Greetings Bitchery folks in the Northeast US! A PhD student wants to interview you, the avid, intelligent romance reader! Read on:
I am a PhD student in Sociology at Rutgers University and am writing my dissertation on the romance novel industry. While I’m thrilled at the increase in academic work on romance that exists, a good amount of it is focused in English lit and Communications, and tends to focus on the books themselves. Not as much is analyzing from a social perspective. Hopefully that’s where I will help fill a gap.
If you could find it in your heart to convey my appeal to the Bitchery, I would be forever grateful. My request is twofold:
1. I would like to arrange interviews with local Bitches (NJ, metro NYC, and Philly area—though if I have more than one interested person in a particular area, I’m willing to travel a few hours in driving distance) at their convenience. The interviews last about an hour (or more, if you’re a big talker!) and I will meet people at their homes, local coffee shop/bookstore/wherever, and happily buy them a beverage of their choice.
2. I would like to arrange interviews with not-so-local Bitches at this year’s RT Convention. I will be attending (as I did last year) and hoping to spend four glorious days meeting and interviewing readers (as well as attending workshops, which also have endless research potential!). My caveat to this is—as much as I love meeting and interviewing authors, I have a surplus in my study so far. If I have time, I will be thrilled to add more to my data, but right now, I NEED readers. Can’t write a good dissertation without both sides of the equation.
If anyone is interested in setting up an interview with me, either at home or at RT, I can be reached by email at abarra @ sociology.rutgers.edu. Since all interviewing is anonymous, I can’t offer up any of the names of people I have previously interviewed, but I have had nothing but positive feedback from my interviewees. I seek to tell a fair and accurate story about romance. Only with help can I do that.
I asked for more information about her project, and here are the details:
I am analyzing the relationships between four key sectors of the romance novel industry: 1. Readers (Consumers) 2. Authors (Producers) 3. Books (literally the novels themselves) 4. Social World (US society and its culture)
The dissertation will look at the interactions between all of these different segments and how they create an entire picture of an industry. To get a better idea of what that means, I’ll give you a main theme in some key relationships:
—Relationship between Reader and Book: What are the major emotions/reactions elicited from reading a romance novel? What of themselves do readers bring to the act of interpreting and accepting (or rejecting) a book?
—Relationship between Book and Social World: How do prevailing ideas of gender and relationship equality come to bear on the content of novels?
—Relationship between Author and Reader: How has the increase in technology altered the way authors understand and respond to their readers?
—Relationship between Social World and Author: How does an author’s particular demographic situation (age, race, geography, gender, etc) affect what they produce?