Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Publication: The Scarlet Pimpernel : A Publishing History

In Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel: A Publishing History, Sally Dugan notes that in recent editions of The Scarlet Pimpernel
Publishing practices continue to reflect a wide divergence of marketing tactics. Is The Scarlet Pimpernel spy/adventure fiction, thriller, mystery, historical romance or ‘children’s classic’? The Folio Society chose the historical novelist Hilary Mantel to introduce its 1997 ‘classic’ version, covered in vegetable
parchment, with knowing post-modern illustrations by Lucy Weller [...]. The Random House Modern Library edition (2000) covers all bases with an introduction by the historical mystery writer Anne Perry; a reader’s group guide; a soft focus cover suggesting historical romance and an endorsement from popular culture scholar Gary Hoppenstand, citing The Scarlet Pimpernel as ‘arguably the best adventure story ever published’ [...].
The sole surviving manuscript page of The Scarlet Pimpernel has a few last-minute changes in Orczy’s handwriting that heighten the discourse of romance; an indecision about whether to describe her heroine’s hair as ‘ardent’ or ‘golden’, and the addition of the colour of her eyes [...]. Orczy’s choice of this page as a sample for Story-Teller magazine suggests a willingness to be perceived as a romance writer. She herself wrote that her focus was on ‘pictures, love-scenes, adventures both comic and tragic, thrilling moments, dramatic scenes, and above all character – always character’. Although Orczy’s comments about her own work have to be treated with caution, this contains an important clue to the Scarlet Pimpernel’s longevity. Behind the wigs and Mechlin lace cuffs lies an enduring human story of love, misunderstandings, conflict of loyalties, audacious bravery – and a dramatic double life. (7-8)
This reminded me of Lauren Willig's description of the attempts to classify her Pink Carnation series:
When I wrote [...] the book that became The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, I was pretty sure that I was writing a romance novel. [...] On my first phone call with my brand new agent, I burbled about the book being in the tradition of Julia Quinn and Amanda Quick, and could we please, pretty please, shop the manuscript to Avon?  Visions of mass market paperbacks danced in my head.

“I’m not entirely sure you’ve written what you’ve think you’ve written,” came the voice of my new agent across the line.  “Let me try something else first….”
“Sure!  Absolutely!” I said [...] one month later my agent called me back to tell me that a prestigious hardcover house was making an offer—but not as a romance.  “You’ve invented a new genre!” he said.  “Historical chick lit!” [...]

Plans proceeded apace for the publication of the book [...]. It was going to be published in hardcover, as Fiction & Literature, with a chick lit cover featuring a modern woman in a Burberry jacket with a very cute bag.  I had nightmares about readers opening it, finding themselves in the Regency, and demanding their money back. [...]

Then, overnight, chick lit died.  RIP.  Within two days, my publisher had come up with a new, historical cover (and I breathed a very deep sigh of relief).  Just about to go on my first ever book publicity junket, I was warned, “Whatever you do, don’t call it chick lit!  It’s historical fiction.  Got that?  Historical fiction.”

I’d gone through three different genres without re-writing a word.

Meanwhile, the book hit the shelves, followed by sequels, and the genre confusion continued.  I was adopted by the mystery community, who informed me that what I was really writing were historical mysteries, and why wasn’t I being shelved in mystery, where I belonged?  Friendly Borders reps told me that my covers were all wrong and I needed something that correctly represented the spirit of the books.  What would that be? I asked.  They didn’t know either.  In the absence of consensus, the books went into that great catch-all category on the shelves: Fiction & Literature.
I just went on playing genre stew, writing what I was writing, going to everyone’s conferences, and hoping that someone would eventually figure out where on earth to shelve me.

This went on until 2009, when the market tanked, e-books took off, and suddenly romance was outselling other genres.  After years of being told, “Stop calling your books romance!”, the world had come full circle.  I got another one of those phone calls: the first Pink book was going to be reprinted in mass market—huzzah!—with a romance cover.  And, by the way, did I realize I’d been writing romance? [...]

