Tuesday, February 16, 2016

CFP: Masculinity and Romance

Masculinity Studies Meets Popular Romance

Deadline: January 6, 2017
In her canonical and contested study Reading the Romance, Janice Radway describes the romance hero as characterized by an “exemplary” and “spectacular” masculinity. Romantic films, TV, and popular music likewise offer what Eva Illouz calls “ideal-typical” representations of men and masculinity, even as popular culture often insists that “real men” have no interest in romance media. What, then, can critical and historical studies of men and masculinities offer to the study of popular romance media? And what can attention to popular romance teach us about blind-spots and other lacunae in the study of men and masculinities?
The Journal of Popular Romance Studies solicits papers for a special issue on masculinity and popular romance media, now and in the past, from anywhere in the world. We are interested in how masculinities are and have been represented in the texts of both heterosexual and queer popular romance media, including fan-produced media. We are also interested in papers on masculinity in the marketing of such media (e.g., movie trailers and romance novel covers), and in the discourse of the global romance communities that produce, enjoy, and discuss such media (editorial guidelines, recaps and reviews, blog posts, Tumblrs, etc.). Papers that explore the intersection of masculinity with other cultural phenomena, including race, religion, and class, are welcome.
For this issue, we define both “romance” and “masculinities” broadly. We are open to submissions about texts from the margins of love and romance culture (e.g., “bromances”) as well as those which focus on texts which participate wholeheartedly in the popular culture of romantic love. We also recognize that masculinity does not belong exclusively to cisgendered men’s bodies, and we encourage the submission of papers that follow Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s call for scholars of gender “to drive a wedge in, early and often, and if possible conclusively, between the two topics, masculinity and men, whose relation to one another it is so difficult not to presume.”
This special issue will be edited by Jonathan A. Allan, Canada Research Chair in Queer Theory (Brandon University) and Eric Murphy Selinger (DePaul University). Papers of between 5,000 and 10,000 words, including notes and bibliography, should be sent to Erin Young (managing.editor@jprstudies.org). To facilitate blind peer review, please remove your name and other identifying information from the manuscript. Submissions should be Microsoft Word documents, with citations in MLA format.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Paperback of Pursuing Happiness and Bonus Material

Pursuing Happiness: Reading American Romance as Political Fiction is now available in paperback via Amazon (.com, .uk and others) and to celebrate I've put up some bonus material on my website.

It's a short discussion of just one category romance, which raises a lot of the issues I discuss in much greater detail in Pursuing Happiness.

Friday, February 12, 2016

CFP: The Romance of Science Fiction/Fantasy

CALL FOR PAPERS:  The Romance of Science Fiction / Fantasy
Deadline: September 30, 2016

Whether we consider romance novels incorporating elements of the fantastic, the future, or the alien, or works of Science Fiction/Fantasy exploring love, desire, and other aspects of romantic culture, the relationship between these genres has been enduring and productive. Following up on a series of joint panels at the 2016 national conference of the Popular Culture Association, the Journal of Popular Romance Studies calls for papers for a special issue on the intersections between romance and science fiction/fantasy in fiction (including fan fic), film, TV, and other media, now and in the past, from anywhere in the world.  This special issue will be guest edited by Gillian I. Leitch, PCA co-chair for SF/Fantasy, and Erin Young.

Contributions might consider questions like the following, either in terms of particular texts (novels, films, TV shows, etc.) or in terms of genre, audience, and media history:

·         How has the intersection of these two popular genres opened up new possibilities in conceptualizing gender, desire, sexuality, love, courtship, or relationship structure, not just recently, but since the earliest years of SF/Fantasy? 
·         How has their intersection allowed us to see existing concepts of gender, desire, sexuality, love, courtship, and relationship structure in fresh or critical ways? 
·         How have authors, filmmakers, producers, and fans played these genres against one another, for example by using romance to critique traditions in SF/F, or SF/F to critique the tropes of romance?  How has this counterpoint been explored by authors, filmmakers, producers, and fans of color, or by LBGTQIA creators and audiences?
·         How might reading classics of SF/F as romance change our perception of them: works like Dune and the Witch World novels, The Left Hand of Darkness, or even E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series, which are threaded on a tale of eugenic love? 
·         What happens to works of paranormal, futuristic, or time-travel romance when we read them through the lenses provided by SF/Fantasy Studies?
·         What happens when teaching works of SF/Fantasy and popular romance? How do these genres co-exist or compete in pedagogical experience or classroom practice?
·         How do works of SF/Fantasy and popular romance coexist and interact in library ecosystems? What issues arise in terms of collection development, readers advisory, or community engagement?

