NBA Data Dating

Data Dating (Book)

Love, Technology, Desire

Editors Ania Malinowska and Valentina Peri

Organized around ten chapters and works of new media art, the collection offers an extensive critical analysis of technologized romance – and other emotional relations – as well as provides an insight into the codification, execution, deployment and evolution of the patterns of togetherness in the so-called Tamagotchi era. 45 col. photographs.

African and Black Diaspora Romance

This is just a quick note to let you know about the first in a three-part series of free online events about African and Black Diaspora Romance, co-sponsored by DePaul University’s Center for Black Diaspora, the Center for Contemporary Literature and Culture, University of Birmingham, and the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance.

This first event is on Black Romance in the United States, and it includes a roundtable discussion on Friday, September 17 and a masterclass on pedagogy and scholarship on Black Romance the on Saturday the 18th. The others will be an event on Black Romance in the UK (October) and in Africa (November). 

Eventbrite links to register for the roundtable and master class are pasted beneath the picture below. For information on the October and November events, stay tuned on Twitter to @blk_romance, @iaspr, and @jprstudies; I will also post news on the IASPR home page. 

All the best,

Eric Selinger

Eventbrite link

CFP Romancing Africa

Romancing Africa: Manifestations of Popular Romance in Africa 

Editors: Lynda Gichanda Spencer and Martina Vitackova

In February 2016, the New York Times published “A Valentine’s Day Reading List” that did not include any character, love story or book from Africa. In response, Grace A. Musila took to social media where she started #LoveinLiteraryAfrica, ‘a protest against this oh-so-familiar tradition’. Musila’s tweet received a remarkable response from the “African literati” who immediately began to share their favourite love stories from Africa. Five years later, in February 2021, Kiru Taye, one of the founding editors of Romance Writers of West Africa, was named as one of USA Today’s Bestselling Authors: a clear demonstration that there are African authors writing within the romance genre, and a sign that it is time—indeed, past time—for scholarship on popular romance fiction to address the thriving worlds of popular romance in Africa.

Romance imprints abound on the continent, including Sapphire Books, Nollybooks, the imprints of NB Publishers and Romanza from South Africa, Drumbeats from Kenya, Adoras from Cote d’Ivoire, Littattafan Soyayya, Ankara Press, Ebonystory and Love Africa Press from Nigeria. Scholarship on African romance remains marginal, in relation to studies of western romance, but this scholarship does exist, including a foundational essay by Lydie Moudileno on “The troubling popularity of West African romance novels” in Research in African Literatures (2008), a special issue of the South African feminist journal Agenda on “Gender and Popular Imaginaries in Africa” (October 2018), a special issue of Feminist Theory on ‘Chick-Lit in a Time of African Cosmopolitanism’ (April 2019), and a forthcoming special issue on popular romance written in Afrikaans for the digital journal Stilet. This special issue of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies therefore aims both to bring together scholars doing research on popular romance in Africa and to introduce existing research on the genre at the African continent to popular romance academia.

If, as Moudileno argues, the local creativity involved in “Africanizing the romance” allows romance readers and writers to manipulate structures and produce new meanings that are linked to the experience of the postcolony, thus opening up ‘the potentialities of an overtly marginal literary genre’ (2008:128), our hope for this issue is to Africanize popular romance scholarship. We are therefore interested in essays about all aspects of popular romance writing in Africa: its writers, readers, publishing houses, and scholars. We want to map the dynamics of popular romance genre in Africa and investigate these in their specificity and/or comparability with popular romance from other geopolitical areas. We seek to explore how popular romance shapes Africa, and how Africa shapes popular romance. What does the production and consumption of popular romance reveal about contemporary Africa?

We are open to submissions from a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary contexts, including but not limited to: cultural studies, literary studies, gender studies, publishing studies, history, sociology, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, political science, law, and music. Since this is an electronic publication, we also welcome multimedia and artwork contributions documenting the world of popular romance in, on, and about the African continent. We welcome articles discussing works by authors on the African continent as well as African authors in the diaspora. We seek submissions on (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Popular romance publishing industries on the African continent
  • Self-publishing and other alternative forms of text circulation in Africa or by African authors
  • Interrogating femininity, masculinity, sexuality, race, gender, ethnicity and religion
  • The pleasures of erotic desire
  • Subversion, alternatives and alterations to the (Western) romance formula
  • Social engagement and social critique in African popular romance
  • Interviews with romance authors from Africa
  • Analysing the culture of reading clubs and reading groups in Africa


The Journal of Popular Romance Studies (JPRS) is published by the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR). It is the first academic journal to focus exclusively on representations of romantic love across national and disciplinary boundaries. It is an Open Access, double-blind peer reviewed journal, and is available at JPRS is currently listed at ERIH Plus (European Reference Index for the Humanities and Social Sciences), and in the process of listing in a range of databases, including Sherpa Romeo, DOAJ, Scopus (Elsevier), ESCI (Emerging Sources Citation Index), and Ulrichsweb (ProQuest). It is probable that JPRS will be listed for all of these by the time the special issue is published.

