Thursday, May 01, 2014

Teaching Romance: Duke Will Certainly Do

Early last month Laura Florand announced that she and Katharine Ashe (Katharine Dubois) were
very excited to announce our Fall 2014 course at Duke on The Romance Novel. We’re delighted to be engaging in this discussion in such a dynamic intellectual environment and excited about the opportunities we’ll have to extend the discussion beyond the university walls, as well.
It took me a while to find the details on Duke's website but now I have, so here's a link and the full details given there:
Fall 2014

The Romance Novel: History, Culture And Form

HISTORY 248S - 01

Explores the history, development and form of the modern romance novel and its role in popular American culture. Birth of the novel; reception and criticism of early romance novels; historical and literary contexts. Britain and the U.S. Authorship: women-authored vs. men-authored, and legitimacy. Standardization of the form of the romance novel and the genre; expectations and innovation. Gender roles: models of femininity and masculinity. Female agency, sexuality, class and race in romance novels and their readership. Late twentieth-century/early twenty-first century boom in the romance industry: Why and to what end? There is a significant writing component to this course.

[Edited to add: Katharine Ashe and Laura Florand let me know via Twitter that the course was likely to be postponed until Spring 2015.]


  1. Wonderful news! I'm fascinated by the course description; that's a lot of material to cover, and I'd love to learn from them how they'll integrate them with the particular novels they've chosen.

  2. Gah! Meant, how they'll integrate those topics with the readings. I'm going to contact the professors and see what I can learn.

  3. Offered as a history class. Will/how will the methodologies of history shape this course and the account of the romance that emerges from it?

  4. Good question! Of course, Hsu-Ming Teo Is an historian, and Jodi is doing her dissertation in history, I think. So there's good precedent!

  5. Pam, when I posted the link about this on Twitter I got a bit of feedback from Laura Florand. Obviously Twitter's not a place where one can discuss syllabi in depth/detail but Laura Florand said that "we want to have a broad interdept scope" and so are "working w/lot of diff programs." Liz McCausland then commented that it seemed "a good topic for interdisciplinarity" and Florand agreed, replying: "Exactly. Powerful influence on publishing industry, cultural issues, etc--lots going on."

  6. Pam, it seems likely that the course will now be offered in the spring of 2015 and Katharine Ashe has confirmed (also via Twitter) that the course will span "History, literature & pop culture. A fundamentally interdisciplinary course."