As to what my books really are… I have no idea.  I’ll leave it to you to decide. 
It perhaps goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway), that there is a direct relationship between Willig's novels and Orczy's. Willig has written that
The idea for the story [in her series] emerged from endless years of overexposure to the Scarlet Pimpernel and his brethren (by whom I mean any dashing rogue, usually played by Errol Flynn, who delivers a witty line, jumps off a table, brandishes a sword, and defeats the perspiring villain with one hand held languidly behind his back).
Amusingly, in addition to having 11 sequels, The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905) had a precursor, published in 1898 in Pearson's Magazine, which was titled "The Red Carnation":
The Scarlet Pimpernel's first incarnation — in a short story called 'The Red Carnation' (1898) — was as plain Eugen Borgensky, a nihilist Pole at the head of a secret band of men identified by the red carnations they wore in their buttonholes. They plot to assassinate the Russian Tsar, but the plot is foiled when Borgensky's wife puts herself between the Tsar and his would–be assassins. (Dugan "Anarchy")
The contents page and an excerpt from the introduction to Sally Dugan's book are available from here. Sally Dugan's "Anarchy and Magic: Film Versions of The Scarlet Pimpernel Myth" appeared in issue 5 (2010) of Peer English and can be downloaded here. Willig's account of the classification of her series has recently been re-published at the Popular Romance Project.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

CFP: Love and Romance in European Popular Culture

An Goris and I are pleased to announce that we are convening a strand on love and romance in popular culture at this year's PCA Europe conference, due to take place in Finland this summer. Paper proposals on any aspect of love or romance in any form of popular text in Europe are very welcome and are by the 25th March. 

EUPOP 2013 – PCA Europe Annual Conference
University of Turku
31 July – 2 August 2013
Strand: Love and Romance in Popular Culture
CFP Deadline: 25 March 2013

Individual paper and panel contributions are invited for a special thematic strand on love and romance in popular culture at the second yearly international conference of the European Popular Culture Association (EPCA), organised with the Popular Culture Association Finland (PCA-Finland) and the International Institute for Popular Culture, IIPC.

We invite papers exploring any aspect of love or romance in any form of European popular culture, including but not limited to:
·       Representations of romantic love in popular culture
·       Studies of popular romance
·       Explorations of the romantic comedy
·       Historical approaches to love and romance in popular texts
·       Gender and Love/Romance
·       Considerations of love, romance and race/ethnicity
·       Sexuality and Love/Romance
·       Queerness in romance
·       Love and Transgression
·       Romance and (trans)nationalism – is love universal?
·       Love, romance and the body
·       Love and romance on the internet
·       Representations of intimacy
·       Explorations of platonic love
·       Love, romance and religion
·       Romance and love in the media
·       Love stories on the big and small screen
·       Romantic love in popular literature
The closing date for this call is 25 March 2013. Please submit 250 word paper or panel proposals to:

There will be opportunities for networking, publishing and developing caucus groups within the EPCA. Presenters at EUPOP 2013 will be encouraged to develop their papers for publication in a number of Intellect journals, including the Journal of European Popular Culture, the journal of the EPCA. Journal editors will be working closely with strand convenors – a full list of Intellect journals is available at: General enquiries about the conference should be directed to:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Publication: Romance: The History of a Genre

Romance: The History of a Genre, ed. Dana Percec (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2012).

The volume does not limit itself to romance as defined by the RWA and in the endnote the editor observes that:
this book "sits on the fence", as it were, in the attitude it takes toward the reading and writing of romance. It maintains a sufficient humorous distance from romance while at the same time advocating a more appreciative attitude. In the first of these moods, the contributors allow themselves a degree of playful complicity with the kind of romance readers who put their names to the half-serious site and blog entitled "Smart Bitches, Trashy Books" [...]. The second stance acknowledges the institutionalization of romance writing. Such serious professional sites as "Romance Writers of America" [...] often draw attention to this phenomenon. In other words, the intended attitude of this book towards the status of the genre of romance today is neither condescending nor reverential but one of academic curiosity and, we could say, open-minded skepticism. (232-33)
The volume includes the following:
Codruţa Goşa’s chapter Sex and the Genre: The Building of Sexual Tension and Its Role in Popular Romance reports her analysis and discussion of the place and role of sex scenes as defining elements for the building of sexual tension in contemporary romance novels. Her chapter documents and substantiates the claim that the romantic genre places great importance upon, and relies heavily on, such scenes, which play a crucial role. Her corpus is constructed by selecting three romance authors – all of Anglo-American origin - whose works are best-sellers in Romania. The novels selected for analysis have different settings: historical, fantastic, and contemporary. Goşa compares and contrasts the sequence, context and protagonists of the most important erotic encounters, and the particularities of the language used. (ix)
Goşa states that
"In this paper I argue that rather than the escapist mode it sets off, it is pure sex that makes its readers tick, as the motto of this paper does seem to suggest. To substantiate this claim I chose to analyse both quantitatively and qualitatively the pretexts, contexts, contents, length, place and language of sex scenes in three novels written by three best selling novelists of the genre in Romania." (14)
She admits that "I am far from being in a position to claim that the findings are generalisable or representative for the genre" (16). The three novels analysed are: Nora Roberts’s Enchanted, Sandra Brown’s Fanta C and Judith McNaught’s A Kingdom of Dreams.