Please submit expressions of interest by 30 September 2021. Feel free to contact the editors of this special issue to discuss possible topics: Lynda Gichanda Spencer ( or Martina Vitackova ( Full articles of between 5,000 and 10,000 words, including notes and bibliography, will be due by 1 March 2022. We are aiming for publication at the end of 2022. Manuscripts can be sent to the following address: Submissions should be Microsoft Word documents, with citations in MLA eighth edition 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. For more information on how to submit a paper, please visit

Online Launch Event of the Research Group CISG (Contemporary Intimacies, Sexualities and Genders)

Dear all,

We are proud to host the internationally renowned scholars Prof Diane Richardson (University of Newcastle, UK)and Dr Ana Cristina Santos (University of Coimbra, Portugal) to speak on current perspectives within intimate and sexual citizenship studies.

You are cordially invited to attend the Online Launch Event of the Research Group CISG (Contemporary Intimacies, Sexualities and Genders).

CISG is part of RCASS, the Research Centre for Applied Social Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

It has formed to explore and host critical debates around current issues around intimacies, relationships, sexualities, genders, bodies and the politics around them.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm (BST)

Please, find details of the programme for our first event and book your free ticket via eventbrite:

Joining details will be confirmed by email to registered attendees closer to the date.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the launch event.

Please, feel free to disseminate widely via your links and networks.

Kind regards,

Christian Klesse and Jenny van Hooff (Co-Leads of CISG)


Special Issue 2021- Call for papers

Georg Simmel and Love

The German philosopher and sociologist, Georg Simmel is considered one of the founders of sociology and culture studies. Thanks to the variety and vastness of his work, his thought has influenced and shaped the work of many social scientists.

Throughout his career, Simmel wrote regularly on issues concerning women, sexuality and love. An essay “On the psychology of Women” appeared in 1890, followed by brief newspaper pieces and popular journal articles on the women’s movement in 1892, 1894, and 1896. A newspaper piece on “The Role of Money in the Relations between the Sexes” appeared in 1898. Two years later, these ideas were incorporated in “The Philosophy of Money” in which he included a discussion on the monetary valuation of women, marriage and prostitution. A preliminary sketch of his text “Female culture” appeared in 1902. This was followed by some remarks on the psychology of women, notes on the ideal of a philosophy of love, and a preliminary version of the essay “Flirtation”. Whilst some ideas presented within these texts open intellectual doors others are highly questionable.  

The “Fragment on Love”is a paper left unfinished by Georg Simmel and published posthumously under this title. According to Simmel, love is one of the forms that life takes that can turn into a higher goal than life itself.  The link between life and love allows Simmel to approach and combine his Lebensphilosophie with social reality. Love allows two individuals to turn their differences into a unity. Love partially dissolves individual life in favor of something superior, a super-individual level. Therefore, Simmel believes that love creates a dynamic process transforming both partners. In its history, love has gone through different forms (expressions), reaching from Platonic love over the universal love towards humanity, and Christian love, to modern love; in particular, the character of modern love appears to be more dynamic.

Today, love has taken on a different role. Its romantic form has become intertwined with capitalist consumption and enriched by visual imagery from films and series. They shape expectations for Valentine’s Day and anniversaries, and create an artificially sweetened and stilted image of love. While the media continues to project a false version of romance, in our everyday relationships we have become increasingly skeptical when it comes to love. Love seems to appear as a sociological problem, and maintaining close relationships in a modern, individualized society has become even more complicated. There seems to be a gradual decline of traditional relationships between men and women. New forms of relationships and new trends in love that are much more flexible and self-centred have emerged in recent years with the advent of new technologies, social struggles and access to new possibilities of love.

This call for papers invites contributions that reconstruct and interpret Simmel’s vision of love and – relying on his contribution- reflect and interrogate the following contemporary topics: love relationships and modernity, the reconfiguration of male/female roles, the role of love in today’s society, a Simmelian perspective on love in times of pandemics, love and female emancipation, sex and Eros, flirtation and love in today’s cultural frames outside/beyond western society.

Proposals must be written in English. Abstracts of 400 words, for 5,000-8,000 word submissions, should be sent to the following email addresses: paulina.sabugal[at], sseebach [at]

Closing date for abstracts submission: Apr 30th 2021

Notification to the authors: until May 31th 2021

Articles submission deadline: Jul 10th 2021

Articles assessment: Aug 10th 2021

Final version submission: until Sep 10th 2021

Publication: Dec 2021 For more information on Simmel Studies:

Unhappy Ending. Poems for the Broken/Hearted is now available!

Poetry artbook by network member Ania Malinowska & Pola Dwurnik:Unhappy Ending. Poems for the Broken/Hearted is now available!

