Think Globally, Love Locally?, Sydney, Australia 27-29, June, 2018

Accepting proposals through September 15, 2017!

Space, place, and romantic love are intimately entwined. Popular culture depicts particular locations and environments as “romantic”; romantic fantasies can be “escapist” or involve the “boy/girl/beloved next door”; and romantic relationships play out in a complex mix of physical and virtual settings. The romance industry may be globalized, but popular romance culture is always situated: produced and circulated in distinctive localities and spaces, online and offline. Love plays out in real-world contexts of migration and dislocation; love figures in representations of assimilation and cultural resistance; in different times and places, radically disparate political movements—revolutionary, reactionary, and everything in between—have all deployed the rhetoric and imagery of love.

For its seventh international conference on Popular Romance Studies, the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance calls for papers on romantic love and popular culture, now and in the past, from anywhere in the world. We are particularly interested, this year, on papers that address the relationship between love and locality in popular culture: not just in fictional modes (novels, films, TV shows, comics, song lyrics, fan fiction, etc.), but also in didactic genres (advice columns, dating manuals, journalism), in advertising, and in both digital and material culture (wedding dresses, courtship rituals, etc.).

The conference will be held at Macquarie University’s city campus, 123 Pit Street, Sydney. The venue is in the heart of Sydney’s CBD shopping and dining precinct, a 15-minute walk away from the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, and historic Rocks area.

Topics of interest might include:

  • Geographies of love and sexuality
  • Love’s Settings: e.g., the imagined Outback of Rural Romances; the Scottish Highlands; romantic cities; small-town and island romances; the communal space of “Romancelandia”
  • Romantic Chronotopes: times and places when love is imagined to be “truer” or “deeper” than the here-and-now (e.g., Regency or Victorian England; medieval Provence; Tang Dynasty China; the Joseon settings of Korean TV-drama, etc.)
  • Honeymoon travel (past and present) and romantic tourism, including fan pilgrimages for romantic texts and films, destination weddings, and the like
  • Locality and LGBTQIA romance culture
  • Courtship in public and semi-private spaces: e.g., paying visits, dating, office romance, romance and car culture
  • Love’s Architectures: Hotels, Fantasy Suites, Clubs and Restaurants, Domestic Spaces (kitchens, bedrooms, Red Rooms of Pain, etc.)
  • Local, National, and Transnational Book Industries
  • Local Romance Writer Groups, Reader Groups, or Media Fan Groups / Events
  • Romance and the (Local) Library or Bookshop
  • Local Love on Television (e.g., Farmer Wants a Wife) and online (Tinder, etc.)
  • “Escapist” reading and the places / practices of romance consumption
  • Place and Race in Popular Romance
  • The “Phone-World” and other Virtual Spaces for Love
  • Off the Map: Emerging and Under-Studied Settings and Romance Cultures
    • Material locations and imaginary spaces for love, and the combination of the two in Edward Soja’s concept of “thirdspace”
    • Migration and love: migration for love, love hampered by distance, love in migrant and refugee communities
    • Non-geographic love (e.g., love experienced entirely online) and the intersections of technology with long-distance love, now and in the past
    • Lieux de memoire in the context of romantic love (as opposed to national identity)
    • Love and nationalism, love and regionalism, love and (local) political struggle

All theoretical and empirical approaches are welcome, including discussions of pedagogy.

Submit 250-300 word proposals for individual papers, full panels, roundtables, interviews, or innovative presentations to conferences@iaspr.org by 15 September 2017. All proposals will be peer reviewed.