Academia

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom Bedfellows

    By Ellorgast on Sunday, 16 August 2015 - 4:09pm
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    Swirly text surrounded by pink flowers, hearts, and a cupid reading

    • The University of Leicester announced a conference on Fandom and Religion. "'Fandom is a major activity today: people’s passions become major commitments, and fans start seeming like religious devotees,' says Dr Clive Marsh, Director of Lifelong Learning at the University of Leicester, who is one of the organisers. 'I am particularly interested in researching the intensity with which people exercise their fandom, and how this signals the meaning and purpose that people find in, and through, their fan activity. Functionally at least, this can prove to be very similar indeed to religious practice.'”
    • BizCommunity discussed results of a survey of music fans and categorized them by eight 'Logics of Engagement'. "Music fans engage in their passion differently country by country. For example, the festive culture of Brazilians make them the fans that engage most strongly through the logic of Social Connection (62%), whereas 9 out of 10 Chinese fans engage through the logic of Play. Furthermore, age matters. Young fans aged 13-17 engage the most strongly through Immersion when they listen to music (64%). A majority of fans that are 35 and older engage through the Logic of Exploration (59%)."
    • Barnes and Noble was targeting fangirls as part of its Pop Culture events. "Barnes & Noble is calling all fangirls to its stores nationwide for a special Fangirl Friday meet-up...to celebrate fandom. From 'Potterheads' to 'Whovians' to YA Booklovers, there’s a fandom for everyone, and Barnes & Noble is calling all fangirls to unite and visit their local store to enjoy special events, giveaways and more. Cosplay is welcomed. Additionally, while supplies last, customers can pick up the Vinyl Vixen Metallic Wonder Woman, available only at Barnes & Noble."
    • Cosmopolitan discussed an unfortunate overlap between Cameron Dallas fans and porn viewers. "Cameron Dallas is a dreamy, wholesome male Vine and YouTube star who is 20 years old. As is typical of this genre of celebrity, his fans are mostly teen girls. So I found it pretty disturbing last night when those fans started posting tons of selfies for Cameron on Twitter under their fandom name: Cam Girls. Anyone who has used the Internet probably knows what a cam girl is (other than a Cameron Dallas fan, apparently) and if you don't, I'll just tell you right now: "Cam girl" is short for "webcam girl," a woman who strips and does porn via webcam for money. Another fact about cam girls is that — like most other businesses — they often use Twitter to foster a following."

    What strange bedfellows have you seen in fandom? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Events Calendar for August 2015

    By Janita Burgess on Saturday, 1 August 2015 - 4:37pm
    Message type:

    Banner by caitie of curtains opening to show a stage with the words OTW Events Calendar

    Welcome to our Events Calendar roundup for the month of August! The Events Calendar can be found on the OTW website and is open to submissions by anyone with news of an event. These can be viewed by event-type, such as Academic Conferences, Fan Events and Fests, Legal Events, OTW Events, or Technology Events taking place around the world.

    • Guests for this year's Texas Comicon include David Prowse and Paul Blake (Star Wars); Robert Axelrod, Barbara Goodson, and Catherine Sutherland (Power Rangers); and John Wesley Shipp (The Flash). Celebrity Q&As, a Halo Tournament, and a costume contest are among the highlights of the event, August 7-9 in San Antonio, Texas, United States.
    • When Words Collide: A Festival for Readers and Writers is an event for readers, writers, artists, and publishers of commercial and literary fiction, including genre, young adult, children's books, and poetry. Guests of honor include Diana Gabaldon (the Outlander series), Faith Hunter (the Skinwalker series), and literary agent Sally Harding. The festival also includes optional pre-festival workshops on manuscript development, plot structure, and more. It's August 14-15 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
    • "Sasquan" is the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention, also known as Worldcon, the annual gathering of science fiction and fantasy fans. Worldcons are the site of the Hugo Awards. The event is August 19-23 in Spokane, Washington, United States.
    • Auto Assembly 2015 is "Europe's largest Transformers convention" and takes place each year in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom. This year's guests include Sumalee Montano and James Horan (Arcee and Wheeljack from Transformers: Prime) and writer James Roberts (More Than Meets the Eye). The event, August 21-23, includes an artists' alley and goodie bags for attendees.
    • Dragon*Con is one of the largest multimedia fan conventions and is held annually on Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. This year's Dragon*Con is September 4-7 and features guests John Barrowman (Torchwood), David Ramsey (Arrow), author Mercedes Lackey, Candice Patton (The Flash), Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow), and Edward James Olmos.

