International Association for the Study of Popular Romance, International Association for the Study

Web Name: International Association for the Study of Popular Romance, International Association for the Study






International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

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International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

International Association for the Study of Popular Romance: Secretary

The International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR) is seeking a Secretary to join our Executive Committee. This is a volunteer position, with a two-year term.

IASPR is a thirteen-year old scholarly association dedicated to fostering and promoting the scholarly exploration of all popular representations of romantic love. IASPR is committed to building a strong community of scholars of popular romance through open, digital access to all scholarly work published by the Association, by organizing or sponsoring an annual international conference on popular romance studies, and by encouraging the teaching of popular romance at all levels of higher education.

The formal duties of IASPR Secretary include scheduling and setting the agendas for our monthly Executive Committee meetings, taking minutes at those meetings, managing our organizational document / materials database, and monitoring our email address to forward inquiries as needed. The Secretary is part of every policy discussion and decision made by the Executive Committee and, as has happened with other positions, the job will evolve to suit your interests and skills.

If you would like to apply for this position, please send an email about your interest to Jayashree Kamblé at

Journal of Popular Romance Studies: Film and Television Editor

The Journal of Popular Romance Studies (JPRS) is seeking a Film and Television editor to join their editorial team. This is a volunteer position.

The Journal of Popular Romance Studies is an interdisciplinary journal publishing contributions on the study of popular romance media. We also publish book reviews, notes and queries, special issues, and reports from the classroom that outline techniques and tools, syllabus models, and practical pieces on the teaching of popular romance media and culture.

Click here to read more about this position.

IASPR Sponsored Event: Black Romance Masterclass led by Margo Hendricks on Beverly Jenkins’ Indigo

International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

DePaul’s Center for Black Diaspora is continuing their exciting series of events on Black Romance. Co-sponsored by IASPR, this exciting virtual event will be of interest to IASPR members, popular romance scholars, and popular romance audiences.

The aim of this master class is to offer a pedagogical and scholarly approach to reading and teaching Black Romance fiction, specifically, historical Black romance novels. What this class will offer is a model, using Indigo as the class text, for teaching the literariness of novel, its continuity with the history of the romance genre, and the importance of reassessing the teaching of and writing about Black romance, and the romance genre in general. What the course will offer Black romance readers, scholars, and teachers is a critical approach easily adapted to anti-racist pedagogy and scholarly writing about romance.

This online event will take place on:
February 26, 2022
10 am – 12 pm CST.

Register to attend here on Eventbrite.

Sponsored by the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University and the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance.

CFP: Romancing Africa

International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

New at the Journal of Popular Romance Studies: Special Issue Call for Papers

Romancing Africa: Manifestations of Popular Romance in Africa

Editors: Lynda Gichanda Spencer and Martina Vitackova

In February 2016, the New York Times published “A Valentine’s Day Reading List” that did not include any character, love story or book from Africa. In response, Grace A. Musila took to social media where she started #LoveinLiteraryAfrica, ‘a protest against this oh-so-familiar tradition’.Musila’s tweet received a remarkable response from the “African literati” who immediately began to share their favourite love stories from Africa. Five years later, in February 2021, Kiru Taye, one of the founding editors of Romance Writers of West Africa, was named as one of USA Today’s Bestselling Authors: a clear demonstration that there are African authors writing within the romance genre, and a sign that it is time—indeed, past time—for scholarship on popular romance fiction to address the thriving worlds of popular romance in Africa.

Romance imprints abound on the continent, including Sapphire Books, Nollybooks, the imprints of NB Publishers and Romanza from South Africa, Drumbeats from Kenya, Adoras from Cote d’Ivoire, Littattafan Soyayya, Ankara Press, Ebonystory and Love Africa Press from Nigeria. Scholarship on African romance remains marginal, in relation to studies of western romance, but this scholarship does exist, including a foundational essay by Lydie Moudileno on “The troubling popularity of West African romance novels” in Research in African Literatures (2008), a special issue of the South African feminist journal Agenda on “Gender and Popular Imaginaries in Africa” (October 2018), a special issue of Feminist Theory on ‘Chick-Lit in a Time of African Cosmopolitanism’ (April 2019), and a forthcoming special issue on popular romance written in Afrikaans for the digital journal Stilet. This special issue of theJournal of Popular Romance Studiestherefore aims both to bring together scholars doing research on popular romance in Africa and to introduce existing research on the genre at the African continent to popular romance academia.

