Planning to see the new Veronica Mars movie? You may also want to check out the new issue of Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC)!
TWC has released No. 15, Fandom and/as Labor, guest edited by Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, both of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The issue’s seven articles, two Symposium pieces, roundtable, and three book reviews all relate to topics such as fan labor, gift culture, community, and work. A variety of fandoms get a turn in the spotlight.
In a roundtable, scholars and an industry insider, Bertha Chin, Bethan Jones, Myles McNutt, and Luke Pebler, discuss the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign and its relationship to fans. TWC’s Symposium section features shorter, often personal essays that address particularly fannish connections. In the two essays that comprise this section, Tisha Turk argues that fandom’s gift economy should be understood as involving a wide variety of gifts, a complex system of reciprocation, and the use of gifts as a sign of their reception; and Joly MacFie remembers his time creating badges and zines during the punk era in the UK.
Several peer-reviewed essays discuss specific media properties in relationship to fans and labor.
- Bethan Jones discusses Fifty Shades of Grey, noting that pulling a piece of fan fiction off the Internet to publish it professionally means that the fan labor performed as the text was created and disseminated remains unacknowledged.
- Christina Savage analyzes the TV show Chuck’s “save our show” campaign, placing it in the context of other such campaigns to show how fan labor is used strategically, in this case by ensuring the visibility of their campaign by engaging with sponsors and using hash tags.
- Rose Helens-Hart, in an analysis of Tosh.0, analyzes how the show’s Web site encourages fans to use personal networks to spread the brand.
- Matthias Stork analyzes the Glee fan-insider divide as fans were recruited to do work and promised access, only to later have this denied by the producers.
- Bertha Chin’s analysis also deals with Web sites, fan-created ones; she analyzes Sherlockology and Galactica.tv in terms of gifting versus exploitation.
- Giacomo Poderi and David James Hakken analyze modding a video game, using online posts made by users to illustrate how fan labor works.
- Robert Moses Peaslee, Jessica El-Khoury, and Ashley Liles move out of the realm of the virtual and into the physical, as they analyze the motivations and work of fan volunteers at media festivals.
Three reviews appear in this issue. Stephanie Anne Brown reviews Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory, edited by Trebor Scholz (Routledge, 2013); Simone D. Becque reviews Cognitive Capitalism, Education, and Digital Labor, edited by Michael A. Peters and Ergin Bulut (Peter Lang, 2011); and Anne Kustritz reviews Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal, by J. Jack Halberstam (Beacon, 2012).
The next issue of TWC, No. 16, will appear in June 2014. Bob Rehak will present a guest-edited issue on the topic of Materiality and Object-Oriented Fandom. TWC No. 17 (September 2014) will be an open, unthemed issue. Although it is too late to submit to that particular issue, we always welcome general submissions; in addition, two other special issues (European Fans and European Fan Objects and The Classical Canon and/as Transformational Work) are in the works and are still open for submissions. We particularly encourage fans to submit Symposium essays. Read the submission guidelines for details!