Sarah's just got back from the IASPR conference and has made a few observations about it over at Romancing the Blog. I'll copy a few of them over here, too, though, because I think they're worth sharing:
The conference, with presenters from India, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Italy, China, the US, and of course, Australia, taught us that Popular Romance Studies is and should be a truly international pursuit. In learning the universality of popular romance, though, it teaches us to be very specific about the historical, social, and national culture of the text under consideration. (For example, the book I will be writing for the next few years is about the power, appeal, and history of the modern American romance hero, not the romance hero in general.)
The conference also taught us to be aware of cultural definitions of romance. The American middle-class definition requires a happy ending, but other cultural versions of romance might not. It is important to be conscious of our own historical, social, and national cultures, as well as aware of those in the texts we study.
The map of the world's time zones came from Wikimedia Commons.