If, as Moudileno argues, the local creativity involved in “Africanizing the romance” allows romance readers and writers to manipulate structures and produce new meanings that are linked to the experience of the postcolony, thus opening up ‘the potentialities of an overtly marginal literary genre’ (2008:128), our hope for this issue is to Africanize popular romance scholarship. We are therefore interested in essays about all aspects of popular romance writing in Africa: its writers, readers, publishing houses, and scholars. We want to map the dynamics of popular romance genre in Africa and investigate these in their specificity and/or comparability with popular romance from other geopolitical areas. We seek to explore how popular romance shapes Africa, and how Africa shapes popular romance. What does the production and consumption of popular romance reveal about contemporary Africa?

We are open to submissions from a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary contexts, including but not limited to: cultural studies, literary studies, gender studies, publishing studies, history, sociology, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, political science, law, and music. Since this is an electronic publication, we also welcome multimedia and artwork contributions documenting the world of popular romance in, on, and about the African continent. We welcome articles discussing works by authors on the African continent as well as African authors in the diaspora. We seek submissions on (but not limited to) the following topics:

Popular romance publishing industries on the African continentSelf-publishing and other alternative forms of text circulation in Africa or by African authorsInterrogating femininity, masculinity, sexuality, race, gender, ethnicity and religionThe pleasures of erotic desireSubversion, alternatives and alterations to the (Western) romance formulaSocial engagement and social critique in African popular romanceInterviews with romance authors from AfricaAnalysing the culture of reading clubs and reading groups in Africa

TheJournal of Popular Romance Studies(JPRS) is published by the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR). It is the first academic journal to focus exclusively on representations of romantic love across national and disciplinary boundaries. It is an Open Access, double-blind peer reviewed journal, and is available at JPRS is currently listed at ERIH Plus (European Reference Index for the Humanities and Social Sciences), and in the process of listing in a range of databases, including Sherpa Romeo, DOAJ, Scopus (Elsevier),ESCI (Emerging Sources Citation Index), andUlrichsweb (ProQuest). It is probable that JPRS will be listed for all of these by the time the specialissue is published.

Please submit expressions of interest by 30 September 2021. Feel free to contact the editors of this special issue to discuss possible topics:Lynda Gichanda Spencer ( or Martina Vitackova ( articles of between 5,000 and 10,000 words, including notes and bibliography, will be due by1 March 2022. We are aiming for publication at the end of 2022. Manuscripts can be sent to the following address: Submissions should be Microsoft Word documents, with citations in MLA eighth edition format. Please remove all identifying material (i.e. running heads with the author’s name) so that submissions can easily be sent out for anonymous peer review. Suggestions for appropriate peer reviewers are welcome. For more information on how to submit a paper, please visit

Works cited

Newell, Stephanie. Ghanaian Popular Fiction: Thrilling Discoveries in Conjugal life and other Tales. James Currey: Oxford, 2000.

Moudileno, Lydie. “The troubling popularity of West African romance novels”. Research in African Literatures, 39.4 (2008): 120-132.

IASPR Digital Forum, July 10-17 2020

International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

For details and registration visit

Eighth Annual IASPR Conference Postponed to Summer 2021

International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

With a heavy heart, IASPR is announcing that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eighth International Conference on Popular Romance Studies will not take place this summer. Given the uncertainty of international travel in the short term and the exigencies of academic schedules in the fall and winter, our plan is to postpone the conference until the summer of 2021, with the University of La Palmas Gran Canaria (ULPGC) remaining our host.

