The Journal of Fandom Studies

Published by Intellect
Print ISSN: 2046-6692
Sharing some of the findings from a study of fans tweeting as characters from US TV drama The West Wing (NBC, 2000–2006), this article uses data from Twitter observation and fan interviews to examine how participants negotiated the structures of Twitter through this activity. In particular, we consider what implications that negotiation has for the resulting fan text; for how participants perform fandom through this medium; and for how they perceive the value of their fan practice. Through this investigation, the article demonstrates some of the ways in which Twitter facilitates and constrains articulations of audience engagement.
In fan studies scholarship, the term ‘young fans’ tends to refer to university-age fans, thereby often overlooking school-age children and the meaning of fandom among future generations of fans. While it can be difficult to study children due to issues around access and consent, it is important that we do – they can tell us a lot about not only where fan cultures are right now but also where they might be heading in the future. In this article, we offer the results of a large-scale survey presented to approximately 1700 children aged 7–17. The answers reveal why it is important for media studies scholarship to develop new methods for understanding children’s media consumption behaviours. First, despite the ‘mainstreaming’ of fandom in popular culture, our research evinces that the traditional depictions of fans as ‘unruly’ or ‘obsessive’ persist. And second, these young fans are not viewing themselves as fans of specific objects, but rather as ‘fans’ first and foremost, with the specific object of fandom unstated. Fan studies’ traditional view of fandom as being devoted to one thing needs expansion.
This article explores the ways in which fan archives, particularly physical archives of pre-internet fan artefacts, offer a limited perspective of fan participation based on conditions of access to fan community and production means. Using 1960s fan magazines dedicated to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy that emerged in the early days of US-based fandom, this research demonstrates that analysis of the content of these fanzines is most significant to fan studies when it considers factors of publication such as who had access to printing materials, funding and the social conditions of the 1960s that would have privileged specific fan voices over others. I argue that archives that fail to take factors such as these into account help to perpetuate notions of acceptable fandom as practised by White fans. The fandom presented in the pages of The Lord of the Rings fanzines, as presented by their political statements or lack of, shows how fandom interests change when fandoms move from heavily concentrated spaces, fanzines, to broader and more accessible spaces such as the internet.
This article observes and explores the rise of a particular type of fan club the fan club as an artistic form. It addresses why the fan club became a popular format for artists to appropriate in the 1970s in the United States and Canada, especially in the international correspondence art scene, where participants used the mail as a medium for circulating postcards, letters, flyers, self-designed little magazines and other materials. I contend that fan clubs were counterpublics that offered the mail artists an apt forum for the self-conscious creation of alternatives to the art world, the mass media and mainstream entertainment, so that they could work out individual and collective identities, in particular, the expression of queer identities.
Review of: Digital Fandom 2.0: New Media Studies , Paul Booth (2017) Bern: Peter Lang Press, 284 pp., ISBN 978-1-4331-3150-9, p/bk, $54.95
This article interprets two key concepts in movie marketing (marketability and playability) through an empirical examination of the effects of commercial interpellation of audiences for a Hollywood ‘blockbuster’ fantasy film, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012). The article reports results of two online surveys of Hobbit audiences, one in November 2012 in the weeks preceding theatrical release, and one in February–June 2013 among post-viewing audiences, employing a mixedmethods approach that includes Q sorting and a questionnaire. We identify and describe five main pre-release and five main post-viewing audience groups, showing that the film had greater marketability than playability. Three of the pre-release audience groups expressed a high degree of anticipation to see the film, but only one post-viewing audience group expressed a high degree of enjoyment, while the others expressed various degrees of disappointment. We discuss the attributes of the film that most affected the film’s marketability and playability for each of the audience groups during the interpellation process from prefiguration to reception.
