TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Catherine Roach, professor in The University of Alabama’s New College, has received a Fulbright-University of Leeds Distinguished Chair Award for 2013-14.
She will spend the academic year researching and working with students at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.
Roach will interview members of the U.K. Romantic Novelists’ Association and finish the remaining chapters for her upcoming book, “Happily Ever After: The Romance Narrative in Popular Culture.” The book will explore the function of the romance story in popular culture, particularly the top-selling publishing genre of romance fiction. She also will examine how the romance narrative is changing.
“The ‘story of romance’ is the most powerful narrative at work in contemporary American culture and, more generally, the culture of the modern West,” Roach said. “It has pervasive influence in religion, the arts and pop culture. On the question of how to define and live the good life, the romance narrative offers an imperative: find your one true love — Your One and Only — and live happily ever after.”
“Happily Ever After,” which combines research with fictional narratives, will be published by Indiana University Press in 2015. Her book builds on two decades of teaching and research interest in gender, sexuality and popular culture. Roach also writes historical romance fiction under the pen name Catherine LaRoche; her first novel, “Master of Love,” was published by Simon & Schuster in 2012 and “Knight of Love” will appear in 2014.
The Distinguished Chair Program offers 40 research and lecturing fellowships of up to 12 months to prominent U.S. scholars. The Distinguished Chair Award is considered to be among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s highly selective flagship effort in international educational exchange.
In the aftermath of World War II, Sen. William Fulbright viewed the exchanges as a much-needed vehicle for promoting “mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world.” With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 310,000 participants — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
New College is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships, Truman Scholarships, and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.