All papers and posters accepted for the 2020 conference will remain accepted for 2021. We hope you will be able to join us. We will also reopen the CFP in order to accommodate participants whose research evolves in the interim, rendering their original proposals out of date, and to reach out to scholars who were unable to participate this year. We will be in touch later in the year so there is no need to let us know your intentions at this stage.

If you are in receipt of a travel grant this will be honored for the 2021 conference, providing: 1) you attend IASPR-21 and; 2) your paper proposal remains substantially similar or, if changed, still fits the conference theme.

Although we cannot meet in person this summer, it is possible that IASPR / JPRS could host some kind of digital showcase this summer or fall: not an online conference, but perhaps some kind of webinar or twitter session, an online presentation of posters at the IASPR website, or some other way to circulate research and exchange ideas.

Our decision about whether to pursue this option will depend on several variables, including how many of the planned 2020 conference attendees want to participate and how many have the time and expertise to help with the planning and execution. We are currently polling the 2020 conference participants, and will announce any decisions on this when the results are in.

JPRS Seeks Managing Editor

International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

The Journal of Popular Romance Studies, an international peer-reviewed academic journal publishing scholarship on popular romance fiction and on the logics, institutions, and social practices of romantic love in global popular culture, is seeking a new Managing Editor, to begin work no later than September 1, 2020. (A summer start would be ideal, in order to smooth the transition.)

Duties include:

managing the journal’s main email account coordinating the submission, review and publication procedures of papers submitted to the journal working closely with the Executive Editor in the daily management and further development of the Journal.

The ideal candidate has a PhD (in any field; late stage doctoral students will also be considered), knows the field of popular romance studies, and/or has an interest in academic publishing. We are looking for someone who is flexible, enthusiastic, and discreet, since the Managing Editor will be in possession of confidential information about the status of manuscripts, the names of peer reviewers, etc.

This is a volunteer position – there is no salary connected to it. However, it affords ample opportunity to develop transferable skills, gain experience in publishing, network with scholars around the world, and contribute to the further institutional and scholarly recognition of the field of popular romance studies.

If you are interested, please send a letter of motivation and a brief CV to Eric Selinger (Executive Editor) and Erin Young (Managing Editor) at no later than June 1, 2020. Questions may also be sent to this address.

IASPR Statement on the Romance Writers of America

International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

For over adecade, the Romance Writers of America has been a generous sponsor of IASPR.Every conference we have held has received RWA support, including our upcoming2020 conference on “Diversity, Inclusion, Innovation” in popular romanceculture, and the field of popular romance studies has been seeded and sustainedby the RWA Academic Research Grant program.

However, in lightof recentevents we as a scholarly organization must add our voice to the chorus ofreaders, reviewers, editors, agents, and authors who have called for sweepingand lasting change at the RWA, beginning with the eight steps listed in the “Readers to RWA”letter from Romance Sparks Joy:

A clear, unequivocal statement that RWA is anti-racist and that all of its policies, procedures, and activities will ensure that the organization meets this standard.A public apology to Ms. Milan, the Board members who have been compelled by their consciences to resign this week, and members who have been harmed by the RWA as stated above.The resignations of President/President-Elect Damon Suede and Executive Director Carol Ritter.An emergency election of new Directors to replace those who have resigned in protest.A full, transparent, and independent investigation into the complaint, investigation, and censure processes around RWA’s Code of Ethics, with attention to events related to the complaints against Ms. Milan and reports that ethics complaints by marginalized members were not forwarded to the Ethics Committee by RWA staff.An accounting of the actions that led to the creation of a secret ethics committee and the Board’s initial vote against Ms. Milan.The removal of staff if investigations demonstrate those staff members discriminated against marginalized authors based on their identities, whether intentionally or through negligence.An Action Plan developed with public input to address the systematic exclusion, harassment, and lack of support for marginalized members and prospective members at every level of RWA, including chapters, conferences and events, staff prerogatives, and Board action.

