The Fan Studies Network: About Us

April 27, 2013 by
Formed in March 2012, the Fan Studies Network was created with the idea of cultivating an international friendly space in which scholars of fandom could easily forge connections with other academics in the field, and discuss the latest topics within fan studies. Having attracted close to 300 members across the world, the network is already fostering a sense of community and engendering fruitful debate.
In May 2013 a special section of Participations journal was dedicated to the FSN. You can read all the articles here:
http://www.participations.org/Volume%2010/Issue%201/contents.htm
You can also find us on Twitter at @FanStudies, on the discussion list at http://jiscmail.ac.uk/fanstudies and on the Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/507241072647146/
To contact the FSN, please email Lucy Bennett (bennettlucyk@gmail.com) and/or Tom Phillips (T.Phillips@uea.ac.uk)

Reflections from the Future: A Collective Storytelling Challenge from the Civic Imagination Project

June 9, 2020 by

As part of the Civic Paths Group within Henry Jenkins’s Civic Imagination Project team, based at the University of Southern California, a new collective storytelling challenge has been launched. As Sangita Shresthova outlines: “we are excited to launch “Reflections from the Future”, a participatory storytelling challenge that invites people to take a minute to imagine a future far beyond our current moment and share this imagination to inspire others to share their visions too. The collection will also become an enduring archive that preserves our imaginations at this current time”.  You can read more here: http://henryjenkins.org/blog/2020/4/12/take-part-in-a-collective-storytelling-challenge-and-inspire-others-by-sangita-shresthova

All responses will become part of 2060: Reflections from the Future, a public and shared collection that connects our current hopes, concerns, and aspirations.

You can read more about the project and submit your story (which does not have to be in English) here:

https://www.ciatlas.org/prompt

 

 

Call for Papers: Celebrity Studies journal special issue on Children and Celebrities

June 9, 2020 by

Call for Papers: Children and Celebrities

Special Edition of Celebrity Studies journal edited by Djoymi Baker, Jessica Balanzategui, and Diana Sandars

The entertainment industries create the most widely circulated popular images of children and childhood, and yet the role of children in celebrity studies warrants further study. As John Mercer and Jane O’Connor (2017) point out, the intersection between Childhood Studies and Celebrity Studies has been gaining traction in recent years, highlighting a tension between the dominant discourses of innocence surrounding children, and the highly competitive commercial imperatives of celebrity culture.

New participatory entertainment ecologies have created new opportunities for child performers, leading to the rise of new kinds of child celebrities and surrounding reception cultures. For instance, on YouTube, the world’s most popular user-generated video streaming service, some of the most successful celebrities are children: eight year old Ryan Kaji – a North American child who reviews toys for the channel ‘Ryan’s World’ (formerly ‘Ryan ToysReview’) – was the highest-earning YouTube personality of the year in both 2018 (Statista, 2019) and 2019 (Berg, 2019).

The child on screen, the child viewer, and the child star continue to be influenced by concepts of childhood that first emerged in the 19th century, eliciting discourses of harm and protection and attracting waves of moral panic in different eras. These public debates most often reveal more about adult sensibilities around often nostalgic notions of childhood than they do about children themselves. As Karen Lury puts it, “the essential understanding of the child here is the child as being rather than becoming”(2005: 314), a subject lacking agency, which leads Hugh Cunningham to caution “we need to distinguish between children as human beings and childhood as a shifting set of ideas” (2005: 1). In the current cultural moment and in prior eras, the categories of child and adult are mutually reinforcing ideals that are articulated and reflected in a range of distinctive ways through celebrity culture. For example, since the world went into lockdown, the family home has taken centre stage for live broadcasts and social media feeds, and as a result viewers have been inundated with images of celebrities in isolation with their children.

There is more cultural evidence around childhood as a cultural concept than the lived experiences of children, a distinction which becomes key when considering children as fans of child and adult celebrities. In the field of Fandom Studies, Kyra Hunting notes the tendency to examine adolescent and teen media fans at the expense of children. She suggests this is partly due to practical, methodological reasons around collecting data, but argues it also reveals a resistance to framing children’s participatory media engagement as a form of fandom. This is despite the fact that “the playing child” functions as a “model for fandom” studies (Hills, 2002: 9). As such, we need to be mindful of how the child audience is addressed by star vehicles and paratexts, compared with what children actually do as fans, even (or particularly) if this does not accord with teen and adult models of fandom, and what intergenerational modes might be in play.

