Yes, it's true: there is a forthcoming anthology about the relationship between history (as a scholarly discipline) and America's favorite series of young-adult novels about chastely attractive Mormon vampires. The editor, Prof. Nancy Reagin of Pace University, is "looking for essays that historicize Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series...or analyz[e] how popular historical understandings inform the series." Her suggested list of topics includes:
* "Masculine honor and gender roles in Edward’s world and Bella’s"
* "Marriage and courtship in Edward’s youth"
* Essays that connect characters in the novels to the Indians of the Pacific Northwest and South America, and
* "The Volturi, art patronage, and politics in Italian history." (Also known as "Jacob Burkhardt Wants To Drink Your Blood.")
I don't have much to add, except to note that Prof. Reagin is, perhaps, being a bit too charitable toward the TWILIGHT novels, whose plots and characterization are, by some accounts, crudely and even violently misogynistic. (See this summary of the series if you don't believe me.) A more daring or subversive cultural critic might instead ask whether the views of courtship, marriage, and child-bearing that Prof. Meyer is trying to impress upon her readers, who are mostly impressionable teenage girls, are conservative, reactionary, or totally batshit insane. But then, we historians are often too impressed with celebrity to take any risks criticizing it. We leave that to young people with weblogs.