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Theorizing Fan Fiction and Fan Communities (edited volume; completed papers
Fan fiction has recently gained increasing visibility in both mass media and
academic writing. Although numerous insightful essays have appeared in
various venues, no comprehensive essay collection has traced the changes and
shifts in fan culture and fan fiction since the groundbreaking works of
Henry Jenkins, Camille Bacon-Smith, and Constance Penley of the early 1990s.
This essay collection looks to complement these crucial early explorations
into fan fiction by expanding their scope and focus to include such recent
phenomena as the Internet (with fan culture revolving around Usenet groups,
mailing lists, and blogs); the rapid growth of stories featuring previously
taboo subjects such as underage sex, incest, and real person fiction (RPF);
and the changing demographics of the fan base. Recent work has also queried
the frequently debated and constantly shifting attitudes toward writing and
community, as well as more sophisticated self-analysis, in part the result
of the increasing presence of academic fans.
We are looking for academic essays geared toward a general readership and
particularly welcome personal reflections of readers, writers, and fans.
This collection strives to be interdisciplinary, and we especially welcome
historical, sociological, and anthropological approaches, as well as English
and media studies. Essays may focus on particular fandoms and source texts
but should ultimately move beyond the specifics to address larger concerns
and experiences relevant to fandom and fan fiction at large. Papers will fit
into one of four broad sections: history and terminology; text, writer,
reader; forms and genres; and community.
1. History and terminology
Factual accounts of history and terminology should be tempered with
analysis, perhaps indicating shifts as time passes and as fan fiction moves
from hard copy to cyberspace. Traditional zines, fan fiction CDs and
downloads, Usenet, mailing lists, and blogs could be analyzed, perhaps in
terms of fandom's response to technological change. Analysis of specific
fandoms as well as more general overviews are welcome.
2. Text, writer, reader
The relationship among any of the three elements of the rhetorical situation
needs analysis. Academic/fan, reader/writer, process and writing, engagement
with source text (such as episode fixes or traumatic events in the canon
source), questions of canon, fanon and characterization, and issues of
author insertion and identification--these are just a few uneasy
relationships that need contextualization. Studies of the process of
writing, as opposed to the product, as central are also needed.
3. Forms and genres
Content (romance, hurt/comfort, Mary Sue, slash, het/ship, genfic, episode
fixes, alternate universes and realities, mpreg, BDSM, kinkfic, elves,
wingfic) and form (real person fiction or slash, role-playing games,
songfic, drabbles) should be assessed with a view to reaching a novel
conclusion. Possible topics might include partnership versus enemy romance;
the notion of slash as an idealized relationship; and challenge fics.
New analyses of the fan fiction community generating and consuming the texts
that take into account new use of technology are needed. LiveJournal and
other online communities, the interaction among writer/beta/audience, fan
fiction as gift, strategies to meld the fan fiction community (cons, fic
archives), and inculcation of new fans into the fan fiction community all
need to be theorized in light of technological change and a concomitant lack
of policing. Other possible topics include the identity politics of fandom
and the emotional investment of fans into fandom, the texts, and each other.
All fandoms are welcome, as are essays about mediafic, bookfic, comicfic,
and RPF. The volume will be geared to academics and students interested in
jargon-free, theory-based analyses of media and audience, including, among
others, students in English, media studies, and sociology. Personal
scholarly essays as well as more traditional academic essays are encouraged.
Submit complete essays not more than 7500 words in length (excluding
abstract, notes, and works cited). Include an abstract not more than 500
words long that summarizes the argument. Submit files via e-mail in
Microsoft Word or .rtf format. Use in-text author-page number citations
whenever possible. Use endnotes sparingly for substantive notes. Style
according to Chicago 15. If artwork, photographs, or screen shots are
included, contact the editors for instructions and copyright release
requirements. No simultaneous submissions. We also cannot accept previously
published essays. If you have put your essay up on the Internet, we cannot
consider it for inclusion.
Dr. Karen Hellekson and Dr. Kristina Busse
April 1, 2005. Please inform us in advance of your interest in the project
and get in contact with us about any questions you might have about possible
submission topics. We also encourage early submission to facilitate
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or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Mon Aug 30 2004 - 06:06:21 EDT