TWC: Performing Fandom (March 2015)


Surprisingly, fan studies and performance studies remain relative strangers in scholarship. With a few exceptions, there seems to be little crossover between fields in terms of analysis, theory, and methodology. Such a situation, on both sides of the equation, should be addressed given the potential productive overlap between the two. With this special issue, we want to encourage scholars of both fan and performance to open up further avenues of study and methodological practice in order to expand both fields to their mutual benefit.

Fandom is a performed set of practices. It’s something that one does. For many, being a fan is a distinct part of their performed identity. This practice may take many forms, from the performativity inherent to fan writing to more blatant performances such as LARPs and cosplay. From the other side of the fence, performance studies has had little interaction with fan studies, and investigations into intersections between the disciplines around such issues as identity performance and participant/performer ethnographies would further energize both fields.

We invite scholars in fan studies and performance studies to examine how fandom is performed, what performance practices can reveal about fandom, and how fan studies can benefit performances.

We welcome submissions dealing with, but not limited to, aspects of:

  • Specific performance analysis of particular fandoms.
  • Fan fiction as performative or dramaturgical.
  • Identity and community performance in specific franchise fandoms and in general.
  • Cosplay.
  • Live-action role-playing games.
  • Design and performance in nonfranchise fandoms such as steampunk.
  • Fan communities and participation as applied to traditional performances.
  • Online performance within fan listservs and sites.

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: Jen Gunnels and Carrie J. Cole (fandom.performance AT

The complete call for papers is available here:

Due dates

Contributions for blinded peer review (Theory and Praxis essays) are due by March 1, 2014.

Contributions that undergo editorial review (Symposium, Interview, Review) are due by April 1, 2014.


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