Saturday, October 27, 2012

Love and Islam? Christian Love? (Nu, Jewish, Too?)

Just a quick post, this, to remind everyone that there's a call for papers out for a special issue of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies on "Love and Religion in Global Popular Culture."  If you're interested in the topic yourself, or if you have colleagues who might take an interest, I hope you'll spread the word.  
My gut sense is that there's a world of relevant texts out there, from Indonesian rock bands singing about love and Islam--any fans out there of Dewa?--to Indian films to Leonard Cohen songs and American evangelical romance novels.  Dial back the clock before the 20th century and the range of offerings might be even more robust.  
Here's the text of the Call for Papers.  If you can think of a place to circulate it--a listserv, another blog, a scholarly network or conference--please feel free to do so.  I'm off Twitter and Facebook myself, but feel free to link back to this post, or the journal, from any and all of the social networks you belong to, too.
Love and Religion in Global Popular Culture
“Love is my religion,” Ziggy Marley testifies in a hit from 2006.  From reggae to Rumi (the bestselling poet in the United States across the 1990s), Bollywood to South Park, global popular fiction, film, poetry, music, and other media have extolled romantic love in sacred terms—and, in the process, they have sometimes raised provocative, complex relationships about the relationships between religion and romance.
Some popular romance texts remain securely inside the boundaries of orthodox belief, bringing theologies of love to accessible affective life.  Others blur the lines between sacred and secular love, or between different national, cultural, and theological traditions, threatening those distinctions and, sometimes, drawing sharp condemnation in the process.
To explore the vast terrain of love and religion in global popular culture, the Journal of Popular Romance Studies calls for essays, interviews, and pedagogical materials for a special forum guest-edited by Lynn S. Neal (author of Romancing God: Evangelical Women and Inspirational Fiction).  The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2012, and the forum is slated for publication in September, 2013.
Texts from all traditions, media, and periods are welcome.  Topics of particular interest include:

  • Sacred love stories retold in popular culture
  • Hymns, love songs, and the porous boundary between them
  • Romantic love as a surrogate or secular religion, and debates over this
  • Crossover texts and figures:  Rumi, the Song of Songs, etc.
  • Representations of interfaith romance
  • Love and religion in popular culture from before the 20th century, and from indigenous and other non-hegemonic religious traditions (Candomblé, Wicca, etc.)

Published by the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR), the peer-reviewed Journal of Popular Romance Studies is the first academic journal to focus exclusively on representations of romantic love across national and disciplinary boundaries.  Our editorial board includes representatives from English, Comparative Literature, Ethnomusicology, History, Religious Studies, African Diaspora Studies, and other fields.  JPRS is available without subscription at
Please submit scholarly papers of 5000-10,000 words (including notes and bibliography) by December 1, 2012, to An Goris, Managing Submissions should be Microsoft Word documents, with citations in MLA format.  Please remove all identifying material (i.e., running heads with the author’s name) so that submissions can easily be sent out for anonymous peer review.  Suggestions for appropriate peer reviewers are welcome.


  1. :o Was that directed at me, or did you mean something else by "Nu"? LOL. Btw, it's funny, I was just going to recommend something like "Love, Inshallah" as a reading for your Culture of Love class- or rather, excerpts from that book.


  2. :) More at myself, actually! I used to do a fair amount of Jewish blogging, back in the day; I've just never made the connection between that writing and my popular romance research.

    I'll take a look at "Love, Inshallah" for that class--my local public library seems to have a copy. Thanks for the tip, and the list (in your comment on the other post)!