Academia

  • OTW Fannews: Find Your Passion

    By Sarah Remy on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 - 6:11pm
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    • 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
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    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
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    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.

  • OTW Fannews: Running the Gamut

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 30 January 2015 - 5:11pm
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    • GamaSutra presented a roundup of videogame criticism "on topics ranging from the 'ludocentrism' of games discourse to a different take on Eric Zimmerman's 'Ludic Century.'" The roundup of videogame blogging included a look at German gaming blogs, and a blog post by Maggie Greene that compares "Tales of Xillia to Chinese literary traditions. Specifically, she looks at multiple endings and the effort to capture both tragic compromise and fairy tale and fan-fiction happiness ever-after."
    • Hoodline wrote about a bookstore's book fanfiction with local authors. "We pick a book every month, either one that we just love and is classic, or is just in the zeitgeist for whatever reason, and we assign each writer a character—they don’t get to pick. And then they write 800-1200 words of fan fiction about that character, or heavily featuring them or centered around them. They can do anything they want. Whoever wins gets to come back. The structure of the show is that there are six readers total, and they’re all read by our 'thespian in residence,'...and the audience gets to vote."
    • At The Guardian, Katie Welsh posted about the best vlog reinventions of classic books. "[F]resh-faced teens and twentysomethings aren’t only vlogging about their own lives; they’re dressing up as fictional characters and telling modern reworkings of familiar stories into their webcams as YouTube adaptations of classic novels go viral. The teams behind them may be professional actors or simply fans of the books, and the quality of both scripts and production can vary, but at their best they could give the BBC a run for its money."
    • The Otago Daily Times published a piece on cosplaying runners at Disney. "'I love the atmosphere,' said Lauren Harrell, 27, after she finished the November super heroes race in a hand-painted T-shirt and foam headpiece as Groot, the human-like tree in Disney's Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy. 'People are cheering you every step of the way. And nobody judges you for dressing in costume,' said Harrell, who had a speaker attached to her waist so she could dance and sing to the Guardians soundtrack." Other half marathons include Disney Princess or Tinker Bell themes.

    How far and wide have you seen fandom activities? 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: Fanwork Inspiration

    By Pip Janssen on Wednesday, 28 January 2015 - 5:23pm
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    • ComicBook.com recommended that readers check out the Five Best Fan-Made Superhero Series & Short Movies. "In case you didn’t notice, Comicbook.com is really into covering fan-made films and web-series. YouTube and increasingly-intuitive technology has made it easier than ever for passionate fans to share their own tales about superheroes, video game characters, or whatever fictional realm that’s captured their imaginations. It’s fan-fiction for the 21st century, and never has it been more abundant and impressive. This year marked a rather significant turning point in fan-made films with Nightwing, a YouTube series that scored almost $35,000 in Kickstarter funding for production costs. What resulted was one of the most highly-produced fan series to hit the Internet so far."
    • The inspiration mentioned in the above article was evident when Patton Oswalt discussed the effect Star Wars had on him. "I could imagine that these characters would go off and do other things, have other adventures. I'd draw cartoons of what this one guy in the cantina went and did after that scene…you felt there were all these little stories happening after you'd left these characters, all these other avenues to explore. It was like Fisher Price's My First Fan Fiction, and that had never happened to me with a movie before."
    • The Tyee suggested that January would instead be a good month for people to hunt out popular fanfic online, even if they shortchanged the number of online archives. "Boy bands aren't your thing? Well, you're in luck then since Wattpad also publishes stories about celebrities and Harry Potter characters. Or you can find tales more to your taste at any of more than a dozen of these online writing communities. Start with two of the largest ones: FanFiction and Archive of Our Own."
    • Fanworks aren't just inspiring viewers and fans but future academics. Mass Live highlighted the accomplishment of a local student who is a recipient of the "prestigious Marshall Scholarship for study in United Kingdom." Student Tess Grogan is "interested in instances of transgressive violence in children’s and young adult literature as well as alternative systems of justice and responses to this violence. She is interested in the implications of 'genderswap' fan fiction – pieces written by fans of books or television that reverse the genders of the primary characters."