We seek original essays of 6-8000 words that address children and celebrities through an interdisciplinary approach, across a range of media forms and eras, for a special issue of Celebrity Studies (prospective publication 2023, pending the journal’s review of abstracts).

We will be looking for internationalisation, a range of scholarly experiences, gender balance, and that each of the abstracts tackles their topic or research question through broad and dynamic celebrity intersections.

Topics that the articles may address include, but are not limited to:

Examination of specific child stars or celebrities
Fandom around child stars, among children and/or adults
Child fans of adult stars
On and off-screen dynamics between child stars and their co-stars
Child celebrities and their online persona
‘Fur babies’: celebrity companion animals as ‘children’
Intersectional explorations of gender, race, and/or sexuality around child stars, from their youth through to adulthood
Nostalgia around child stars of the past
Intergenerational spectatorship and child celebrities
Public discourses around child star breakdowns
Acting and screen performance
Ageing child stars
Children on reality TV
The child actor industry
Child actors in adult film and television
Celebrity families in music, film, television and social media cultures
Child labour and consent
Child stars and stalkers
Children of celebrities
Children, celebrity culture, and moral panic
Child stars and merchandising
Children, celebrities and genre
Adult stars who feature in children’s film and television

 
Please send proposals of 300 words and a 50 word author bio to Djoymi Baker djoymi.baker@rmit.edu.au, Jessica Balanzategui jbalanzategui@swin.edu.au, or Diana Sandars sandars@unimelb.edu.au by 7 August 2020.

References

Berg, M, 2019, “The highest paid YouTube stars of 2019.” Forbes 18 December. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2019/12/18/the-highest-paid-youtube-stars-of-2019-the-kids-are-killing-it/#446f8a3338cd (accessed 19 December 2019).

Cunningham, Hugh, 2005, Children and childhood in western society since 1500, New York: Routledge.

Lury, Karen, 2005, “The Child in Film and Television,” Screen, Vol. 46, No. 3, Autumn, pp. 307-314.

Hills, Matt, 2002, Fan Cultures, London: Routledge.

Hunting, Kyra, 2019, “Finding the child fan: A case for studying children in fandom studies,” Journal of Fandom Studies, Vol.7, No. 2, pp. 93-111.

Mercer, John, and Jane O’Connor, 2017, Childhood and Celebrity, London: Routledge.

Statista, 2019, “Most popular YouTube channels as of September 2019, ranked by number of subscribers (in millions).” Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/277758/most-popular-youtube-channels-ranked-by-subscribers/ (accessed 01 December 2019).

CFP: Transformative Works & Cultures special issue on Fandom Histories

June 9, 2020 by

Fandom Histories

https://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/announcement/view/89

Fans demonstrate a broad interest in the past, both of their objects of fandom and their own communities. They collect, catalog, preserve, restore, and publicly display historical artifacts and information in their own archives and museums. They study archival materials and collections, interview witnesses, and read historical scholarship, developing historical narratives and theses. Their research materializes in the form of analog and digital nonfiction media such as print and online publications, documentaries, podcasts, video tutorials, and pedagogical initiatives. Through their work, fans historicize their own fandom and tie it into broader historical questions, connecting to issues like heritage, gender, and the nation. While some fans do this as community historians, focused on small and self-financed groups, others work within large and well-known cultural organizations and businesses, bringing this work into the mainstream.

The goal for this special issue of Transformative Works and Cultures is to explore the question of how fans produce knowledge about the past and actively engage with history. We are particularly interested in essays that show what fans do as historians, such as running publicly accessible archives and museums, and using archival materials for the production of nonfiction media. We want to shift direction from the question of why and how fans are collecting to analyses of why, how, and with what impact fans are creating and disseminating knowledge about the past. Such contributions will further our understanding of how central engagements with the past are to individual and collective fan identities, and how fandom connects to historical debates.

We encourage contributions covering all geographies and forms of fandom, including film, television, music, games, sport, fashion, celebrity culture, themed environments, theatre, dance, and opera. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Theorizing fans as historians.
Fan-produced nonfiction media about the past.
Use of archival and historical materials in fan works.
Fan-run archives and museums.
Memorialization of fandom.
Transmedial practices in fan-made histories.
Fan-made histories as fan pedagogy.
History making and inclusion/exclusion in fandom.
Fans as historians and the media and/or heritage industries.

