Call for Papers: Edited Collection on Race in Fandom



Fan studies has consistently identified media or participatory fandom as an intertextual and selfreflexive communitarian space. Further, scholars have produced extremely important work concerning fan identity in these spaces, theorized mainly around the axes of gender and sexuality (Hellekson and Busse 2006; Stein 2015). However, a sustained examination of the effect of racial identity in these spaces has not yet occurred.

This edited collection takes its impulse from Rebecca Wanzo’s (2015) crucial intervention into the genealogy of fan studies that maintained that this glaring omission is not an oversight. Rather, race continues to be absent from broad-based theorizations about fan culture because it “troubles” foundational assumptions about its subversive and inclusive ethos. This collection therefore aims to investigate the ramifications of such trouble by highlighting the operations of race/racism within fandom spaces. It asks how our current conceptions of shared pleasure and intertextual communities interface with these dynamics. The collection aims to tackle these questions from a diverse array of theoretical standpoints and fan texts, also considering the complexity of the category of racial/cultural/ethnic/religious identity itself within a globalized fan-scape.

The collection will be published by a university press (proposal under negotiation) with the publication date of early 2018. Abstracts are solicited for essays of about 6000-7000 words from scholars working on any area of participatory/media fandom, with a broad approach to that term encouraged to include under-studied aspects of fan participation. Please send in 300 word abstracts and author bios to Rukmini Pande ( by 30th May 2017.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:
 Theoretical approaches to the category of race/racism in fandom.
 The differential operations of race/racism in transnational/transcultural fandoms.
 Approaches to racializing gender and sexuality in fanwork. Studies of non-white fanboys are especially encouraged.
 The operations of race/racism in offline spaces such fan conventions.
 The operations of race/racism in material fan practices such as cosplay, cult fan collectors, etc.
 The operations of race/racism in non-traditional participatory fandoms such as sports, music, theatre, video gaming, offline gaming, RPG’s etc.
 The issue of race/racism as both a disturbance to fan spaces and as an impulse to radical transformative work within them.
 Historical approaches to race/racism in fandom in order to expand the “canon” of participatory fandom.
 Pedagogical approaches to teaching race/racism in the fandom studies classroom.

Rukmini Pande has recently completed her PhD from the University of Western Australia. Her dissertation “Squee From The Margins: The Operations of Racial/Cultural/Ethnic Identity in Media Fandom” is currently under contract with the University of Iowa Press. She has also published on the topic of race/racism in fandom in numerous edited collection such as Seeing Fans (eds Paul Booth and Lucy Bennett) and the forthcoming Wiley Companion to Fan Studies (ed Paul Booth). She is also published in journals like Transformative Works and Cultures and The Journal of Feminist Studies.


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