CFP: Religion and Romance

“Love is my religion,” Ziggy Marley testifies in a hit from 2006.  From reggae to Rumi (the bestselling poet in the United States across the 1990s), Bollywood to South Park, global popular fiction, film, poetry, music, and other media have extolled romantic love in sacred terms—and, in the process, they have sometimes raised provocative, complex relationships about the relationships between religion and romance. 

Some popular romance texts remain securely inside the boundaries of orthodox belief, bringing theologies of love to accessible, affective life.  Others blur the lines between sacred and secular love, or between different national, cultural, and theological traditions, threatening those distinctions and, sometimes, drawing sharp condemnation in the process.

To explore the vast terrain of love and religion in global popular culture, the Journal of Popular Romance Studies calls for essays, interviews, and pedagogical materials for a special forum guest-edited by Lynn S. Neal (author of Romancing God: Evangelical Women and Inspirational Fiction).  The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2012, and the forum is slated for publication in September, 2013.
Texts from all traditions, media, and periods are welcome.  Topics of particular interest include:

  • Sacred love stories retold in popular culture
  • Hymns, love songs, and the porous boundary between them
  • Romantic love as a surrogate or secular religion, and debates over this
  • Crossover texts and figures:  Rumi, the Song of Songs, etc.
  • Representations of interfaith romance
  • Love and religion in popular culture from before the 20th century, and from indigenous and other non-hegemonic religious traditions (Candomblé, Wicca, etc.)

Published by the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR), the peer-reviewed Journal of Popular Romance Studies is the first academic journal to focus exclusively on representations of romantic love across national and disciplinary boundaries.  Our editorial board includes representatives from English, Comparative Literature, Ethnomusicology, History, Religious Studies, African Diaspora Studies, and other fields.  JPRS is available without subscription at

Please submit scholarly papers of no more than 10,000 words by December 1, 2012, to An Goris, Managing Editor Longer manuscripts of particular interest will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Submissions should be Microsoft Word documents, with citations in MLA format.  Please remove all identifying material (i.e., running heads with the author’s name) so that submissions can easily be sent out for anonymous peer review.  Suggestions for appropriate peer reviewers are welcome.


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