    Calls for Papers this month come from:

    • The Journal of Fandom Studies Special Issue on Ethics in Fan Studies. This special issue aims to examine these and related questions: What should ethics in fan studies look like? Do we need a standard ethical framework? How should fan studies scholars approach ethical issues in their work? What does the future of the field hold? Submit proposals for papers (250-400 words) by August 15.
    • Call for Chapter Proposals: Doctor Who and History. Contributions are being accepted for an edited volume that focuses on Doctor Who and History: A Cultural Perspective. While there have been many publications recently celebrating the show’s longevity, or those reflecting on the programme as a product of the BBC as British institution, this volume focuses specifically on the topic of history. Proposals/abstracts should be 300-350 words in length and submitted by September 1. Accepted proposals will be developed into 5,000- to 8,000-word essays (including notes and references).
    • Call for Participants: Shame, Gender, and Cultural Capital: The Problems of Reading and Writing Fan Fiction. This is a call for participants for a panel at PCA/ACA 2016. There are very specific histories and stigmas associated with women’s writing and reading. Whether it’s a question of popular reading or canon formation, the responses are still the same: “That’s not good for you!” “That’s trashy!" “Why can’t you read Serious Literature?” Instead, the big questions to consider could be: “Why is reading and writing fic a problem for some people?” and “Where does reading fit into participatory culture?” This roundtable would like to discuss how the fan models of women’s writing and its reception is complicated both through genre and fan history. A statement of interest is due September 1.

    The OTW encourages anyone to submit an event that's not already listed, and to check out the calendar throughout the year!

  • OTW Fannews: Fannish Reading

    By Pip Janssen on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 - 4:02pm
    Message type:

    Graphic showing a desk fan looking at a book

    • The Bookseller reported on Scribd's changes to its business model due to romance readers. "Coming in the context of Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select's controversial new per-page payments...the news from Scribd may not raise independent authors' spirits. One key platform c.e.o., Smashwords' Mark Coker, refers to it as a 'purge'." The problem? Romance fans read too much. "All-you-can-read subscription programs...are predicated on the assumption that most subscribers will not use them, or at least won't use them with any serious regularity...The romance-reading community, famed for its high rate of content consumption, thus is like part of a fitness club membership overrunning the workout equipment, costing the service more, apparently, than is sustainable."
    • The Guardian also looks at romance and fanfic readers as a problem for the publishing industry, though less for reading too much than not reading enough non-romance. "Fiction Uncovered cleverly...turn[ed] Grey’s ubiquity to its advantage by launching the #BritishwritingisnotallGrey hashtag, in which tweeters could nominate favourite contemporary writers...'This is not an anti-Grey stance,' wrote Sophie Rochester, the organisation’s director, 'but the singular focus on the book this week is exemplary of an issue regularly seen – a fanfare of attention around one or two writers with many talented writers not getting the attention they deserve...The work is out there, was the message; we just need to support it. Publishers would no doubt counteract the argument by noting that off-the-scale successes such as Fifty Shades underwrite their commitment to all kinds of writing."
    • A University of Missouri journalism project sought to give female fans even more to read by launching a new gaming magazine targeted to them. "Fangirl hopes to become a bi-monthly printed issue along with an iPad edition. There’s a three-year plan to take the publication from online-only to print production. It might become a full-time gig for some of us, too. 'The School of Journalism gave me a chance to create my own job,' Morrison said. 'I never thought I’d be doing something like this when I came to MU, and while it’s sometimes horrifying, it’s also the most exciting and worthwhile experience of my career.'"

    What stories about fannish reading can you tell? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Things to Come at TWC

    By Kiri Van Santen on Monday, 29 June 2015 - 5:22pm
    Message type:

    Banner by Alice of a book/eReader with an OTW bookmark and a USB plug going into the spine.

    The OTW's journal, Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), will be celebrating its 20th issue this September. OTW's Communications Committee is at work planning some events to recognize the achievements of our small but extremely hard-working team that has given us several of these issues each year since its launch in 2008.

    But we would also like your help! How would you like to see TWC celebrated? As we plan for a panel discussion and posts, what topics would you like to see discussed? What kind of events would you like to take part in? Let us know!

    In the meantime, TWC has two calls for papers for future issues. The Symposium section in each issue exists for fan contributions, so even if you are not an academic, do consider submitting an essay for these issues! Or help TWC out by spreading the word.