Submission guidelines
Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC, http://journal.transformativeworks.org/) is an international peer-reviewed online Gold Open Access publication of the nonprofit Organization for Transformative Works copyrighted under a Creative Commons License. TWC aims to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community. TWC accommodates academic articles of varying scope as well as other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing.

Theory: Conceptual essays. Peer review, 6,000–8,000 words.
Praxis: Case study essays. Peer review, 5,000–7,000 words.
Symposium: Short commentary. Editorial review, 1,500–2,500 words.

Please visit TWC’s website (http://journal.transformativeworks.org/) for complete submission guidelines, or email the TWC Editor (editor [AT] transformativeworks.org).

Contact—Contact guest editors Philipp Dominik Keidl and Abby Waysdorf with any questions or inquiries at fansmakehistory [AT] gmail.com.

Due date—January 1, 2021, for estimated March 15, 2022 publication.

FanLIS: Building Bridges Symposium (London, UK, 9 April 2020) – registration now open

March 6, 2020 by

Regitstration is now open for FanLIS: Building Bridges.  A one day, interdisciplinary symposium exploring the intersections between between fandom, fan studies and library and information science.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fanlis-building-bridges-symposium-registration-93408526417

About this Event
Building Bridges: exploring interdisciplinary intersections between fandom, fan studies, and library and information science.
Interdisciplinary Symposium: 9th April 2020 hosted by CityLIS, at City, University of London

Organisers: Ludi Price & Lyn Robinson

Event Image Artist: Ludi Price

Programme: https://blogs.city.ac.uk/fanlis/fanlis-symposia/fanlis-2020/fanlis-2020-programme/

Website: https://blogs.city.ac.uk/fanlis/

Twitter: #FanLIS @CityLIS #CityLIS

Our first FanLIS symposium will take place on 9th April 2020, at City, University of London.

The theme of the event is “Building Bridges: exploring interdisciplinary intersections between between fandom, fan studies, and library and information science.”

We invite all who have an interest in the ways in which fandom, fan studies, and library & information science overlap. Examples include the ways in which fans create, organise, disseminate, classify and preserve fanworks; the publishing of fanfiction as mainstream literature; fans as citizen journalists; or the beta-reader as editor. This symposium will contribute to the nascent interdisciplinary dialogue, by bringing together scholars from fan studies, LIS and beyond, to find commonalities, inspire new conversations, reveal hidden and unexpected intersections, and suggest new methodological approaches that will enrich the current discourse of fandom and fan practice.

As part of its research strategy, the Department of Library & Information Science, CityLIS, at City, University of London, explores the liminal areas between disciplines, seeking out new domain approaches, innovative practice, and the as yet undiscovered ways in which the processes of the information communication chain can be further refined and understood.

Recently the fan studies community has become interested in building bridges between different cultures and disciplines, with Dr.Naomi Jones, during the Fan Studies Network Conference 2018, emphasising the importance of interdisciplinarity in moving the field forward. This challenge was taken up by Kelley, Price, Schuster and Wang in the Fan Studies Network Conference of 2019, where they presented their interdisciplinary, collaborative project on fandom, which started in the Spring of 2018. This collaboration brought together scholars from the fields of cultural studies, the digital humanities, and library and information science to talk about fandom and fan practice, and has allowed a wider exchange of ideas between disciplines.

In common with fan studies, library and information science has a keen interest in the utility of their research outside the field, and in understanding to what extent it effects an impact outside its own disciplinary boundaries. For example, while library and information science (LIS) has a rich history of user studies, its impact outside of the field is less clear, despite multidisciplinary studies being shown to have more impact (Ellegaard & Wallin, 2015). Thus, it would seem that this is the perfect opportunity to bring members of these two disciplines – fan studies and LIS – together, in order to move the concept of ‘interdisciplinarity’ away from just a subject of conversation, towards something real and tangible.

Fan practice shows many parallels with the interests of information professionals, such as librarians, archivists and curators. Fans are ardent collectors (Geraghty, 2014); they take pride in the classification of their work; they develop best practice in the preservation of fanworks (Swalwell et al., 2017); and as some of the first adopters of the internet (Jenkins, 2006), they are comfortable using technological innovations which many information professionals have yet to embrace. Other fan activities with which LIS has overlapping engagement are the publishing of fanfiction as mainstream literature (Peckosie & Hill, 2015), classification of fanfiction, such as on the Archive of Our Own (Price, 2019), and copyright, to name but a few. Rarely, however, does LIS literature acknowledge the relevance of work carried out in the fan studies discipline, e.g. Versaphile’s (2011) look at the preservation of fannish history and Johnson’s (2014) look at fanfiction metadata. Likewise, there is little evidence that fan studies authors are aware of the rich troves of relevant work carried out within the LIS discipline. This creates a significant lacuna in knowledge, which could be assuaged by a less siloed approach to research conversations.

