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TWC releases No. 33, “Fan Studies Methodologies”

Transformative Works and Cultures has released No. 33, “Fan Studies Methodologies,” guest edited by Julia E. Largent, Milena Popova, and Elise Vist.

This issue’s contents emphasize what the editors call the multi-inter-para-disciplinary nature of the field of fan studies, with contributions addressing topics related to methodology, such as subject position, feminism, affect/feelings, (self-)presentation, race, and power.

So what we set out to do in this special issue of Transformative Works and Cultures is start conversations on how we do fan studies. We want this conversation to recognize the strengths, diversity, and potential of our field. At the same time, we want it to start grappling with some of the challenges we face: the citational elisions, the affect and embodiedness of our work, our at times conflicting/conflicted dual positionality as fans and scholars, the sometimes failed dialogue with fans who can and do talk back.

We hope that this special issue will give you ideas for new approaches (and new collaborators!), will help you pinpoint and begin to address some of your own methodological anxieties, and will challenge you to think outside your theoretical and methodological comfort zone. We also very much hope that this is only the start of this conversation. We are not interested in canonizing one particular or even several methodologies. Rather, much like the fans we study, we would like to encourage you to build your own fanons of fan studies.

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This Week in Fandom

This Week in Fandom, Volume 149

Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening. This week and last, events in fandom have largely centred on the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests and demonstrations taking place within America and around the world against racial injustice and police brutality. Racism and particularly anti-Black racism is a problem in fandoms and in fan studies as in other cultural spaces, so in the latter part of this roundup we wanted to share with you some of the links and resources that we’ve come across over the past week or so which provide ways to think about how these dynamics operate – as well as related content on the ways in which fandom can provide a space or a launchpad for activism.


First, a host of actors from fan-favourite media properties have been protesting for Black Lives Matter over the past two weeks and speaking out about their experiences: Kendrick Sampson (of How to Get Away with Murder and Insecure) wrote for Variety about police violence at the protests in LA; Halsey made a lengthy Instagram post about her experience protesting in the same city; and John Boyega’s appearance at the London Black Lives Matter protest prompted a cavalcade of Twitter responses to his statement that he ‘didn’t know if he’d have a career after this’. We also saw pop culture informing protestors’ activities, as Spiderman dropped in on protests on the Manhattan Bridge, and graffiti declaring that ‘Matter Black Lives Do’ appeared on a statue of Yoda outside Lucasfilm headquarters in San Francisco. Read More

OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Leah Steuer

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.

Leah Steuer is a PhD candidate in Media & Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her work engages the body as primary site of media reception, and her dissertation explores somatic-affective approaches to TV audience studies. Today, Leah talks about her article in Transformative Works and Cultures.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

I became involved in online fan communities around age 12, in the early 2000s. At the time I was especially passionate about Whose Line Is It Anyway and made many friends on Fanfiction.net, Yahoo Groups, and various fan forums for the show. It was certainly a weird first foray into producing and consuming fanworks — we were a very small fandom and, at that time, writing Real Person Fiction made your work very vulnerable to deletion on the major fanworks hubs. Throughout my early teens (rather than producing fanworks of my own) I was usually more interested in getting to know the major players in my fandoms and creating social spaces on platforms like GeoCities and Angelfire for communal squee-ing, analyzing, and fantasizing.

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