Can’t Buy Me Love? Sex, Money, Power, and Romance

About the Conference

Keynote: Laura Kipnis (Northwestern University), author of Against Love: A Polemic.
Special Guest: Bertrice Small (Author)

This conference had four main goals:

  1. To explore the relationships between the conference’s key thematic terms (sex, money, power, and romantic love) in the texts and contexts of popular romance, in all forms and media, from a variety of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives
  2. To foster comparative and intercultural analyses of these recurring themes, by documenting and/or theorizing the ways that different nations, cultures, and communities think about love and sex, love and money, love and power, and so on, in the various media of popular romance
  3. To explore how ideas and images of romantic love—especially love as shaped by issues of sex, money, or power—circulate between elite and popular culture, between different media (e.g., from novel to film), and between cultural representations and the lived experience of readers, viewers, listeners, and lovers
  4. To explore the popular romance industry–publishing, marketing, film, television, music, gaming, etc.—and the roles played by sex, money, power, and love in the discourse of (and about) the business side of romance


Conference Presentations

Boundaries and Intersections: Romance, Erotica, and Pornography (Roundtable)
  • Cecilia Tan (Author, Editor, Publisher)
  • Raelene Gorlinsky (Publisher, Ellora’s Cave)
  • Megan Hart, (Author)


Formula/Convention/Archetype: Narrative Construction of Romance Fiction
  • “I Love You,” He Said: The Money Shot in Romance Fiction as Feminist Porn
    Catherine Roach (University of Alabama, USA)
  • Fetish Commodity of Virginity in Popular Romance Novels
    Jonathan A. Allan (University of Toronto, Canada)
  • Rape as a Trope in the Work of Nora Roberts
    An Goris (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)


Love. Power. Justice?
  • The Rapist Hero and the Female Imagination
    Sarah S. G. Frantz (Fayetteville State University, USA)
  • The Illusion of Choice: Problematizing Predestined Love in Paranormal Romance
    Linda Lee (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
  • Love’s Balance Sheet: Accounting for the Bondage of Desire and the Freedom of Choice in Historical Romance
    Margaret Toscano (University of Utah, USA)


Love in the Stack: Popular Romance Collection Development in University Libraries
  • Crystal Goldman (San Jose State University, USA)
  • Nancy Down (Bowling Green State University, USA)
  • Marilyn Dunn (Schlesinger Library, Harvard University, USA)
  • Marvin J. Taylor (New York University, USA)


Sex, Money, Power: Romance through the Ages
  • ‘Hit Cost a Thousand Pound and Mar’: Love, Sex and Wealth in the Fourteenth-Century Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle
    Hannah Priest (University of Manchester, UK)
  • Charm the Boys, Win the Girls: Power Struggles in Mary Stolz’s Cold War Adolescent Girl Romance Novels
    Amanda Allen (Eastern Michigan University, USA)
  • Modern Gothic Romance and its Translation in Taiwan: A Case Study of the Chinese Translation of Mistress of Mellyn
    Su-hsen Liu (National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan)
  • The First Silhouettes: Following the Money
    Pamela Regis (McDaniel College, USA)


The Erotics of Property
  • Owning the Romance: Crusie, Phillips, and the “Erotics of Property”
    Eric Selinger (DePaul University, USA)
  • The Upper-Class Bisexual Man as Romantic Hero: The “Top” in the Social Structure and in the Bedroom
    Ann Herendeen (Romance Author, USA)
  • The Limits of Virtue, the Limits of Merit: Power, Privilege & Property in Historical Romance Fiction
    Angela Toscano (University of Utah, USA)


Trading Places: Worldbuilding Romance in Fiction and Film
  • Creating a Genre: The Power of Georgette Heyer’s Regency Novels
    Jennifer Kloester (University of Melbourne, Australia)
  • Regency World-Building, History, and the End(s) of Romance
    Susan M. Kroeg (Eastern Kentucky University, USA)
  • The Absence of Sex and Money in the Contemporary Rom Com. Fact or Fiction?
    Betty Kaklamanidou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
  • Temptation and the Big Apple: Bollywood romance goes West in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
    Jayashree Kamble (University of Minnesota)


Money Changes Everything; or, Does It?
  • Greed is Good, but Love is Better: the Influence of Economy on Romance in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street Films
    Elena Oliete-Aldea (University of Zaragoza, Spain)
  • Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend: The Representation of Romantic Love In Sex and the City
    Beatriz Oria (University of Zaragoza, Spain)
  • Value for Virtue in Multiple-Romance Narrative Romance
    Antonia Losano (Middlebury College, USA)


Queering the Romantic Heroine: Where Her Power Lies
  • One Small Step for Romance: The Evolution of the Queer Female Hero
    Katherine E. Lynch (SUNY Rockland)
  • Where the Wild Things Are: Contemporary Lesbian Romance and the Undomesticated Queer Hero
    Ruth Sternglantz (Editor, Bold Strokes Books)
  • The Queer Heroine as a Re-imagined Reflection
    Lynda Sandoval (Author)
  • Queering the Alpha
    Len Barot/Radclyffe (Romance Author, Editor, and Publisher, Bold Strokes Books)