Archive for February, 2019

#FSN2019

February 11, 2019

Fan studies is a discipline overrun with whiteness.

This fundamental truth, put forward by a fan studies scholar on Friday 8th February, prompted a number of conversations between academics on Twitter. The resultant discussion has required us – the board members of the Fan Studies Network – to consider the role and function of the FSN within the field, and how our conference events frame representation.

Since the FSN was founded in 2012, we have worked hard to be inclusive in a range of ways, but it is clear through the recent discourse that in relation to issues of race we have failed. This is a failure that we want to rectify. This is an issue that is bigger than the Fan Studies Network, and working towards a solution will not be an overnight process. However, there are steps FSN can take to try and be better.   

This starts with our annual conference. We were delighted with the calibre of keynote speakers chosen for FSN2019, and chose these scholars because of our respect for their excellent scholarship and their support of FSN over the years. We believe that a keynote speaker should represent their field, and use their position at the conference to inform, interest, and inspire. We also believe such discourses should come from the keynote addresses themselves, rather than being informed by external discussions. As a result, in agreement with those we invited as keynotes, it has been decided that the conference will feature Lori Morimoto as the sole keynote speaker this year. The second keynote slot will instead be dedicated to a roundtable discussion on representation and diversity. We welcome thoughts on the most appropriate format for this roundtable, including potential participants.

All FSN keynotes have been chosen by the board since our first event in 2013, but we now recognise that we need to rethink our selection practices and procedures. So, over the coming months, we will be inviting everyone with an interest in fan studies (regardless of whether you have attended one of our events or not) for your thoughts on how we can make fan studies a more diverse and inclusive space. Inclusivity is an issue for us as a field to address together, and we want to ensure that the most appropriate voices are heard.  

The last 72 hours have involved a considerable amount of reflection and discussion between FSN board members, trying to react to an ongoing situation and consider the discourse with a level head. One thing that has become clear to the board is that we have underestimated the power and privilege we have in our positions. To understand why such a misjudgement has taken place, it is important to contextualise the role of the board and the ongoing management of FSN.

The network was founded by PhD students who lamented the lack of a common space for those with an interest in fan studies. It began as a group of UK-based friends and peers, keen to get a network off the ground. Unfortunately, the board’s ambitions for the network have been hampered by time and money. In regards to the former, for a large part of the lifespan of FSN the board have all been in precarious states of employment, unable to be afforded the time to work on network activities beyond the annual conference. For the latter, it is worth noting that FSN has no form of funding[1], and the conferences are entirely self-sustaining – all the money earned from delegate fees go into the conference. Ultimately the success of FSN in attracting such an international selection of keynote speakers over the last few years has relied on vast amounts of goodwill and compromise.

With this in mind, for the last few years the board has essentially seen itself as a conference organisation committee. What we did not consider, however, was how the decisions we make with our conference could have wider implications and ramifications. We now recognise that although we quite casually (albeit in good faith) began FSN to promote networking in the field, it has grown into something that warrants more considered formalisation. This is an opportunity to recognise that the board would benefit from new voices, and we are considering ways to take this forward.

Challenging the structural whiteness of our discipline is going to take more than just sticking plasters and tokenistic gestures. It will require all of us – individuals, institutions, committees, publishers, editorial boards, SIGs, research centres and beyond – to work together over the coming months and years to make fan studies a welcoming space for marginalised scholars. The six of us on the FSN board cannot and do not claim to know the answers, but we do have a platform and a presence within the field that we would like to put to good use. Please help us to do that.

We are particularly keen to hear from scholars of colour on this matter, but we welcome the comments, suggestions and input from anyone with an interest in the network and the field of fan studies more broadly. Email us at fsnconference@gmail.com (including “INCLUSIVITY” in the subject line), and if you are able to do so, please make the trip to Portsmouth (UK) in June for FSN2019 so that we can address these issues in person.


The Fan Studies Network board

[1] For the sake of transparency – the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities at the University of East Anglia makes a budget available of £500 a year available to Tom Phillips in his role as co-Chair of the network. Last year this money was used for travel and accommodation for two board members at the FSN conference in Cardiff.

