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This Week in Fandom, Volume 5

Welcome back to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s Tuesday recap of things you may have missed lately!

The Atlantic published an article exploring the problematic nature of “true canon” in transmedia fandom. The article focused exclusively on curative fandom, without so much as mentioning transformative fandom and its practices.

It condemned the harassment and gatekeeping perpetrated by some fans and discussed how “newcomers often found the entire business [of zealous canon fealty] completely impenetrable.” Though responses to the article generally agreed with its condemnation of gatekeeping, many also defended canon as an institution.

Speaking of canon, fans continued to be upset with television shows for their treatment of minority characters. In response to the news that Arden Cho has been let go from Teen Wolf, fans tallied up the recent infractions (spoiler warning!) and expressed their frustration with the apparent trend.

In a similar vein, in response to pictures being released of white actors portraying non-white characters in Dr. Strange and Ghost in the Shell, various news outlets have been writing articles on whitewashing in Hollywood. Fans have also been expressing their dismay on social media. Some call out actors as well as producers while others question the practice of Hollywood adaptations of Asian stories. Others focused simply on casting choices:

The Harry Potter Alliance is running its annual Accio Books campaign. This year, the campaign is helping to stock a new library at the Good Shepherd School in Masaka, Uganda. Click the link for information on how to contribute, and don’t forget to check out their World Book Night activities.

Lastly, in response to a New York Times article critiquing the historical accuracy of the musical Hamilton, Vox published an article by former OTW staffer Aja Romano explaining how historical critics are missing the point because Hamilton is fanfiction. “In essence, Hamilton is a postmodern metatextual piece of fanfic, functioning in precisely the way that most fanfics do: It reclaims the canon for the fan… In essence, Hamilton is a liminal space in which fans and performers talk back to historicity itself. And talking back to the canon is what fanfic does best.”

The Vox article itself has also inspired rebuttal, with one fan pointing out that treating Hamilton as only fanfiction is limiting. “There’s no room [in the article] to treat Hamilton as both a transformative work and a new text, as a work that is ripe for the kind of consideration and transformation that fandom is actually really into… Hamilton, as one of the most provocative and truly new texts to come around in years, is ripe for talking back to. That’s not an anti-fannish thing to do. It’s one of the things fandom does best.”

An article for Slate talked about how criticism of Hamilton is a good thing. “Hamilton isn’t exactly a work of fiction, or of fan fiction. It’s fan nonfiction, occupying that odd based-on-a-true-story space that we as a culture still don’t really know what to do with… But if Hamilton is as great as we think it is (and I do think it’s a generationally great work of art) there should be an ongoing critical conversation about it, one that crosses disciplines, and stretches for years, or decades, or perhaps—as has happened with Shakespeare, the Greeks, Ibsen, and others—centuries.” In a reversal from the first story of this volume of TWIF, it seems that arguing about canon can also be a very good thing.

We want your suggestions! If you have a story you think we should include, please contact us! Suggestions are welcome in all languages. Submitting a story doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a TWIF post, and inclusion of a story doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

2 thoughts to “This Week in Fandom, Volume 5”

  1. I think the contact link is broken fyi, I was just wondering are there any plans to make TWIF into a newsletter? like a weekly email? it’s just that I would find it more accessible that way. thanks

    1. Hi, Ace! Thanks for your comment. The contact link was indeed broken, thanks for pointing that out. /o\

      We don’t have any plans to make TWIF into an e-mailed newsletter, unfortunately. It’s not really feasible. But we do post about it on all of our active social media accounts (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Livejournal, Dreamwidth, and Pinboard), so you can find notifications about new volumes there. See our Where to Find Us page for all our accounts: https://www.transformativeworks.org/where-find-us/

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