CfP Imagining ‘We’ in the Age of ‘I’: Romance and Social Bonding in Contemporary Culture, Warwick, 2018

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

Friday 28th September, University of Warwick

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 social bonding and new ways of constructing these that respond to, mediate and feed back into shaping cultural trends in this domain. For instance:

  • 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)

There will also be a few spaces for presentations from earlier career scholars working on relevant themes at this event. Our CfP is 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 dissemination
  • Masculinity in contemporary romantic discourse

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

Deadline for proposals: 16 July 2018.

The event itself will be free although registration by Eventbrite will be requested at a later date. Precise details of locations and timings will also follow.

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