The CityLIS FanStudies Project pulls together previous work we have undertaken along the boundary of fanstudies and LIS, and hopes to create a framework for future collaboration and research.

See our call for papers; now closed.

Announcement: Fan Studies Network Conference 2020

February 4, 2020 by

We are disappointed to announce that there will be no Fan Studies Network conference held in the UK in 2020. The annual FSN conference has become a fixture of many of our academic calendars since we began in 2013, yet unfortunately this year it has been difficult to find the capacity to deliver a conference that would be of a comparable standard to our previous events.

Principally our efforts to organise a 2020 event have been impacted by the UCU industrial action that began in November 2019, and will soon resume again. The FSN Board is proud to support this action and offers solidarity to all affected colleagues.

We do, however, see this break in our conference schedule as a blessing in disguise.  Following conversations last year around whiteness in fan studies, and reflecting on the FSN Board’s own role in that, we are going to use the time afforded to us this summer as an opportunity to formalise FSN’s governance and practices, particularly focussing on ways to promote new voices within our field. While our presence may be less visible in 2020, we hope our members are confident that we will be continuing our efforts to make fan studies a welcoming place for all.

We will miss seeing old friends and meeting new ones this year, and thank you for your continued support.

See you in 2021,

The Fan Studies Network Board

 

 

CFP: Fandom and Controversy – special journal issue of American Behavioral Scientist

January 9, 2020 by

CFP: Fandom and Controversy

Special issue of American Behavioral Scientist edited by Rebecca Williams and Lucy Bennett

In 2005, American Behavioral Scientist published a special issue on Fandom, which contained articles that continue to resonate and influence the field today. This proposed special issue seeks to offer a follow-up to that foundational issue, offering new perspectives on fan cultures which respond to the changes that have happened in the fifteen years since its publication and acknowledging the complex cultural, social and political landscape that we currently occupy. The issue seeks to showcase voices from both established and emerging scholars, offering work that addresses these key concerns from a range of perspectives. Its focus is on the relationship between fandom and moments of fissure or controversy, including how this intersects with the current political and cultural moment.

Although fandom can very often involve admiration and pleasure towards a person or text, there are also moments where disappointment, shame, and displeasure occur (Jones 2018). In the past decade accusations of sexual harassment and assault surrounding celebrities such as Michael Jackson, R, Kelly, and the spread of the #metoo hashtag, have caused some fans to re-evaluate their attachments to famous figures and celebrities, challenging how we conceive of concepts such as ‘anti-fandom’ (Gray 2003), so-called ‘cancel culture’, or the spread of forms  of ‘toxic fandom’ (Proctor and Kies 2018) or ‘reactionary fandom’ (Stanfill 2019). However, other fans have sought to maintain their fandom for these celebrities, offering justifications and solidarity to their object of fandom in the face of these controversial moments.

Indeed, the wider current social and political landscape offers a set of unique challenges that has a clear impact on how we understand the discourses and practices of fandom. As the United Kingdom deals with the consequences of Brexit and leaving the European Union, as Europe itself negotiates its future, and as the United States faces a series of new challenges under the Trump Presidency, the political and the personal intersect like never before. Meanwhile protests in Hong Kong have captured the world’s attention as fannish modes of communication including memes are appropriated for political and cultural purposes (Teixeira 2019). The issue thus encourages scholars from a range of national perspectives, especially those from non-Western countries and those outside of the Global North.

The emerging overlaps between fandom, controversy and the political moment can be seen in the use of fannish language to describe key politicians such as those who support the UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn as Corbynistas (see Hills 2017, Sandvoss 2017, Dean 2017), fans of the previous Leader Ed Miliband which led to the so-called Milifandom (see Hills 2015, Wahl-Jorgensen 2019, Sandvoss 2015), or the emergence of young female fans of former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, referred to as Mayllenialls (Smith 2017). The approaches of Fan Studies have been employed to understand loyal supporters of President Donald Trump (Wahl-Jorgensen 2019), whilst the tools of online fandoms such as forums, social media, memes and hashtags have been employed by a range of groups with varying political viewpoints and agendas (Sandvoss 2013, Booth et al 2018, Wilson 2018). The increasing celebrification of politics has perhaps reached its nadir in the star status of Barack Obama (Sandvoss 2012) and the election of Donald Trump to the office of President (see Negra 2016) but the blurring of boundaries between the political and the famous continues as rumours swirl about the intentions of famous figures as diverse as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Disney CEO Bob Iger to run for office.

