Australia holds a unique place in the global scheme of fandom. Much of the media consumed by Australian audiences originates from either the United States or the United Kingdom, yet several Australian productions have also attracted international fans in their own right. This first-ever academic study of Australian fandom explores the national popular culture scene through themes of localization and globalization.
The essays within reveal how Australian audiences often seek authentic imports and eagerly embrace different cultures, examining both Hollywood’s influence on Australian fandom and Australian fan reactions to non-Western content. By shining a spotlight on Australian fandom, this book not only provides an important case study for fan studies scholars, it also helps add nuance to a field whose current literature is predominantly U.S. and U.K. focused.
Contributors: Kate Ames, Ahmet Atay, Jessica Carniel, Toija Cinque, Ian Dixon, Leigh Edmonds, Sharon Elkind, Jacqui Ewart, Lincoln Geraghty, Sarah Keith, Emerald L. King, Renee Middlemost
In 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm, which meant it also inherited the beloved Star Wars franchise. This corporate marriage sent media critics and fans into a frenzy of speculation about what would happen next with the hugely popular series. Disney’s Star Wars gathers twenty-one noted fan and media studies scholars from around the world to examine Disney’s revival of the franchise.
Covering the period from Disney’s purchase through the release of The Force Awakens, the book reveals how fans anticipated, interpreted, and responded to the steady stream of production stories, gossip, marketing materials, merchandise, and other sources in the build-up to the movie’s release. From fears that Princess Leia would be turned into a “Disney princess” to collaborative brand management, the authors explore the shifting relationship between fans, texts, and media industries in the context of a crucial rebranding campaign. The result is a fascinating examination of a critical moment in the iconic series’ history.
Have you ever been a fan of a show that was canceled abruptly or that killed off a beloved character unexpectedly? Or perhaps it was rebooted after a long absence and now you’re worried it won’t be as good as the original? Anyone who has ever followed entertainment closely knows firsthand that such transitions can be jarring.
Indeed, for truly loyal fans, the loss can feel very real—even throwing their own identity into question. Examining how fans respond to and cope with transitions, endings, or resurrections in everything from band breakups (R.E.M.) to show cancellations (Hannibal) to closing down popular amusement park rides, this collection brings together an eclectic mix of scholars to analyze the various ways fans respond to change. Essays explore practices such as fan discussion and creating alternative fan fictions, as well as cases where fans abandon their objects of interest completely and move on to new ones. Shedding light on how fans react, both individually and as a community, the contributors also trace the commonalities and differences present in fandoms across a range of media, and they pay close attention to the ways fandom operates across paratexts and transmedia forms including films, comics, and television.
This fascinating approach promises to make an important contribution to the fields of fan, media, and cultural studies, and should appeal widely to students, scholars, and anyone else with a genuine interest in understanding why these transitions can have such a deep impact on fans’ lives.
Contributors: Stuart Bell, Anya Benson, Lucy Bennett, Paul Booth, Joseph Brennan, Kristina Busse, Melissa A. Click, Ruth Deller, Evelyn Deshane, Nichola Dobson, Simone Driessen, Emily Garside, Holly Willson Holladay, Bethan Jones, Nicolle Lamerichs, Kathleen Williams, Rebecca Williams
As more and more fans rush online to share their thoughts on their favorite shows or video games, they might feel like the process of providing feedback is empowering. However, as fan studies scholar Mel Stanfill argues, these industry invitations for fan participation indicate not greater fan power but rather greater fan usefulness. Stanfill’s argument, controversial to some in the field, compares the “domestication of fandom” to the domestication of livestock, contending that, just as livestock are bred bigger and more docile as they are domesticated, so, too, are fans as the entertainment industry seeks to cultivate a fan base that is both more useful and more controllable.
By bringing industry studies and fan studies into the conversation, Stanfill looks closely at just who exactly the industry considers “proper fans” in terms of race, gender, age, and sexuality, and interrogates how digital media have influenced consumption, ultimately finding that the invitation to participate is really an incitement to consume in circumscribed, industry-useful ways.
Providing ways to engage students through their popular culture interests, this collection brings together several essays, across disciplines, to show how fan practices such as writing fan fiction, creating vids, communicating via Tumblr, and participating in film tourism can invite students to invest more of themselves into their education.
Both scholarship and fandom encourage passionate engagement with texts—rather than passive consumption in isolation— and editor Katherine Anderson Howell and her contributors find that when students are encouraged to partake in a remix classroom that encourages their fan interests, they participate more in their education, are more critical of experts and authorities, and actively shape the discourse themselves. Creating this remix classroom requires thoughtfulness on the instructor’s part, and so the chapters in this volume come from teachers who have carefully constructed such courses, including several invaluable appendices that provide examples of methodologies, course assignments, teaching practices, and classroom setup. Each chapter also includes student responses that offer a sense of what students gained from each course.