    Special Issue CFP: Sherlock Holmes Fandom, Sherlockiana, and the Great Game (March 2017)

    "This special issue seeks to engage both academics and fans in writing about the older, long established Sherlockian fandom. We welcome papers that address all fandoms of Sherlock Holmes and its adaptations, particularly those that trace the connections and similarities/differences among and between older and newer fandoms.

    We welcome submissions dealing with, but not limited to, the following topics:

    • Questions of nomenclature, cultural distinction, class, race, gender, and sexuality.
    • The role of Sherlockian fandom and the Great Game in fandom history.
    • Academic histories of Sherlockian fandom, both organized and informal.
    • Connections between new adaptation-based fandoms and the older fandom.
    • Fan productions, e.g., pastiche, fan works, and Sherlockian writings on the Canon.
    • Influence of intellectual property law and norms on adaptations and fan productions.
    • Sherlockian publishing, e.g., MX, Titan, BSI Press or Wessex Press.
    • Community, e.g., Sherlockians on the Internet or Sherlockian “real world” gatherings.
    • Specific national fandoms, e.g., Japanese or Chinese Sherlock Holmes reception.

    Read more at their announcement on the TWC site.

    They are also looking for contributions for a special issue on Queer Female Fandom:

    This special issue is the first dedicated to femslash, and it aims to collect and put in dialogue emerging research and criticism on the subject, from histories of lesbian fandom to current fan activities around queer female characters and pairings. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

    • case studies of femslash subcultures and fanworks
    • femslash dynamics and demographics
    • platforms, archives, and communities
    • diachronic or comparative analyses
    • feminist investments in centering women
    • debates about queerbaiting and the politics of visibility
    • queer female authorship in gift/commercial economies
    • transnational circulation of queer female texts
    • yuri (girls’ love) and other non-western femslash iterations

    Read more at their announcement on the TWC site.

    And don't forget to check out the recently released issue 19, "Transnationalism, Localization, and Translation in European Fandom."

  • Transformative Works and Cultures Releases Issue 19

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 17 June 2015 - 4:09pm
    Message type:

    Banner by Alice of a book/eReader with an OTW bookmark and a USB plug going into the spine

    Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 19, “Transnationalism, Localization, and Translation in European Fandom,” guest edited by Anne Kustritz (University of Amsterdam), has been released. This special issue focuses on global media and transnational studies, as well as European fan practices, broadly conceived. The issue comprises scholarly research articles, a section on pedagogy, essays related to specific countries’ fandoms, and a book review.

    As Kustritz writes in her editorial, “The articles in this issue center a global perspective, which questions assumptions about what it means to be a media fan and how the industry perceives international audiences. Therefore, the articles also address factors that persistently complicate and limit the global flow of media and fan communities.

    Paul J. Booth leads the Pedagogy section with “Fandom: The Classroom of the Future,” in which he claims that “once formal schooling is complete, one's fandom may be one of the only places where one is encouraged to think critically, to write, to discuss deeply, and to make thoughtful and critical judgments about hegemonic culture”. The three interlinked essays that follow, led by Amanda Gilroy and including work by her master’s level students, present the results of a class based around Ien Ang’s groundbreaking Watching Dallas (1982, 1985) and include audience analysis of European watchers of the Dallas (2012–14) reboot.

    The Symposium section includes essays addressing fandom in Germany, Sweden, Poland, France, Spain, and Putin’s Russia.

    Several essays discuss European fandoms surrounding American texts: two essays consider Bruce Springsteen fandom (Bill Wolff, Maryn Claire Wilkinson), one addresses Polish fan responses to the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale (Agata Włodarczyk, Marta Tyminska), and another discusses Italian fandoms of American TV shows (Eleonora Benecchi). Two essays address texts based on European fandoms, including MTV’s Welsh reality show, The Valleys (Bethan Jones), and football fandom (Abby Waysdorf).

  • OTW Fannews: At All Different Angles

    By Sarah Remy on Thursday, 28 May 2015 - 4:27pm
    Message type:

    Fannews banner green chalkboard with pencil and white arrows plus OTW Fannews in red letters

