Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Teaching Romance at Ithaca College
Ithaca College's Jennifer Wofford will be teaching a seminar on romance this semester (fall 2015):
Reading Popular Romance
Theme: Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation; Perspective: Social Sciences
CRN 24024 ICSM 10824-01, TR 04:00 PM-5:15 PM, M 12:00 PM-12:50 PM
U.S. Representative Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) introduced a bill in 2014 proposing to prohibit the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from funding any project relating to the research of love or romance (H.R.5155). Yet, popular romance is the highest selling book genre in the world today, representing the largest share of sales revenue in the industry. Moreover, 84% of romance readership are women. Popular romance is a women’s industry, perhaps the largest in the US. Yet a US legislator made a point of crafting a law against it. Why? This courses uses popular romance as both a cultural subject and as a vehicle of inquiry into readers and reading. It asks questions like: What is romance? Who are our heroines? What is a reader? Why are women reading and writing these stories? How have archetypes and plot lines changed since the 1960s, when mass market romance novels emerged, and what does that say about fans of the genre? What’s the relationship between literature and commerce? Should popular romance be studied? If so, for what purpose?