'Love Between the Covers’ film screening discusses romance, feminism in modern literature - The Herald: News

'Love Between the Covers’ film screening discusses romance, feminism in modern literature

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  • Dr. Glinda Hall answering questions

    Dr. Glinda Hall answers a question about how erotica literature differs from romantic literature after the free screening of "Love Between the Covers" in the Humanities and Social Science building on Oct. 29.

Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 10:53 pm

The film “Love Between the Covers” by Laurie Kahn-Leavitt combines feminism with the themes that are traditional to romantic fiction. This documentary covers a diverse, female-dominated genre of writing from the authors that create the works, the publishers that distribute them, and the community of readers who enjoy them. While providing the students with movie snacks, the Arkansas State University Departments of English, Philosophy, and World Languages; Heritage Studies; Women and Gender Studies; and the Feminist Union co-sponsored the screening of this documentary in the auditorium of the Humanities and Social Sciences Building. This film discussed one of the most lucrative industries in the book-selling business–romance fiction.

Although many students were drawn to the event with the promise of extra credit, the message of the film proved to fulfill their needs outside of the classroom. Angela Willbanks, sophomore English major of Trumann, said, “I consider myself a feminist, and this documentary spiked my interest because it focuses on women writing about women for women.”

The documentary featured Mary Bly, Shakespearian professor who is a best-selling romance author under the pseudonym Eloisa James; Len Barot, surgeon, farmer, publisher, and wellknown lesbian romance fiction writer under the pseudonyms “Radclyffe” and L.L. Raand; Beverly Jenkins, pioneer of African American romance fiction; New York Times best-selling dynamic duo Susan Donovan and Celeste Bradley; Joanne Lockyer, aspiring Australian romance author; as well as many other industry insiders, and romance scholars. Arkansas State University’s own Dr. Deborah Chappel Traylor, Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Associate Professor of English also made an appearance in the documentary offering commentary on the Romantic Fiction industry.

Following the screening, there was a panel discussion on gender and romance featuring Traylor, A-State Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Rebecca Barret-Fox, and Dr. Glinda Hall who is an A-State alumnus. The three women recounted their unique experiences with romance Fiction as well as provided insight to the audience of curious students. Hall wrote her dissertation on the topic entitled “A Genre of Our Own: The Cultural Work of Women’s Popular Romance Fiction” as well as having multiple publications centered on Romantic Fiction and other forms of Literature. Barret-Fox, who is a Mennonite, studies a wide variety of topics including: Christian romance fiction, religion, gender studies, and hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. Last but not least, Traylor, who teaches a range of American literature courses discussed the theme of the film.

Willbanks, who is also a student in Traylor’s Introduction of Fiction class said that she “is an extremely intelligent woman that I very much look up to. She is one of the best professors I have ever had.”

This film highlights one of the most underestimated communities in literature. The impact of this event on the Arkansas State University campus is best stated by Willbanks, “This film says to young women, like those present on a college campus, that no matter their skin color or sexual orientation, they can accomplish anything.”

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