An article published yesterday in the LA Times begins by discussing BDSM at Ivy League universities and then moves on to describe a course Stef Woods will be teaching at American University:
AMST-330 005 AMERICAN STUDIESThe article concludes with details of a recent call for papers from JPRS:
Course Level: Undergraduate
Contemporary American Culture (3)
The 50 Shades Trilogy
The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is a publishing phenomenon that has dramatically impacted American culture and sexual health. Using the series as a case study, this course examines the interplay of sexuality, health, public relations and marketing. Topics covered include feminism, addiction, social media marketing, sexual expression versus sexual repression, targeting the mom demographic, domestic violence, literary criticism, and relationship and identity forming. The course also relies on academic texts, online resources, lectures, and guest speakers.
Once completing such a course, students who wish to continue their research could take the next step and write an academic paper. The Journal of Popular Romance Studies has a call for papers for a special issue, "Before and Beyond 50 Shades of Grey: New Approaches to Erotic Romance Fiction." The peer-reviewed journal is looking for "essays, interviews, and pedagogical materials on the subject of erotic popular romance fiction, now and in the past. Essays on individual authors and texts are encouraged, along with work on the business side of the genre — its publishers, its marketing, etc. — and explorations of its reception, including fandom, censorship, and the public debates surrounding erotic romance." Its deadline is Feb. 1, 2013.
With more than 25 million copies of the "50 Shades" trilogy sold, it's only going to find more traction in academia. Maybe E.L. James herself will venture in that direction.