I’m having a great time at the PCA/ACA conference in St. Louis. Popular culture studies is the interdisciplinary examination of popular media such as genre fiction, television shows, comic books, music and new media. I haven’t had time to go to sessions other than the romance tracks. Those in and of themselves are absolutely fascinating.
The coolest thing is that these are romance scholars versus writers. The approach and views they have about romance as a genre come from an entirely different angle than how I usually look at things as a reader and writer of romance. As a cognitive science major myself, any time you can look at a topic from a different lens, the overall picture becomes so much richer.
Some snippets that piqued my interest:
- A talk on feminist ethics and evaluating the ethics of the romance genre by Jessica Miller (must bump Sherry Thomas to top of TBR pile)
- otome games – Japanese video games which operate sort of like “choose your own adventure” romances and are geared towards a female market
- Women and feminism in Robert Howard’s Fictional world (think Conan, Red Sonya) – This is one of the topics I couldn’t go to, but I grabbed a copy of the paper. I read Red Sonya way back in high school. Guess I had a thing for sword-wielding heroines way back when
- An amazing talk by Pamela Regis titled “The Romance Community: A Room of One’s Own and Écriture Feminine” tying together Virginia Woolf, Smart Bitches, and the concept of a feminine language for discourse. (I was trying to mentally tie in Lisa See’s themes of women and literacy, but I just couldn’t think fast enough. Definitely need to spend a decent amount of time considering this.)
- The Popular Romance project – a ginormous undertaking spearheaded by documentary filmmaker and educator Laurie Kahn of Brandeis University involving the building of a web community around a survey of romance that spans ancient times to the present and crosses cultures. The project also includes a documentary film. I’m not synthesizing this very well, but I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out as this project develops.
Amanda Berry, Sela Carsen, and I also finished our author panel on print and digital publishing today. It’s interesting to see the sorts of questions non-writers would ask versus in New England where the audience was all romance writers.
Now I can just enjoy. *happy sigh*
Oh neat! I see that Dr. Jessica Miller has put notes up on the conference on her blog. Much better than my scribblings!