CfP: Love and Romance in American Culture

Journal of American Culture
Special Issue: Love and Romance in American Culture

Ideas of romantic love suffuse our lives and guide our emotional experiences and behaviors. Romance comes in various forms of romantic entertainment–books, films, music–which affect and form our socially constructed notions of love, gender and courtship. These constructs of love guide public and private behavior, create judgments of values in relationships and control rules of openness or closure in expression. There is a variety of ways that American culture has understood andpracticed love and romance. This special issue of the Journal of American Culture will present a conversation about romantic love andits representations which explores love and romance as a theme in art, life and culture.

We are seeking manuscripts which discuss contemporary and historical representations of love and romance, consider ways of showing love and affection and explore socially constructed notions of love, gender and courtship. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches and analyses (literary, sociological, psychological,
historical, anthropological, etc) involving any variety of topics (race, gender, class, homosexuality and queer studies, place, region, structure) which consider emotional values, attitudes and behaviors considered appropriate to love and romance.

Submissions are welcome on topics which might include, but are not restricted to, issues and themes such as:
. romantic relationship events, rituals and ceremonies (weddings, holidays, festivals)
. dating and courtship rites (speed dating, personal ads)
. popular music and love songs
. depictions in the media and popular culture (e.g., film, television, literature, comics)
. romantic love in advertising, marketing, consumerism
. internet and cyberspace (blogs, texting, social networking)
. literature and fiction (genre romance, poetry, animé)
. amatory writings, love letters, courtship and self-help manuals
. types of relationships (marriage, gay and lesbian)
. feelings and emotions (intimacy, attachment, eroticism)
. types of love: platonic, philosophical, divine and spiritual romance
. neurobiology of love and biological attraction
. historical practices and traditions of and in romance
. regional and geographic pressures and influences (southern, Caribbean)
. material culture (valentines, foods, fashions)
. folklore and mythologies
. jokes and humor
. romantic love in political discourse (capitalism)
. psychological approaches toward romantic attraction
. emotional and sexual desire
. subcultures: age (seniors, adolescents), multi-ethnic, inter-racial

We suggest manuscript submissions of 4000-6000 words in length, double-spaced, in current MLA style. Send an e-mail attachment, in Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format, to JAC.Romance@gmail.com. Due to virus and security concerns, we do not accept zipped or compressed files.

Manuscript deadline: 30 November 2011
Publication date: March 2013

Address inquiries to:
Maryan Wherry
Sarah S.G. Frantz
Darcy J. Martin
JAC.Romance@gmail.com

Call for Papers: Comic Books and American Cultural History

Essays are currently being solicited for Comic Books and American Cultural History, a new anthology that will examine the ways in which comic books can be used to help us understand the history of the United States.  Each essay of this proposed book will focus on a particular comic book, story/story arc, or graphic novel as a tool for analyzing some aspect of its original cultural and historical context.  The essays in this anthology will not focus on the history of comic books per se, but rather on the history of the United States, with comic books being used as primary texts to support specific interpretations of American history.  Because of this emphasis on the connections between comic books and America’s past, Comic Books and American Cultural History will prove to be a useful book for comics scholars, historians, and history teachers who want to integrate more popular culture into their courses.

The field of comics studies has seen a proliferation of book-length works in the last twenty years, but few of those books have examined American cultural history.  For example, Of Comics and Men, by Jean-Paul Gabilliet, includes a very thorough explanation of the production and distribution history of American comic books, but there is less analysis of the actual content of the comic books themselves.  Bradford Wright’s Comic Book Nation does examine some specific stories, but his work is a survey and, as such, cannot go into much depth about any one historical moment.  In Secret Identity Crisis, Matthew Costello’s focus on the Cold War allows him to analyze his sources deeply, but other events and comics that do not fit into his framework are sometimes ignored.  Comic Books and American Cultural History seeks to build off of these important works while also expanding the scope of comics scholarship by bringing together analyses on a wider variety of topics than what is possible in any of these books.  In this way, Comic Books and American Cultural History will be especially useful as a collection of case studies demonstrating the ways in which comic books can be useful primary sources for the study of American cultural history.

The essays in Comic Books and American Cultural History will examine many different comic books and many different topics in American history.  Possible sources can range from the 1930s to the present, and the collection will include essays focusing on mainstream, underground, alternative, and independent comics.  Historical topics might feature discussions of the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and 9/11, all examined from a cultural history perspective.  Essays about aspects of gender, class, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation will be especially encouraged.  The more specific the essay, the better it will fit into this collection in that it will allow for greater depth than would be possible with a more broadly defined primary text and a more broadly defined historical connection.

Completed essays will be between 5,000 and 7,000 words long.

Please send 500 word abstracts, complete contact information, and brief biographies of authors (as Word documents) to:

Matthew Pustz
Economics, History, and Political Science Department
Fitchburg State University
Fitchburg, MA 01420
mpustz@fitchburgstate.edu

Abstracts are due December 20, 2010.   Completed essays will be due the beginning of June 2011.