Five Things Jennifer Duggan Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with Jennifer Duggan, who volunteers as a copyeditor for our journal Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC).

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I am a copyeditor for Transformative Works and Cultures (although I have taken a break this year due to changes at work). This means that I read through and correct articles to ensure that Chicago citation style and the journal style are properly followed, that grammar and mechanics are correct, and that the articles are cohesive and coherent.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

Most weeks, I do very little, actually, but when we are working on an issue, I work quite a bit at the weekend and in the evenings. It usually takes several hours to properly copyedit an article, and we usually get assigned several articles per issue. You have to check every word, every citation, every period, every link to make sure everything is correct—the perfect pastime for someone who has a tendency to be a little obsessive!

In addition to your role as a copyeditor, you guest edited the March 2023 Transformative Works and Cultures issue on trans fandom. What was that experience like?

My coeditor, Angie, and I are still at it! It has been quite a fun experience, and I am looking forward to seeing the journal go live in a month’s time. I’ve been involved with a number of journals for over a decade now, so I knew what I was signing myself up for, but it feels really special to be guest editing a special issue on a topic that is so important to me. And it is always a pleasure working with the team at Transformative Works and Cultures—everyone is so lovely!

What has been your biggest challenge doing work for the OTW?

Time is definitely my biggest challenge. Sometimes, the timing of journal issues clashes with the one time in the year I can take a proper holiday (July) or exams and marking at my university (December–January, May–June). But I also feel that as I get older—or, possibly, as I settle into the country I have adopted, which places much more emphasis on work-life balance than my home country—it gets harder and harder to burn the midnight oil. (That could just be the tail end of winter talking, though.)

What fannish things do you like to do?

I am an unabashed lurker. I lurk and lurk and lurk. This is because I was kicked off my favorite fan site for being underaged when I was around 15, although I did point out to the site managers that I was above the age of sexual majority where I lived and that it was therefore ridiculous that they felt I shouldn’t read anything even vaguely sexual, since it was perfectly legal for me to have sex. I may also have thrown about accusations of Americentrism, agism, and several other -isms, which I don’t think endeared me to them—and which quite obviously did not persuade them to allow me to continue to be a site member. Either way, after that happened, I stopped writing fan fiction and stopped commenting actively. (Actually, I commented for a fic for the first time in over fifteen years recently. I prefer to just lurk, though, as it feels safer.)

Also, I am an acafan, which I suppose means I am a fan of fandom: I am an academic who specializes in fandom studies, so I have dedicated my professional life to fandom. That’s a pretty fannish thing to do, isn’t it?

Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in the comments. Or if you’d like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

Five Things
  1. Aki commented:

    Fandom studies? That alone makes me want to know more… was there a particular fandom or fan experience that moved you to make it your profession, or was it more general/vague than that? I ask because one of my favorite professors, in film studies, was a devout Buffy fan, but she didn’t teach it in any of her classes, just co-authored a book about it. I don’t know for certain that BTVS was a major catalyst for her choice of profession (I think she was already well along in her career by the time it came out), but since you mentioned specializing in fandom studies, I’m curious to know what road brought you there. Thank you for sharing your perspective, in any case – this was very interesting to read, and I look forward to hearing more on trans fandom in the next TWC journal issue.