The result is an exciting and entertaining new way to motivate students and teachers alike, and it is sure to be a popular reference guide for instructors teaching classes from high school to graduate levels.
Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls
Katherine Larsen and Lynn S. Zubernis University of Iowa Press, 2013 Library of Congress HM646.L37 2013 | Dewey Decimal 302.2345
Once upon a time not long ago, two responsible college professors, Lynn the psychologist and Kathy the literary scholar, fell in love with the television show Supernatural and turned their oh-so-practical lives upside down. Plunging headlong into the hidden realms of fandom, they scoured the Internet for pictures of stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki and secretly penned racy fan fiction. And then they hit the road—crisscrossing the country, racking up frequent flyer miles with alarming ease, standing in convention lines at 4 A.M.
They had white-knuckled encounters with overly zealous security guards one year and smiling invitations to the Supernatural set the next. Actors stripping in their trailers, fangirls sneaking onto film sets; drunken confessions, squeals of joy, tears of despair; wallets emptied and responsibilities left behind; intrigue and ecstasy and crushing disappointment—it’s all here.
And yet even as they reveled in their fandom, the authors were asking themselves whether it’s okay to be a fan, especially for grown women with careers and kids. “Crazystalkerchicks”—that’s what they heard from Supernatural crew members, security guards, airport immigration officials, even sometimes their fellow fans. But what Kathy and Lynn found was that most fans were very much like themselves: smart, capable women looking for something of their own that engages their brains and their libidos.
Fangasm pulls back the curtain on the secret worlds of fans and famous alike, revealing Supernatural behind the scenes and discovering just how much the cast and crew know about what the fans are up to. Anyone who’s been tempted to throw off the constraints of respectability and indulge a secret passion—or hit the road with a best friend—will want to come along.
Gathering some of Kristina Busse’s essential essays on fan fiction together with new work, Framing Fan Fiction argues that understanding media fandom requires combining literary theory with cultural studies because fan artifacts are both artistic works and cultural documents. Drawing examples from a multitude of fan communities and texts, Busse frames fan fiction in three key ways: as individual and collective erotic engagement; as a shared interpretive practice in which tropes constitute shared creative markers and illustrate the complexity of fan creations; and as a point of contention around which community conflicts over ethics play out. Moving between close readings of individual texts and fannish tropes on the one hand, and the highly intertextual embeddedness of these communal creations on the other, the book demonstrates that fan fiction is simultaneously a literary and a social practice.
Framing Fan Fiction deploys personal history and the interpretations of specific stories to contextualize fan fiction culture and its particular forms of intertextuality and performativity. In doing so, it highlights the way fans use fan fiction’s reimagining of the source material to explore issues of identities and peformativities, gender and sexualities, within a community of like-minded people. In contrast to the celebration of originality in many other areas of artistic endeavor, fan fiction celebrates repetition, especially the collective creation and circulation of tropes.
An essential resource for scholars, Framing Fan Fiction is also an ideal starting point for those new to the study of fan fiction and its communities of writers.
There is one sound that will always be loudest in sports. It isn’t the squeak of sneakers or the crunch of helmets; it isn’t the grunts or even the stadium music. It’s the deafening roar of sports fans. For those few among us on the outside, sports fandom—with its war paint and pennants, its pricey cable TV packages and esoteric stats reeled off like code—looks highly irrational, entertainment gone overboard. But as Erin C. Tarver demonstrates in this book, sports fandom has become extraordinarily important to our psyche, a matter of the very essence of who we are.
Why in the world, Tarver asks, would anyone care about how well a total stranger can throw a ball, or hit one with a bat, or toss one through a hoop? Because such activities and the massive public events that surround them form some of the most meaningful ritual identity practices we have today. They are a primary way we—as individuals and a collective—decide both who we are who we are not. And as such, they are also one of the key ways that various social structures—such as race and gender hierarchies—are sustained, lending a dark side to the joys of being a sports fan. Drawing on everything from philosophy to sociology to sports history, she offers a profound exploration of the significance of sports in contemporary life, showing us just how high the stakes of the game are.
In Dylan Town: A Fan's Life
David Gaines University of Iowa Press, 2015 Library of Congress ML420.D98G35 2015 | Dewey Decimal 782.42164092
For fifty years, the music, words, story, and fans of Bob Dylan have fascinated David Gaines. As a son, a husband, a father, a teacher, and a passionate lover of the literary in all its guises, he has pursued the poetic fusion of knowledge and emotion all his life. More often than not, Dylan’s lyrics and music have expressed that fusion for him, and so he has encouraged others to acknowledge the musician or writer or painter or director or actor or athlete who matters deeply (perhaps a bit mysteriously) to them, and to deploy that enigmatic passion in service of self-knowledge and social connection. After all, one of the central reasons to be a fan is to compare notes, explore mysteries, and riff with fellow fans in a community of exploration.
