3rd Global Conference: Celebrity and Fandom (July 2014: Oxford, United Kingdom)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Rob Fisher/ Inter-Disciplinary.Net

3rd Global Conference: Celebrity and Fandom

Monday 21st July – Wednesday 23rd July 2014, Mansfield College, Oxford, United kingdom

Call for Presentations
In the recent Channel 4 documentary on One Direction fans ('Directioners'), one of the featured young girls compared the 1D fan community to a sect. Later on, reports on 1D's fan's desperate attempts at establishing more intimate contact with the members of the group followed, the most terrifying one being on a fan who threatened to kill her beloved dog, if one of the boys did not follow her on Twitter. While disturbing in itself, also for the fans as proved by their angry response, the documentary and the subsequent critical response accurately showed the positive and negative aspects of the existing and practiced modes of relating to celebrity figures and the necessity of further studies on the phenomenon of consuming celebrity. What boxes must a celebrity 'tick' to appeal to people, and what kinds of people are in need of a famous figure to glorify? Is it culture/time specific? Is it legitimate to say that each century gets the fans and celebrities it deserves?

While this year we wish to explore the subject of fan culture and celebrity consumption, the conference is ultimately devoted to the phenomenon of celebrity in general. Inviting abstract propositions on fandom and celebrity culture representing all corners of the world and all historical periods, it also wishes to investigate Asian cultures more thoroughly. For instance, why is it stereotypically said of Asian fans that they are the loudest and most devoted and yet least dangerous to their subjects/objects of adoration? Why does Japan have 'star factories'? Why was it so important for Minami Minegishi, a J-pop band member, to publically apologise for her 'no-boyfriend'-rule transgression? What are the Chinese 'star tribe' and what is their value to the celebrity figure the follow?

This call for presentations, proposals and performances addresses a serious, interdisciplinary and multicultural analysis of the phenomenon of celebrity. We encourage both an in-depth criticism of the state of contemporary culture as well as a legitimate recognition of celebrities' and fans' cultural value. Scholars, artists, writers, media representatives, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, and medical and law specialists are invited to send papers, reports, research studies, work-in-progress, works of art, workshops and pre-formed panels are invited on issues related to the following themes:


-Celebrity Worship Syndrome; Celebrity Attitude Scale (Houran, McCutcheon, Lange, Maltby and Ashe)
-'Consuming' celebrities in the past, present and predictions for the future
-Modes of relation to celebrity figures
-Audience-response studies
-Identity formation processes in fandom studies
-The culture of 'celebrating' and its rules and dynamics
-Fan communities, fan clubs, groupies, stalkers
-Fan versus the fanatic (obsessions, criminal acts)
-Gendering fandom
-Age and fandom (teenagers versus adults; older fans, ie. 1D 'moms'/'dads')
-Cultural differences: European, American, Indo-Asian, African fandom
-The value/indispensability of fans (i.e. as consumers of products; as petitioners for continuing TV shows)
-Fans' response to the stars conduct and decisions
-Fans and the (social) media

Theorising and Defining Stardom/Celebrity

-Definitions of celebrity-hood, stardom, fame, iconicity, charisma, uniqueness/singularity, mass culture/pop-culture, popularity
-The history of celebrity: the idols in the past and now
-From zero to hero: defining 'ordinary celebrities'
-Ideological conditions of celebrity culture
-Celebrities as commodities
-Celebrities as cultural fabrications
-Representation of celebrities; 'celebrification' processes; the making of the 'star'
-Celebrities: empowerment or objectification; self-fashioning (public vs private self)
-Celebrities and the discourse on the body
-Celebrity culture and the audience
-Rhetoric of fame
-Intercultural perspective on celebrity: i.e. Bollywood vs Hollywood, Eurpoean/American market vs Asian celebrity industry
-(Post)colonialism and celebrity
-Celebrity as 'Other'
-Celebrity status and gender

The Function of Stardom and Significance of Celebrity Figures

-The modern celebrity culture: its status, benefits, etc.
-Celebrity and identity formation; authenticity; national identity;
-Celebrities and fashion
-Good and bad PR
-Celebrity and power; political function of celebrity status
-Politics and celebrities; celebrities in politics; politicisation of celebrity
-Mass media and the formation of celebrity culture
-Celebrity in the media: news, shows, tabloids
-Celebrity and the law, accountability, morality, crime, transgressions
-Notorious celebrity/fame: The anti-heroes and anti-stars; Ethics of fame
-Celebrities and their personnel
-Child celebrities: Too young for fame?
-Celebrity status as a burden; The weight of stardom
-Forgotten celebrities: What happens when fame disappears? Celebrities and ageing; Posthumous fame
-Unwanted fame
-(Auto)biographies of/by stars and idols: (self-)representation, truth/biofiction
-Celebrity as educators; their positive impact; celebrities and humanitarian actions; awareness-raising
-Celebrity confessional literature; Self-help books by celebrities
-Teaching about celebrity culture

The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals.

In order to support and encourage interdisciplinarity engagement, it is our intention to create the possibility of starting dialogues between the parallel events running during this conference. Delegates are welcome to attend up to two sessions in each of the concurrent conferences. We also propose to produce cross-over sessions between these groups – and we welcome proposals which deal with the relationship between Celebrity and Whiteness.

What to Send
Proposals will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word proposals should be submitted by Friday 14th February 2014. If a proposal is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper of no more than 3000 words should be submitted by Friday 16th Mayy 2014. Proposals should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Celebrity3 Proposal Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs

Katarzyna Bronk: kmb@inter-disciplinary.net
Dr Rob Fisher: celeb3@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Critical Issues series of research projects. The aim of the conference is to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.All proposals accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected proposals may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.