“Strong Independent Shipper Who Don’t Need No Canon:” When Fans Reject Canon

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association 2017
contact email: 

“Strong Independent Shipper Who Don’t Need No Canon:” When Fans Reject Canon

2017 PCA/ACA Annual National Conference

San Diego, Wednesday, April 12th—Saturday, April 15th

Although not a new phenomenon in television fandom, the past several years have seen a number of fandoms, particularly slash fandoms, separate themselves from or fully reject their canons – with some fans even calling for shows to be cancelled, i.e., Sterek from Teen Wolf and Clexa from The 100. This trend is at once surprising (doesn’t the nature of fandom mean that fans support their chosen canons?) and predictable, given the transformations and expansions of fandom in the 21st century with the advent of social media and Archive of Our Own. This proposed panel for the PCA/ACA National Conference explores this phenomenon across fandoms, investigating the motivations and effects of fandoms that reject their canon shows.

Potential topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • In-depth examinations of a specific television fandom that has rejected its canon
  • How the ever-changing dynamics between fans and producers contributes to this trend and the effects of this for specific fandoms, the canon, and/or transformative fan production
  • Analyses of fanfiction/fanart that revises and/or “fixes” the canon (“fix-it” fics)
  • How this trend plays out when the ship is canonical versus non-canonical
  • Explorations of fandom discourses (Tumblr, Twitter, etc.) that negotiate the rejection of the canon
  • Fan campaigns for cancellation of shows
  • How queerphobia towards slash ships plays into this trend, and what this suggests about contemporary media and slash fans, particularly in relation to commonly-accepted Fan Studies theories 

Proposals from any theoretical perspective are welcome, as well as proposals that take a more personal, “creative” approach to the topic.

Please email a 250-300 word abstract to panel chair Taylor Boulware at taylorjb@uw.edu by September 15th, 2016, along with a brief bio (approx. 100 words) that includes your institutional affiliation.

Questions about the panel or PCA/ACA can also be sent to taylorjb@uw.edu