Gaines’s personal journey toward creating such communities of passionate knowledge encompasses his own coming of age and marriages, fatherhood, and teaching. As a devoted fan who is also a professor of American literature, questions about teaching and learning are central to his experience. When asked, “Why Dylan?” he says, “He’s the writer I care about the most. He’s been the way into the best and longest running conversations I have ever had.” Talking with students, exchanging Dylan trivia with fellow fans, or cheering on fan-musicians doing Dylan covers during the Dylan Days festival, Gaines shows that, for many people, being a fan of popular culture couples serious critical and creative engagement with heartfelt commitment. Here, largely unheralded, the ideal of liberal education is realized every day.
No longer a niche or cult identity, fandom now colors our notions of an expansive generational construct—the millennial generation. Like fans, millennials are frequently cast as active participants in media culture, spectators who expect opportunities to intervene, control, and create. At the same time, long-standing fears about fans’ cultural unruliness manifest in rampant stories of millennials’ technological over-dependence and lack of moral boundaries.
These conflicting narratives of entrepreneurial creativity and digital immorality operate to quell the growing threat represented by millennials’ media agency. With fan activities becoming ever more visible on social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, LiveJournal, Twitter, Polyvore, and Tumblr, the fan has become the avatar of our digital hopes and fears.
In an ambitious study encompassing a wide range of media texts, including popular television series like Kyle XY, Glee, Gossip Girl, Veronica Mars, and Pretty Little Liars and online works like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, as well as fan texts from blog posts and tweets to remix videos, YouTube posts, and image-sharing streams, author Louisa Ellen Stein traces the circulation of the contradictory tropes of millennial hope and millennial noir. Looking at what millennials do with digital technology demonstrates the molding impact of commercial representations, and at the same time reveals how millennials are undermining, negotiating, and changing those narratives.
This generation—and the fans it represents—is actively transforming the media landscape into a dynamic, culturally transgressive space of collective authorship. Offering a rich and complex vision of the relationship between fandom and millennial culture, Millennial Fandom will interest fans, millennials, students, and scholars of contemporary media culture alike.
From computer games to figurines and maid cafes, men called “otaku” develop intense fan relationships with “cute girl” characters from manga, anime, and related media and material in contemporary Japan. While much of the Japanese public considers the forms of character love associated with “otaku” to be weird and perverse, the Japanese government has endeavored to incorporate “otaku” culture into its branding of “Cool Japan.” In Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan, Patrick W. Galbraith explores the conflicting meanings of “otaku” culture and its significance to Japanese popular culture, masculinity, and the nation. Tracing the history of “otaku” and “cute girl” characters from their origins in the 1970s to his recent fieldwork in Akihabara, Tokyo (“the Holy Land of Otaku”), Galbraith contends that the discourse surrounding “otaku” reveals tensions around contested notions of gender, sexuality, and ways of imagining the nation that extend far beyond Japan. At the same time, in their relationships with characters and one another, “otaku” are imagining and creating alternative social worlds.
Fans are everywhere: from Fifty Shades of Grey to Veronica Mars, from Comic-Con to sitcom, from niche to Geek Chic, fans are becoming the most visible and important audience of the twenty-first century. For years the media industries ignored fans and fan activities, but now they’re paying attention and a lot of money to develop a whole new wave of products intended to harness the power of fandom. What impact do such corporate media efforts have on fan practice and fan identities? And are the media industries actually responding to fans as fans want them to?
In Playing Fans, Paul Booth argues that the more attention entertainment businesses pay to fans, the more mainstream fans have become popularized. But such mainstreaming ignores important creative fan work and tries to channel fandom into activities lucrative for the companies. Offering a new approach to the longstanding debate about the balance between manipulation and subversion in popular culture, the author argues that we can understand the current moment best through the concepts of pastiche and parody. This sophisticated alternative to conceiving of fans as either dupes of the media industry or rebels against it takes the discussion of “transformative” and “affirmative” fandom in a productive new direction.
With nuanced analyses of the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, the representations of fans in TV shows like Community and films like Fanboys, SuperWhoLock fans’ use of gifs, and the similarities in discussions of slash fandom and pornographic parody films, this book reveals how fans borrow media techniques and media industries mimic fan activities. Just as the entertainment industry needs fans to succeed, so too do fans need—and desire—the media, and they represent their love through gif fics, crowdfunding, and digital cosplay. Everyone who wants to understand how consumers are making themselves at home in the brave new world being built by the contemporary media should read this book.
Popular Stories and Promised Lands enters a conversation about who we are, where we've been, and where we might be going by suggesting that possible answers to those questions can be found in the popular stories we encounter at the movies, on television, in popular magazines, and even on the funny pages.