Review of: Boys’ Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols: Queer Fan Cultures in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan , Maud Lavin, Ling Yang and Jing Jamie Zhao (Eds) (2017) Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 258 pp., ISBN 978-9-88839-080-9, h/bk, $60.00 / £47.00
Review of: Framing Fan Fiction: Literary and Social Practices in Fan Fiction Communities , Kristina Busse (2017) Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 254 pp., ISBN 978-1-60938-514-9, p/bk, $45.00
Review of: Gaming Masculinity: Trolls, Fake Geeks and the Gendered Battle for Online Culture , Megan Condis (2018) Iowa City: Iowa University Press, 138 pp., ISBN 978-1-60938-565-1, p/bk, $65.00
Review of: Anti-Fandom: Dislike and Hate in the Digital Age , Melissa A. Click (ed.) (2018) New York: New York University Press, 352 pp., ISBN 978-1-47985-104-1, p/bk, $30.00
Review of: Theme Park Fandom: Spatial Transmedia, Materiality and Participatory Cultures , Rebecca Williams (2020) Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 260 pp., ISBN 978-9-46298-257-4, h/bk, $127.00
Beginning as the Golden State Comic Book Convention in 1970, which drew in around 300 people, what has now become San Diego Comic-Con now sees an average of 130,000 attendees a year with an estimated annual economic impact on the region of $150 million. Not only has attendance grown substantially over that period, but the breadth and diversity of fan convention events have also undergone significant change. In this conceptual article, I will begin by drawing on recent approaches to the study of event within critical event studies, in combination with a Lacanian approach to the presence/absence dialectic, to conceptualize fan con events, and the forms of leisure articulated within them, as diverse forms of the narrating of absence. From that perspective, its attention will turn to the large scale, rapidly expanding, highly commercialized fan con events sector. Drawing on critical approaches to the study of leisure rooted in the work of Stebbins and Spracklen, the article will reflect on how these events have become instrumentalized evental spaces where the narrating of absence has become a key engine in the commodification and monetization of leisure.
Fan studies as a discipline is still in its infancy. But even given this nascence, there have been significant shifts in the ways that it has theorized, studied and investigated fans over the first two and a half decades of research. As scholarship, fan studies has moved away from ethnographic investigations of fans as the main object of study to focus instead on the output of fan discourse as the key mode of examination. At the same time, scholars like Henry Jenkins and Matt Hills, both central to the discipline, have opened dialogue about the nature of the fan/academic, often called the ‘aca-fan’. This article uses the lens of aca-fandom to analyse fan answers to interview questions at a large Midwestern Doctor Who convention. Fans were asked about the role that fan studies has played in their life, how they perceive the study of fans and whether fan studies as an academic discipline has an effect on their fandom. The fans’ answers reflect a critical awareness of fandom but a general ignorance of fan studies. This article argues three points to take away from this. First, fan studies needs to refocus attention back onto fans themselves through ethnographic work. Second, the discipline needs to refocus its output less on esoteric academic titles and more on popular venues. Finally, fans and academics should engage in specific dialogue to open up avenues for new fannish and academic exploration.
This article examines the influence of fan periodical Famous Monsters of Filmland (FM) and its editor Forrest J Ackerman in keeping silent-era star Lon Chaney in cultural memory and expanding audience use of his star image. Chaney’s many depictions of the suffering male body raise questions of whether Chaney fandom is symptomatic of male masochism. Considering that many FM readers might have felt marginalized by conventional masculinity, I argue that the magazine’s presentation of Chaney called such conventions into question, and its presentation of Ackerman demonstrated a successful ‘alternative’ masculinity, encouraging identity play that not only guided FM’s readers past masochism, but prompted new ways of thinking about manhood and self-determination.
Selections from a series of interviews I conducted with Forest J Ackerman in the last six months of his life.
This article considers fans’ playful digital practices and focuses on the play moods that are co-constructed in online fan communities. We analyse how these play moods are negotiated across the life course for participating fans. Play moods are closely tied to the playful modes of fan practices, and by gaining a greater understanding of the moods that fans engage in at different stages of their life course we gain new insights into fan play as it relates to issues of age-related norms in fan communities. Specifically, this article analyses the Norwegian teenage streaming drama SKAM ( Shame ) (NRK, 2015–17), which was produced for a target audience of 16-year-old Norwegian girls but ended up capturing the hearts of people of all ages across Scandinavia and internationally. This study is based on interviews with 43 Scandinavian fans aged between 13 and 70. The participants were all active on social media (Facebook, Instagram, the show’s blog, etc.) while the show was on the air and the interviews offers insights into issues of age-appropriateness as it relates to fan practices. As such, fans ‘police’ both themselves and each other based on perceptions of age, while also engaging in practices that are by nature playful and may be considered subjectively and culturally ‘youthful’ or ‘childish’. The article combines theory of play and fan studies with a focus on the life course and cultural gerontology in order to highlight these tendencies in the SKAM fandom.
