If Beatlemania quickly became synonymous with The Beatles as a star text, then so too did the powerful and self-determined performance of female desire. The Beatles fangirl did not so much experience a loss of control than she declared a rejection of control through her emotional performance as a fan.
The modern Beatles fangirl continues to recognize and pay tribute to this feminist legacy; the budding convergence culture which nourished her predecessors’ multiplicity of obsessive experience has become the norm for her.
On 9 June 2011, news of nuclear contamination in earthquake-stricken Japan took a backseat to the AKB48 General Election in the mass media. The third election of its kind for the all-girl idol group formed in 2005, it was a massive promotion and marketing blitz. In addition to fan-club members, anyone who had purchased their 21st single, “Everyday, Kachu ̄sha,” could vote. In a week, it sold 1,334,000 copies, a new record for a single sold in Japan.1 The results of the General Election were announced during a live ceremony at the Budo ̄kan, where some of the most famous musical acts in the world have performed. The ceremony was also streamed live to 86 theaters (97 screens) in Japan, everywhere from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south, and in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea (Barks Global Media 2011a). Fans were desperate for a seat—be it at the actual venue or the theaters—but tickets sold out almost instantly. This was more than just fanaticism. It was a media event and a public spectacle.
The girls of AKB48 were pronounced “national idols” (kokumin-teki aidoru)—the performers “we” “Japanese” “all” know and love. The election was given prominent coverage by both print and television media, with as many as 150 outlets reporting on the event (Morita 2011). People were constantly updated on which of the members, nearly 200 by this point, would come out on top. They were kept up to speed on developments by online sites, cell phone news feeds, commercial and news spots on trains, and, of course, friends, family, coworkers, schoolmates, and everyone else who was talking about it. On the day of the General Election, the streets of Tokyo were buzzing with the names of AKB48 members. It was hard not to be involved in some way, if not intimately so.
Galbraith and Karlin, Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture, p1 ift.tt/1U4STAQ
Via @tea-and-liminality: “For anyone interested, there’s a new themed section on transcultural fandom up at the online journal Participations, with the following essays:
Chin, Bertha & Lori Hitchcock Morimoto:
Devereux, Eoin & Melissa Hidalgo:
‘“You’re gonna need someone on your side”: Morrissey’s Latino/a and Chicano/a fans’
‘Music fanzine collecting as capital accumulation’
van de Goor, Sophie Charlotte:
‘“You must be new here”: Reinforcing the good fan’
As fans create, then, they not only create for a public but also create a public; that is, in producing for such a community, they call one into existence. (…) Fan creative production like fiction and vidding is produced for an imagined audience of people who know not only the source text or texts but also—more importantly—people who understand what these forms are as a genre. This can be seen from the ways in which fan creators tend not to do the work of explaining how to interpret these things. When fans create, they do so with the understanding that the people who ultimately consume their work will understand that they are reworking popular cultural texts within a set of conventions of both authorship and ownership. Through addressing an imagined public with those specifications, that text performatively produces one. Fandom is defined as the group of people who understand what is being done in the fan text; “the circularity is essential to the phenomenon” (Warner 2005, 67). The public of fandom—or, to use Warner’s terminology (since fandom is a minoritized position), the counterpublic of fandom—is produced through an ongoing circulation of these texts binding people together.
Mel Stanfill – Fandom, public, commons ift.tt/1DBM315
Posted on request from Liorah Golomb:
I am looking for a collaborator with computational linguistic skills for a project mining the dialogue of the U.S. television program Supernatural (CW Network, 2005-present). My goal is to demonstrate, through textual analysis, the originality of the dialogue, the breadth of words and phrases used by the writers, the way language is used to distinguish characters and reveal character traits, etc.The product of this project will be an article for publication in a peer-reviewed venue. Presentation at an appropriate conference is also a possibility.
A chapter that I’ve written about my exploration of this project thus far is forthcoming in Digital Humanities in the Library: Challenges and Opportunities for Subject Specialists (Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, March 2015). That chapter documents my process of creating the corpora from fan-created transcripts, testing and selecting concordance tools, and examples of the type of results these efforts will produce. It also discusses the limitations of examining only the dialogue in a visual medium and my own limitations as a non-linguist.
