MWSnap004 I’ve never understood the disdain with which the romance novel is treated. It seems to me that this is nothing but pure sexism.  After all, the James Bond series of books is well regarded and even spawns movies and  the Bond gendre is simply the male version of romance books.  But Bond is literature of course!   Well there’s going to be a conference on these issues soon in Princeton on April 23-24.  Thank to Dear Author for the link.

This two-day symposium will be the first national conference to focus on the multiple ways that romance novels—long the most maligned of literary texts—can provide rich critical insight for the study of American culture, politics, and society.  This explicitly contextual, interdisciplinary, and American focus represents a rich new direction for the field of romance fiction studies.

I live about 45 minutes from Princeton and if I can arrange my work schedule I may go down there and learn something.  The current schedule is posted after the break.

Thursday, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
7:30 pm    Registration, Betts Auditorium
8:00 pm    Conference welcome: William Gleason, Princeton University, and Eric Murphy Selinger, DePaul University
8:15 pm Keynote Roundtable, “Romance Fiction and American Culture”

  • Tania Modleski, Dept. of English, USC
  • Stephanie Coontz, Dept. of History, Evergreen State University
  • Mary Bly [“Eloisa James”], Dept. of English, Fordham University, and romance author
  • Jennifer Crusie, romance author and essayist on the genre

Friday, 8:00 am – 6:30 pm
8:00-8:30    Registration and refreshments, Betts Auditorium
8:30-10:15 Session I: Love and Faith: Romance and Religion

  • Lynn S. Neal, Dept. of Religion, Wake Forest University
  • Pamela Regis Dept. of English, McDaniel College
  • R. Marie Griffith, Dept. of Religion, Princeton University
  • Beth Patillo, romance author and ordained minister
  • Eric Murphy Selinger, Dept. of English, DePaul University

10:30-12:15 Session II: Memory and Desire: Romance, History, and Literary Tradition

  • Margaret Doody, Dept. of English, University of Notre Dame; Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching, Princeton University
  • Rita B. Dandridge, Dept. of Languages and Literature, Virginia State University
  • Ann Herendeen, romance author
  • Sally Goade, independent scholar
  • Beverly Jenkins, romance author

12:15-1:15    Lunch for panelists and pre-registered conferees, Chancellor Green
1:30-3:15 Session III: The Sweetest Taboos: Romance and Sexuality

  • Mary Bly [“Eloisa James”], Dept. of English, Fordham University, and romance author
  • Sarah S. G. Frantz, Dept. of English and Foreign Languages, Fayetteville State University
  • Julie E. Moody-Freeman, Dept. of African and Black Diaspora Studies, DePaul University
  • Guy Mark Foster, Dept. of English and Africana Studies, Bowdoin College

3:30-5:15 Session IV: Whispers in the Dark: Romance and Race

  • Gwendolyn Pough [“Gwyneth Bolton”], Dept. of Women’s Studies, Syracuse University, and romance author
  • Emily Haddad, Dept. of English, University of South Dakota
  • Esi Sogah, romance editor, Avon Books
  • Dana Johnson [“P.J. MacAllister”], Dept. of English, USC, and Alison Umminger [“Grace Grant”], Dept. of English, University of West Georgia, and collaborating romance authors

5:30-6:30 Closing Roundtable: Romance Reads the Academy

  • Michelle Buonfiglio, blogger and reviewer (Romance: B(u)y the Book)
  • Sarah Wendell, blogger and reviewer (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books)
  • Diane Pershing, romance author, President, Romance Writers of America (2008-2009)
  • Monica Jackson, author, paranormal romance; contributor to “Blogging in Black” and other author websites
  • Krisa Stroever, editor, Harlequin Books