Cameron Irby

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Ph.D. candidate at UT Dallas.

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From Forest, Louisiana (adjacent to Oak Grove and Oak Ridge), I research the interconnections between storytelling, media, fan cultures, and queer identities. 

Stories have long been used to impart wisdom and knowledge and continue to do so today. Yet, the storytelling media of choice for many--movies, video games, and social media, to name a few--are regularly dismissed as mere entertainment or highlighted as a corrupting force that removes one's ability to choose. Fans of particular media works get labelled as childlike for liking "kids' stuff" while also criticized for being corporate drones addicted to the media industry. This is especially true for queer fans, who are simultaneously blamed for imposing a "Gay Agenda" via media representation yet also seen as immature or unknowing about how the world really works. This discourse disavows the worldmaking power of narratives and media while reifying the established stories encoded in the status quo. In my forthcoming dissertation, I argue that our ability to escape into fiction acts as an exercise of alternatives, refracting our imaginative capabilities and providing opportunities to envision a more habitable future.

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