CFP: Romance and Popular Romance Fiction

A chalk board with scrabble tiles that spell out "Romance and Popular Romance Fiction".

            The Northeast Popular/American Culture Association (NEPCA) is seeking paper proposals on the topic of Romance/Popular Romance Fiction for its annual conference.

            We welcome a wide variety of papers related to romance and popular romance fiction. Possible approaches can include narrative analysis of the romance genre, issues of representation in romance fiction, production and dissemination of romance fiction, audiences for romance fiction in various media, the public uses of romance fiction/s, and more.

NEPCA’s 2021 fall, virtual conference will be held Thursday October 21 – Saturday October 23, 2021. The deadline for proposals is August 1, 2021

This year, we are particularly interested in proposals relating to the adaptation of romance fiction in other genres. The phenomenal popularity of Netflix’s “Bridgerton,” based on Julia Quinn’s books, and the success of “Virgin River,” a Netflix series based on Robyn Carr’s series of novels, demonstrate that there is a television audience for this genre. Several other romance novels have been optioned by studios and have begun production, such as adaptations of Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game and Alexa Martin’s Intercepted. There is even a streaming service, Passionflix, devoted to adapting romance novels into movies. This year we would like to explore the new interest in adaptations of romance fiction and analyze what is lost and what is gained with adaptation of a genre that is closely linked to the medium of the printed page. Is adaptation a sign of society’s investment in romance, or is it a sign that romance must adapt itself to new ways of consuming media in a visual and digital age?

Proposals are also being solicited for a panel specifically on the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” based on Julia Quinn’s novels. Suggested topics on the novels and/or the Netflix series include (but are not limited to):  

  • How Bridgerton supports or subverts the Regency or Popular Romance genre
  • Why Now? The unusual popularity of Bridgerton in Unusual Times
  • Forward thinking or not enough: the multicultural cast, playing with gender conventions, de-stratifying society and other provocative controversies
  • What happened to the necklace? Continuity errors, easter eggs and other narrative incongruities
  • The Regency historical period and rewriting “real” history
  • Calling the Kardashians: the role of fandom and intersection with social media
  • The influence of a new media: Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers

NEPCA welcomes individual papers and complete panels.   Papers are generally 15-20 minutes in length. NEPCA discourages (but does not forbid) verbatim reading of papers and strongly encourages creative delivery of papers.  We also encourage works in progress, and informal presentations. The only restrictions on presentations are that:

  • The proposal should be rooted in research. We do not automatically exclude original poetry, composed works of fiction, or musical/dance/storytelling performance, but such works must be connected to greater theoretical and research frameworks.
  • NEPCA generally avoids proposals whose intent is overtly commercial.
  • Proposals should appeal to a broad audience.

Visit our Conference page more information.

Abstracts should be submitted by August 1, 2021 through this form

Keep up to date with us on Facebook or Twitter.

If you have questions about this area, please reach out to the Area Chair for the Romance/Popular Romance Fiction area, Wendy Wagner, Johnson & Wales University.

If you have any questions regarding the “Bridgerton” panel, please contact Angela Whyland, panel moderator. 

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