In keeping with that letter’s call for a “boycott of any events sponsored by or affiliated with the national chapter of RWA,” and in order to forestall any use of our conference to whitewash problems with diversity and inclusion at RWA itself, we will budget for, plan, and, if necessary, hold our 2020 conference this summer without using the financial support that RWA has provided for it. We will reallocate resources and seek out other funding in order to minimize the impact of this decision on travel support for graduate students, untenured faculty, and independent scholars.

We do not flatterourselves that IASPR, our conferences, and our affiliate publication, the Journalof Popular Romance Studies are somehow free from racism, exclusion, andinequity, or that we will always succeed in addressing them. We do, however, hopeto respond to our failures by keeping in mind the advice that Prof. Jay Thalanggives his graduate students—and, ultimately, takes to heart—in Courtney Milan’sHold Me:

“If you can’t get over your ego and just talk about what you did and what happened, this will take four times as long. You failed. Get used to it. Some of the biggest scientific breakthroughs came about because someone failed and figured out why. Don’t worry about failing. Worry about failing wrongly.”

So far in this matter RWA has not just failed, but failed wrongly. We ask for better from them, and will try to do better ourselves. We hope all organizations, including RWA, are able to embrace policy and practice that sees and represents all of their talent.

Call for Papers (and Posters!): IASPR Conference 2020

International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

The Eighth International Conference on Popular Romance Studies

Diversity, Inclusion, Innovation

University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria  Canary Islands | June 17-19, 2020

Proposal Deadline: October 20, 2019

Whose love matters in popular romance culture? Who is represented as capable of love, or worthy of it? How do popular romance media—books, films, TV, web series, popular music, comics, etc.—promote and/or resist (neo) imperialism, (neo) colonialism, white supremacy, ethno-nationalism, ableism, and compulsory heterosexuality? How do innovations in publishing and media creation and/or distribution help to diversify popular romance, making it more inclusive, and what innovations are needed in popular romance studies to bring this diversity—or its continuing absence—into our critical discourse?

Celebrating the start of its second decade, the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance calls for papers and posters on the popular culture of romantic love, now and in the past, from anywhere in the world.

Popular Romance Studies is an interdisciplinary field including scholars from literary studies; film, television, and media studies; communication and the social sciences; critical race, feminist, queer and disability studies; audience & fan studies, etc. All theoretical and empirical approaches are welcome, including talks, panels, and workshops on professional development, international collaboration, and pedagogy. Content creators, writers, and professionals from various romance industries are invited to submit proposals as well.

We are open to proposals on any relevant text or topic. This year we are particularly interested in papers, posters, panels, and workshops focused on issues related to diversity, inclusion, and innovation. Possible topics might include:

Social justice themes and efforts at broadening popular romance media, including issues related to race, sexuality, gender, class, disability, age, religion, etc.Love and romance in the context of mass migration and displacement.Popular romance in colonial and post-colonial contexts.Romance beyond the Anglosphere: traditions, texts, translations (literal and metaphorical).Changes in romance genres and innovations in popular romance creation, marketing, and sales.Resistance to change in popular romance.Popular romance media communities and controversies.Panels on individual authors/creators and individual texts (books, series, films, shows, etc.)

Submit abstracts of 250-350 words (plus bibliography of 3-5 items, if appropriate) to by October 20, 2019. Please specify whether you are proposing a paper, workshop, or poster. Panel submissions (3-4 related papers) are welcome.

Thanks to the generosity of Kathleen Gilles Seidel, a limited number of Seidel Travel Support grants will be awarded to non-tenured presenters, including graduate students and junior scholars. Information about travel support applications will be sent out with acceptance notifications.

Deadline Extended! Sexting, Romance, and Intimacy (CFP)

International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

Via the Journal of Popular Romance Studies:

Special Issue Call for Papers: Sexting, Romance, and Intimacy

Deadline for Abstracts Extended to December 1, 2019!

