, marketing, computer science, philosophy, psychology, etc., even neurobiology? I'd love to hear about them or have them hear about IASPR. If you feel comfortable with it, send me their email address so I can invite them into IASPR. Or send them the web address of IASPR so that they can discover who we are and what it is that we do.
For example, I just connected with the Society for Philosophy of Sex and Love and made some great popular romance studies connections there. Are there scholars or other academic societies who might be excited by what we're doing here at IASPR? Let me know about them and let them know about us!
And let us know about YOUR publications and successes in the field of popular romance studies! We'll add them to our (proposed) annual bibliography of popular romance studies.
As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or, most importantly, suggestions, please let me know! I'd love to hear from any of our members about anything. I look forward to meeting most of you over the next few years of my tenure as your President.
-Sarah S. G. Frantz, Ph.D., President
The International Association for the Study of Popular Romance