Unhappy Ending. Poems for the Broken/Hearted is a poetry artbook depicting the morphology of a heartbreak. It maps the stages and structures of torment brought on by the collapse of love as well as sharing the epiphaniesthat emerge from the pain of a breakup. Created over the course of four years in the style that the authors term “high pulp”, the artbook narrates an emotional journey across the void of a broken heart, and describes a search for rebirth which that experience invariably induces. It also maps different locations – from New York to Katowice to Warsaw to an American desert – where the poems and drawings came to be. Far from the imagery of drama traditionally associated with the topos of lost love, the book playfully dignifies unhappy endings.

Unhappy Ending. Poems for the Broken / HeartedPoems: Ania Malinowska

Drawings: Pola Dwurnik

Graphic design by Ania Malinowska & Tomasz Gałdyński

52 pages, hardcover

Print run: 500 copies

Distribution: Bęc Zmiana, Warsaw

New member of the network

Please welcome the newest member of the Love Research Network:
Paulina Sabugal has a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the University of Pisa.
She works as Teaching Assistant at Pisa University and collaborates with the European University Institute and the Historical Archives of the European Union in the framework of its educational programme organised in collaboration with FMA, the Former Member Association of the European Parliament. Her PhD project was on love and migration, specifically, the case of Mexican women who migrate to Italy because they fell in love with Italians. The axis of her work was studying love as a social category. In her research, bicultural couples became a kind of micro laboratory that allows to explore and to discuss dynamics of exclusion, discrimination, racism and integration in the context of the migration phenomenon. At the same time, this case study has allowed her to consider the cultural practices that are maintained and the ones that are lost during the migration process, besides discussing modern love and the market of affections in a globalized world through marriage, family, sexuality and gender roles. Over the years, she has investigated these questions on fieldwork in Italy, Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. Areas of Interest: Migration Studies, Identity and belonging, cultural representations and signifying practices, narrative research, ethnographic methods, love and society, gender and mobility.

New publications

We would like to draw your attention to:

LGBT ‘Communities’ and the (Self-)regulation and Shaping of Intimacy Eleanor Formby…/10.1177/1360780420974031

Reclaiming the Second Phase of Life? Intersectionality, Empowerment and Respectability in Midlife Romance Sarah Milton, Kaveri Qureshi…/10.1177/1360780420974690

Discordant Expectations of Global Intimacy: Desire and Inequality in Commercial Surrogacy Kristen E Cheney…/10.1177/1360780420984169

Traditional Inequalities and Inequalities of Tradition: Gender, Weddings, and Whiteness Julia Carter…/10.1177/1360780421990021

Does Love Always Come Before Marriage?

William Jankowiak & Alex Nelson

Arranged marriages and love marriages are sometimes seen as cultural opposites, but it’s far more complicated. Anthropology shows how love and marriage are entwined in many different ways.

Dr Deborah Bailey-Rodriguez:
Covid-19: love in lockdown – podcast | Science | The Guardian

Mini review of Eva Illouz, The End of Love

Michael Gratzke:

Eva Illouz has published several books on the history and sociology of love. Her contribution to the academic research into love and its popularisation has been remarkable. In this latest love-themed book, Illouz looks at various ways in which love ends.

A large portion of the book is dedicated to her tracing of sexual liberation, sexiness-as-commodity and ‘scopic capitalism’. Her main argument is that the detraditionalization of society (in the Western World) has created an environment in which sex, relationships and love have been decoupled. Without strong cultural frameworks regulating their interactions, such as the middle-class preoccupation with the core family as the single site for love, sex, procreation and economic security which was the dominant model ca. 1850s to 1950s, actors lack the safety of normative, ontological and emotional certainties. This is a take on Illouz’ previous work on choice, technologies of choice and the ways in which they overburden the individual.

Illouz sees the ways in which people enter and end relationships in the first two decades of the 21st century as evidence for a negative sociality based on the lack of certainties and consequently ‘muddled wills’. People don’t know what they are supposed to feel and, therefore, do not know what they are supposed to do.

Dating apps and their associated behaviours, ghosting, divorce rates which remain high, men’s unwillingness to commit, women’s overwhelming desire to be recognised in their full emotionality are brought in evidence. Many of the examples from interviews, literature and internet sources point at what Lyotard would have described as a différend: two parties who cannot resolve their conflict because there is no shared frame of reference for what the conflict is, such as a woman who feels hurt because the man did not invite her to his house warming party for his close friends – because they had agreed that their were fuckbuddies and not friends with benefits.  

To me, the book has some weaknesses in the way it generalises male and female heterosexual behaviour, although it has to be mentioned that for this book Illouz interviewed gay and lesbian people as well, which she did to a much lesser extent in previous studies. 

The strength of the book lies in its wide historical and philosophical range which is thought provoking.