Meanwhile, existing fandoms continue to mobilise both political and activist efforts (Jenkins 2012, Hinck 2019) to combat human rights violations and respond to natural disasters (e.g. the efforts of the Supernatural fandom in raising money for relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas). Other fan groups often find themselves thrown into unforeseen controversial political moments, as in the juncture of singer Ariana Grande fans with narratives around international terrorism after the bombing of her concert in Manchester, or the co-option of Taylor Swift by members of the alt-right.

Given these intertwining threads, this issue focuses on the confluence of fandom and controversy. Seeking contributions from a range of disciplines including media and cultural studies, fan studies, politics, celebrity studies and beyond, contributors are invited to submit proposals on any of the above examples, the following topics, or any other aspect of the linkages between fandom, controversy and politics (in all its forms):

  • Celebrity/fan connections
  • Discourses of “superfandom”
  • Disappointment and shame within fandom
  • Links between fandom, controversy and the public sphere (e.g. fandom of certain figures or political parties, fannish resistance to political readings of texts)
  • Fandom as citizenship/fans as citizens
  • Forms of anti-fandom or non-fandom
  • The intersections between celebrity, fandom and political culture
  • Fan activism
  • The use of social media and its language (e.g. memes, hashtags, GIFs)
  • Affect and emotion
  • The importance of places and spaces, both physical and virtual
  • The creation of transformative works (e.g. fanfiction, fan videos) that address these issues
  • Material cultures
  • The ethics of studying these forms of participatory culture and fandom
  • Stan culture
  • Fandom and cancel culture
  • Toxic fandom

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words in length, plus a short author biography to Dr Rebecca Williams at Rebecca.williams@southwales.ac.uk and Dr Lucy Bennett at BennettL@cardiff.ac.uk by 31st March 2020. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 30th April 2020.

Please note than acceptance of an abstract does not guarantee publication. All submissions will undergo double blind peer review once completed articles are submitted.

References

Booth, Paul, Amber Davisson, Aaron Hess and Ashley Hinck (2018) Poaching Politics: Online Communication During the 2016 US Presidential Election, Peter Lang.

 Dean, Jonathan (2017) ‘Politicising Fandom’, The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 19 (2) 408–424.

 Gray, Jonathan (2003) ‘New audiences, new textualities: anti-fans and non-fans’, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 6 (1): 64-81.

 Hills, Matt (2015) ‘The ‘most unlikely’ or ‘most deserved cult’: citizen-fans and the authenticity of Milifandom’, Election Analysis 2015, http://www.electionanalysis.uk/uk-election-analysis-2015/section-7-popular-culture/the-most-unlikely-or-most-deserved-cult-citizen-fans-and-the-authenticity-of-milifandom/

 Hills, Matt (2017) ‘It’s the stans wot (nearly) won it’, Election Analysishttp://www.electionanalysis.uk/uk-election-analysis-2017/section-8-personality-politics-and-popular-culture/its-the-stans-wot-nearly-won-it/

 Hinck, Ashley (2019) Politics For the Love of Fandom: Fan-Based Citizenship in a Digital World, LSU Press.

 Jenkins H (2012) ‘Cultural acupuncture’: Fan activism and the Harry Potter Alliance. Transformative Works and Cultures 10. Available at: http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/305/259

Jones, Bethan (2018) ‘Navigating Grief and Disgust in Lostprophet’s Fandom’. In: Williams, R. ed. Everybody Hurts: Transitions, Endings, and Resurrections in Fan Cultures. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, pp. 43-60.

 Negra, Diane (2016) ‘The Reality Celebrity of Donald Trump’, Television and New Media, 17 (7).

Sandvoss, Cornel (2012) ‘Enthusiasm, Trust, and its Erosion in Mediated Politics: On Fans of Obama and the Liberal Democrats’. European Journal of Communication, 27(1): 68-81.

 Sandvoss C (2013) Toward an understanding of political enthusiasm as media fandom: Blogging, fan productivity and affect in American politics. Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies 10(1):252–296.