My hope is that a partner with the skills I lack will be able to help me with linguistic concepts as well as determine (1) whether there is a way to codify non-verbal action and communication for analysis and (2) whether it would be useful to encode the text for analysis. Interest in or familiarity with Supernatural is a plus.
I am an academic librarian and Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma with a long history of publishing scholarly work. My CV can be found at ou.academia.edu/LiorahGolomb.
Please contact me to discuss this project further: email@example.com.
The New York Times generally presented fanfiction as a financial opportunity for the corporations that own the intellectual properties copied by fanfiction. Many articles asserted that franchises benefit from, and in some cases rely on, their fanfiction communities. For example, Harris (2008) ties the box office success of the X-Files film to the continued health of its fanfiction community, while Heffernan (2008) depicts a lack of homoerotic fanfiction as problematic for the success of any show with a large, attractive male cast. Thompson (2005) reports on the lucrative partnership between the Halo fan-film circle Rooster Teeth and Halo’s copyright holder Microsoft. This “co-opted/encouraged by industry” frame presents a view of fanfiction’s future as a marketing tool, rather than a fan-driven culture. The frame is frequently associated with the “self-branding” purpose frame; teenagers who desire to become part of their favored franchise show their solidarity with the product and fan subculture in ways which are extremely beneficial for intellectual property holders (Hitt 2008; Scott 2002).
Drew Emanuel Berkowitz, Framing the Future of Fanfiction: How The New York Times’ Portrayal of a Youth Media Subculture Influences Beliefs about Media Literacy Education ift.tt/1FA6vyk
Neal Pollack’s article defending Amazon has many points of interest. The only one I’ll engage with is that, contrary to the marketing, Amazon is still seeding Kindle Worlds with pro authors under contract—and apparently given advances as well as editorial assistance—to produce “fan fiction” in various authorized Worlds, while anyone else who takes Amazon up on its offer will not get an advance. Again, I don’t think Kindle Worlds is inherently bad. I do think that calling it “fan fiction” is misleading; this is not an organic, community-based set of works. I think it’s important to recognize, when Amazon says that it’s happy with the performance of Kindle Worlds, that it’s very different to write from an advance than not.
Fandom need(s) to be seen in a more diverse and flexible way. Participatory fandom is not the norm. For many fans, it can just be an individual experience of rewatching a show or enjoying something. Not everyone has the means or time to participate in, for instance, digital fandom. The productive fandom that some fan scholars investigate is certainly not the norm, but a demanding hobby and leisure activity. (…) Fan practices are one way to live fandom but for others fandom is more momentary and fleeting, or more related to the industry and affirmation, through collecting or organizing events.
Nicolle Lamerichs, Fan Studies Network Conference 2014 ift.tt/1xyBgB7
Hi! I would like the following articles for a research project, if anyone can share them:
Booth, Paul. Augmenting fan/academic dialogue: New directions in fan research. Journal of Fandom Studies. Vol 1 No 2.
Bennett, Lucy. Tracing Textual Poachers: Reflections on the development of fan studies and digital fandom. Journal of Fandom Studies. Vol 2 No 1.
Hills, Matt. Doctor Who’s textual commemorators: Fandom, collective memory and the self-commodification of fanfac. Journal of Fandom Studies. Vol 2 No 1.
Ford, Sam. Fan studies: Grappling with an ‘Undisciplined’ discipline. Journal of Fandom Studies. Vol 2 No 1.
Coppa, Francesca. Fuck Yeah, Fandom is Beautiful. Journal of Fandom Studies. Vol 2 No 1.
Anyone have these? Please leave a comment!
For many people, fan fiction is as much a part of their reading as commercial literature. Fan fiction websites and archives provide readers with novels, serials, novellas, romantic and erotic stories, non-romantic stories, experimental literature, video and visual art, etc. While fan writers and readers are certainly not exclusively interested in romance, fan writing frequently explores the romantic potential between two characters and fan fiction is often built on romantic foundations. The shift to digital publishing and reading is having a dramatic impact on commercial romance literature. However, what about the kinds of romantic and erotic stories fans produce? How is fan work being affected by the rise in digital publishing? The Fandom Then/Now project is designed to facilitate fan conversations and collect ideas from fans about fan fiction’s past and future.