    • A webinar presentation on Open Learning in Fan Fiction Communities was held at the Connected Learning site. Presented by several scholars from The University of Washington Information School, it discussed various aspects of fanfic communities, including a term they developed called 'distributed affect' which described "emotional experiences [that] could also be embodied outside a group and led to significant increases in collaborative creativity." (No transcript available).
    • The Education Institute is also holding a webinar, this one for librarians, titled From Marvel to Middle-Earth: Fanfiction in the Library. The session expected to cover various topics including "background on the various technologies and fan-centred services—such as LiveJournal, Fanfiction.com, Archive of Our Own (AO3), and Amazon Worlds—that have grown up around the movement and how they are used. Participants will also learn how they can be incorporated into a library setting and adapted for programs" as well as "advice on how to incorporate and lead fan-driven creative programming at the library that is exciting, collaborative, and instructional. This includes suggestions for how to structure meetings, encourage participation and creativity in young writers, and provide opportunities to grow and refine literacy skills such as writing and engaging with texts in a constructive way."
    • The University of East Anglia in Norwich held an academic conference on Frozen in May. "The one-day event, or "Symfrozium", on May 12 will be the first day of academia dedicated to Disney's film" and covered "feminism, the film's music, reworking of fairy tales and the role of love, and whether Frozen can be considered a part of the 'Nordic Noir' genre which includes Stieg Larsson’s altogether darker Millennium book trilogy."
    • Stamford, Connecticut's Daily Voice reported on a fandom storytelling event that encouraged participants to show and tell their stories of fandom. "The collaborative storytelling event's theme of fandom was inspired by Jeremy Deller's 'Our Hobby Is Depeche Mode.' Deller's feature-length video piece shows Depeche Mode fans from all over the world and is currently on view in the group exhibition 'It's gonna take a lotta love.'"

    What are your favorite fan studies works about fandom? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Find Your Passion

    By Sarah Remy on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 - 6:11pm
    Message type:

    Find Your Passion banner red arrows and yellow background

    • The new issue of Cinema Journal was guest edited by the OTW's Kristina Busse and she, along with co-editor of Transformative Works and Cultures Karen Hellekson, contributed articles. The entire issue is available for free online. Topics include articles on fan labor and feminism, fandom's gift culture, Fifty Shades and the "archive of women’s culture," and articles focusing on sampling, vidding, and cosplay.
    • Portland, Oregon's Go Local PDX hosted an article by a college admissions coach about getting writing experience. "Write fan fiction. If you care about an audience and feedback, writing fan fiction can be a great way to get both. Lots of people obsessively read (and comment on) fan fiction about their favorite characters, so a well-written spin-off from a popular novel or series can quickly develop a large readership. In addition, it’s easy to find writing prompts: people on fan fiction forums often run informal contests built around silly topics like 'a Les Miserables-inspired scene with a beach party.' Fanfiction.net is the main hub for this, but a quick search can help you find more specialized sites devoted to particular topics.
    • As a post at Candy Mag pointed out, prompts and fanworks are everywhere. Focusing on content at Pinterest, the post pointed out a variety of fandom crossover fan art exploring various fanwork genres.
    • Cult Noise interviewed Cassie Whitt about her defense of music fangirls. "You should never [be] afraid to be passionate about something. In fact, you should see your ability to do so as a strength most people don’t have. Love music in a way that makes sense to you, and as long as it’s not hurting anyone or yourself, what other people think about it doesn’t matter. And if you’re ever feeling misunderstood or without an outlet for that, find fan communities. All communities have different vibes: some of them will be good, others will suck, and others have the potential to become like a second family."

    Did you use fanfic to prep for college admissions? Are you taking courses about fanworks? Write about fandom and academia in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Doing it New School

    By thatwasjustadream on Sunday, 17 May 2015 - 6:11pm
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    • DNAInfo reported on workshops that use Sci-Fi, Fan Fiction to Teach Girls STEM and Writing Skills. "'A lot of the series that are popular today, like ‘Hunger Games’ or ‘Divergent,’ feature white characters...We think it’s really important to expose girls to visions of the future that have girls that look like them in leading roles doing the changing.' The project’s namesake, author Octavia E. Butler, inspired the founders to use science fiction as a way to talk about broader issues in social activism, gender, class and race. 'She looked at society through a real critical lens and didn’t sugarcoat anything...It blew me away because I never saw how sci-fi could be used to make me think of history and my own role.'”
    • Olin College professor Allen Downey had some of his students post a Bayesian Survival Analysis in A Song of Ice and Fire on his blog. "Using data from A Wiki of Ice and Fire, we created a dataset of all 916 characters that appeared in the books so far. For every character, we know what chapter and book they first appeared, if they are male or female, if they are part of the nobility or not, what major house they are loyal to, and, if applicable, the chapter and book of their death. We used this data to predict which characters will survive the next couple books."
    • MediaCommons is an academic site that hosts discussion on both courses, research and discussion surrounding reading, writing, and literature. Among the topics is fan fiction, such as this post by Charles Dunbar about learning to write outside one's comfort zone. "I had found the old notebook in which all those stories Colleen had been written into were hastily stuffed, and after reading them over, decided I had done a grave disservice to the character. Yes she was a fan-fiction creation, but she was also part of my writer’s experience, and as such I felt she deserved something more than the role of hostage-girlfriend...So I picked up a pen and began to write. But before I did, I decided to make one little change: rather than approach Colleen as the main character’s girlfriend…I made her the main character."

