Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Call For Papers: Publishing Queer/Queer Publishing

Submission Deadline: Friday 17th November 2017
Conference Date: Friday 16th March 2018

Location: University of London, Senate House Library

Senate House Library is calling for papers on queer publishing for presentation at a 1 day conference taking place at Senate House in March 2018.

The conference forms part of the events programme for the exhibition ‘Queer Between the Covers’, held at Senate House Library from January to June 2018.

The presence of queer works on twentieth century publishers’ lists tended to represent complex processes of equivocation, marked by streams of open titillation and multi-layered camouflage. Novels of queer love could be presented by mainstream firms as examining
‘social problems,’ released by pulp presses with lurid covers promising erotic excitement, printed in severely limited and expensive editions to avoid censure, or offered to the public by imprints more accustomed to gambling against censorship with works pornographic in their intent and content. This fragmented world, driven by simultaneous repression of and prurient interest in queer lifestyles, means that it is difficult to delineate a broad history of queer publishing.

This conference seeks to engender as broad a discussion as possible of the area in an English language context, and welcomes proposals from researchers in multiple disciplines. Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

• Evading censorship
• Criminal proceedings, and the fear of them
• Histories of specific presses
• Publishing case studies of individual texts or authors
• Cloaking and camouflage – the disguised queer story
• Tensions between published scripts and dramatic performance
• Dealing with ‘underground’ presses
• Pulp novels
• Histories of queer pornography
• Classical influences, ‘Uranians’ and other cliques

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers. To submit a paper, please send abstracts of up to 250 words to

Details from here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reminder: CfP for Romance at PCA/ACA 2018 closes on 10 October

The CFP for Romance at PCA 2018 in Indianapolis closes this Sunday, 1 October on Tuesday 10 October (the deadline has been extended).


Conference of the Popular Culture Association (PCA/ACA)
28-31 March 2017 – Indianapolis, Indiana

In response to Indiana’s role as a national player in debates about the rights and protections due to its LGBTQ residents, this year’s romance area will foreground the topic of popular romance and politics.  The popular romance community—scholars included—prides itself on prioritizing consensus and community over debate, sometimes at the expense of asking hard but necessary questions.  This year, we will open ourselves up to a few edgier panels, where participants are encouraged to push their boundaries and work together to think through some potentially divisive issues.  We are defining “politics” broadly, not solely in terms of governance but also, to borrow the OED’s language, as “the principles relating to or inherent in a sphere or activity, especially when concerned with power and status.”  Thus, this would span not only party politics in a particular national or regional arena, but also the politics of gender, sexuality, race, nationality, religion, and class, among others.
Paper topics on this special theme might include the following:
  • The politics of the popular romance novel
  • M/M romance and the straight female readership
  • African-American and/or multicultural romance and market segregation
  • The academic politics of studying the popular romance
  • Party politics and military romance
  • Politics within the RWA
  • African-American and/or multicultural romance in historical settings
  • Category romance and party politics
If you are sick of politics, or simply want to pursue your own intellectual passion, you are very welcome to do so.  PCA/ACA Romance invites any theoretical or (inter)disciplinary approach to any topic related to romance, including the following:  art; literature; philosophy; radio; film; television; comics and graphic novels; videos, webzines and other online storytelling.   We are deeply interested in popular romance both within and outside of mainstream popular culture, now or in the past, anywhere in the world.  Scholars, romance writers, romance readers, and any combination of the three are welcome: you do not need to be an academic to be part of the Romance area.

More details here.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Call for Papers: Conference on Popular Romance in the Digital Age

“Romantic E-Scapes: Popular Romance in the Digital Age”
9-11 July 2018
University of the Balearic Islands, Spain

This conference is organized in the context of the research project “The politics, aesthetics and marketing of literary formulae in popular women’s fiction: History, Exoticism and Romance” (HER) and aims to discuss recent developments in the production, distribution and consumption of popular romance that account for its escalating popularity and its increasing complexity. How comes that the genre’s traditional formulae are thriving in the murky waters of cultural industries in the global marketplace, particularly in light of the new ways and challenges of the Digital Age?

Evidence has it that the scope, production and range of popular romance has continued to diversify throughout the late 20th and early 21st century, reaching an astonishing variety of imprints, categories and subgenre combinations. As an example, Ken Gelder lists the different “brand portfolios” (2004: 46) from the most popular romance publishing houses with series categories that identify subgenres of romance: Modern, Tender, Sensual, Medical, Historical and Blaze (Mills and Boon); or Desire, Sensation, and Intrigue (Silhouette). Beyond these, the list goes on to include other developments or subgenre combinations from the more classical, gothic, thriller or fantasy romance to the more reader oriented Chick Lit, Black (or African-American) romance and the, arguably, more radically modern Lesbian or Gay romance, etc. High in our agenda is then to interrogate the roots and consequences of this diversification of generic traits and target readers within the more general framework of Global Postmillennial cultural developments. Likewise we also aim to examine the political reasons that inspire and transpire from the industry’s imaginative and aggressive commercial and authorial strategies.