Fans of one-sixth scale action figures go beyond reified soldier scripts. They transfonn mass-produced toys to create original worlds and characters that meet their own needs, such as neoaxtion's survivor of a 'soul cleansing', whose primary weapon is a folding fan. 
Head swaps: Fashion doll heads from MatteI and Integrity relnounted 071 action given new clothing and new roles.
Fans of one-sixth scale action figures minimize the importance and worth of fashion and dolls in order to counter negative stereotypes that feminize fans in general, especially fans of toys resembling dolls. This apparent anti-fandom wards against further feminization due to fan practices incorporating feminized knowledge, skill and labour to clothe those toys. Previous scholarly analyses minimize or erase the multivalent roles of one-sixth scale action figures. However, this fandom uses both fashion and dolls to alter the roles of action figures, indicating that more complex interactions of fans and their supposed objects of anti-fandom are worth additional academic examination.
and Figure 2: features an unpainted custom head sculpt! not offered by any company at that time, of theJoker when he disguised himselfas a police officer in The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008). The custom costume by Kato remedies perceived imperfections in colour! detail and tailoring in the officially licensed version mass-produced by Hot Toys, elements of which appear in Figure 2. 
Mick Baltes buys, modifies or builds miniature versions of ancient Roman artefacts for his photostory. Many fans could not afford actual examples of such items, or the space in which to store them. However, one-sixth scale collecting and customizing offers a means of acquiring more affordable and compact recreations of items related to beloved eras, locations or individuals. 
One-sixth scale action figure fans complicate existing fan studies models, which emphasize cultural or social capital over economic capital, and which minimize or erase fan activities involving potential profit to focus instead upon gift economies. One-sixth scale action figure customization and other material fan practices offer productive examples of how multiple fandoms incorporate both pleasure and profit, use-value and exchange-value, into their fan practices, and how they explain or justify such practices to those within and outside their fan communities. Customizers emphasize their creations’ use-value over exchange-value in three specific ways. First, customizers create items not offered by any company. Second, they create affordable alternatives to expensive official merchandise. Third, their projects remedy inferior aspects of officially licensed merchandise. Customizers modify existing products or create their own if they cannot find or afford desired items of appropriate quality. These justifications offer insights into how multiple other fandoms likewise frame any commercial efforts as emphasizing use-value over exchange-value. Such constructions of fan practices ward against legal and ethical complications of using licensed texts, characters, and/or merchandise as a base or inspiration for one’s own creative efforts.
One-sixth scale action figure customization warrants more extensive cultural analysis, for three reasons. First, action figure fans express their interests in multiple fandoms simultaneously, thus enabling more multi-dimensional analyses within fan studies. This article defines and discusses the action figure fan practices of Mini-Me figures and photostories in order to illustrate fandom’s multi-dimensional nature. Secondly, action figures, especially Mini-Me figures, reveal new aspects to fans’ relationships with transitional objects. Finally, Mini-Me figures and photostory narratives offer a means to address a previously unstudied genre: fannish fiction. ‘Fannish fiction’ includes original narratives produced by fans incorporating frequently multi-dimensional genres, tropes, and so forth popular with fans. However, unlike fan fiction, fannish fiction is not defined by or dependent upon existing mass media texts, characters, narratives, or worlds. This discussion of action figure customization establishes the need both for further examination of this rich fandom, and also for similar examinations of other fandoms and fan practices as well.
Whilst there is a growing literature in fan studies on the ageing fan, there is a distinct lack of engagement with the body of work already established within the ‘ageing sciences’, such as gerontology. This article begins to address such issues by applying the gerontological notion of continuity theory to the study of later-life, long-term sports fandom. Drawing on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 35 retired or semi-retired sports fans, all of whom are in the third and fourth ‘life ages’, this article argues for a theory of fan continuity whereby the fan adapts their relationship to the fan object in response to various challenges to their fandom. These challenges to the fannish status quo are destabilizations, which, upon an adaptation on behalf of the fan and ultimate re-stabilization of the fandom, result in an outcome which can be assessed on a positive–negative experiential continuum. This is a continuous process as the later-life adult looks for consistency of self, and continuity in fandom.
