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[ecrea] CFP: Imagining ‘We’ in the Age of ‘I’: Romance and Social Bonding in Contemporary Culture

Sun Jun 17 22:13:22 GMT 2018

This is a Call for Papers for the following symposium:

*Imagining ‘We’ in the Age of ‘I’: Romance and Social Bonding in Contemporary Culture*

*University of Warwick, Friday 28^th September 2018*


The key aim of this event will be to raise questions about conceptualising couples and related social groups. It will achieve this through an emphasis on the evolving roles and forms of such social units in the cultural imaginary, taking stock of both novel means of engaging with tropes of romance, the family and adjacent forms of bonding and new ways of constructing these that respond to, mediate and feed back into shaping cultural trends in this domain.

In other words, we welcome culturally-oriented research, as well as sociological, psychological or more theoretical interventions. Early career researchers are also strongly encouraged.

The symposium asks questions such as:

  * What new means of depicting romance, broadly defined, have evolved
    of late in the multi-media age?
  * How do romantic fictions negotiate newly fluid ways of understanding
    gender, the role of technology in courting and work and other
    related, rapidly changing practices in coupling and related cultures?
  * How do such new instantiations inflect other trends in imagining the
    couple, for instance in relation to non-normative sexualities?
  * Related to this, how does fourth wave feminism – associated with
    online cultures and alliances with marginalised groups other than
    women – engage in dialogue with a genre, romantic fiction, often
    seen as feminine-accented?
  * How has #MeToo impacted on romantic courting rituals and
    inter-gender relations as a whole? In turn, how do new
    representations construct contemporary masculinity?
  * How might depictions and modes of imagining children, parenting,
    family structures, friendship and communities generally shift in
    response to the emphasis on cultivation of the self, and the erosion
    of private-public boundaries, potentially catalysed by both
    neo-liberalism and screen technologies?
  * Finally, how might these questions be nuanced differently in
    specific cultural contexts?

As well as stimulating debate, we hope the event will lead to a critical reappraisal of certain common assumptions about couples in particular and social bonding in general.

*Confirmed participants:*

Professor Eric Klinenberg (NYU)

Professor Rosalind Gill (City, University of London)

Professor Diana Holmes (University of Leeds)

Professor Carrie Jenkins (University of British Columbia)

Professor Celestino Deleyto (University of Zaragoza)

Dr. Roberta Garrett (University of East London)

Dr. Deborah Jermyn (Roehampton University)

Dr. Suzanne Leonard (Simmons College)

Dr. Maria San Filippo (Goucher College)

We are particularly open to proposals on:

  * Narratives of romance and the family involving non-Western or
    non-Anglophone identities
  * Popular romantic writing and/or romance fan cultures
  * The influence of new technology on conceptualisations of the couple
    and the family, whether within texts or as channels for their
  * Masculinity in contemporary romantic discourse
  * Romance after #MeToo

However, any topic speaking to the themes of the event will be considered.

Please send proposals of no more than 250-words for a 20-minute presentation and a short biog. to (imaginingromance /at/

*Deadline for proposals: 16 July 2018.*

This free event is part of a series funded by a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award, also including a public engagement event on The State of Contemporary Romance with film screening the following day on 29^th September at the Warwick Arts Centre, conveniently located on the university campus, which may be of interest to some.

The project will also hold a Study Day aimed more centrally, though not exclusively, at early career researchers in March 2019.

For more information see our website:

or contact Dr. Mary Harrod (m.g.m.harrod /at/

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