Departing from dismissive academic analyses and conventional understandings of popular romance as lowbrow, superficial and escapist, conference participants are asked to unpack the multiple practices and strategies behind the notion of “Romantic Escapes”. A critical or political reengagement with the recreation of these temporal or spatial settings, whether idyllic and exotic locations, specific historical contexts or alternative futuristic scenarios, can help rethink popular romance beyond the mere act of evasive reading or the unreflective consumption of literary romantic experiences, resituating the genre as a useful tool for sociocultural discussion (Radway 1984; Illouz 1997). In this sense, contributions may engage with the multiple ways which the escapist romantic experience can be put to use in more “serious” formats (e.g. Neo-Victorian, historical fiction and historiographic metafiction) and thus with the implications of adapting well-known romantic patterns, formulae or conventions to more culturally “prestigious” genres.

Moving on from these contested acts of escapism, and expanding on Appadurai’s well-known formulation of “scapes” as the multiple “dimensions of global cultural flow” (1996: 33), conference participants are also encouraged to explore the multivalent meanings of these “Romancescapes”, that is “the multiple worlds which are constituted by the historically situated imaginations of persons and groups spread around the globe” (1996: 33) articulated in ever increasing complex and diverse literary formulations of the romantic experience. What are the effects of the global flows of symbolic and cultural capital on the genre? To what extent are romantic narratives determined by specific local conditions and “situated knowledges” (Haraway 1988)?

The impact of these glocal forces is evident in the writing, teaching, translation, production, reception and marketing of romance as mediated by the global “E-scapes” (Rayner 2002) of the digital age. The ever-changing demands of the glocal literary marketplace have also altered the conventional roles of writers, readers, and publishers, now blurred in practices such as self-publishing, specific subgenres like fan fiction, or increasingly influential spaces of literary discussion like virtual book clubs. Participants who may want to venture off the beaten tracks of the conventional romance industry are also welcome to explore and chart these new E-scapes of popular romance.

We invite scholarly submissions that address these and other related topics in relation to any of the multiple sub-genres of popular romance as well as the multifarious “romancescapes” in other popular narrative media. Contributors may address these topics from different critical perspectives and disciplines: cultural studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, neo-Victorian studies, comparative literature, and digital humanities, among others.

Please submit a 200-word abstract and a short biographical note for a twenty-minute paper by 28 February 2018. Submissions of thematic panels are also welcome.

Submissions should be sent to Dr. Paloma Fresno-Calleja (University of the Balearic Islands) (

For more information visit

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Last reminder re IASPR 2018 conference!

The deadline for proposals is September 15, 2017. The Call for Papers can be found here.

Thanks to a generous donation from American romance novelist Kathleen Gilles Seidel, travel support for junior scholars will be available for “Think Globally, Love Locally,” the Seventh International Conference on Popular Romance.

This Seidel Travel Grant is intended to foster the future of scholarship on romance in genre fiction, film, TV, and other forms of popular culture by helping with travel costs for graduate students, non-tenured faculty (tenure stream or contingent / adjunct), and independent scholars attending the 2018 IASPR conference in Sydney, Australia.

Eligible scholars whose proposals have been accepted for the conference may apply for the Seidel Travel Grant. Details on how to apply will be included in the proposal acceptance email. All funds will be disbursed by check or cash at the conference.

Seidel wrote her first romance novel not long after finishing her Ph.D. in English literature at Johns Hopkins University. In addition to her many acclaimed novels, including the RITA-award winning contemporary romance Again (1995), she is the author of “Judge Me By the Joy I Bring,” the final essay in the 1992 anthology, Dangerous Men, Adventurous Women.

A supporter of IASPR since its inception, Seidel has funded travel grants for graduate students, independent scholars, and untenured faculty presenting on popular romance at the Popular Culture Association national conference and at IASPR’s international gatherings. We are grateful for her generous and continuing support. 

[The text of this announcement comes from IASPR itself.]

Monday, September 11, 2017

New to the Romance Wiki Bibliography: Feminism, Love, Heyer and Orientalism

Arvanitaki, Eirini, 2017. 
"Postmillennial femininities in the popular romance novel." Journal of Gender Studies. Published online: 28 Aug 2017. Abstract
McAlister, Jodi, and Hsu-Ming Teo, 2017. 
"Love in Australian Romance Novels." The Popular Culture of Romantic Love in Australia. Ed. Hsu-Ming Teo. North Melbourne, VIC: Australian Scholarly Publishing, pp.194-222.
McLeod, Dion, 2017. 
"'Try-error-try-it': Love, loss, and the subversion(?) of the heteronormative romance story in Will Grayson, Will Grayson." Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature 25.1: 73-94. Abstract

And in the section of the Romance Wiki bibliography for items in languages other than English:
Bianchi, Diana, 2017. 
"I gentiluomini si prendono per la gola: cibo e identità nei romanzi di Georgette Heyer". Lingua, Traduzione, Letteratura 1: 75-89. [Diana wrote to me to notify me of the publication of this article and her translation of the title is: "The way to a gentleman's heart is through his stomach: food and identity in Georgette Heyer's novels."]

林芳玫/Lin, Fang-mei. 
"性別化東方主義:女性沙漠羅曼史的重層東方想像/Gendering Orientalism: Women's Desert Romance and the Multiplicity of Oriental Imagination." Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese, vol. 13, no. 1-2, 2016, pp. 174-200. [There is an abstract in English, even though the paper is not.]