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Researching the Romance 2020: Romance Across Boundaries- April 24-25, 2020

The deadline for submitting a proposal has passed.

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 2018, the tradition of romance fiction-themed conferences at BGSU was revived with the Researching the Romance Conference. The success of this event, which drew academics, authors, and readers from across the country for two days of stimulating discussion, has prompted us to make this a biennial event. The next Researching the Romance Conference, subtitled Romance Across Boundaries, will be held April 24-25, 2020.

The conference will be held in two locations over the course of the weekend. Friday's 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 information about the conference, including registration and logistical information, will follow. There will be a registration fee of $35.

Guest of Honor
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. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, RT Book Reviews, and Heroes and Heartbreakers, and her books have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Library Journal, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, and various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can usually be found watching anime or wrangling her pets.

More about the Conference
Romance fiction is shaped by boundaries and rules- the expectations of tropes and subgenres, the centrality of the love story, the requirement of the happy ending. Authors and readers rely on the boundaries of romance to help them write and read, yet also sometimes revel in their subversion. Academics use those same boundaries to form their avenues of inquiry into this vast genre. Taken together, the boundary lines provide endless points of discussion and controversy for those who produce and consume romance. This conference will provide a venue for all of those interested in romance fiction- authors, academics, and readers- to come together and discuss their interactions with the genre’s boundaries.

Call for presentations:
We are seeking presentations of approximately 15-20 minutes in length. The scope of the conference is deliberately broad in order to encourage presenters to be creative and take interdisciplinary approaches. Individual and panel presentations will be considered. Some examples of potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Romance tropes and how are they defined, enforced, and subverted
  • In-depth analysis of particular authors’ work
  • The history and growth of subgenres within popular romance fiction
  • The history of the Happily Ever After
  • Predictability and freedom within category romance
  • Authors’ approaches to research on time periods, subgenres, etc
  • How authors, readers and academics can occupy multiple identities within popular romance fiction
  • Romance novel covers across the decades and subgenres
  • Popular romance fiction around the world- how national borders influence the genre
  • How the traditional boundaries of romance impact self-publishing

The deadline for submissions has passed. Notification of acceptance will be made by December 13, 2019. Please direct any questions about the conference to Steve Ammidown.

Browse the contents of Researching the Romance Conference:

2020 Event
2018 Event