Monday, November 29, 2010

CFPs: Key Themes and Kindred Genres

I've seen a number of calls for papers recently which, while not directly about the romance genre, may be of interest to readers of this blog.
2nd Global Conference: Revenge - Probing the Boundaries (July, 2011: Oxford, United Kingdom)

Revenge, so we are told, is a dish best served cold: a ‘sweet’ wreaking of vengeance on those who have – either in reality or in our minds – slighted, wronged or in some way ‘injured’ us and who are now ‘enjoying’ their just deserts by an avenging angel (or angels) on the great day of reckoning.

This inter- and multi-disciplinary research and publications project seeks to explore the multi-layered ideas and actions of vengeance or revenge. The project aims to explore the nature of revenge, its relationship with issues of justice, and its manifestation in the actions of individuals, groups, communities and nations. The project will also consider the history of revenge, its ‘legitimacy’, the ‘scale’ of vengeful actions and whether revenge has (or should have) ‘limits’. Representations of revenge in film, literature, tv, theatre and radio will be analysed; cultural ‘traditions’ of retaliation and revenge will be considered. And the role of mercy, forgiveness and pardon will be assessed.
For more information, click here and here.
"Virgin Envy: Contemporary Approaches to Virginity in Literature and Arts": Canadian Comparative Literature Association Congress 2011 (Fredericton from 28 May to 4 June)

Virginity has long been a trope found in literary and cultural texts, however, how do we understand virginity and why does it matter become two questions worthy of consideration. This joint-panel between the Canadian Comparative Literature Association and the Canadian Association of Hispanists aims to work through the poetics and politics of virginity in narrative, poetry, cinema, graphic novels, and popular culture. In many regards, though virginity has been studied, particularly in Medieval Literature, and aspects of Renaissance and Classical Literature, we have yet to see much consideration of virginity as a theoretical problem in modern texts. As such, we welcome papers that move beyond the Virgin Mary and the Virgin of Guadalupe and aim to consider virginity as an interdisciplinary matter that must be considered from the widest-possible range of perspectives. Papers presented in these panels may be considered for inclusion in an upcoming book of essays on the topic of virginity.
More details here.
Frothy, Frivolous, or Feminist?: Expanding the Critical Discourse on Chick Lit and Women's Fiction (2011 American Literature Association Conference, May 26-29 in Boston)

In the introduction to their essay collection Chick Lit: The New Woman’s Fiction, Suzanne Ferris and Mallory Young state that, “[o]n one hand chick lit attracts the unquestioning adoration of fans; on the other it attracts the unmitigated disdain of critics” (1). Indeed, chick lit is enormously popular, and its commercial success extends well beyond the literary world—the genre continues to influence the television and film industry. Chick lit is, as Ferris and Young point out, “big business” (2). However, the popularity and commercial success of chick lit all but ensure it is dismissed critically. In fact, respected novelists like Beryl Bainbridge and Doris Lessing have dubbed authors who write chick lit as the “chickerati,” and Bainbridge describes the genre as “froth” and a waste of time (1). The critical discourse on chick lit is largely negative, condemning the genre as “trivial” and dismissing the fans who claim it depicts the realities of contemporary single women’s lives (2). In fact, the critical treatment of chick lit—or, the lack thereof—seemingly dismisses the genre purely because of its popularity, and most critics’ unwillingness to take chick lit seriously is remarkably similar to the critical treatment of women writers of the late-18th and 19th-centuries. Writers such as Susan Warner, Sarah Josepha Hale, and E.D.E.N. Southworth, all of whom were enormously popular when originally published in the 19th century, have been largely ignored by the contemporary academy because their works are seen as didactic, sentimental, and unrealistic—all terms that have been applied to various works of chick lit.
They've been applied to the romance genre too, of course. More details here.
Call for Essay Submissions on Love in Film and Television Westerns

Call for submissions for an edited collection requested by Palgrave Macmillan Submissions for a collection of essays tentatively titled Cowboy Love: Lonely Hearts and Happy Trails in Western Film and Television.

Long before the release of Brokeback Mountain (2005), Cowboy Love was a complicated, and often conflicted, subject in Western film. Cowboys who would never run from a fight often run from love, and for good reason. Transgressive and titillating, love is one of the most hazardous of all frontier activities in the West. Its presence and absence establish and destabilize gender norms, raising social, political, moral and ethical questions. Simultaneously affirming archetypes of manliness and womanhood and challenging notions of American machismo, the narrative of frontier romance has contributed to the lasting popularity of the cowboy and the endurance of the Western as a genre.
More details here.


  1. Thanks so much for these links, Laura. The Fredericton conference is within driving distance for me, so I may just try to attend.

    I wonder about that comment that chick lit has the "unquestioning adoration of fans". I agree that fans embrace it and critics don;t, but embracing the genre can and does include criticism, as we see here in romance. Besides that, it is interesting to see a collection on chick lit making a lot of the same points romance readers make.

  2. I am so tempted to throw my hat in the ring and come out swinging in defense of chick lit. As feminist, the devaluation of "girly" things irks me mightily. Alas, I am without a clever topic with which to fight. It's hard to have a battle of wits when one is, in essence, unarmed. (Humor. Har.)