What do you notice in the data from 2008? What do you think about the intersections between fan fiction and romantic storytelling? Now, in 2014, what has and hasn’t changed about fans’ reading and writing practices?
For fans of manga, anime, and other Japanese media, pointing and laughing at inaccurate mass media portrayals of Japanese pop culture has been something of a sport for decades. A few weeks ago, however, things took a slightly more serious turn.
The ball got rolling when early in June, the Japanese House of Representatives approved a long-overdue law banning the possession of child pornography. Up to now, creating and distributing child pornography was as forbidden in Japan as anywhere else, but “simple possession” had not yet been criminalized. The new law applies only to “real” child pornography and leaves alone completely fictional depictions of underage characters in sexual situations in manga, anime and other media. This exception came about after vocal protests from manga publishers, creators, fans and free speech rights activists. The story was widely reported in non-Japanese media. However, most of these reports focused on handwringing about Japan’s “failure” to clamp down on sexually explicit manga. Most shared was a CNN article filled with outrage about how the new law supposedly permits Japanese bookstores to fill their shelves with shocking cartoon porn about children. (more…)
If female fans are dismissed more easily, then so are their interests, their spaces, and their primary forms of engagement. Or, said differently, gender discrimination occurs on the level of the fan, the fan activity, and the fannish investment. There is a ready truism that enthusiasm for typically male fan objects, such as sports and even music, are generally accepted whereas female fan interests are much more readily mocked. Likewise, fangirls are mocked as is fan fiction, an activity more commonly ascribed to females. More than that, affect and forms of fannish investment get policed along gender lines, so that obsessively collecting comic books or speaking Klingon is more acceptable within and outside of fandom than creating fan vids or cosplaying. Even the same behavior gets read differently when women do it: sexualizing celebrities, for example, is accepted and expected among men but gets quickly read as inappropriate when done by women.
“Geek hierarchies, boundary policing, and the gendering of the good fan” Kristina Busse, Participations 10.1 (2013) ift.tt/1tr9CBz
For example, the video game industry has long been working to blur the line between labor and play in their own ranks by recruiting fans as beta testers for games that are about to be released. Companies routinely emphasize the benefits and the prestige associated with early access: alpha and beta testers are said to have the ear of game makers, to be influential in shaping the final product. Similar rhetoric abounds in recruitment materials aimed at young workers looking to break into the industry.
Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, Editorial: Fandom and/as labor ift.tt/1sxoYCp
Many (New York Times articles about fan fiction) described fanfiction authors as dedicated (Nussbaum 2003), but the specific language used to frame their “zealous” (Stelter 2008, 5) or “marginal obsessive” (Manly 2006, 1) behavior varied. The normalcy of fanfiction appeared largely dependent on the fan’s age. Adult fanfiction authors were portrayed as perverts playing out their media-inspired sexual fantasies (McGrath 1998; O’Connell 2005; Orr 2004), whereas children and adolescents used fanfiction as a creative form of literacy and self-expression (Aspan 2007; Kirkpatrick 2002; Salamon 2001).
Drew Emanuel Berkowitz, Framing the Future of Fanfiction: How The New York Times’ Portrayal of a Youth Media Subculture Influences Beliefs about Media Literacy Education, p203 ift.tt/1i2fPfg
As one reflects upon the history of culture in the twentieth century, at least within what we call the “developed world,” it’s hard not to conclude that Sousa was right (to fear in 1906 that creation by regular people was becoming less central to culture). Never before in the history of human culture had the production of culture been as professionalized. Never before had its production become as concentrated. Never before had the “vocal cords” of ordinary citizens been as effectively displaced, and displaced, as Sousa feared, by these “infernal machines.” The twentieth century was the first time in the history of human culture when popular culture had become professionalized, and when the people were taught to defer to the professional.