    Where have you seen appearances of fanworks in academia? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Transformative Works and Cultures Releases Issue No. 18

    By Janita Burgess on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 - 4:38pm
    Message type:

    Banner by Alice of a book/eReader with an OTW bookmark and a USB plug going into the spine

    Transformative Works and Cultures, issue number 18, “Performance and Performativity in Fandom,” guest edited by Lucy Bennett (Cardiff University) and Paul J. Booth (DePaul University), has been released. This special issue focuses on performance as it relates to fandom and comprises scholarly research articles, personal essays, interviews, and book reviews.

    As the editors write in their editorial, “We want to problematize this notion of fandom as a particular behavior and instead note the characteristics of being that permeate a fannish identity” (1.3). Accordingly, the contributions focus on fannish artworks and contributions as a form of performance, including an analysis of a Facebook group of fans of 19th-century British literature who post images of fictional constructions in the act of reading (Dawn Opel); a study of identity via fannish tattoos, with this sort of performance linked to sacred experience (Bethan Jones); and a discussion of Harry Potter slash disseminated within LiveJournal communities as a form of performance (Darlene Rose Hampton).

    Other articles address performativity through topics including language learners and Na’vi (Christine Schreyer), Doctor Who–themed weddings (Jessica Elizabeth Johnston), horror film audience reaction movie trailers (Alexander Swanson), and Sims fandom on Tumblr (Ruth A. Deller). Abigail De Kosnik links performance studies to new media studies, with a particular focus on fandom.

    Cosplay, an overt form of performativity, is directly addressed in several contributions: Ellen Kirkpatrick addresses cosplay and the superhero genre, Nicolle Lamerichs writes about cosplay music videos, and Shelby Fawn, in a personal essay, relates cosplay to her personal growth. Relatedly, Brendan Riley writes about zombie walks.

    Interviews are with Kurt Lancaster, an early scholar of performance in fan studies, and Joy DeLyria and Kris Hambrick, the cofounders of Hello Earth Productions, a theater company that produces outdoor (re)performances of classic Star Trek episodes.


    Transformative Works and Cultures, is part of the Organization for Transformative Works, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We exist entirely due to the generosity of our donors. If you would like our work to continue, please consider donating today.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom Texts

    By Pip Janssen on Sunday, 8 March 2015 - 4:48pm
    Message type:

    sunset over hills with text saying Fandom Texts

    • At The Conversation, Hannah McCann discussed studying fans of popular culture. "Researchers in the field of romance studies have argued that criticism of the genre often involves patronising female readers. Similar levels of critical concern are rarely turned on texts marketed to male audiences, or those seen as part of high culture. Studying romance fans themselves has been a way to recover the agency of female readers, in part by seeing female fans as active meaning-makers."
    • Media scholar Henry Jenkins and Patrick Galbraith held a conversation on Jenkins' blog In Defense of Moe. "These are people who actively seek alternatives to expectations of men, which is to say assigned sex/gender roles, in relationships with fictional characters. This can take the form of 'marriage' to a fictional character, belonging to a community of shared interest around a character, and so on. Manga, anime and games do not necessarily get us out of hegemonic sex/gender roles, as we have seen from Gamer Gate, but some certainly see that potential. Again, there is Honda Tōru, who argues for a 'moe masculinity' that embraces both the masculine and feminine sides of one’s self, which can be nurtured and accessed in interactions with fictional characters outside of the expectations of society."
    • Syracuse.com wrote about a class on Dr. Who. "More than 200 people (about half SU students, half non-students) enrolled in the live class on the SU campus. About 3,000 people registered for the online class, meaning they can follow the lectures at home, watch the screenings and participate in the class discussions via Twitter and Google+. Rotolo said about 900-1,000 of those online students participate actively."
    • At Edge, Mary Sheehan argued for the significance of One Direction fandom for queer culture. "When both partners are the same gender, both partners have equal power. Young people seeking portrayals of open, equal relationships in media can identify with Larry Stylinson and these kinds of LGBTQIA ships. '[Larry Shippers’] actions are laden with the complexities of our current social climate. They formed a community and collective identity to solve their fears alongside those for the world around them.'"

    What are some of your favorite articles or studies about fandom? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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