Fan Conventions, Aca-Fans, and Fandom in the 21st Century
Fandom has changed considerably over the past five decades, from the earliest science fiction conventions in the 1930s to the letter-writing campaigns that helped save Star Trek in the 1960s to the long queues of people waiting eagerly to meet their favorite genre actors in the 21st century. Fandom has exploded from the small groups meeting to talk about their favorite books or films to the worldwide phenomena of mixed genre gatherings that combine science fiction, fantasy, comic books, horror, anime, and video games. Some fans have attended the same conventions for thirty years, while others are newbies to convention culture. Increased participation in and interest regarding Fan Conventions over the past decade have allowed for new possibilities in the exploration of various genres from the perspective of fans, academics, and aca-fans. In his blog “Confessions of an Aca-Fan,” Henry Jenkins defines an aca-fan as “...a hybrid creature which is part fan and part academic” and adds that it is his “personal challenge to find a way to break cultural theory out of the academic bookstore ghetto and open up a larger space to talk about the media that matters to us from a consumer's point of view.” As such, rather than focus solely on submissions from academics taking a scholarly approach to the subject, we are particularly interested in essays that include the experiences of fans whose lives have been changed or greatly impacted by their experiences with Fan Conventions. That does not exclude scholarly approaches, nor should personal approaches lack academic rigor, but we want to create an accessible volume about the importance of fan and fan convention culture.
We invite essays for a collection that explores the topics/themes/ideas in the worlds of Fan Conventions from the perspective of participants, fans, and researchers. Rather than focus on heavy theory or academic jargon, it is our aim to explore fandom on many levels and through the lenses of multiple fields of inquiry. Essays should consider the author’s positionality as an active participant or observer of fan conventions and should offer unique perspectives on the importance of fan conventions to fandom as an important subculture.
We anticipate that this collection will include 18-20 essays, and as a working guide, the completed essays should be 4500-5000 words. Essays must adhere to the most current MLA format.
Submission Guidelines: Please send a 500-word proposal in Word, followed by a short working bibliography (if applicable). Please also include a short biographical description of yourself, including your personal involvement in Fan Conventions.