Here's an overview of the fifth and sixth chapters:
Andreea Şerban’s chapter, Romancing the Paranormal: A Case Study on J.R. Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood, looks at the mythical figure of the vampire, which has always exerted a powerful fascination, through its juxtaposition of a highly erotic feeding ritual with savage killing, but above all through its association with eternal youth and immortality–. The recent explosion in the number of vampire stories–be they in print or film format–not only testifies to this appeal but also shows the vampire as an ever-changing and highly adaptable creature that never fails to fascinate. Among writers who have brought new insights to the genre is the American J.R. Ward, whose now nine-volume series rewrites and relocates the vampire, by placing it at the heart of paranormal romance narratives. Ward’s vampire protagonists are the best males of the species, members of an exclusive society–the Black Dagger Brotherhood–valiant and loyal heroes, abiding by a strict code of honour both in battle and in courtship. Şerban’s text-oriented analysis draws on a cognitive approach to the fictional world (following Semino and Cook’s schema theory) and looks at ways in which readers’ romantic schemata are reinforced or disrupted, while at the same time exploring the vampire’s romanticisation and Americanisation in the context of our contemporary consumerist society.
A similar interest in Gothic fiction is displayed by The Twilight Saga: Teen Gothic Romance between the Dissolution of the Gothic and the Revival of Romance by Daniela Rogobete. She interrogates the contemporary metamorphoses of the Gothic romance as illustrated in The Twilight Saga, the cinematographic adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s trilogy. Current criticism places the multiple manifestations of postmodern Gothic–conflictingly shaped by social realities, contemporary moral and ideological crises and by late capitalist consumerist society–at the intersection of a number of trends of thought, which are inclined to include the Youth Goth phenomenon within the broad domain of Gothic Studies. Going far beyond its textual boundaries, though constantly coming back to its literary tradition, teen Gothic is now envisaged as a complex combination of text, music, fashion, film, and social and ideological criticism. Gothic romance has preserved the capacity to subvert conventions and give voice to the repressed fears and anxieties of
the age, heightening the degree of ironic self-consciousness and self-referentiality, finding new means of undermining authority, and adjusting to the demands of postmodernism. Relying upon the visual and textual coordinates of the huge impact the Twilight series is still having upon its viewers and readers, her essay argues that the new tendencies of teen Gothic romance represent a novel and hybrid facet of a highly metamorphic genre rather than being a monstrous revenant coming back from a “vampiric” past as an overly-tamed, and feminized, Gothic whose “exhaustion” and “dissolution” have already been foretold. (xi-xii)
And an overview of the tenth chapter:
Reghina Dascăl’s Raj Matriarchs. Women Authors of Anglo-Indian Romance examines the role of the so-called Anglo-Indian women writers in constructing a particular image of colonial India, partly romancing the Raj (it is not by chance that the genre of romance flourished at the turn of the 20th century, reaching its peak in the interwar years), hypostasising it as the perfect setting for exotic romance, and partly construing it as a brittle, hybrid, creolised Anglo-Indian reality. The author suggests that, for British feminists and suffragettes, India became a testing ground for female activism as they zealously embarked upon the salvation and emancipation of their sisters, throwing their weight behind campaigns against child marriage and suttee, and in favour of educational and professional inclusion. Like the benevolent, well-meaning and liberal fathers of the Empire, these imperial mothers and feminists–Josephine Butler, Christabel Pankhurst and Harriet Taylor Mill–in adopting their twin agenda of emancipation and deliverance , contributed substantially to the imposition of Western outlooks on the women of India. Writers of Anglo-Indian romance such as Maud Diver and Flora Annie Steel bring fresh perspectives to bear on the palimpsest reality of the British Raj. (xiii-xiv)
More details about the volume are available from the publisher.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

