Symposium: By and For Fans

Banner by Swimmies in cartoon style saying 'When suddenly...BOOM the Celebration of Transformative Works and Cultures #20. Stay tuned.'

Today we kick off Transformative Works and Cultures’ 20th issue celebration. Don’t forget to join us on September 19th for our live chat.

When the first issue of Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) was released in 2008, its editors, Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson, wrote an introduction explaining the intended purpose of its different sections — Theory, Praxis, Symposium, and Interviews and Reviews.

Symposium broke new ground in terms of making the area of fan studies something that fans themselves could have an ongoing voice in. To quote:

“TWC’s Symposium section was designed as a fluid category for fannish meta and personal essays. We want many voices to be heard, including nonacademic ones. Fan communities have been producing complex and insightful discussion for years. However, their publication in specialized zines, mailing lists, and blogs has meant that the content has too often been inaccessible and unknown to outsiders, meaning that academic study of fan texts and cultures has failed to take into account communities’ discussion of their own activities.”

Since then the topics in the Symposium section have ranged widely across fan communities, fandoms, fanworks, and fan debates, as in these examples from each of the past issues:

On symposia: LiveJournal and the shape of fannish discourse

Maps of many worlds: Remembering computer game fandom in the 1980s

Snogs of innocence, snogs of experience

What are little ghouls made of? The Supernatural family, fandom, and the problem of Adam

“This isn’t something I can fake”: Reactions to Glee’s representations of disability

Bowlers, ballads, bells, and blasters: Living history and fandom

H/c and me: An autoethnographic account of a troubled love affair

Why we should talk about commodifying fan work

Abridged series and fandom remix culture

Flash activism: How a Bollywood film catalyzed civic justice toward a murder trial

Queer bandom: A research journey in eight parts

On the response (or lack thereof) of Japanese fans to criticism that yaoi is antigay discrimination

Revisioning the smiling villain: Imagetexts and intertextual expression in representations of the filmic Loki on Tumblr

Translation, interpretation, fan fiction: A continuum of meaning production

Better Badges: Image as virus

The butcher, the baker, the lightsaber maker

Fandom and the fourth wall

Exploring nonhuman perspectives in live-action role-play

Case study of French and Spanish fan reception of Game of Thrones

TWC continues to look for fan contributions to each of its issues. You can find out about upcoming topics through the OTW Newsletter, new issue announcements, as well as by viewing the TWC announcements page. For information on submitting work, visit the submissions page.

Fans also have a voice as readers. All TWC articles are open to comments (though readers must create an account), and article authors can also be emailed. But TWC also asks for fans to become peer reviewers. Per this call for volunteers, “While we tend to solicit peer reviewers for the full essays from within academia (and fan studies scholars specifically), pretty much any fan who loves meta is a good match for a potential Symposium reader.”

TWC isn’t just an academic journal about fans, it is also for fans, and looks for your contributions every year — as writers, reviewers, and readers. And thanks to your support, TWC is free and available to everyone who loves fandom.