Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Literary Criticism Following its Heart, Teaching Twitter, Challenging Racism through Fiction, Archives and Reviews

Some of the papers from the Bowling Green State University's recent conference on romance are now available from them.

Eric Selinger's "Use Heart in Your (Re)Search: The Invitations of Popular Romance" suggests that the protagonists' four-step quest in Sherry Thomas’s neo-Victorian historical romance My Beautiful Enemy
offer[s] us a guide to the heartfelt thinking and learning to which many romance novels — not all, perhaps, but many -- invite us as scholars, as students, and as teachers of the genre, at least in a literary studies context 
The first step by the way, is to "Believe the Legend": "In the context of popular romance studies, believing the legend entails believing that romance novels offer something worth learning, treasures worth finding".

As discussed in "Romancelandia on Twitter: Designing a Digital Humanities Research Assignment for First-Year Writing Students" Heather M. Schell and Ann K. G. Brown have been collaborating
to develop an assignment sequence around original research on romance authors’ public social networks. The project uses Social Feed Manager and textual analysis tools to give students the opportunity to shape their own research questions and study the Twitter feed of the romance author of their choice. In-class activities will help students track down supplemental research and think through the ethical questions raised by studying individuals’ social media accounts. (from the abstract)
Elizabeth Kingston writes as an author of historical romance novels about how "History's Been Hijacked: How To Combat White Supremacy Through Popular Literature".
it is undeniable that the version of history taught by romance novels has made it far easier for white supremacist arguments to be accepted by otherwise intelligent, well - read people. To put it simply, the well is poisoned, and if you read historical romance, you are drinking from that well.
She's also posted (a very slightly shorter version of) the paper on her own website along with a follow-up piece, "Practical Advice: Expanded edition" which is exactly what its title states it is.

The Journal of Popular Romance Studies (JPRS) is going to publish on a rolling basis. The first few articles of issue 7 are now available:

"Romance Fiction in the Archives" by Kecia Ali.

Kecia describes a visit to the Ray and Pat Browne Popular Culture Library (PCL) at Bowling Green State University. They have a large and ever-expanding romance collection, so Kecia couldn't see more than a tiny proportion of her holdings. In fact, she was only looking at a small proportion of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) archives and:
I skimmed over or skipped past many tantalizing leads and materials. [...] Many projects might benefit from consulting the collection. In other cases, entire projects might be built around the archival material. This list is partial, idiosyncratic, and woefully incomplete, meant only to offer a starting point for thinking about drawing on the archives.

"Review: Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire, by Carol Dyhouse" by Jonathan A. Allan

"Review: Romance Fiction and American Culture: Love as the Practice of Freedom?, edited by William A. Gleason and Eric Murphy Selinger" by Victoria Kennedy

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