Author Archive

#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.

 

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Theology, Religion and Popular Culture

April 29, 2015

Theology, Religion and Popular Culture – A Major Conference for Faith Community Practitioners and Academics

You are warmly invited to ‘Fandom and Religion’, a conference organised by the international, UK-based Theology, Religion and Popular Culture Network.

28th – 30th July 2015, University of Leicester

Main speakers:
Matt Hills (Aberystwyth)
John Maltby (Leicester)
Chris Partridge (Lancaster)
Tracy Trothen (Queen’s, Ontario)

The UK launch of The Routledge Companion to Religion and Popular Culture, with John Lyden and Eric Mazur (co-editors).

Over 40 short paper presentations, plus other sessions, including a session solely for faith community practitioners.

Bookings now being taken at:  http://www.le.ac.uk/fandom

FSN Symposium 2013 Video

December 9, 2013

The very first Fan Studies Network Symposium, held at the UEA on 30th November 2013, was a great success. Thanks to all those who attended, presented papers, or gave us support over Twitter on the day!

We were delighted to have Emily from SeaMe.tv in attendance, filming panels and talking to attendees. SeaMe.tv has produced an excellent video summarising the day. You can view it embedded below.

CFP: Supernatural – Fan Phenomena

June 25, 2012

Now accepting abstracts for consideration for the new Supernatural (Fan Phenomena) title from Intellect Press. This will be part of the series of Fan Phenomena books, which aim to explore and decode the fascination we have with what constitutes an iconic or cultish phenomenon and how a particular person, TV show or film character/film infiltrates its way into the public consciousness.

The Supernatural (Fan Phenomena) title will look at particular examples of Supernatural fan culture and approach the subject in an accessible manner aimed at both fans and those interested in the cultural and social aspects of Supernatural and fan culture. The editors are particularly interested in exploring the rich dynamic that has developed between producers (actors, writers, directors, show runners) and consumers.

We invite papers that address the multiple ways in which the show speaks to its viewers. Topics could include (but are not limited to):

Supernatural as “cult” television
Fan culture dynamics/shipping the show
Aca-Fandom
Supernatural conventions
Gender/Sexuality in Supernatural
Gender/Sexuality in Supernatural fandom
Representations of fan culture in canon/fourth wall breaking
Fashion/cosplay/crafts
Fan Media/ (vidding, fanfic, fan art)
Cinematography, symbolism and visual dynamics of the show
Economics/Fan collecting
Virtual fan communities/online RPG’s
Influence/ Learning/Teaching through Supernatural
Philosophy/Religion in Supernatural
Characters/Characterization
Construction and representation of family in Supernatural
This book is aimed at both fans and those interested in the cultural and social aspects of Supernatural. The book is intended to be entertaining, informative, and generally jargon-free (or at least jargon-lite).

Please send an abstract (300 words) and CV or resume by 30 Aug 2012. Final chapters of 3000-3500 words will be due 01 Dec 2012. The final book will include ten chapters. Please direct all questions and submissions to Katherine Larsen klarsen@gwu.edu or Lynn Zubernis LZubernis@wcupa.edu.

CFP: Doctor Who: Fan Phenomena (Intellect)

May 22, 2012

Now accepting abstracts for consideration for the new Doctor Who (Fan Phenomena) title from Intellect Press. This will be part of the second series of Fan Phenomena books, which aim to explore and decode the fascination we have with what constitutes an iconic or cultish phenomenon and how a particular person, TV show or film character/film infiltrates their way into the public consciousness.

 

The Doctor Who (Fan Phenomena) title will look at particular examples of Doctor Who fan culture and approach the subject in an accessible manner aimed at both fans and those interested in the cultural and social aspects of Doctor Who and fan culture. The editor is particularly interested in exploring the changing characteristics of Doctor Who fandom, from scholars and fans alike, over the fifty-year history of the programme.

 

As such, we invite papers that address the nature of fandom, the unique attributes of Doctor Who fandom specifically, or the relationship between Doctor Who as a multi-generational text and its fans. Other topics could include (but are not limited to):

 

  • Fandom of specific Doctors
  • Changing norms of fandom
  • How one knows he/she is a fan
  • Aca-Fandom
  • The influence of other factors on Doctor Who fandom
  • Fandom of Doctor Who ancillary products, like the Big Finish audio or Virgin book titles
  • Specific fan practices (vidding, fanfic, cosplay, et al.)
  • Multi-generational fandom
  • Doctor Who conventions
  • Gender/Sexuality in Doctor Who fandom
  • New Who vs. Classic Who fandom
  • Fandom of Doctor Who DVD
  • Fan collecting
  • Learning through Doctor Who

 

This book is aimed at both fans and those interested in the cultural and social aspects of Doctor Who. The book is intended to be entertaining, informative, and generally jargon-free (or at least jargon-lite).

