Today I’m talking with two nifty academics, so get ready to maybe take notes. I’m talking with Tressie McMillan Cottom, PhD, sociology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Kelly Baker, PhD, who studies racist politics, sexism in the academy, white supremacy, and zombies.
Both are writers, and both are major fans of paranormal romance. They snuck paranormal romances to read during grad school, they hid their love of romances, and dealt with being shunned and shamed for loving the genre.
We talk about how reading fills in gaps in knowledge about culture and history, and we also discuss:
- How romance and genre fiction broadened their understanding of worlds outside their own
- Their take on anyone who can or tries to remove the politics from anything - including historical romance
- The idea that history can somehow not be political (?!)
- The ways that romance, specifically fantasy and paranormal romance, interrogates race, society, gender, and colonialism - and the ways that it does not
- The politics of escape fantasy in different romance genres
- The politics of who is permitted to get angry in a written world
Plus we take a hilarious deep critical dive into Dr. Cottom’s love of Hallmark movies - and how they are talked about as “unpolitical” as well. She talks, after some prodding, about how she reads Hallmark films. Here’s a hint: they’re alarmingly similar to a very specific romance genre, and it’s not contemporary. Get ready to have your mind blown and also laugh a lot, too.