Game of Thrones was adapted from the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series. One of the most significant events in the novels is the Red Wedding, an occasion at which several popular protagonists are unexpectedly and violently killed off. Before the adaptation of the Red Wedding aired, members of a longstanding A Song of Ice and Fire fan forum participated in a discussion thread about their expectations of the scene. The term ‘affective fidelity’ is introduced to describe the ability of an adaptation to trigger the same or similar emotional responses as its source material. I argue that the emotional heart of these fans structures their expectations, especially with regard to whether the scene would trigger what they determined to be the ‘correct’ emotional response. The research also found those who expected the adapted Red Wedding to be so affectively faithful that they were dreading watching it. Some fans took pleasure in anticipating the schadenfreude they would experience when witnessing the displeasure of fans who had not read the novels, and some worked actively to ensure the maximum displeasure of those unknowing fans. I argue that although the field of adaptation studies strives to move beyond the issue of fidelity to source material, issues of fidelity are still important to fans whose object of fandom is being adapted.
This article discusses the recent emergence of adult male fans of Korean pop (K-pop) music who openly engage themselves in fan activities typically associated with teenagers (particularly teenage girls) and the significance of their adoration of young female celebrities. The recent appearance of the ‘samchon/uncle fans’ in the K-pop culture discourse marks the first instance since the early 1990s, when teenagers became the primary target audience of South Korea’s entertainment industry, in which male adults reclaimed a significant position as a demographic group of fans. The samchon fans differ from the traditional ajossi (middle-aged, patriarchal men) listeners of adult contemporary music in the kinds of singers and musical genres to which they listen, as well as in their self-identification as fans, participation in fan activities and mass media portrayals. I investigate the implications of the men’s consumption pattern and their representation in South Korean mass media within the contexts of the history of the construction of hegemonic masculinity in South Korea and of recent developments in East Asian popular culture. I also explore possible ways to apply, complicate and question existing theoretical and conceptual frameworks to explain the phenomenon and argue for the possibility of politically potent, alternative masculinities constructed and manifested through the men’s conspicuous consumption of cultural commodities.
A conversation with attorney and game developer Mark Yohalem about his passion for point-and-click adventure games, and how his experiences as a player and fan inspired him to pursue game writing, to co-found Wormwood Studios (with artist Victor Pflug and programmer James Spanos) and, in 2010, to develop Primordia , a classical point-and-click adventure game that has sold roughly a quarter-million copies. Additional topics discussed include the potential of digital games to encourage empathy and connection; gaming fan communities; suitability of games for storytelling; gaming journalism, reviews and analysis; and games and creative work in relation to connection, participation and engagement.
William Moulton Marston, inspired by his wife and beliefs, created a female superhero in 1941, seeking to address how the feminine archetype in western society ‘lacks force, strength and power’, and that ‘women’s strong qualities have become despised’. Wonder Woman was the result, and the character has achieved iconic status in popular culture seven decades later. While there is a wealth of research examining the representation of the female superhero and how this speaks to perceptions of femininity across the past 70 years, its focus is the prevalence of stereotypical over authentic depictions, and the harmful effects of this on society. However, the existing cultural impact and importance of female superheroes to readers of all genders cannot be ignored; to do so is to the detriment of both fans and scholars of comics. My research combines the platform of digital media with the artistic styles and narrative themes of comics, culminating in a narrative video game that brings together original comic pages, texts and animated sequences. The game tells the story of Meta Woman, a self-created superhero, from her first appearance in the ‘we can do it!’ 1940s, her reinventions as Miss Meta in the aftermath of the Comics Code of the 1950s, Ms Meta in the liberated 1970s and beyond, concluding in the present day. By cross-references comic representations of women with fan experience and stories of women from each era, the game showcases the power of female superheroes, and makes them relevant to each user’s life and experiences.