Papers of between 5,000 and 10,000 words, including notes and bibliography, should be sent to Erin Young (managing.editor@jprstudies.org). To facilitate blind peer review, please remove your name and other identifying information from the manuscript.  Submissions should be Microsoft Word documents, with citations in MLA format.

The Journal of Popular Romance Studies is a double-blind peer reviewed interdisciplinary journal exploring popular romance fiction and the logics, institutions, and social practices of romantic love in global popular culture. JPRS is available without subscription at http://jprstudies.org.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Out Now! Pursuing Happiness: Reading American Romance as Political Fiction

My new book is out at last! Here's the blurb:
The dominance of popular romance in the United States fiction market suggests that its trends and themes may reflect the politics of a significant proportion of the population. Pursuing Happiness explores some of the choices, beliefs and assumptions which shape the politics of American romance novels. In particular, it focuses on what romances reveal about American attitudes towards work, the West, race, gender, community cohesion, ancestral “roots” and a historical connection (or lack of it) to the land. The novels discussed include works by Suzanne Brockmann, Beverly Jenkins, Karin Kallmaker, Pamela Morsi, Nora Roberts, Sharon Shinn, Linnea Sinclair and LaVyrle Spencer.

"Pursuing Happiness explores the ways that popular American romance novels engage such matters as US gender roles, attitudes toward disability, the myth of the frontier, individualism and community, and racial violence and discrimination. A thoughtful study with a refreshingly topical focus.” — Prof. William Gleason, Princeton University, co-editor of Romance Fiction and American Culture: Love as the Practice of Freedom?

Pursuing Happiness is an insightful and entertaining look at the inherent, often invisible, politics that underlie America’s most popular genre of fiction.”— Isobel Carr, romance writer.

I've got more detailed information about each of the chapters here.

At the moment it's available in Kindle format from from Amazon  .ca, .com, .de, .es, .fr, .it, .uk, in paperback from Lulu and in pdf (and I think epub) from my publisher, Humanities Ebooks.

The paperback should become available from other booksellers in about six weeks or so.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Essays on Outlander (Forthcoming) and a Thesis on Thai Romance

Due out at the end of July this year is Adoring Outlander: Essays on Fandom, Genre and the Female Audience, edited by Valerie Estelle Frankel and published by McFarland and Co. According to details provided by the editor, it will include:
Part II: The Romance Question: Is it or Isn't it?

" 'Linked ... through the body of one man': Black Jack Randall as a Non-traditional Romance Villain", Michelle L. Jones, University of Regina

"The Good, The Bad and Lord John Grey: Observations on Desire, Sex, Violence, Lust and Love", Sandi Solis

"Travelling Through Time and Genre: Are the Outlander Books Romance Novels?", Jodi McAlister, MacQuarie University

"Gabaldon and the Practice of Gay Male Homoerotic Reading", Anthony Guy Patricia, Concord University
Khuankaew, Sasinee, 2015. 
"Femininity and masculinity in three selected twentieth-century Thai romance fictions." Ph.D thesis, Cardiff University.
The main purpose of this study is to examine a popular Thai genre of the novel, romance fiction, with a focus on the modes of subjectivity and discourses of femininity and masculinity to be found in Thai romance novels between the 1940s and 1990s. The thesis also seeks to locate the various socio-cultural contexts of Thai society, which influence the constitution of Thai gender relations and the transformation of gender norms. Additionally, it attempts to address the issue of the usefulness of Western theories of gender and romance, which are widely regarded in Thailand as tools of Westernization and new forms of colonialism. This study suggests that Thai gender relations are complicated, since there are several disparate aspects that influence the constitution of male and female subjectivity. Western influence is one of these aspects that help define femininity and masculinity, while domestic beliefs also play a salient role as palimpsests that are not easily erased. Thus, the representation of various modes of gendered subjectivity in romance fiction concurrently indicates both changes in and the reproduction of discourses that define an „essence‟ of gender identity that accords with traditional Thai cultural beliefs including the deep-rooted idea that the primary purpose of writing is didactic.  (More details here)
and not on the Wiki, since it's not a dissertation/thesis and isn't focused on romance:
Hu, Huizi, 2015.
"Fall 2015 Award Winner: The Power of Novels." The Diana McDonald Writer's Challenge. Parkland College.

"To be honest, I used to think the period when I read so many romance novels was worthless. However, while I am writing this essay and taking an entirely new look at how novels influenced me, I have realized that even these popular novels, which are often underestimated, actually improved my critical thinking ability and my rhetorical ability."