 

Fan Studies Network 2019 Conference: Portsmouth, UK, 28-29 June 2019

February 1, 2019

CALL FOR PAPERS: Fan Studies Network Conference 2019

Fan Studies Network Conference 2019

28th & 29th June 2019

School of Film, Media and Communication, University of Portsmouth, UK

Keynote Speakers:

Dr Nicolle Lamerichs, HU University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Dr Lori Morimoto, Independent Researcher, USA

In 2019 the Fan Studies Network will be travelling to the UK’s south coast and the historic naval city of Portsmouth. We are delighted to announce that the seventh annual Conference is taking place in the School of Film, Media and Communication at the University of Portsmouth. Offering a diverse two-day programme our conference will sit alongside historic sites such as the Dockyards, HMS Victory and the Mary Rose while also attracting presenters to explore our cult fan trail which includes comic book, collectibles and record stores, video and board game lounges, and museum exhibits. Fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes can see a permanent collection of artefacts and fans of Charles Dickens can visit his birthplace. The conference will continue FSN’s long-standing tradition of offering an enthusiastic space for interdisciplinary researchers at all career stages to connect, share resources, and further develop their research ideas. In addition to panel presentations, the two days will feature a variety of social events, workshop discussions, and our famous speed-geeking sessions.

We are honoured to have Nicolle Lamerichs and Lori Morimoto as our keynote speakers for 2019. Both have contributed hugely to the field of fan studies, leading the community in new and important directions. Nicolle is senior lecturer and team lead at Creative Business at HU University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht. She is the author of Productive Fandom: Intermediality and Affective Reception in Fan Cultures (Amsterdam UP, 2018) and co-editor of Fan Studies: Researching Popular Audiences (interdisciplinary.net, 2014). Lori is an independent researcher who has published widely on transcultural and transnational media fandoms in a range of seminal collections and leading journals, including: Fandom: Communities and Identities in a Mediated World, Second EditionThe Routledge Companion to Media Fandom, and A Companion to Media Fandom and Fan Studies; Participations, Transformative Works and CulturesEast Asian Journal of Popular Culture and Mechademia: Second Arc. We are very excited to have both of them come to Portsmouth as keynotes for FSN2019.

We invite abstracts of no more than 300 words for papers that address any aspect of fandom or fan studies. We also welcome collated submissions for pre-constituted panels of four papers. We encourage new members, in all stages of study, to the network and welcome proposals for presentations on, but not limited to, the following possible topics:

  • The business of fandom (entrepreneurs, affective economics)
  • Branding fandom (promotional culture, marketing and PR)
  • Fandom, copyright and the law
  • Links between fandom, participatory culture and the political moment
  • Forms of anti-fandom, non-fandom or toxic fandom
  • The intersections between celebrity and fandom
  • Fan activism in response to contemporary political/world events
  • Fan space, place and geographies
  • Fandom and material cultures
  • Fan Studies methodologies
  • Fandom and controversies
  • Producer/fan interactions and relationships
  • Fan conventions
  • Fan labour
  • Sports fandom

In connection with our location and keynotes, the following topics may be of interest:

  • Music fandom
  • Literary fandom (Sherlock Holmes/Dickens)
  • Subcultural identities
  • Cult movies and filming locations
  • Transcultural and transnational fandom
  • Fandom, race and ethnicity
  • Cosplay and productive fandom
  • The use of social media and its language (e.g. memes, hashtags, GIFs)

We also invite short abstracts (100-200 words) from anyone wishing to present as part of our popular ‘speed geeking’ session. This would involve each speaker presenting a short discussion on a relevant topic of their choosing to a number of small groups, and then receiving instantaneous feedback, making it ideal for presenting in-progress or undeveloped ideas. If you have any questions about this format of presentation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Please send any abstracts/enquires to: fsnconference@gmail.com by the end of Sunday 24th March, 2019. Please include up to three keywords for your submission, which will help us to place your paper in an appropriate panel, and a short biographical note.
You can join the discussion about the event on Twitter using #FSN2019, follow us @FanStudies or visit http://www.fanstudies.org.

Dr Lincoln Geraghty
Reader in Popular Media Cultures
School of Film, Media and Communication
University of Portsmouth
Eldon Building North
Winston Churchill Avenue
Portsmouth
PO1 2DJ
Lincoln.Geraghty@port.ac.uk