About the Conference

Keynote speaker: Deborah Jermyn
Plenary speaker: Hsu-Ming Teo

Eros, Philia, Agape: for nearly three thousand years, these three Greek terms have been used in the West to triangulate the shifting concept called “romantic love,” not just in philosophy and theology, but also in popular culture. In other parts of the globe, love gets framed quite differently—by ‘ishq and hub and their cognates, by shringara and bhakti and prem, by the shifting codes of qing and aiqing—but no matter the language, debates about what love is, how it should feel, and how a lover should behave cross the great divides that separate high art and intellectual discourse from kitsch, journalism, and popular culture.

For its fifth international conference on Popular Romance Studies, the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance focused on romantic love and its representations in popular media, now and in the past, from anywhere in the world.

Conference Presentations

Keynote & Plenary
  • The New Romantics?: Meryl Streep, contemporary romcom and the ‘graying’ of Hollywood cinema
    Deborah Jermyn (University of Roehampton, UK)
  • Beyond Desert Passions: Rethinking Orientalist Love, Rereading Sheikh Romance Novels
    Hsu-Ming Teo (Macquarie University, Australia)


Romance Versions of Greece
  • Perpetuating Gender Stereotypes: The 1960s Greek Rom Com
    Betty Kaklamanidou (Aristotle University, Greece)
  • Greek Lover or Simply a Hero? Oriental and Occidental Attitudes and Behaviours in Romance Fiction
    Eirini Arvanitaki (University of Hull, UK)
  • What Does it Take to Be a Greek Protagonist within a British Popular Romance?
    Artemis Lambrinou (Independent Scholar)


Who’s In? Who’s Out? Romance and Representation
  • Love in the Digital Library: A Search for Racial Heterogeneity in E-Books
    Renee Bennett-Kapusniak & Adriana McCleer (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA)
  • A Meta of Romance in Libraries: The impact of the under-representation of romance fiction in metadata and metatexts
    Vassiliki Veros (University of Technology, Sydney)
  • From Contemporary to Dystopian Fiction: The Changing Realities in Paranormal Romance
    Maria Ramos-Garcia (South Dakota State University, USA)


Love as Image, Love as Narrative
  • (Another) Eight Essential Elements of the Romance Novel
    Catherine Roach (Alabama University, USA)
  • Rendering the Romance: image and storytelling in The Ethiopian Story and The Windflower
    Angela Toscano (University of Iowa, USA)
  • Deep structures of Popular Romance Fiction
    Lesley Ann Smith (Curtin University, Australia)


Television and the Internet
  • Hurrem in the Harem: The Sheik Fantasy on Turkish Television
    Heather Schell (George Washington University, USA)
  • “Before You Find True Love, You’re Gonna Need Some Tough Love:” Constructing the Matchmaker Figure in Romance-Based Reality TV
    Patrycja Wawryka (University of Ottawa, Canada)
  • Relocating Weddings Online
    Alicia Williams (Independent Scholar)


Science and Romance
  • What’s Love Got to do with it?: Helen Fisher and the Science of Love
    Peggy Tally (Empire State College, USA)
  • Affectionate temporalities. On time in love in a quasi-scientific sense
    Anna Malinowska (University of Silesia, Poland)
  • Romancing Science: An Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies in Popular Science Television
    Erin S. Young (Empire State College, USA)


Love, American Style
  • Child’s Play? An American Philosopher’s Historical Romance Novel
    Pamela Regis (McDaniel College, USA)
  • Reconcilable Differences: Post-9/11 American Captivity Fantasies in Sheikh Romance
    Stacy Holden (Purdue University, USA)


Loves Unorthodox, Unspeakable, and Unsexed
  • “Loves That Dare Not Speak Their Names”: Bisexuality, Asexuality, and Polyamory in Popular Cultural Discourse
    Zefi Kavvadia (Aristotle University, Greece)
  • The Politics of Polyamory and Violence: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series
    Karin Heiß (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany)
  • Unsexing Eros: Queer Intimacies in Contemporary Fiction and Film
    Ashley C. Bourgeois (University of Kentucky, USA)


East Meets East
  • When the East Encounters the Orient
    Fang-Mei Lin (National Taiwan Normal University)
  • The Transmutation of Harem Imagination from Translated Desert Romances to Contemporary Chinese Popular Romance in Taiwan
    Su-hsen Liu (National Quemoy University, Taiwan)


Scandinavia and Eros
  • Love in a Cold Climate? Romance, Power and Desire in the Scandinavian Romance Tradition
    Maria Nilson (Linnaeus University, Sweden)
  • Simona Ahrnstedt and New Swedish Romance
    Helene Ehriander (Linnaeus University, Sweden)


Authors, Scholars, and the Market Matrix
  • Author as Producer, Brand and Friend: Considering the Structure of the Romance Novel Marketplace
    Chryssa Sharp (Lindenwood University, St. Charles, Missouri)
  • Triumphs in the Marketplace: An Updated Look at Romance’s Institutional Matrix
    An Goris (Leuven University, Belgium)
  • Studying (the) Romance (Novels): Negotiating the Journey from Doctoral Research to Book Publication
    Jayashree Kamble (LaGuardia Community College, USA)


Romance and Religion: Global Perspectives
  • Romancing the Goddess: Desire in the Popular Religious Mythology of Hindu South India
    Charles Nuckolls (Brigham Young University)
  • How Indonesian Religious Romance engages with Popular Romance Tropes in the West
    Kathrina Haji Mohd Daud (Brunei University)
  • I Want to be Your Husband, Not Your God: the Allusive Art of Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love
    Eric Selinger (DePaul University, USA)


Love’s Stories: Virginity, Courtship, Divorce
  • Falling in love with virginity: the changing relationship between romantic love and virginity loss in the Harlequin Mills & Boon romance
    Jodi McAlister (Macquarie University, Australia)
  • The Courtship of Penelope and Odysseus
    Margaret Toscano (University of Utah)
  • Understand After Forever. Love Narratives of Divorcees
    Marie-Louise Wijne (University of Amsterdam)


Advice for the Lovelorn: Mediated Love
  • The perils of falling in love in late medieval and modern relationship advice
    Amy Burge (Edinburgh University, UK)
  • “Love Me, Don’t Love Your Family: Discussing and Debunking Romantic Love On the Chinese Internet”
    Jin Feng (Grinnell College, USA)
  • Feminism, Race, and Romance
    Julie E. Moody-Freeman (DePaul University, USA)


Love’s Bodies: Ability, Technology, and Race
  • The Blindman in the Romance Novel: Jane Eyre and the Representation of Visual Impairment
    Ria Cheyne (Liverpool Hope University, UK)
  • Tinkering: Physical construction and emotional connection in the Iron Seas world
    Sarah Ficke (Marymount University, USA)
  • “He Didn’t Seem Indian”: Exploring and Analyzing the Construction of Race in Meredith Duran’s The Duke of Shadows
    Mallory Jagodzinski (Bowling Green State University, USA)