Seminar | Participating in Fiction: Why We Speak Klingon, Play Quidditch, and Shop at Kwik-E-Mart
This panel focuses on the intersection of fictionality and participatory culture. Specifically, we will explore the impact of public participation on the reception and ontological status of fictional entities.
As readers and text consumers, we have a propensity to actualize fiction. That is, we regularly interact with originally fictional entities in ways that effectively bring them across the ontological border, rendering them actual. Examples are myriad and multimedial: consider Quidditch (no longer a fictional sport, as it is played on scores of university campuses), Klingon (no longer a fictional language now that it is spoken by non-fictional people), and Buzz Cola (available for purchase outside of The Simpsons’ Springfield). It is becoming increasingly important to foreground the connection between the public and the humanities, and vital to this is a study of how participation and narrative are mutually influential. This session welcomes papers that address the role of participatory culture in the phenomenon of actualized fiction, and situate the reader’s propensity within existing scholarship on fictionality, popular culture, and media studies.
Paper topics could include but are not limited to the following:
Narratives that come to life in theme parks; theme parks as adaptations
The use of originally fictional products in marketing stories and franchises (Buzz Cola; Wonka
bars; Spın̈al Tap albums; Radioactive Man comics)
The proliferation of communication, courses, and books in originally fictional languages
(Klingon; Sindarin; Quenya; Na’vi; Dothraki)
The International Quidditch Association
Google Maps’ inclusion of fictional locales such as the TARDIS and Diagon Alley
Subway maps of fictional locales such as Westeros and Wonderland
Organizer: Rhona Trauvitch, Florida International University
Potential presenters should submit proposals by midnight PST, September 23.