OTW Fannews: Fandom in classrooms & history

Banner by caitie of the post title written in chalk on a green chalkboard

  • A post on the New York Times‘ Learning Network discussed students confronting ‘what ifs’ in classwork. “In this lesson, students will discuss how they ‘read’ their favorite television shows in order to make predictions about what will happen, then apply these skills to speculate about what happens to literary characters after their favorite novels or plays end. Finally, they will use the inferences they gain through close reading to create imagined futures for these characters in comic strips, next chapters, letters, journals or videos.”
  • Fandom scholar Henry Jenkins’ hosted an exploration of comics fandom in Poland on his blog. “In the ‘Participatory Poland’ report a group of Polish aca-fen makes a preliminary attempt towards defining the specificity of an Eastern European country’s participatory culture shaped both in the communist and post-communist periods. By placing the development of selected fan-based activities against a broader socio-historical background, we are trying to capture the interplay between the global and the local context of participatory culture, as well as take preliminary steps towards making its Polish branch available for academic research.”
  • Pinboard creator Maciej Cegłowski gave a presentation titled “Fan is a Tool-Using Animal” on fandom communities online and their use of bookmarks. He discussed his interest in having fans come to his site after observing their intriguing use of Del.icio.us, but due to their attachment to the site he had no luck until the site changed enough to drive fans away. He also spoke about the importance of fandom culture and its endurance over time. “Part of the reason our television sucks less than it used to is because people are more sophisticated about the way they watch them…fandom analyzes this stuff to death and deconstructs it…and this percolates back into the culture.” (Audio only)
  • The University of Iowa, which houses Open Doors’ Fan Culture Preservation Project, released a video about the Doctor Who fanzines in their Special Collections & Archives to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary. Although there is no transcript available, the post description includes a mini guide to the collection.

What academic explorations of fandom have you come across? Write about them on 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.