The Romance Subject Area has a call for papers for this conference:
Call For Papers - Ugly Love
When critical attention to romance rebooted in the 21st century, the new wave of scholars made a conscious decision to move away from the often-pejorative approaches of earlier critics and focus instead on romance’s strengths: an emphasis on women’s pleasure, for example, and models of good communication.
However, romance is an emotion-centered genre, and the sentiments it explores include such ugly feelings as jealousy, envy, and a thirst for vengeance. Ugly themes and ugly tropes also abound (see, for instance, the bully romance, or the recuperation of Nazis as romantic heroes), as well as plentiful examples of ugly behaviors in media cultures surrounding romance (such as the recent sexual harassment scandal that erupted around a section of hockey romance fans on TikTok).
The theme of the PCA Romance area in 2024 is the ugly in romance and romantic media. We encourage you to define this theme broadly, and to think not just about specific texts but also about their creators, consumers and critics, to understand the broader discussions in which these texts are implicated.
We also encourage you to move away from decisionist and diagnostic approaches that seek to position texts on a spectrum of progressivism to conservatism. Our aim in raising this topic for exploration is not to pass judgment, but to enable deep thinking in the scholarly community – to ask questions that go beyond asking whether texts and tropes are “good” or “bad” and think in more nuanced, layered ways about their affordances and the work they perform.
Possible topics on this theme could include:
· negative emotions, affect theory, and romance
· tropes: enemies to loves, the other woman, etc.
· Taming of the Shrew and its remakes
· erotica and fantasies of submission: the legacy of Fifty Shades
· the villain hero, the criminal hero, the morally grey hero
· criminal dyads: Bonnie and Clyde, etc.
· ugly scandals in book and media culture
· cheating, lying, and misbehaving love interests
· break-up revenge songs
· jealousy in poly romance
· bully romance, mafia romance, stalker romance, dark romance
· fantasies of sexual coercion
· the eroticised abject and/or the eroticised disgusting
· hate reading and/or hate watching
· extreme confession/memoir (ex. Bentley's The Surrender, The Story of O, etc.)
· transactional sex
· dirty talk
· ugly emotion and the therapeutic romance
If none of these suggestions appeal, or you simply want to pursue your own intellectual passion, you are very welcome to do so.