 Sandvoss, Cornel (2015) ‘It’s the neutrosemy, stupid!: fans, texts and partisanship in the 2015 General Election’, Election Analysishttp://www.electionanalysis.uk/uk-election-analysis-2015/section-7-popular-culture/its-the-neutrosemy-stupid-fans-texts-and-partisanship-in-the-2015-general-election/

Sandvoss, Cornel (2017) ‘Corbyn and his fans: post-truth, myth and Labour’s hollow defeat’’, Election Analysishttp://www.electionanalysis.uk/uk-election-analysis-2017/section-8-personality-politics-and-popular-culture/corbyn-and-his-fans-post-truth-myth-and-labours-hollow-defeat/

Smith, Patrick (2017) ‘The “Mayllennials” Are Young Women Who Love Theresa May And It’s The Most Unlikely Fandom Of 2017’, Buzzfeed News, 10 May 2017  https://www.buzzfeed.com/patricksmith/the-maylennials-are-young-women-who-love-theresa-may-and

Stanfill, Mel (2019) ‘Introduction: The Reactionary in the Fan and the Fan in the Reactionary’, Television & New Media, Online First, pp. 1 – 12. DOI: 10.1177/1527476419879912

Teixeira, Lauren (2019) ‘China Is Sending Keyboard Warriors Over the Firewall’, Foreign Policy, 26 August 2019, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/08/26/china-is-sending-keyboard-warriors-over-the-firewall/

Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin (2019) Emotions, Media & Politics, Cambridge: Polity Press.

CFP: Historical Perspectives on Fan Culture (SCMS: April 1-5 2020, Denver)

July 24, 2019 by

CFP: Historical Perspectives on Fan Culture (SCMS: April 1-5 2020, Denver)

Fan studies has been from the beginning, and continues to be, focused predominantly on contemporary movements and phenomena. This is striking, especially since fans have invested extensive labor into building historical archives. While scholars such as Roberta Pearson, Francesca Coppa, and Camille Bacon-Smith have published important historical studies on different fannish groups, the mere fact that their texts continue to be cited as the dominant references for historical context suggests a lack of breadth and depth in fan studies’ engagement with historical research questions. Other historical studies, such as Jackie Stacey’s work on female movie fans in the 1940s/1950s or historiographies of the science-fiction community written by writer-fans, stand outside the discourse of fan studies and thus don’t directly connect to the theoretical arguments in the field.

This panel argues that fan studies is depriving itself of an important archive of knowledge that could significantly alter and enrich the field. Since much of fan studies is produced by self- identified members of fan communities, the issue of identification and embeddedness is one that it has necessarily struggled with from the very beginning. The necessary distance that comes with historical research can both challenge our understanding and help show what the study of fan culture has to offer to larger disciplines. We are especially interested in papers examining sensitive topics within fan communities that involvement in fandom makes more difficult with regard to contemporary work.

Submissions should be rooted in historical, archival, and/or cross-cultural research. We welcome studies that engage with materials and communities falling outside the scholar’s own lived experience, and/or that purposefully challenge established expectations about the nature and origins of fan culture. Contributions will demonstrate a critical and expansive understanding of fan culture in relation to adjacent disciplines such as media industry studies, feminist theory, Marxist theory, queer theory, critical race studies, disability studies, and community studies, and will do so through research outside the usual circuits of western digital fandom. Topics might include, but are by no means limited to, research into the histories of previously underexposed fan communities; conflicts, controversies, and taboos in fandom history; the historical predecessors of slash; experiences of underrepresented groups in pre-internet fan communities; racialization and the construction of traditional science fiction fandom; or non-western media fandom.

Please submit abstracts of up to 2500 characters, as well as a short biography of up to 500 characters, to jg835@cornell.edu and muelleh@bgsu.edu by August 15.

CFP: Fandom: The Next Generation Transgenerational Fans and Long-Running Media Franchises

July 23, 2019 by

Fandom: The Next Generation
Transgenerational Fans and Long-Running Media Franchises

Imagine taking your child to see The Last Jedi after your own parents took you to see Return of the Jedi when you were small. Picture a grandmother, mother, and daughter sitting down to watch reruns of The Golden Girls together. What keeps fans interested in after so many years? How do long-running franchises, revivals, and reboots appeal to new audiences? How do social and political changes affect longtime fan experiences? This book sets out to explore a relatively unstudied aspect of fan and audience studies: longtime fans and generational turnover.