This article discusses the fandom of Malaysian middle-aged women participating in a fandom of BIGBANG, a South Korean boy band. Fandom is conventionally assumed to target younger audiences, teenagers or young adults but this article showcase that this is not the case and there are fans of all ages. This is not only evident in the BIGBANG fandom but also observed in the Twilight and One Direction fandom. This article studies the agency displayed by these women and how they shape their fandom in respect of their identity as spouses, parents and daughters. I also review how they negotiate their personal relationship with their families, acquaintances and younger fans in the fandom. The patriarchy system, religion and social expectations each play a role in influencing these women’s engagement with the fandom. Research on older fans is neither common nor abundantly available, thus this article hopes to contribute to the current literature on fandom.
I follow Harrington and Bielby’s (2018) call for more work on ‘texistence’ – how fans’ self-ageing and the text-ageing of pop-cultural texts become intertwined. I focus on the British pop duo Pet Shop Boys (PSB), formed in 1981. Lead singer Neil Tennant coined the term ‘imperial phase’ (2001) to describe the success of their album Actually (1987), and this terminology has been embraced by PSB fandom; enduring fans consider their fandom in relation to imperial/post-imperial phases. I consider how PSB fans desire a return of the ‘imperial’, refuting any text-ageing ‘narrative of decline’, as well as counterfactually reimagining the duo’s career success. Fannish interpretive community is based on celebrating the commercial authenticity of PSB’s music, articulating both text-ageing and fans’ self-ageing with neoliberalized concepts of the ‘successful’ life course (Clack and Paule 2019) and ‘uniqueness’ in marketized contexts (Nealon 2018). I thus argue that neoliberalism needs to be integrated into analyses of the contemporary fannish life course, even when fan objects (such as PSB) have been explicitly anti-neoliberal across their careers.
While the rise of new media has led to a blurring of stars’ public personae and private, intimate lives, the musician, in particular, has long been expected to share their private, authentic self through their music. This is certainly the case with superstar Beyoncé, whose 2016 solo album Lemonade was widely received as a revealing portrait of her marriage to hip hop mogul Jay-Z. Yet Beyoncé has long been playing with the public‐private divide as a key part of her star persona. Her decision to limit media interviews has allowed her to maintain unprecedented control of her star image; an image that is now corralled through the texts that she herself circulates via her music, videos and other media. One such notable, yet under-examined text is her 2013 autobiographical film Life Is But a Dream . Both the narrative and the production of the film serve to teach audiences how to read the rest of Beyoncé’s cultural work; as work that is fully controlled by her and intended for women. This pedagogical film disrupts common readings of her image and performances as being in the service of a male gaze, thus opening up new pleasures and potentials for female fans more broadly and Black female fans more specifically. Life Is But a Dream is thus a central, rather than a periphery text in Beyoncé’s star image, complementing and complicating the work she produces across other media formats.
This article explores episodes of the contemporary American television programmes Strangers with Candy (Comedy Central, 1999–2000) and Veronica Mars (UPN/CW, 2004–07) so as to ascertain and discursively frame the complex relationship between cults (or neo-religious organizations) and cult TV. Although different from one another in many respects, these two TV series share an interest in the cliquish formations of high-school life that divide students into warring camps of insiders and outsiders. Moreover, both programmes contain pivotal episodes in which the ritualistic practices of fictional cults are presented ambivalently – as a source of humour yet also as a gateway through which the unconventional female protagonists pass on their way to self-discovery. That journey has extraordinary resonance for fans or ‘followers’ of these programmes. As argued by Jonathan Gray in his recently published work on ‘affect, fantasy, and meaning’, fans and followers are viewers who are ‘most involved in their consumption’. As such, Strangers with Candy and Veronica Mars deserve scrutiny as steadfastly worshipped texts conducive to the kinds of meta-consumptive discourses and practices that might shed light on culturally entrenched attitudes related to neo-religious activities.
The global circulation of Asian cultural products has been on a constant rise since the 1990s. However, the arrival to Spanish-speaking audiences is a more recent phenomenon, one that is linked to the consolidation of web-based tools for consumption, distribution and discussion of cultural artefacts. The different stages in which Hallyu, or the ‘Korean Wave’, reached different countries determined the intensity of scholarly interest in the phenomenon. If the research gap between Asia and Europe is wide, the later arrival to Spain and Latin America means that studies on the reception of Korean popular culture, including those dealing with fandom, are quasi-non-existent. This article is a first attempt at mapping the demographics of K-pop and K-drama fans in the Spanish-speaking world, through an analysis of an online survey. Drawing from the uses and gratifications approach in mass communication research, we discuss fans’ appropriation of K-pop, describe their shared iconography and analyse the peculiarities of male fans by studying their self-narratives. We conclude with a discussion on the need for studies of fandom to transcend national boundaries as exemplified by the advent of a ‘transatlantic connection’ linking fans in Spain and in Latin America via South Korea.