CFP: Articles and Books

Since there are so many of these, I've included hyperlinks in the list below:

The Pleasures and Politics of Popular Erotic Fiction
(Edited Collection)

The publication of EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey in 2011 marks a particularly visible moment in what appears to be a proliferation of erotic fiction, written by and for women, since the end of the twentieth century. More than just an instance of a particular genre of fiction, Fifty Shades has spawned considerable discussion of the significance of ‘women’s popular erotic fiction’ generally.  

The Pleasures and Politics of Popular Erotic Fiction seeks to explore this phenomenon, its social and textual origins and its attendant conceptual and political effects. In doing so, the book aims to examine the discursive regularities and popular debates framing the production and reception of women’s popular erotic fiction; the cultural anxieties and transformations such texts express; the ways in which they reinscribe and negotiate relations of gender, sexuality, race, and kinship. We are interested in exploring the ideological forces underpinning their development and visibility as both a ‘new’ and ‘popular’ form; the ever-growing proliferation of subgenres and their role in shaping popular ideas about romance, relationships, desire, and the erotic.

We invite proposals for contributions to an edited collection of critical research on the cultural significance of ‘women’s popular erotic fiction’. Possible areas of research include (though are not limited to):
  • The cultural work of the different subgenres (BDSM, paranormal romance, erotic crime fiction, ménage a trois, ‘neighbour from hell’, sex confessionals) and the ways of speaking about, categorising and marketing these texts.

  • The rise of independently published online erotic fiction (production and consumption) and the discourses surrounding it.

  • Debates around originality and derivativeness.

  • The continuities and departures of erotic fiction from its predecessors in romance fiction and chick lit, as well as those from more ‘respectable’ literary traditions.

  • The role of popular erotic fiction in reinforcing and/or transgressing the hegemony of whiteness, heterosexuality, patriarchy, the family, etc.

  • The role of this fiction in circumscribing an idea of ‘the West’, as well as the possibilities offered by non-western forms of popular erotic fiction.

  • The pleasures of reader consumption and the discourses surrounding it.

  • The function of romance in women’s erotic fiction.

Expressions of interest, including an abstract (250-300 words), a short author bio and list of recent publications, may be forwarded via email to the editors by 24 May, 2013. The anticipated due date for accepted contributions (6,500 –7,500) is 29 November, 2013. Dr Kristen Phillips, Claire Trevenen, Curtin University (Bentley, Western Australia) Contact email:,

Literature and Pornography

The dust may have begun to settle in the blogosphere, but M. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Gray novels continue to dominate the bestseller list, impervious to the literary outrage that greeted their remarkable success. In the wake of this phenomenon, LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory invites essays on literary works that flirt with, dabble in, or wholly embrace the pornographic. We are interested in scholarly engagements with the history, theory, and politics of pornography, as well as studies of the popularity, reception, censorship, and “literariness” of texts considered pornographic. We welcome essays on both canonical and lesser-known works, from John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748) to Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer (1934) to, yes, Fifty Shades of Gray. LIT welcomes essays that are theoretically grounded but also engaging and accessible. Contributions should be from 5,000-10,000 words in length.

LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory publishes critical essays that employ engaging, coherent theoretical perspectives and provide original, close readings of texts. Because LIT addresses a general literate audience, we encourage essays unburdened by excessive theoretical jargon. We do not restrict the journal's scope to specific periods, genres, or critical paradigms. Submissions must use MLA citation style. Please email an electronic version of your essay (as an MS Word document), along with a 100 word abstract, to

Deadline for submissions: March 17, 2013. Full details here.