While early fan studies was interested in ethnography, those studies tended to concentrate on small pockets of devoted fans at particular moments. More recently, the field has expanded to studying anti-fans and toxic fans, post-object fandom, and historical fandoms. This collection seeks to fill a much-needed gap between the historical and the contemporary by studying the media franchises with long durations, reboots, and revivals that create generational fan turnover and that ask longtime fans to adapt to franchise updates.

With a variety of essays focusing on various fans, communities, and theories about fan practices, this collection sets out to study how long-running franchises are shaped by the generations of fans that adore them, and in turn how those fans navigate generational cultural divides, historical vs. recent aspects of the canon, and other elements of duration. Possible essay topics might include, but are not limited to:
● Ethnographies of intergenerational or transgenerational fan communities
● Case studies in longtime fan practices and experiences, especially as they adapt over time
● Fan break-ups with or reconsiderations of long-running franchises
● The role technological changes play in shaping fan relationships to canon
● Social or cultural forces that shape fan experiences over time
● How producers and creators of long-running franchises have (or have not) changed their interactions with fans
● Strategies used by media industries to make canon accessible to new generations of fans and/or to longtime fans

At this time, the project is being developed for proposal to the University of Iowa Press’ Fandom and Culture series. Several authors are committed to writing chapters. We are seeking additional contributors, especially on topics related to global or transnational fandom, race, gender and sexuality, and/or historically understudied fan communities and canons. Essays of 6,000-8,000 words with Chicago author-date style citations, a brief author bio, and a CV should be submitted to Bridget Kies (Oakland University) at bridget.kies@gmail.com by October 1, 2019. Expressions of interest and questions about the project prior to that deadline are welcome!

CFP: Special Edition of Celebrity Studies journal on Keanu Reeves, edited by Renee Middlemost and Sarah Thomas

July 23, 2019 by

Call for Papers

Special Edition of Celebrity Studies, edited by Renee Middlemost and Sarah Thomas

**Keanu Reeves**

Since his emergence as a teen actor in the 1980s, Keanu Reeves has been an enduring, yet elusive celebrity who continues to fascinate and frustrate in equal measure. Despite his unwavering popularity, in recent years his lower public profile has seen Reeves assume the status of cult or folk icon; yet slowly the world appears to have fallen for Reeves all over again.  USA Today declared June 2019 ‘The Summer of Keanu Reeves’ with the release of John Wick 3Toy Story 4, the announcement of his role in X Box game Cyberpunk 2077, memorable cameo in Always Be My Maybe, memes, magazine features, the first ‘KeanuCon’ film festival, and high profile fashion brand ambassador spreads (Saint Laurent). With the latest instalment of Bill and Ted (Bill and Ted Face the Music) due for release in 2020, this special issue of Celebrity Studies will be a timely exploration of the resurgent Reeves in the transmedia age.

Often discussed as an emblematic star of 1990s postmodernist cinema and queer sensibilities with a liminal, endless screen presence that stood between the margins and the mainstream of contemporary filmic texts (c.f. Giarrantana, 2002 and Rutsky, 2001), even now twenty years on from The Matrix (1999), Reeves remains an enigmatic icon straddling boundaries of fixed identity and meaning. His 21st century stardom has extended beyond the Wachowski’s ground-breaking series and his other key roles of the 1990s, and Reeves’ performances and star persona continues to reflect the wider ages and identities he lives through, endlessly being rewritten, rebooted and reinterpreted.

His success in the John Wick series, from cult hit to global franchise phenomenon, has partly reinvigorated interest in his screen work, conceptualising the change from the physically beautiful youth (Rutsky, 2001) to the ageing, effortful labour of action role and star. The character of John Wick further mythicises the always ‘extraordinary’ Reeves, whilst his ‘ordinariness’ has been embraced by transmedia digital cultures, such as ‘sad Keanu’ meme which draws on the perception that Reeves’ tragic personal life has never been fully resolved, or viral fan encounters that emphasise an authenticity to his unstarry behaviour. His cameo in the recent Netflix productionAlways Be My Maybe brought questions of race and transnational identity back to the forefront of his star image, with his appearance reflecting an overt desire by the filmmakers to claim Reeves as an Asian-American icon (Yamato 2019) – as aspect also explored by Nishime (2013). Beyond this, the ongoing commercial appeal of the Bill & Ted series and his partnership with Winona Ryder in Destination Wedding (2018) reveals the significance of Reeves as a point of reference for exploring 80s and 90s ‘cool’ nostalgia.