Employing performance studies and queer studies, this article explores the subversive nature of western female fandom’s consumption of male dancing bodies in Korean pop (K-pop) culture. By offering close readings of fan-made compilation videos and analysing fans’ comments on YouTube, this article analyses how K-pop male idols’ androgynous gender fluidity provides a space for queering female desire against normative white masculinity. Through video editing, fans ‘choreograph’ their desire by fetishizing K-pop male dancers’ specific body parts and movements and transform themselves from displayed objects to subjects of the gaze. Moreover, through active engagement online, fans transcend their status from spectators to performers who actively enact alternative sexualities and gender roles in a public space. K-pop male singers’ gender performativity is significant, as it challenges rigid gender binaries in western culture – homosexuality/heterosexuality, masculine/feminine body and behaviour, and masculinized gaze/feminized object – as embodiments of hybridized male femininity, which this article calls liminal masculinity.
This article examines contemporary systems, both legal and illegal, of anime and manga translation and distribution to English-speaking audiences. Rather than lumping fan translation in with practices such as fanart, cosplay or fan fiction, this article argues for a different understanding of the particularized labour of fan-operated anime and manga translation groups. Specifically, the continued existence of fan translation groups is considered indicative of consumers attempting to fill a gap in service not satisfied by licensed industry players – and fan translation itself as a practice born of consumer desire and perceived necessity, rather than creative or transformative expression.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the significance of Liverpool Football Club’s (LFC) anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ (‘YNWA’) for Swedish fans of LFC. The song has been played before home matches at the Anfield stadium since the 1960s, and via the media, it has spread all over the world. We can therefore talk about a kind of satellite supporters who can be involved no matter where in the world they are. Based on a survey conducted with help from Liverpool FC Official Supporters Club Sweden, 378 people (355 men and 23 women) answered questions about their relationship to the city of Liverpool and the Liverpool football team, how long they have been fans and why they chose LFC, and, finally, their connection to ‘YNWA’. The results show that the Swedish fans feel a great sense of belonging to both the team and the city of Liverpool and that the song is very important to them even in everyday life. For the fans in the survey, ‘YNWA’ unites them with the team and fans from all over the world while separating themselves from other fans and football clubs with other anthems. The song thus becomes larger than itself. Identity and performances are important concepts on which the article is based.
The advent of the Internet and user-generated platforms has facilitated the rise of a new breed of celebrity. Bloggers, YouTubers and Instagram stars, armed with their laptops and smartphones, represent an important part of the contemporary media landscape. This article will investigate Singaporean social media influencer Wendy Cheng, known by her pseudonym, Xiaxue. Starting her Internet career as a blogger in 2003, Xiaxue has built a massive online presence over multiple platforms and is arguably one of the most commercially successful Internet celebrities in her country. Her thriving Internet career implies the presence of a large follower and fan base. However, we will look at the other side of the coin – the anti-fans – an often-neglected segment of users in the study of Internet celebrity. These anti-fans, individuals who strongly dislike Xiaxue, can be just as engaged and committed as fans, albeit in different ways. This article will analyse user comments on Xiaxue’s online video channel Xiaxue’s Guide to Life, and anti-fan platform Guru Gossip’s Abhorred Bloggers (Xiaxue) forum. Findings show that Xiaxue’s anti-fandom is driven by a moral economy related to her self-presentation, femininity and nature of her celebrity.
Bucchi and Neresini (2008: 462).
Placement of Symphony of Science on Bucchi and Neresini's (2008: 462) graph.
Samsullithegenius (2008).