Literary Texts and the Popular Marketplace
 (Series Editors: Kate Macdonald and Ann Rea)

In the past, critics and writers anxious to build the canon have often focused on the 'highbrow' or high culture dismissing other writers to the derogatory category of 'middlebrow' or 'popular' literature. Some writers and texts actively resisted such prejudices or embraced popular appeal through a willingness to address a wide audience. Other texts were dismissed from the canon because they were written by women, addressed women’s concerns, or because they appeared connected with strands of the middle- and working-class inimical to high culture.

This series offers monographs and edited collections of essays that examine the extents and effects of writing that resists the uncritical embrace of the highbrow. Crossing both cultural and geographic boundaries, it brings together studies of texts, writers, readers, producers and distributors. It will highlight current debates about the politics of mainstream readerships and media, about the designation of audiences and material methods of circulation and will address contemporary critical concerns. By attending to how these texts resist the 'high' cultural imperative it is possible to learn how culture is commodified for particular classes and the role that gender and social class play in the production of those categories.

We invite submissions from established scholars and first-time authors alike. Prospective authors should send a detailed proposal with a rationale, chapter outlines and at least two sample chapters alongside a brief author's biography and an anticipated submission date.

More details here.

Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies
(Special Edition on Neo-Victorianism)

The Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies (AJVS) invites submissions for a special edition on neo-Victorianism to be published in September 2013. AJVS is a fully refereed journal published by the Australasian Victorian Studies Association, with articles covering topics as diverse as archaeology, architecture, art, economics, history, literature, medicine, philosophy, print culture, psychology, science, sociology and theatre appearing in its pages.

The past decade has seen increasing scholarly interest in what Marie-Luise Kohlke, editor of Neo-Victorian Studies, calls "the afterlife of the nineteenth century in the cultural imaginary". This edition aims to contribute to the growing interdisciplinary dialogue about the ways in which the Victorian period is re-imagined in contemporary culture. The guest editor invites research papers on any aspect of the neo-Victorian, including, but not limited to:

• Neo-Victorian literature, popular fiction, graphic novels and comic books;
• Film, television and dramatic adaptations of Victorian literature;
• Steampunk fiction, art and fashion;
• Neo-Victorianism and cultural conservatism;
• Neo-Victorianism and its significance for Victorian Studies;
• Nostalgia and remembering;
• Gender, sexuality and class politics and neo-Victorianism.

Papers of no more than 7,000 words in length should be emailed as a Word document with an accompanying abstract of approximately 200 words to Dr Michelle Smith, by 1 April 2013.

More details about submissions can be found here. The call for papers can be found here.

Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance (Essay Collection)
Eds. Nadine Farghaly and Margo Collins

Articles about urban fantasy and romance novels are invited for a new, multi-contributor collection.

During the last few decades, urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels have come to the forefront of the publishing world. Normative heroes and heroines have been joined by werewolves, vampires, mermaids, shape-shifters, centaurs and dragons, to name but a few. These magical creatures fill the pages of books and the screens of movie theaters in ever-increasing numbers.

Such a vast industry—one that generated at least 75 million readers in 2008 alone (and has been growing since)—deserves more study. This collection will offer critical examinations of both urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

The following categories suggest possibilities but are by no means exhaustive:

• Gender
• Race
• Sexuality
• Romance
• Desire
• Domesticity
• Power
• Monstrosity
• Witchcraft
• Fandom and/or Reception
• Transformation and/or Adaptation
• Vampires, Shapeshifters, and other Supernatural Creatures
• Hybridity
• Heroism
• Villainy
• Memory

What to Send: 300 - 500 word abstracts (or complete articles, if available) and CVs should be submitted by June 1, 2013. If an abstract is accepted for the collection, a full draft of the essay (5000 – 8000 words) will be required by December 1, 2013.

Abstracts and final articles should be submitted to:

The call for papers can be found here. Unfortunately, no further details are given about the editors or the publisher of the essay collection. If you have any more information about either of these matters, perhaps you could leave a comment?

