Love is currently being explored in the academy beyond popular cultural and gender studies, in literary studies, philosophy, law, politics, social science, and psychology. It includes a revaluing and deeper understanding of the complexity and sophistication of love, including but not limited to romantic love, and its cultural expression. Love Studies looks at the multiple ways love has shaped our ways of being and knowing, and it goes beyond these ideas to explore love and desire in intimate relationships, and how love shapes and is shaped in diverse dynamics and domains, both public and private, and across the lifespan.
Love is certainly in the air at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. In the School of Arts and Humanities I’m part of a growing group of researchers working in the field of Love Studies. Associate Professor Debra Dudek (Literary Studies), Dr Madalena Grobbelaar (Psychology, Psychosexual Therapy) and I, Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd (Social Science/Creative Writing) invited staff to our first symposium ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It?’ for Valentine’s Day 2021.
Later this year one of our first Love Studies publications (written with Dr Rose Williams of Murdoch University) will be part of the collection Not Your Mother’s Bodice Rippers: The Romance Genre in the 21st Century (McFarland & Company, US) edited by Susan Fanetti. Entitled ‘Tingles and Shivers: First Kisses and Intimate Civility in Eliza Redgold’s Historical Harlequin Romances Pre- and Post-#MeToo’ our chapter explores how post #MeToo, issues of consent have come to the forefront in everyday life and in the romance genre. We analyse four Historical Harlequin romance novels written by me as Eliza Redgold—two published before and two published after #MeToo—and argue that these four novels can serve as a case study for how #MeToo informs the representation of desire.
When I first started writing fiction as a romantic academic, Love Studies was beyond my imagination. As it turns out: happy endings do happen!
Happy reading and writing to you,
You can read more about Love Studies in my article in The Conversation here.
New edition romance release in 2021 here.