deadline for submissions:
December 31, 2019
full name / name of organization:
Susan Fanetti/CSU Sacramento
Not Your Mother’s Bodice Rippers: The Romance Genre in the 21st Century
Editor: Susan Fanetti
enduring stereotype of the romance novel is the dramatic cover
depicting the bare-chested, Fabio-modeled “hero”
holding the swooning “heroine” draped over his arm, her wild hair
flowing and her bountiful pale breasts swelling from her torn dress.
Hence the term “bodice-ripper.”
neither the stereotype nor the term have aged well. Though of course
there are still stories written about brooding
dukes and naïve duchesses, the genre contains multitudes. Romance is
more diverse and dynamic than ever before and continuing to evolve in
new, more inclusive directions.
is the only literary genre dominated in every facet by women, and as
such is often unjustly denigrated as
“mommy porn.” However, its cultural influence is significant, and we
would do well to take it seriously. In the twenty-first century, the
romance genre is a billion-dollar industry—as big as the mystery,
science fiction, and fantasy genres combined.
It is an industry juggernaut, supported by and responding to a savvy,
sophisticated audience that is culturally and politically aware,
engaged, and active.
Moreover, while it is dominated by women, romance is not exclusively by or for women, and the industry itself is
finally taking notice of voices outside the conventional cishet, white, privileged perspective the stereotype instantiates.
This collection will examine the position of the romance genre in the twenty-first century, and the ways in which
romance responds to and influences the culture and community in which it exists.
This collection is under contract at McFarland & Company, with a planned 2021 publication date. It will be peer-reviewed.
Potential topics include but are not limited to:
- The impact of Fifty Shades of Grey on the romance genre and industry
- #MeToo and questions of consent in the romance genre
- Diversity, inclusion, sensitivity and #OwnVoices in romance writing and reading
- Broadening representations of gender and sexuality in romance
- Social media and the “Romancelandia” community
- The writer-reader relationship in the genre
- The place of fanfiction in the genre
- The rise of independent publishing and its effects on the genre as a whole
- The explosion of subgenres within romance and the influences from which they might have derived
- Issues of gatekeeping and claim-staking within the genre/industry/community
- Cultural analyses of specific authors/texts/etc., or historicist analyses of the genre as it’s evolved to the present
Note: The focus of this collection is romance in the contemporary moment. Submissions that do not engage that focus
in some way will not be considered.
Completed manuscripts should be 6000-8000 words (not including Works Cited or notes) and should conform to MLA 8
style and formatting.
300-500 word abstract/proposals with current CV due: 31 December 2019
If accepted, complete final submission due: 31 August 2020
(via the Romance Scholar Listserv)