Friday, February 08, 2013

On Target

Jackie C. Horne has just put up a post at Romance Novels for Feminists  in which she takes a close look at what Linda Howard and Linda Jones's Running Wild has to say about guns and gun control. She concludes that,
In order for gun advocates to successfully deploy the figure of the woman in their rhetoric, they must balance between two apparently opposing visions of femininity. Women must be constructed as in danger, subject at any time and for no apparent reason to the violent behavior of marauding male criminals such as Brad. Yet they must also be shown as believing that gun ownership will empower them, will allow them to protect themselves and others from any such depredations. Howard and Jones demonstrate how conflating romance and gun ownership might just make this ideological tightrope that much easier for gun rights activists to walk.
I'd encourage you to read the whole of "Guns, Love, and Ideology in Romantic Suspense."

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

CFP: Our Conference is Dead! Long Live Other Conferences!

As a follow-up to yesterday's post about the cancellation of this year's IASPR conference, here are details of the
  • Midwest Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference (October 11-13, 2013)
  • Pleasure, Pain & Perversion: Embodied Violence & Eroticism in Cultural Representations (April 12-13, 2013), Fifth Annual Cultural Studies Graduate Student Conference and Workshop at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Third Annual Gender and Sexuality Postgraduate Research Conference, Birmingham, UK (May 10, 2013)

2013 Midwest Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference
Call for Papers: Popular Romance

Friday-Sunday, October 11-13, 2013
St. Louis, MO
St. Louis Union Station Hotel
(Conference info:

Deadline for submission: April 30, 2013.

The most prevalent narrative structure of popular romance is an integral element of any story, regardless of forum: film, television, fiction, manga, advertising. Not only is romance exceptionally popular, it is so pervasive as to become ordinary and overlooked. As the popularity of romance increases, so too does the need for serious scholarship of the genre in all its incarnations. We are interested in any and all topics about or related to popular romance and its representations in popular culture (fiction, stage, screen—large or small, commercial, advertising, music, song, dance, online, real life, etc.)

Proposals may be for individual papers or 3-person panels.

Topics can include, but are not limited to:
•       critical approaches, such as readings informed by critical race theory, queer theory, postcolonial studies, or empirical science
•       depictions in the media and popular culture (e.g., film, television, literature, comics)
•       literature and fiction (genre romance, poetry, animé)
•       types of relationships (marriage, gay and lesbian)
•       historical practices and traditions of and in romance
•       regional and geographic pressures and influences (southern, Caribbean)
•       material culture (valentines, foods, fashions)
•       folklore and mythologies
•       jokes and humor
•       romantic love in political discourse (capitalism)
•       psychological approaches toward romantic attraction
•       emotional and sexual desire
•       subcultures: age (seniors, adolescents), multi-ethnic, inter-racial
•       individual creative producers or texts of popular romance
•       gender-bending and gender-crossing

Submit a one-page (200-250 words) proposal or abstract by 30 April 2013 to the Popular Romance area on the MPCA/ACA website Please include name, affiliation, and e-mail address with your abstract. Also, please indicate in your submission whether your presentation will require a TV and DVD player. Note that LCD projectors will not be provided by MPCA/ACA.
More conference information can be found at
For further inquiries or concerns, please contact Romance Area Chair, Maryan Wherry, Western Illinois University Quad-Cities,

Pleasure, Pain & Perversion: Embodied Violence & Eroticism in Cultural Representations
Fifth Annual Cultural Studies Graduate Student Conference and Workshop at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
April 12-13, 2013

Key note lecture to be delivered by: Dr. Liz Constable, UC Davis

The body serves as an important point of intersection, a site where ideology, material cultural practice, and narrative come together to form an understanding of the self. “Embodied Violence & Eroticism” asks us to explore this site in the various ways the body acts and is acted upon, demanding that we go beyond mere linear abstractions of ideology and look at how these ideologies converge upon the individual. Power relations use eroticism and violence as discourse to highlight the dichotomies between masculine and feminine, public and private spheres, colonizer and colonized, the body’s function and representation, and other binary relations. The complexity of erotic discourses lies in the manifold ways in which they encapsulate and transport desires, thereby blurring the boundaries between the acknowledgement of the self and the acknowledgement of the self’s desire.
Possible session topics include but are not limited to:

