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Thread by @BookThingo: " session 11 is themed "Subversions of Race, Culture and History" chaired by @AthenaBellas First paper is “The Wild Heart of the Cont […]" #IASPR18

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#IASPR18 session 11 is themed "Subversions of Race, Culture and History" chaired by @AthenaBellas
First paper is “The Wild Heart of the Continent: Love and Place in Sherry Thomas’s Silk Road Romance Novels” - Eric Murphy Selinger (DePaul University) #IASPR18
Romance is the quintessential colonial in literary form. (Sorry, I missed the context!) #IASPR18
Sherry Thomas's Not Quite a Husband set in Pakistan, where politics in 2009/2010 when the book was released affected its reception. Bantam asked her to change pen names. Walmart declined to publish future books no matter the setting. #IASPR18
This is despite Not Quite a Husband winning a RITA and placing in the AAR list. Thomas left Bantam after it. #IASPR18
My Beautiful Enemy is a thoughtful Buddhist romance. Spacial reference is the Silk Road of Turkmenistan. (I need to go back to Sherry Thomas's backlist. How have I missed so many of her books??) #IASPR18
My Beautiful Enemy: Place and religious intersect in the portrayal of Leighton as the hero. His equanimity is highlighted + loving kindness, compassion, etc and embodies Buddhist ideals and connects him to the Heart Sutra. #IASPR18
My Beautiful Enemy has been discussed in 7 academic papers and taught in 8 classes (admittedly by two people: @JPRStudies & @jayu77!). #IASPR18
As romance reviews begin to appear in mainstream news outlines, it may be time to think in a more systematic way how it is we choose the books we study, and how that process goes on in other forms of popular fiction. Think about place of "critical darling". #IASPR18
Q on using the book as a teacher of Asia. Eric: Students skeptical at first. Extremely impressed not just by historical accuracy but that novel focused on moments & figures in Chinese history in a way that was appropriate historically & connected thematically in the book #IASPR18
Interesting to hear Eric separate his opinion on what he *thinks* the author intended vs his opinion as a researcher on whether or not he knows what the author/interviewee intended. #IASPR18
If you do teach My Beautiful Enemy, teach it with the prequel, The Hidden Blade. Students who were wuxia fans preferred the prequel. #IASPR18
Q on colonialism. Eric: One of the things the novel takes pains to point out is that China is itself vastly multiply (?something). Vastly contested. #IASPR18
There's a sense in the novel of a deep desire and pride to present to an American audience multiple versions and ideas of Chinese culture that the author would like them to know about. #IASPR18
Next paper is on “Love is (Color) Blind: Race, Belonging, and Nation in 21st Century Historical Romance Fiction” by Mallory Jagodzinski (Indiana University South Bend) #IASPR18
What does it look like when emotional justice incorporates social justice to remake the novel's society? Looks at: Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran; The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan; Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain #IASPR18
83% of RWA readership was white when Mallory did her dissertation. (But diversity has improved since.) #IASPR18
Mallory was interested in how the authors portrayed diverse citizenship in their books. Historically, citizenship has been assigned to men, seen as male identity, To be a subject requires compliance with norms to make a person recognisable. #IASPR18
Performance of citizenship becomes linked to precarity. Who counts as a subject and who doesn't? #IASPR18
Romain portrays a neoliberal type of citizenship. Duran's citizenship is complicated by violence (and mental illness, I think?). Milan works hard to find a way for the couple to resolve issues of citizenship/belonging. #IASPR18
^^ Hugely paraphrased so if this is inaccurate it's completely my fault. #IASPR18
Mallory goes through extracts from each book to look at the ways in which the heroines (and heroes) are asked about their identity. #IASPR18
In Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress, heroine insists that hero is not obviously other and could be mistaken for Welsh. In this novel, rather than heroine changing her view, it's the hero who changes perspective that maybe his colouring isn't as noticeable as he thought. #IASPR18
I love Meredith Duran, but I can't remember if I've read Duke of Shadows because the extracts are so violent I'm sure I would have remembered reading them??? #IASPR18
SoaSH doesn't seem to resolve citizenship as fully because the battles around citizenship are either internal or off-page. There isn't a real villain. #IASPR18
Mallory looks at endings: DoS ends with sex scene, domestic, mention of heroine becoming a duchess; HE epilogue is domestic, political dinner, Anjan considering government work; SoaSH h/h business partners, capitalist fantasy. #IASPR18
Conclusions: In order to portray citizenship well:
1. Villains serve a purpose.
2. Whiteness must be explicitly confronted.
3. Does it matter where/how in society these interracial couples land at the end of their stories?
Q on book selection. Mallory: I read a few in a row with characters set in India, and then she looked for these novel. Looked at online sources (AAR), asked on Twitter. Also looked for similarities: mixed race hero, return to colonial land, post-20th century. #IASPR18
Next paper is “‘You stayed’: Love, law and the reservation in Jenna Kernan’s Apache Protectors series” by Johanna Hoorenman (Utrecht University) #IASPR18
You can't avoid commodification, so it's important to focus on the context on which representation and commodification are staged. #IASPR18
Johanna flashes some covers in the subgenre. Generally set in the past, not written by own voices. #IASPR18
Reader fears appeased by warrior hero who uses strength to protect rather than threaten the heroine. White woman not a threat to tribe but asset; appeases guilt for non-native readers. Real and genuine interest in Native peoples is satisfied. #IASPR18
Problems around portrayal of real lived experiences of Native people: learning English from friendly missionary (book) vs violently at boarding school; smallpox epidemic in tribes; viewed as 'savage' & doesn't question if it's the military that should be seen as savage. #IASPR18
Jenna Kernan’s Apache Protectors series is part of Harlequin Intrigue. Mixed subgeneres: romantic suspense, contemporary series. This informs how it portrays Native American experience.#IASPR18
Suspense: can look at criminality, social issues, law
Contemporary: Native culture is portrayed in the present that engages a way of life that showcases past & present
These enable the stories to reframe traditional portrayals of the subgenre, #IASPR18
Johanna is going into chronotopes - a concept I'm still trying to get my head around so my paraphrasing is going to be dismal, I'm sorry! #IASPR18
"Allochronic periphery": Johanna's hypothesis was that this would echo the stereotype of Native American culture (slow-moving, liminal). Kernan's books disproved her hypothesis. #IASPR18
In Hunter Moon, the land is portrayed as a very modern space with casinos, essential for business, ownership of land over generations. #IASPR18
Mallory was interested in looking at the differences between how culture is portrayed by Native American author vs white author. She's looking at coming of age ceremony in Kernan's book that focuses on the ceremony & sybmols. #IASPR18
Contrast with explanation of the ceremony in We Are Dancing for You by Cutcha Risling Baldy. Mentions link to menstruation, and attempts to counter the imposition of Western taboos. (I paraphrased A LOT.) #IASPR18
Johanna would love to know more romances written by Native American authors. #IASPR18
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