OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Henry Jenkins

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Henry Jenkins is one of the best known media scholars studying fandom. His 1992 book Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture has been read all over the world, and is seen as one of the foundational texts of the fan studies field. When we asked if he’d do this month’s guest post for our 10th anniversary, he replied “It’s an honor to be asked to perform this role.” Henry talks with us about fans, students, and fandom.

Textual Poachers continues to be widely read by students and those curious about fans and fandom, but you’ve written a dozen books since and many more articles. What do you think has changed the most about fandom from your early days as both a researcher and as a participant?

In terms of fandom, the impact of digital media has been decisive: expanding the scope of fandom, including greater connections between fans around the world; accelerating the speed of fan response in terms of being able to react in real time to our favorite programs; creating a space where fan works are much more visible to the culture at large (for better and for worse); allowing people to find their way into fandom at a much younger age; and increasing the impact of fan activists in seeking to assert their voice in response to canceled programs. (One has to look no further than the dramatic reversal of fortune for Timeless this past spring).

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Transformative Works and Cultures announcement

Transformative Works and Cultures releases No. 25

Transformative Works and Cultures has released No. 25. The essays in this general-topic issue focus on book history, women’s writing, Teen Wolf, World of Warcraft, Sherlock, and cosplay, among other topics. Each issue includes articles representing theory, fannish meta, and book reviews, such as the following:

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OTW Guest Post: Mel Stanfill

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Mel Stanfill is an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida with appointments in Texts & Technology and Digital Media. Stanfill’s work examines the interaction of media industries and everyday people through the lenses of fandom, law, labor, heteronormativity, and whiteness. Today, Mel talks about a recent article in Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), “Where the femslashers are: Media on the lesbian continuum” and an earlier guest edited issue of TWC, Fandom and/as Labor.

How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?

I want to say by Googling, but it was before Google so it was HotBot or AltaVista or something. I was 13 or so and really liked Xena: Warrior Princess and went looking for information about it, and at some point in that searching I found fanfic and became an avid reader.

Then, when I was in college, some of the scholarship I was reading (specifically, I was assigned Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s The Culture Industry; they—understandably, because they were refugees from Nazi Germany—thought that the media controlled people) was directly contradictory to my experiences in fandom, and that’s what got me interested in doing research about fans and fandom.

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