We seek original, truly ‘Excellent!!” essays of 7-8000 words that address the celebrity of Keanu Reeves, particularly reflecting on and exploring his career and image post-2000. Revisiting Keanu Reeves offers a timely discussion around key contemporary media landscapes, from franchise, reboot and remake cultures; multi-media, transmedia and technology; nostalgia and memory; participatory fandom and online cultures; racial identity and transnationalism; changes across the mainstream, the independent and the marginal; ageing; narratives of contemporary celebrity authenticities; and the continuing persistence of mythic and elusive stardom.

Topics that the articles may address include, but are not limited to:

*Keanu, the 1980s and nostalgia

*Keanu as Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan – rebooting Bill and Ted

*Keanu and his relationship to other iconic 80s performers (Winona Ryder)

*The figure of ‘tragic Keanu’

*Keanu online – Keanu as meme

*Keanu and masculinity

*Asian-American identity and transnational cinemas

*Keanu and ageing stardom

*Stuntwork, physicality and labour

*Keanu and genre (action, romance and science fiction)

*Keanu and cinematic innovation

*Keanu and cinematic franchises

*Fan responses to Keanu

*Queer identity and star image, especially post-2000

*Keanu as ‘reluctant celebrity’

*Transmedia Keanu

*Keanu as producer, or from a production studies perspective

*Acting and screen performance

*Authenticity and ordinariness

*Keanu and video game cultures

*Presence, affect and ‘being’

Please send proposals of 300 words and brief author bio/contact to Renee Middlemost reneem@uow.edu.au and Sarah Thomas S.K.Thomas@liverpool.ac.uk  by 1 December 2019.

 

CFP: Autistic Representation & Engagement in Media Narratives

July 23, 2019 by

Autistic Representation & Engagement in Media Narratives.

Call for papers.

Autism is becoming a controversial topic within contemporary Western culture, arguably due to a lack of information and out-dated perceptions of the condition. Autistic adults are increasingly using social media as a way to try and get their voices heard, and to challenge prevalent narratives, and what they see as abusive and dangerous practices used to try and ‘cure’ the condition. The Neurodiversity movement in particular, seeks to open up discussion and awareness of Autism as something inherent to Autistic people, rather than as a disease to be cured.

However, the Anti-vax movement has served to further demonise Autistic people, whilst cult celebrities have used social media to attack Autistic activists for criticising problematic charities such as Autism Speaks. Autistic voices are still struggling to be heard, and often suffer from being infantilised or dismissed due to being perceived by archaic labels as “high functioning” and thus not “properly” Autistic.

Representation in media, is therefore, a critical issue for Autistic people. Whilst there is increasingly an acknowledgement of Autism with film and television, the way it is depicted can be controversial. Often Autistic voices are ignored, and not involved in the production of these texts. Children’s television cartoon Pablo stars an Autistic boy and has Autistic voices involved with the production. The stage play All in a Row used a creepy puppet to represent an Autistic child and created a great deal of controversy on social media, including protests from Autistic people. Netflix series Atypical has had mixed reactions due to its perceived stereotypical representations.

There are also a great deal of texts that are not necessarily open about featuring Autistic characters, but which many have interpreted that way. These include Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, Tilly in Star Trek: Discovery, and various incarnations of The Doctor in Doctor Who. This call for paper is interested in both literal representation in media, but also how Autistic communities and viewers might find and read characters as Autistic.

This is a preliminary call for papers and proposals for an edited collection using a broad range of approaches in the exploration of both Autistic representation and engagement within media texts.

Proposals could address, but are not limited to:

  • Representation of Autism in Film & TV
  • Controversial texts and promotions.
  • Autistic fandom
  • Representations of race and gender
  • Metaphors for Autism in narratives
  • Critical viability and acceptance
  • Historical and political discourses around Autism.
  • Conspiracy narratives
  • Anti-fandom and celebrities
  • Promoting Autism
  • Interpretation characters as Autistic
  • Autistic writers, directors, and actors e.g. Anthony Hopkins
  • Autistic experiences in viewing media
  • Autism, anxiety, and the horror genre
  • Co-morbid conditions and disabilities
  • Right-wing and anti-SJW Autistic fans
  • Fandom, special interests, and hyper-focus
  • Fan-fiction and fan art
  • Neurodiversity movement

Proposals and abstracts of approximately 300 words with a short bio can be submitted to Mark Richard Adams by 30th November 2019, at drmarkrichardadams@gmail.com . Also feel free to email to express interest or with any questions.