This article asks the question: in what ways can Carl Sagan fans and anti-fans be understood within a larger participatory science culture? To answer this question, I use Jonathan Gray’s theory of paratextuality to show how the study of Carl Sagan fandom can contribute to discussions on public participation in science. I draw from Matt Hills, to develop the term secular-religiosity. This term helps to describe how popular texts that feature Sagan allow room for audiences to access scientific knowledge and incorporate it into everyday belief systems. Next, I map a fan-generated Sagan-inspired group of paratexts onto Massimiano Bucchi and Federico Neresini’s public participation in science graph to show that Sagan fans who reproduce secular-religiosity engage in low-intensity but spontaneous forms of public participation in science. I explore these forms of participation by categorizing four types of paratextual routes that Sagan fans and anti-fans create for engaging secular-religiosity. I end with a discussion on how the study of Sagan fandom can help build bridges between public participation in science and fan studies.
Antiblack racial antagonisms manifest in discourse through audience engagement with characters in Speculative Fiction (SF). This article addresses the ways that a fictional black woman in a popular SF series gets constructed in the public imaginaries of a popular fandom community. The character Michonne from the dystopian comic book series and television drama, The Walking Dead, provides an excellent occasion to examine audience engagement that distinctly operates within a recognizable cultural frame. The character’s reception between has sparked much debate and criticism due to the ways that she is understood and dramatized in relation to other characters in the series. While a majority of fan content regarding the character recognizes her skill and abilities for survival with relative positivity, she is routinely regarded as an outsider, perpetually unfeeling or emotionally inept. The result is a broad lack of empathy mitigated by antiblack misogyny. It is as though her character is regarded as a functional object (a weapon) and less than human, which bears the weight of the question of black non-ontology as a requirement for social order. This is particularly interesting within an imagined world of the undead. This article interrogates the ways in which fandom communities actively cite, circulate and produce discourses that sustain structural antagonisms, as well as how they contribute to, respond, or engage particularly problematic tropes regarding black female subjectivities.
Associated with frivolous reading and moral repugnance, eighteenth-century circulating libraries provided women and members of the working class easy access to novels. Almost three centuries later, fans who create and own private, file-based collections of fanfiction have reclaimed the circulating library structure. Now used to preserve the very kinds of content Victorian detractors were so against by the communities they feared would be corrupted, transformative fans (mostly women and queer folx) share copies of works from their personal collections to interested readers. These serve the dual function of archiving fic for pleasure on the part of the collector, as well as storing a stable format of the work – one that is less likely to be made obsolete. Because fans do not expect these files to be returned, a private fic collection is therefore not a library at all, but an archive, one that is dependent on individual taste but connected to the community through a network of endless copying, gifting and regifting. Therefore, studying these fic collections not only gives us insight into fannish reading habits over time but also points to strategies of archiving and cultural preservation in the face of technological debt.
Among many different forms of celebrity fandom, this article pays attention to fan-produced novels, that is, fanfic. In Korea, fanfic indicates a homoerotic story between two members of a singing group in real life that fan authors create and circulate online, which this article conceptualizes as queering stars. Thanks to the development of digital media, the fanfic subculture flourished, thereby capturing the eyes of the entertainment industry. This article investigates the ways in which media professionals and celebrities make use of and commercialize fans’ queering stars with a case of SM Entertainment (SME), a leading entertainment company in Korea. It argues that digitally empowered fans are repositioned as a pivotal axis in the contemporary mediascape, and the entertainment sector observes and exploits fans’ culture more than ever. This article concludes that the relationship between fans and industry is not unilateral in the digitalized and capitalized age. Rather, it is inter-animating and multi-layered, and interaction is ongoing and recurring.
This article considers cosplayers’ use and transformation of urban space. Cosplay provides an important subcultural embodiment of contemporary popular culture, through which we can learn a great deal about contemporary forms of fandom, participatory culture and (mostly notably here) urban appropriation. This article draws on data gathered from a four-year ethnographic study, which includes the use of art as a method, but here specifically looks at a small cosplay community that regularly meets in a park in Manchester. The article argues that a useful way of understanding cosplay is to consider the relationship between play and culture. In particular, the article sets out a consideration of how cosplayers transform social spaces through the use of process of synecdoche and asyndeton, which link together and edit out parts of the built environment – or what we term ‘urban poaching’.
Top-cited authors
Frederick Grieve
  • Western Kentucky University
Julie Partridge
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Daniel Wann
  • Murray State University
Cody T Havard
  • The University of Memphis
Ryan K. Zapalac
  • Sam Houston State University