TWC: Fandom and/as Labor (March 2014)


Edited by Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

It has long been recognized both within academia and in the various communities organized around fandom that the practice of being a fan does not merely consist of passive consumption. Rather, fans are also productive: they generate interpretations of their favorite television shows, extratextual products like fan fiction and fan videos, and data about their own consumption habits and those of their peers that will be used to market new products. Whether labors of love or value extracted from unaware fans, this productivity is rarely conceptualized as labor.

Given recent events like the 2011 Wisconsin labor protests, however, broader questions of labor and fair compensation have been reinvigorated, such that taking these productive fan activities seriously as labor seems to be particularly vital in the current moment.

In this special issue on Fandom and/as Labor, we invite contributions that ask after how labor relates to fandom, how labor happens in fandom, and what happens when we reconceptualize fandom as labor.

We welcome submissions dealing with, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Case studies of how fans negotiate/conceptualize the labors that they perform.
  • Analyses of the ways in which popular texts present/narrate the labor involved in participating in fandom.
  • Examinations of how fan labor is gendered, raced, classed, and/or related to sexuality, ability, and nation.
  • Analysis of the monetization of existing fan labor and/or the production of profitable new types of fan labor.
  • Theoretical or experiential accounts of the tension between freely given fan labor or the fan gift economy and exploitation through the extraction of surplus value.

Submission guidelines

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. Contributors are encouraged to include embedded links, images, and videos in their articles or to propose submissions in alternative formats that might comprise interviews, collaborations, or video/multimedia works. We are also seeking reviews of relevant books, events, courses, platforms, or projects.

Theory: Often interdisciplinary essays with a conceptual focus and a theoretical frame that offer expansive interventions in the field. Blinded peer review. Length: 5,000–8,000 words plus a 100–250-word abstract.

Praxis: Analyses of particular cases that may apply a specific theory or framework to an artifact; explicate fan practice or formations; or perform a detailed reading of a text. Blinded peer review. Length: 4,000–7,000 words plus a 100–250-word abstract.

Symposium: Short pieces that provide insight into current developments and debates. Nonblinded editorial review. Length: 1,500–2,500 words.

Submissions are accepted online only. Please visit TWC’s Web site ( for complete submission guidelines, or e-mail the TWC Editor (editor AT


We encourage potential contributors to contact the guest editors with inquiries or proposals: Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis (fandom.labor AT

Due dates

Contributions for blinded peer review (Theory and Praxis essays) are due by March 1, 2013.

Contributions that undergo editorial review (Symposium, Interview, Review) are due by April 1, 2013.


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