Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Call From Eric - Black / Latina Romance Fiction

From April 11-12, 2008, the University of Illinois at Chicago will be holding a conference titled "New Movements in Black & Latina/o Sexualities". Eric is hoping to get together a panel on Black & Latina romance fiction (and / or erotica, and / or "chica lit").

He writes:
If you'd like to join me in proposing a panel / roundtable discussion, send me your ideas soon, by direct email ( as the deadline is on September 15! Feel free, also, to pass this along to interested romance / erotica authors--I'd love to have a roundtable that mixed authors and critics in some proportion.
The conference organisers write that:
Over the past decade, racialized representations of Black and Latina/o sexualities as perverse Others have been systematically challenged by scholars and political and cultural activists from myriad disciplinary fields. The steady emergence of new exhibitions, performances, media, writings, virtual communities, and activist groups bear witness to the importance of how Black and Latina/o people love and express themselves sexually. This conference brings attention to these “bodies of knowledge” – in their biological, social, cultural, and political forms – in order to rethink how the relationships between race, sexuality, and power has, and continues to, shape Black and Latina/o sexualities in the U.S.

This conference intends to highlight debates, ideas, and practices relating to the meanings assigned to black and brown bodies in the U.S., how black and brown people experience their socially regulated bodies, and how those bodies are positioned vis-à-vis knowledge, truth, politics, and history.

Bringing together activists, artists, independent scholars, faculty, practitioners, and students from a broad range of disciplines and fields, the conference aims to address issues of sexual desire and pleasure, cultural activism, black-brown dialogues and coalition-building, creating and performing sexual identities, human rights and social justice, and citizenship, among other topics.

The conference venue presents a unique opportunity for the participants to examine critically the state of empirically grounded, historicized, and theoretically informed inquiries and practices around Black and Latina/o bodies and sexualities. Equally important in this moment then, is the recognition and scrutiny of how these interventions have made an impact on the fields of African American studies; Latina/o studies; women’s and gender studies; sexuality studies; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer studies; as well as mainstream disciplines like literature, sociology, history, public health, psychology, art history, public policy, etc.

Participants from all disciplinary fields and perspectives who wish to engage with these issues are welcome.
The full details about the conference are here and here as a pdf.

While we're on the topic of race and romance, I thought I'd give a quick mention to the "series of interviews with authors both familiar and new about their experiences in the publishing industry as someone who is neither black nor white" that Angela at Reading While Black has been posting. So far she's interviewed Julie Elizabeth Leto, Sonia Singh, Barbara/Caridad Ferrer, and Nadina Dajani.

Angela's interviews continue the examination of the publishing industry's attitude towards the race of its authors which began in March this year when Karen Scott posted her Racism in Romance Survey and interviewed Lynn Emery, Kayla Perrin, Eugenia O’Neal, Marcia King-Gamble, Angela Henry, Gwyneth Bolton, Millenia Black, Shelia Goss, Bettye Griffin, Seressia Glass, and Raine Weaver.

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