Blog Post

Introduction: Fanfiction and What I *Don't* Do With It

I am a fan. I am an academic. I choose not to identify as an “aca-fan,” as that term gives me the disquieting vibe that being an academic is assumed to automatically augment one's fan-ness. That does not track and indeed reinforces existing social power structures without considering the differing versus parallel skill sets involved. While many of the skills used in academia might indeed also apply to fan activity, I feel that there is no inherent carryover. If anything, I would argue that being a fan has influenced my interest in academia as a whole and my theoretical leanings in particular.

Fandoms which display contentious relations with their canons fascinate me, and also (in my other life) are the ones to which I'm drawn. Rather than take the ethnographic route applied so often to fan studies in the past, my work operates more directly through examination of fan texts as works of literature and criticism, often simultaneously. I'm not interested in fandom as action, but in fan creative work as thinking and composing.

This is not to say that “fandom” as a subcultural or political affiliation is inappropriate for study; much excellent work of that sort has been and (I trust) will continue to be done. It's just that to focus on the fan as other or the fan as behavior may in a way reduce or pathologize the work produced; that treatment risks portraying creative works as not writing, but action or symptoms.

Currently, I'm busy composing my thesis, polishing up the final draft of a paper to be presented at the 2014 Film and Media Conference, and considering whether or not to respond to the HASTAC 2015 Conference CFP. 

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