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Call for Papers: “Researching the Romance” April 13-14, 2018

Presentation abstracts (max 250 words) should be submitted by Dec. 1, 2017 via the submission page of this site.

Introduction:
In 1997, the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University held one of the first academically oriented conferences on the genre of popular romance fiction. Titled “Re-Reading the Romance,” the event included authors and academics from around the country sharing their experiences and love for the genre.  A follow up conference titled “Romance in the new Millennium” was held in 2000, featuring even more thoughtful looks at romance.

In the years since the last conference at BGSU, the romance industry has grown to more than $1 billion per year in sales, and the study of popular romance has grown by leaps and bounds along with it. And we think it’s high time we reconvene in Northwest Ohio to talk about it. So on April 13th & 14th, 2018, the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University will host a conference entitled “Researching the Romance.” 

The conference will be held in two locations over the course of the weekend. Most of the sessions will be held in the Jerome Library on the campus of Bowling Green State University, while Saturday afternoon’s events will be held at the Wood County District Public Library in downtown Bowling Green.

More about the Conference
Our Guest of Honor for the conference will be 2017 RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Beverly Jenkins. Ms. Jenkins has published more than 30 novels, and is well-known for the level of detailed research she puts into each of her books, making her the perfect guest for this conference. She will be delivering our closing keynote address on Saturday as well as signing books.

We will be joined on Saturday by Dr. Kate Brown, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana. Dr. Brown is a 2017 recipient of the Romance Writers of America Academic Research Grant for her work, which explores how English common law and constitutionalism give fundamental structure and substance to the historical romance genre.

Dr. Eric Selinger, Professor of English at DePaul University and Executive Editor of the Journal for Popular Romance Studies, will be in conversation with Beverly Jenkins on Friday afternoon. Dr. Selinger has a long history of research in romance fiction, and has frequently taught courses using Ms. Jenkins’ work.

Call for papers:
We are seeking presentations by graduate students and academics interested in the study of popular romance studies, as well as authors writing in the genre. Proposals for individual presentations or entire panels will be considered. The scope of this conference is deliberately broad, with the intention of highlighting the interdisciplinary nature and many different avenues of research possible within popular romance studies. Possible paper topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Textual analysis of individual books
  • In-depth analysis of particular authors’ work
  • Digital humanities approaches to popular romance research
  • The development of certain subgenres within popular romance
  • The rise of romance self-publishing in the age of e-books
  • Authors’ approaches to research on time periods, subgenres, etc
  • The growth in popularity of LGBTQ romance
  • Roadblocks to researching romance, for academics and authors alike
  • Romance novel covers across the decades
  • How authors build an audience in an era of subgenre specialization
  • Reception and fan communities for romance novels, subgenres, or authors

Presentation abstracts (max 250 words) should be submitted by Dec. 1, 2017 via the submission page of this site.

Notification of paper acceptance will be made by Dec 15, 2017.