 

Abstracts should be 300 words long. Please also send a CV or resume with your abstract. Abstracts due 15 Aug 2012. Final chapters of 3000-3500 words will be due 01 Nov 2012. The final book will include ten chapters. Please direct all questions and submissions to Paul Booth, pbooth@depaul.edu.

CFP: Comics, Religion & Politics

May 15, 2012

http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/ppr/event/3960/

Date: 4th & 5th September 2012 Time: 9.00-18:00 pm

Venue: The Storey Institute, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1TH,

Alongside the continued popularity of political themes in comics recent years have also seen the rise of religious themes entering into the medium. The aim of this conference is to explore the relationship between comics, religion and politics in greater depth, to show how through the unique properties of the medium comics have the ability to be as thought-provoking as they are entertaining. The conference will examine the history and impact of religious and political themes, their relationship to audiences, and consider the future of such themes in all forms of sequential art narrative.

We invite papers that address religious and/or political themes in comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, or manga. Papers working at the interface of these two areas are particularly encouraged. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Comics as social, religious, political text
  • Use of religious imagery and themes
  • Fan culture
  • Political cartoons and cartoonists
  • Gothic comics
  • Comics and magic
  • Representation of politics, religion, spirituality
  • Religious or political rhetoric of comics and their authors
  • Myths, legends, fables
  • Depiction of religious figures or politicians as comic characters
  • Comics and science fiction
  • Comics and propaganda
  • Comics and conspiracy theories
  • Representation of apocalypse, utopia, dystopia
  • Representation of war
  • Superheroes and religious, political identity
  • Theoretical approaches to the study of religion, politics in comics

Contributions are sought from researchers at any stage of their careers. Abstracts (300 words) for papers 20 minutes in length should be sent with a short biography to Emily Laycock (Department of Politics, Philosophy & Religion) at e.laycock@lancaster.ac.uk

Deadline for abstracts: 31st May 2012

Venue: The conference will be held at The Storey Institute.

Storey Creative Industries Centre, Meeting House Lane,Lancaster, LA1 1TH,

UK

http://www.thestorey.co.uk/

Details of registration: TBA

Keynote speakers:

Dr Will Brooker, Reader and Director of Research, Film and TV, Kingston University

Mike Carey, English writer (comics, novels, film scripts, and TV shows)

Dr Lincoln Geraghty, Reader in Popular Media Cultures, University of Portsmouth

Contact: e.laycock@lancaster.ac.uk

Who can attend: Anyone

CFP: The Fan Studies Network: New Connections, New Research

May 4, 2012

Formed in March 2012, the Fan Studies Network was created with the idea of cultivating a space in which scholars of fandom could easily forge connections with other academics in the field, and discuss the latest topics within fan studies. Having attracted close to 200 members, the network is already fostering a sense of community and engendering fruitful debate. We intend to capture this dynamic intersection of scholars working in the field, and present it in a special issue of Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies.

(more…)

May 3, 2012

FanCulture: The Evolution of Influence

May 1, 2012

The full version of Bexy Cameron’s short film FanCulture: The Evolution of Influence is now available to view online for free on the Amplify website. Follow this link to view the film.

Synopsis:

A short film exploring the role fans could, and should, play in brands and marketing. Featuring expert opinion and insight from academics, marketeers and the fans themselves, this documentary looks at how a brand can identify their fans and, more importantly, harness their passion.

Report: La Culture du Fan Symposium, Paris-Sorbonne University

April 30, 2012

NB: As the morning session was conducted in French – and my own grasp of the language is poor, at best – this report will cover just the English afternoon session. However, those of you more cultured than I may find the Storify live tweet report of the event useful, as the #CultFan hashtag was used throughout the day. A special mention must also go to Sebastien Francois, who provided English commentary on the French content.

Organised in association with the Maison des Sciences and held at Paris-Sorbonne University on 27th April 2012, the Culture du Fan Symposium brought together European scholars of fandom in a bilingual event that featured papers both focused on specific case studies, and asking larger questions about the state of the field. (more…)