As countless scholars and popular writers have noted, those of us living in the United States find ourselves at a cultural crossroads. We are increasingly aware that the stories that once permeated life in these United States, stories that tell us that social and economic progress comes from working hard, that everyone has an equal opportunity to experience
such progress, do not resonate to the degree they once did. Because many Americans have traditionally defined themselves, others, and their unique sense of place through these stories, we find ourselves displaced socially, economically, politically, and/or culturally.
So, Roger Aden says, we go to places of our own making. Fans of the television series The X-Files return to the Funhouse each week for a dose of frightening fun. Fans of the weekly magazine Sports Illustrated play in the American Elysian Fields where democratic efforts at balancing work and play are valued. Fans of the movie Field of Dreams work as altruistic producers in an alternative garden spot.
Grounded in the author's own experiences and reinforced by the voices of approximately two hundred additional fans of the four popular stories, this book offers a compelling case for understanding the alleged wasteland of popular culture as a fertile site of individually and communally created sacred places.
In this first-ever comprehensive examination of queerbaiting, fan studies scholar Joseph Brennan and his contributors examine cases that shed light on the sometimes exploitative industry practice of teasing homoerotic possibilities that, while hinted at, never materialize in the program narratives. Through a nuanced approach that accounts for both the history of queer representation and older fan traditions, these essayists examine the phenomenon of queerbaiting across popular TV, video games, children’s programs, and more.
Contributors: Evangeline Aguas, Christoffer Bagger, Bridget Blodgett, Cassie Brummitt, Leyre Carcas, Jessica Carniel, Jennifer Duggan, Monique Franklin, Divya Garg, Danielle S. Girard, Mary Ingram-Waters, Hannah McCann, Michael McDermott, E. J. Nielsen, Emma Nordin, Holly Eva Katherine Randell-Moon, Emily E. Roach, Anastasia Salter, Elisabeth Schneider, Kieran Sellars, Isabela Silva, Guillaume Sirois, Clare Southerton
Do soap opera fans deserve their reputation as lonely people, hopeless losers, or bored housewives? No, according to C. Lee Harrington and Denise D. Bielby. These authors—soap fans themselves—argue that soap fans are normal individuals who translate their soap watching into a broad range of public and private experience. People who cut across all categories of age, gender, race, ethnicity, income, education, and ideology incorporate a love of the soaps into their day-to-day leisure activities.
Interviews with soap opera viewers, actors, writers, producers, directors, the daytime press, and fan club staff members reveal fascinating details about the inside world of fandom and the multitude of outlets for fan expression—clubs, newsletters, electronic bulletin boards, and public events. Numerous examples illustrate the pleasure fans derive from critiquing characters, speculating on plot twists, and swapping memorabilia.
Examining the experiences that shape fan culture, Harrington and Bielby analyze the narrative structure and various aspects of the production of the soaps. Their examination reveals that the "meaning" of soaps is complex, individualized, and not simply a reflection of the narrative content of the stories. The authors show fans who actively contemplate what it means to be a fan, and who adjust their level of involvement accordingly.
Rukmini Pande’s examination of race in fan studies is sure to make an immediate contribution to the growing field. Until now, virtually no sustained examination of race and racism in transnational fan cultures has taken place, a lack that is especially concerning given that current fan spaces have never been more vocal about debating issues of privilege and discrimination.
Pande’s study challenges dominant ideas of who fans are and how these complex transnational and cultural spaces function, expanding the scope of the field significantly. Along with interviewing thirty-nine fans from nine different countries about their fan practices, she also positions media fandom as a postcolonial cyberspace, enabling scholars to take a more inclusive view of fan identity. With analysis that spans from historical to contemporary, Pande builds a case for the ways in which non-white fans have always been present in such spaces, though consistently ignored.
This book is about ardent Korean female fans of gay representation in the media, their status in contemporary Korean society, their relationship with other groups such as the gay population, and, above all, their contribution to reshaping the Korean media’s portrayal of gay people. Jungmin Kwon names the Korean female fandom for gay portrayals as “FANtasy” subculture, and argues that it adds to the present visibility of the gay body in Korean mainstream media, thus helping to change the public’s perspective toward sexually marginalized groups.
The FANtasy subculture started forming around text-based media, such as yaoi, fan fiction, and U.S. gay-themed dramas (like Will & Grace), and has been influenced by diverse social, political, and economic conditions, such as the democratization of Korea, an open policy toward foreign media products, the diffusion of consumerism, government investment in the culture, the Hollywoodization of the film industry, and the popularity of Korean culture abroad. While much scholarly attention has been paid to female fandom for homoerotic cultural texts in many countries, this book seeks to explore a relatively neglected aspect of the subculture: its location in and influence on Korean society at large.