• Pornography, Power, and the Performance of the Erotic
• Performance and the Embodiment of Culture
• Biopolitics and Sexuality
• The Psychosomatic
• The (Trans)gendered Body
• Violation and Forgiveness: Living Through Trauma
• Post-colonialism, the Racialized Body, and Psychic Colonization
• Wars and Embodied Borders
• Sartorial Rhetoric and Semiotics
• The Cinematic/Virtual Body
• Taboo: Sex, Identity, Nudity and Erotic Subjectivity
• Psychoanalysis and Perversions
• Semiotics of Desire
• Erotic Justice
• The Erotic in Feminism/The Erotic in Feminine vis-à-vis Masculine Discourse
• Morality, Lust, and the Semiotics of Desire
• Fetishism and Popular Culture

Conference Structure: This conference/workshop will be comprised of the keynote address and panels on Friday, followed by additional panels on Saturday. Central to the conference is a graduate seminar style workshop on Saturday. This workshop is led by the keynote speaker and designed to explore the issues presented and discussed in more detail and depth. Presenters are requested to arrange their travel so that they can participate in the entire event, including the workshop. There will also be a closing reception Saturday evening, which is open to all participants and audience members.

Please send a 500 word abstract along with a brief biographical statement, in a separate document, to by Thursday, February 14. Selected participants will be notified by Monday, February 25. You can also visit our webpage (coming soon) for additional information about the conference: (check for updates).

In the meantime, the cfp can be seen here.

Third Annual Gender and Sexuality Postgraduate Research Conference
Birmingham, UK
May 10 2013

Key Note Speaker: Dr. Nadine Muller

This one-day interdisciplinary conference offers postgraduates the opportunity to present their research in a friendly and supportive environment. We invite applications for twenty-minute papers from researchers working within the fields of gender and sexuality studies. Suggestions for presentations may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

- social policy, government legislation, and matters of the law
- cultural products: film / music / art / TV / literature
- media, representation, and social images
- sexuality, otherness, erotic practice
- the body: subject, object, identity
- theory, methodology, practice
- feminism and postfeminism: representation and invisibility
- queer and trans*: changing images of femininity and masculinity

Please send an abstract, including a short bio, of no more than 300 words to by 10th March 2013.

Roles is an interdisciplinary research forum hosted by researchers at the University of Birmingham for the purpose of fostering discussion and debate. We hold regular seminars as well as our annual conference. For more details see the Roles website.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

IASPR Conference News

--Eric Selinger

A number of logistical complications have come up for the September, 2013 IASPR conference planned for San Francisco.  In the end, we’ve decided to postpone the Fifth International Conference until sometime in 2014, with the details—date, location, conference committee, Call for Papers, etc.—to be announced later this spring.

This is a disappointment, but it’s also an opportunity. 

As you’ve probably seen here at Teach Me Tonight there are a number of upcoming conferences on love and popular culture.  Indeed, it seems to be something of a hot topic in academia now, as Laura's handy "Forthcoming Conferences" page makes clear.  

Some of these conferences have CFPs that have just closed, including the “Love and Sentimentalism in Popular Music” conference and the 2013 Elizabeth Jolley Conference, “Reading and Writing Romance in the 21st Century” both of which closed on January 31—you might be able to slip in under the wire if you contact the organizers right away. 

Others have deadlines that are still several weeks off, giving you plenty of time to submit.    

Let me just quickly call your attention to the “Radicalism of Romantic Love” conference in Australia (deadline March 8, 2013); the “Gender and Love” and “The Erotic” conferences at Oxford (March 22, 2013 deadline for both); and the romance areas of the EUpop conference (March 29, 2013 deadline) and PopCAANZ (April 1, 2013 deadline).

It would be great for IASPR members to fan out to these other gatherings, spread the word about our organization, and encourage those presenting good work to submit it to JPRS.  

There have long been links between IASPR and the Popular Culture Association here in the US; let’s use this postponement as the chance to build the representation of romance at the EU and Australia-New Zealand popular culture gatherings, as well as at the organizations that focus on Love Studies, the Erotic, and other related topics. 

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in helping me work on the 2014 IASPR conference, please get in touch!  I’m easy to reach at

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Riveted by Race, Disability, Gender and Sexual Orientation

I've just put up a blog post at my own website about romance and the ways in which it's been used to explore issues including racism. One of the books under discussion is Meljean Brook's Riveted. I don't usually cross-post but given the success of Riveted I thought it might be of interest to readers of TMT who don't usually visit my personal blog.