Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Scholarship and thoughts on race, publishing and language

Programme for the 2020 Bowling Green conference is now available.

Our Guest of Honor for the conference will be Alyssa Cole. She is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and sci-fi romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance An Extraordinary Union was the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award’s Best Book of 2017 and the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, and A Princess in Theory was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018.
One of the many people who'll be presenting papers is Christine Larson who recently had an article published about her research and the RWA crisis.

Some of her already-published work also discusses publishing and racism.

More coming soon: "She is currently writing a book on the 40-year history of romance writers’ professional networks." 

K. J. Charles posted about the representation of non-English languages in English-language novels. Here's an excerpt:
Italicising serves as a nudge to the reader that they’re not expected to recognise or understand a word. That act very much assumes who the reader is. If you italicise all your Spanish in a book written about Mexicans, that rather suggests you don’t expect your book to be read by Mexicans. It is othering—and in many cases that can look like saying, “Those people are different from me and you, the writer and the reader.”
And finally, still on the topic of racism some more items which can't be added to the Romance Wiki bibliography because it's not around:

Adair, Joshua G., 2020. ‘“A Battlefield All Their Own”: Selling Women’s Fictions as Fact at Plantation Museums’. Museums, Sexuality, and Gender Activism. ed. Joshua G. Adair and Amy K. Levin. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 239-251. [Excerpt]

Ali, Kecia, 2019. “Sacrifices, Sidekicks, and Scapegoats: Black Characters and White Stories in Nora Roberts’s Romances.” Journal of Asia-Pacific Pop Culture 4.2: 149-168:
In several of the scores of romance novels she published between the 1980s and the early 2000s, bestselling American author Nora Roberts limns whiteness by deploying black characters as sacrifices or sidekicks. In her recent novels (2016–19), villainous white characters who express racist sentiments become scapegoats, obscuring racism’s broader structural and cultural dimensions. At a time when discrimination within romance publishing and award-giving has gained attention, it is vital to explore how the genre continues to center white readers and white identities, even while explicitly condemning racism.

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