Lawrence Lessig, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy ift.tt/1hD2UUY
Hi there! I was wondering if you could direct me to any information you might have about graduate programs in which one could formally pursue fan studies (especially a PhD track). I’ve looked around at length and found a wealth of related (though broader) programs situated in cultural studies or media theory, but I wanted to make sure I haven’t overlooked any institutions with an academic culture particularly interested in this field. If you have any answers or suggestions for me, I’d be very appreciative! Thanks.
ETA: Looking for programs in the US, if at all possible.
Tumblr crosspost: ift.tt/1rpqHZI
Hello all! I’m requesting information on the (in)visibility of slash as a way of generating angst in fanfic pre-2008. Specifically, I want to know what causes or prevents the queering of canoncially straight characters from being used as the primary source of conflict in slashfic. I’m primarily investigating the Kingdom Hearts and Naruto fandoms right now, but information on any fandom based on a global media commodity (preferable originating in Japan, just for the sake of keeping my claims tenable) would be most welcome. If you were actively reading slash fiction in the early 2000s (or know someone who was) and would like to share you perceptions with me, I’d be most grateful!
Tumblr crosspost: ift.tt/1l8Y9Um
[P]arafanfiction…refers to a particular subset of parafictional art that claims to be fanfiction of, or some other record of, an external media object that does not actually exist. The most notable examples of this are the Homestuck Anime and Squiddles, both of which are spinoffs of the actual Homestuck hypercomic. The idea with those projects is to fabricate an entire alternate reality where Homestuck is an anime and the in-comic show Squiddles actually exists. The fans participating in these projects create objects ostensibly taken directly from the shows in question—screencaps, pictures of old VHS tapes, GameBoy Advance cartridges, gif edits, and so on and so forth—in order to sell the idea that these shows actually exist.
Generally speaking, media fandom operates on a labor theory of value—not necessarily in the Marxist sense of the phrase, but in the sense that value derives from work. Fandom’s gift economy assigns special worth to “gifts of time and skill” (Hellekson 2009, 115), gifts made by fans for fans. The worth of these gifts lies not simply in the content of the gift, nor in the social gesture of giving, but in the labor that went into their creation. Commercially purchased gifts, such as the virtual cupcakes and balloons that can be purchased in the LiveJournal shop, may be given and appreciated, but will generally be worth less, in the context of fandom, than gifts made by the giver (note 2). This labor theory of value is often invisible or unarticulated until something goes wrong: a site skin doesn’t work as anticipated, a vid is plagiarized, a story in progress—or an entire archive—is abandoned. These events remind us that our experience of fandom depends on the labor of others: “A gift is a thing we do not get by our own efforts. We cannot buy it; we cannot acquire it through an act of will. It is bestowed upon us” (Hyde 1979, xi).
Tisha Turk, Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom’s gift economy ift.tt/1g9d3Vi
The OTW blog shines a spotlight on the academic fan studies journal TWC. Excerpt:
What gets you excited about academic studies in fandom?
“Here’s what I’m excited about,” said Karen Hellekson in 2008: “an academic journal that welcomes, instead of rejects or overtly mocks, fan studies as a topic … that takes as a given the notion that fans provide something valuable to our culture that ought to be analyzed.”
That journal is Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC): run, peer-reviewed, edited, and supported by OTW members and fans like you.
TWC is a journal with contributions from fan studies scholars all over the world. Edited by Hellekson and Kristina Busse, TWC has produced 15 issues so far, featuring fascinating contributions in topics ranging fromfanvids to fan labor to Supernatural.
Here’s another reason to get excited: TWC is completely free to the public, and has been from the beginning. Academic journals are traditionally locked to people with university affiliations. Often you have to pay US$30 to $45 for access to a single article. But ours is an online-only Open Access Gold journal: free for the readers at the point of access. Plus, our Creative Commons copyright lets anyone reprint the essays for free. These are essential principles behind TWC, enabling its goal of connecting academics and fans through community and accessibility. That’s why the journal also has an open space for non-academic fans to chime in, through the Symposium section in every issue.