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

About the Conference

Keynote speakers:

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 highlighted papers on romantic love and popular culture, now and in the past, from anywhere in the world. We focused on work that addressed 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.).

Conference Presentations


  • “Romancing Popular Fiction Studies: A Theory of Genre Worlds”
    Beth Driscoll (University of Melbourne), Lisa Fletcher (University of Tasmania) and Kim Wilkins (University of Queensland)

Romancing Australia

  • “Colonial Reinscription and Imperial Nostalgia in Tricia Stringer’s Flinders Ranges Series”
    Amy T. Matthews and Amy Mead (Flinders University)
  • “Women in Akubras: Paratexts, patriotism, and a professional blurb-writer”
    Kate Cuthbert
  • “Australia as Bachelor Nation: Falling in Love Locally on The Bachelor/ette Australia”
    Jodi McAlister (Deakin University)

Gender and Sexuality

  • “Asexual romance in an allosexual world: how asexual characters (and authors) create space for romantic love”
    Ellen Carter (University of Strasbourg)
  • “Rural habitus, young love and control: Young men talk about (hetero)romance, ‘territory-marking’ and living rurally in Aotearoa/New Zealand”
    Christina Vogels (AUT New Zealand)
  • “‘Shipping’ Larry Stylinson: What Makes Pairing Appealing Boys Romantic?”
    Andrea Anne Trinidad (Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines)

Places and Spaces of Love

  • “Finding One’s Place, Making a Home in Nora Roberts’ Divine Evil (1992) and The Obsession (2016)”
    Kecia Ali (Boston University)
  • “For the Love of the Farm: Romance and Locale in TV’s Queen Sugar”
    Jacqueline Jones (LaGuardia CC, City University of New York)
  • “Nobody puts romance fiction in the corner: the cognitive dalliance of physical places and digital spaces in public libraries”
    Vassiliki Veros (University of Technology, Sydney)

History and Romance

  • “Georgette Heyer’s Unruly Eighteenth Century”
    Stephanie Russo (Macquarie University)
  • “History Ever After: Fabricated Historical Chronotopes in Romance Genre Fiction”
    Jennifer Wallace
  • “‘He Looks like he’s Stepped out of a Painting’: the Idealization and Appropriation of Italian Timelessness through the Experience of Romantic Love”
    Francesca Pierini (Academia Sinica, Taiwan)

Power and Patriarchy

  • “The Soft Power of Popular Romance”
    Heather Schell (George Washington University)
  • “Dangerous Loves Endangered: Nationalism, Violence and Territorialization in US Paramilitary Romance Fiction”
    Nattie Golubov (Centro de Investigaciones sobre América del Norte, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
  • “The Single-Mother and the Law: Romance Novels Making Room for Female Voices in Patriarchal Spaces”
    Therese Dryden (University of Newcastle)
  • “One of the Guys? Eve Dallas as a Masculine Worker Heroine in J.D. Robb’s In Death series”
    Jayashree Kamblé (LaGuardia CC, City University of New York)

19th Century Legacies

  • “House, Home, and Husband in Historical Romance Fiction”
    Sarah Ficke (Marymount University)
  • “Beloved Monstrosity: Romance and Romanticism in Frankenstein”
    Steven Gil
  • “Reader, I mirrored him: the recasting of romance tropes in Jane Eyre fanfiction”
    Lucy Sheerman

Muslim and Middle Eastern Romances

  • “Muslims Reading Romance: Bruneian considerations of “halal” and romance novels”
    Kathrina Daud (University of Brunei)
  • “Reading and Writing Muslim Romance Online”
    Claire Parnell (University of Melbourne)
  • “The Kitchen and Beyond: Romantic Chronotope of Pakistani Popular Fiction”
    Javaria Farooqui (University of Tasmania)
  • “Girls of Riyadh and Desperate in Dubai: Reading and writing romance in the Middle East”
    Amy Burge (University of Birmingham)

Romancing Chinese Worlds

  • “Topography of Romantic Love: Journeys, the Fantasy of Love, and Identity Crisis”
    Fang-Mei Lin (National Taiwan Normal University)
  • “On the Way to a Better Life: Countryside themed romance in recent Chinese Television”
    Huike Wen (Willamette University)
  • “Life Is Elsewhere: The Economy of Food and Sex in Chinese Web Romance”
    Jin Feng (Grinnell College)
  • “Romance in Chinatown: The Love Stories of Edith Maude Eaton”
    Erin S. Young (SUNY Empire State College)

South/South-East Asian Romance Communities

  • “Negotiating Romantic Love in India: Family, Public Space, and Popular Cinema”
    Meghna Bohidar (University of Delhi)
  • “In conversation with Mina V. Esguerra”
    Kat Mayoit

Subversions of Race, Culture and History

  • “The Wild Heart of the Continent: Love and Place in Sherry Thomas’s Silk Road Romance Novels”
    Eric Murphy Selinger (DePaul University)
  • “Love is (Color) Blind: Race, Belonging, and Nation in 21st Century Historical Romance Fiction”
    Mallory Jagodzinski (Indiana University South Bend)
  • “‘You stayed’: Love, law and the reservation in Jenna Kernan’s Apache Protectors series”
    Johanna Hoorenman (Utrecht University)

Love in Other Worlds

  • “Love in Outer Space: Science fiction romance—the ideal place to explore gender and love”
    Donna Hanson (University of Canberra)
  • “Representations of Otherness in Paranormal Romance: Nalini Singh and J.R. Ward”
    María T. Ramos-García (South Dakota State University)
  • “Outlander’s Tactile Caress: a Multisensory Romance”
    Athena Bellas (University of Melbourne)
  • “Basically Quite Weird”: The Queer Medievalist Virtual Romance of Alexis Hall’s Looking for Group”
    Kristin Noone (Irvine Valley College)