Eds. Eftihia Mihelakis and Jonathan A. Allan

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of a cell phone will sext. One study notes that, “of 870 U.S. adults aged 18-72 … 88% had sexted in their lifetime.” This special call for papers seeks to explore the ways that sexting has affected our ideas of romance and intimacy. How has sexting influenced the popular romance novel, the chick flick, or the soap opera? How has sexting changed how we think about romance and love? We welcome papers that engage with these topics, and encourage interdisciplinary approaches.

This special call for papers understands sexting quite broadly, ranging from the flirtatious email sent to a partner at home through to the unsolicited dick pic sent over Tinder.

For the special issue, we welcome proposals for original research articles (5000-10,000 words) that explore sexting, romance, and intimacy. Topics may include:

Sexting and genderSexting and courtship, dating, marriage, etc.Sexting and virginity or “sexual inexperience”Sexting and scandalTechnology, sexting, and romance media (movies, films, TV, music videos, memes, etc.)Pornification and romanceRomance and the virtual landscape

The deadline for 250-word abstracts is December 1, 2019 with full drafts due by March 1, 2020. Please send abstracts and direct any enquiries to Dr. Eftihia Mihelakis at and Dr. Jonathan A. Allan at

About the Editors

Dr. Eftihia Mihelakis is Assistant Professor of French. She is the author of Virginité en question, ou les jeunes filles sans âge.

Dr. Jonathan A. Allan is Canada Research Chair in Queer Theory and Professor of English and Creative Writing. He is the author of Reading from Behind: A Cultural Analysis of the Anus and co-editor of Virgin Envy: The Cultural (In)Significance of the Hymen.

Together, Dr. Mihelakis and Dr. Allan are lead investigators on “The Joy of Texting: Mapping the Significance of Sexting in the Digital World,” funded by Research Manitoba.

2019 Francis Award: Call for Submissions!

International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

The International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR) calls for submissions for the third annual Conseula Francis Award. The Francis Award is given out each year for the best unpublished essay on popular romance media and / or the logics, institutions, and social practices of romantic love in global popular culture. Essays may focus on work in any medium (e.g., fiction, film, TV, music, comics, or advice literature) or on topics related to real-world courtship, dating, relationships, and love. The winning essay will receive a $250 USD cash prize and be published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Popular Romance Studies, pending any needed revision according to the judges’ comments.

The Francis Award is in honor and memory of our colleague Conseula Francis, who was associate provost and professor of English and African American Studies at the College of Charleston. The author of The Critical Reception of James Baldwin: 1963-2010 (2014) and the editor of Conversations with Octavia Butler (2009), Francis studied popular romance fiction with particular attention on African American authors and representations of Black love. Priority for the Francis Award will therefore be given to manuscripts that address the diversity of, and diversities within, popular romance and romantic love culture: e.g., diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, class, sexuality, disability, or age.

The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2018, and the winner will be announced in April, in time for the Popular Culture Association’s national conference.

All submissions should be sent to Erin Young, Managing Editor of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies, at Please put “Francis Award” in your subject line.  All submissions must be Microsoft Word documents, with citations in MLA format; in keeping with JPRS publication guidelines we will consider essays of 5000 to ~10,000 words in length.  Please remove your name or the name of any co-authors from the submitted manuscript; in your cover-letter email, please provide your contact information (address, phone number, e-mail address) and a 150-200 word abstract of the submission.

The judges for the Francis Award are a mix of established and emerging scholars in the field of Popular Romance Studies, chosen by IASPR. Each year’s winner will be invited to join the panel of judges for the following year.  


Interested in supporting IASPR, but not ready to become a member? We also are accepting donations through Paypal – click on the button below to donate:

Recent News

Openings at IASPR and JPRS!IASPR Sponsored Event: Black Romance Masterclass led by Margo Hendricks on Beverly Jenkins’ IndigoCFP: Romancing AfricaIASPR Digital Forum, July 10-17 2020Eighth Annual IASPR Conference Postponed to Summer 2021

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