On the closing night of the 2007 annual conference of the Popular Culture Association, Sarah S. G. Frantz and Eric Selinger sat around a table at the hotel bar with a half-dozen tipsy scholars of love in popular fiction, film, manga, and other media. Some were from the United States, some from Europe, some from Australia; all were giddy at the success of the freshly-revived Romance area at the PCA. (The second round of Guinness might have helped.) Voices were raised, a pen was flourished, a napkin was smoothed on the table, and an academic mission was set in writing: to foster the study of romantic love in popular culture, past and present, all around the world, we would found a brand-new academic organization, a dedicated journal, and a series of international conferences.
Two years later, IASPR and the Journal of Popular Romance Studies officially opened for business. Rolled out at the Spring, 2009 Princeton conference on Romance Fiction and American Culture, IASPR held its first international conference later that summer in Brisbane, Australia, and three more have followed, in Brussels (2010), New York City (2011) and York (2012). Our fifth international conference will be held in Thessaloniki, Greece, in June, 2014, and future IASPR conferences are planned for San Jose (2016) and Salt Lake City (2018).
Launched in 2010, the Journal of Popular Romance Studies has become the premier resource in the emerging field of Popular Romance Studies. Two new issues of JPRS (“Jeepers,” to its friends) appear every year, featuring peer-reviewed essays, interviews, and scholarship on Teaching and Learning. Open calls for papers—both for the general journal, and for special features on specific regions and topics—are listed on the journal’s website.
Today IASPR is a strong international organization. We remain dedicated to fostering the study of romantic love in global popular culture, from all times and in all media. You can contact IASPR via email, facebook or twitter. Information about becoming a IASPR member can be found on our membership page.