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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.