    What sources have you seen as fanwork inspiration? 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: Fandom Education

    By Please leave a name on Tuesday, 9 December 2014 - 5:47pm
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    • At Campaign Asia-Pacific Dave McCaughan wrote about studying fans to develop marketing strategies. "Personally I was a little surprised that when we asked 20,000 people around the world about being a fan of something, only around 40 per cent see themselves as fans. Of that number, 5 per cent say they are die-hard fans. Of course the numbers vary. Higher in the USA, much lower in Hong Kong and China. And this was fans of anything, not limited to football or sports. But as I said it was self-defining. And regardless, the numbers of 'fans' are huge. And among those millions who recognize their devotion, we noted three distinct new behaviors."
    • Loyola University's Student Dispatch wrote about a lecture on Harry Potter's links to Christianity. "John Granger came to speak at Loyola University on 'The Seven Keys to Harry Potter', hosted by the club Alliance for Awesome...He told the crowd that reading the [first] book brought him to tears and the comparisons to Christianity are unmistakable. 'I realized by the end of the book that she was a Christian,' Granger said. 'She chose to entrench the books with Christian symbolism like Narnia.' The lecture continued to dissect each book, and several characters and moments and relate them back to Christianity. Granger also commented on J.K. Rowling and her faith life."
    • NPR reported on Robert Morris University-Illinois' institution of 45 to 50 athletic scholarships to competitive gamers. The "school of 7000 students, reports it has received 70 applications and over 500 email inquiries since the announcement. The only qualm Shaffer has, he said, is the existence of varsity sports in the first place, and the millions of dollars spent on them by universities around the country. 'Whether it makes sense to award scholarships to an academic institution based on performance in a sport (whether electronic or not) is less clear.' In other words, if giving kids money to hit buttons on a controller seems strange, so is rewarding kids who are good at putting a ball through a hole."
    • Fanfiction is increasingly seen as a way to get young people writing, but Camp Lejeune's The Globe profiled a library making fandom a family affair. "'The goal of the event is to celebrate all the fandoms out there and remind people that being a fan of something is good and cool,' said Pittman. 'Also for the families to have something different to do on base and above all have fun.' After competing in costume contests and bean bag toss games, families gathered for popcorn and treats as they watched Marvels 'Guardians of the Galaxy.'"

    Did you get to study fandom in school? Write about your courses 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: Fandom and Publishing

    By Janita Burgess on Wednesday, 3 December 2014 - 5:45pm
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    OTW Fannews Fandom and Publishing

    • Transformative Works and Cultures editors Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson were interviewed by fan studies scholar Henry Jenkins about the book they published earlier this year, The Fan Fiction Studies Reader (the book's royalties go to the OTW). Said Jenkins, "And that brings us to the second thing that the focus on 1991-92 as the birth of fan studies may get wrong. The Fan Fiction Studies Reader is focused in expanding this time line in important ways, calling attention to the kinds of writing on fan fiction that existed prior to Enterprising Women or Textual Poachers, work that often came out of the second wave of feminism and was also embedded in the fan community itself. Many of these essays have been out of print or scattered across obscure journals so there is an enormous contribution in bringing them together again, reframing them for contemporary readers, and reappraising their contributions to the early development of this field."
    • School Library Journal discussed the manga landscape and reasons for its resurgence in the U.S. They include "a selection of titles that includes some long-lived classics, a few series that started during the manga bust and have endured, and a handful of new series that launched in the past few months. After each title is the number of volumes published in Japan (to give a sense of the length of the total series) and a note as to whether it is complete or still ongoing."
    • The Kernel featured a long look at fangirl influence on book publishing. "These fans, most of them women, began by claiming ownership of their fanworks to an unprecedented degree. Then they spent the waning years of Twilight fandom forming small publishing presses and setting up shop as editors, designers, marketers, and writers to publish and sell the works of fanfiction they loved...And they did it all amid a tremendous amount of negative pushback from all sides—most of all from members of their own community."
    • At Reading Today Online, assistant professor Jayne C. Lammers wrote about studying a fanworks community. "In particular, I studied adolescent literacy in an online forum called The Sims Writers’ Hangout...[which] was an online space for fans of the videogame The Sims to gather and support each other’s writing of Sims fanfiction—multimodal, digital texts that pair images taken in the video game with narratives authors write...Over its five-year existence, The Hangout had more than 12,000 members, mostly adolescent females, from all over the world who posted over 660,000 messages on a variety of Sims-related and community-building topics to establish an online network of readers and writers."

    What are your favorite works about fandom and fanworks? 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: Delving Into Fandom

    By Janita Burgess on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 - 5:21pm
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    OTW Fannews Banner Delving into Fandom

    • The University of Iowa libraries, which partner with the OTW's Open Doors project, have announced a major fanzine digitization project. "10,000 science fiction fanzines will be digitized from the James L. 'Rusty' Hevelin Collection, representing the entire history of science fiction as a popular genre and providing the content for a database that documents the development of science fiction fandom."
    • At Swarthmore College, Professor Bob Rehak talked fandom studies and his article in the OTW's academic journal, Transformative Works and Cultures. "It was fascinating to see fixtures of my own media passions, such as Star Trek props and the Batmobile, filtered through the contributors’ different theoretical approaches. This sense of rediscovering the familiar is characteristic, I think, of fan studies that deepen and complexify the apparent superficialities of popular culture...Twenty years of fan scholarship have done a great deal to concretize and personalize those relationships, but object-oriented studies now promise to move us even further from the reductive idea of the media fan as gullible consumer."
    • The Prince George Citizen interviewed researcher and author Andrei Markovits about the motivation of sports fans. "[W]hile female fandom is on the rise 'it's very clear it's a gendered world,' he said. 'The emotional investment for men is so much more, but the pain [when their team loses] is also so much more,' Markovits said. 'When I was a kid, every English soccer games started Saturday at 3 p.m. Why? Because the factory gates closed at 2 p.m.... and that gave them time to get to the game. For it to become part of the hegemonic sports culture, you have to have a large group of working-class men.' However, these sports do create a mixing place for people of different social classes within society."
    • At The Daily Dot Aja Romano wrote about the Harry Potter Alliance's equality campaign. "The newest HPA project, named after one of the Harry Potter series' most beloved characters, is designed to raise a new generation of fandom activists. The Granger Leadership Academy, named after Hermione Granger, is a leadership conference taking place this weekend (October 17–19) at Auburn University. The goal is to empower people to turn their fandom into real-world activism, something that HPA founder Andrew Slack found transformative in his own life."

    Where research about fandom do you like to turn to? Write about it 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: Educated Readers

    By Kiri Van Santen on Thursday, 2 October 2014 - 5:51pm
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    • LancasterOnline introduced its readers to the basics of fanfic in an article that gave a broad overview of fic types and issues--good, bad, and ugly. In an interview, a local library employee discussed her history of reading and writing Supernatural fic and shared her experience stumbling across uncomfortable elements: “'There have been times where I’ve come across summaries or some such, you honestly don’t know — should I call the police?' she says, only half-jokingly. Plenty of fan fiction is benign, though, she says, noting, 'You kind of have to wade through.'" The article also covers shipping and alternate-universe fics.
    • Another librarian described bringing fandom into her workplace in Steal This Idea: I Dig Fandom. Autumn Winters described using fandom-based events to draw teen readers into her library for the summer reading program. In addition to asking teens what fandoms they were interested in and researching them online, she wrote, "I also thought about ways to remake previously successful programs with an eye toward fandom. For example, Perler beads to Minecraft pixels or button making to My Little Pony cutie marks." Ultimately, her Doctor Who and Minecraft events turned out to be the most popular.
    • In other Minecraft news, We all know Minecraft draws kids (and adults) to their computers and consoles, but a popular book series is now encouraging kids to read. TheLedger.com reports on a Scholastic guide series that has become popular with the game's target audience. In the article, a parent of a 7-year-old notes that "there are books kids are reading for schools and books that they hopefully like in their free time. And if ‘Minecraft' books are a motivation to read, that's a good thing, right? At the very least, they're developing skills, reading skills." The article also cites the popularity of fanfic and another hit book based on The Legend of Zelda.

    What have been your guides to 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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