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[META] transformativeworks: This month we’re celebrating Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), the OTW’s international peer-reviewed academic online journal focused on media studies which has published its 20th issue. Today we’re taking a deeper look at TWC’s history. Paul Booth and Lucy Bennett are TWC authors, frequently peer review for the journal, and have guest edited an issue together; Paul is also a TWC editorial board member. Amanda Odom is an author who has written two Symposium articles. All three were kind enough to answer some questions about their experiences with the journal and the field of fan studies. http://bit.ly/1FPGA3x Bahasa Indonesia • dansk • Deutsch • español • français • italiano • magyar • Nederlands • polski • português brasileiro • português europeu • Русский • svenska

transformativeworks:

This month we’re celebrating Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), the OTW’s international peer-reviewed academic online journal focused on media studies which has published its 20th issue.

Today we’re taking a deeper look at TWC’s history. Paul Booth and Lucy Bennett are TWC authors, frequently peer review for the journal, and have guest edited an issue together; Paul is also a TWC editorial board member. Amanda Odom is an author who has written two Symposium articles. All three were kind enough to answer some questions about their experiences with the journal and the field of fan studies. bit.ly/1FPGA3x

Bahasa Indonesia • dansk • Deutsch • español • français • italiano • magyar • Nederlands • polski • português brasileiro • português europeu • Русский • svenska

[META] transformativeworks: Transformative Works and Cultures editors Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson were interviewed by fan studies scholar Henry Jenkins about the book they published earlier this year, The Fan Fiction Studies Reader (the book’s royalties go to the OTW). Said Jenkins, “And that brings us to the second thing that the focus on 1991-92 as the birth of fan studies may get wrong. The Fan Fiction Studies Reader is focused in expanding this time line in important ways, calling attention to the kinds of writing on fan fiction that existed prior to Enterprising Women or Textual Poachers, work that often came out of the second wave of feminism and was also embedded in the fan community itself. Many of these essays have been out of print or scattered across obscure journals so there is an enormous contribution in bringing them together again, reframing them for contemporary readers, and reappraising their contributions to the early development of this field.” Fan studies has changed a lot, but you don’t have to be an academic to be thinky about fandom.

transformativeworks:

Transformative Works and Cultures editors Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson were interviewed by fan studies scholar Henry Jenkins about the book they published earlier this year, The Fan Fiction Studies Reader (the book’s royalties go to the OTW). Said Jenkins, “And that brings us to the second thing that the focus on 1991-92 as the birth of fan studies may get wrong. The Fan Fiction Studies Reader is focused in expanding this time line in important ways, calling attention to the kinds of writing on fan fiction that existed prior to Enterprising Women or Textual Poachers, work that often came out of the second wave of feminism and was also embedded in the fan community itself. Many of these essays have been out of print or scattered across obscure journals so there is an enormous contribution in bringing them together again, reframing them for contemporary readers, and reappraising their contributions to the early development of this field.”

Fan studies has changed a lot, but you don’t have to be an academic to be thinky about fandom.

[META] transformativeworks: Past donors to OTW made it possible for us to achieve a lot! Here are some things we need to keep going: http://bitly.com/ZRlmnb العربية • Bahasa Indonesia • català • čeština • Deutsch • English • español • français • italiano • magyar • Nederlands • polski • português • Русский • suomi • svenska • Türkçe • 中文

transformativeworks:

Past donors to OTW made it possible for us to achieve a lot! Here are some things we need to keep going: bitly.com/ZRlmnb

العربية • Bahasa Indonesia • català • čeština • Deutsch • English • español • français • italiano • magyar • Nederlands • polski • português • Русский • suomi • svenska • Türkçe • 中文

[LINK] Transformative Works and Cultures: Vol 17 (2014)

ift.tt/1qI7xD2

acafanmom:

New issue posted today, and several essays/interviews/reviews that may be of interest to people here:

Redefining gender swap fan fiction: A Sherlock case study – Ann McClellan

Bull in a china shop: Alternate Reality games and transgressive fan play in social media franchises – Burcu Bakiolgu (phdfan, this might interest you?)

Twinship, incest, and twincest in the Harry Potter universe – Vera Cuntz-Leng

Queer encounters between Iron Man and Chinese boy’s love fandom – John Wei

Fan fiction metadata creation and utilization within fan fiction archives: Three primary models – Shannon Fay Johnson (destinationtoast, this might be of interest?)

Fan fiction and midrash: Making meaning – Rachel Barenblat

Wordplay, mindplay: Fan fiction and postclassical narratology – Veerle Van Steenhuyse

Fandom and the fourth wall – Jenna Kathryn Ballinger

Exploring fandom, social media, and producer/fan interactions: An interview with Sleepy Hollow’s Orlando Jones – Lucy Bennett and Bertha Chin

And much more! Check it out – this is FREE. OPEN ACCESS. Read! Enjoy! :)

[META] acafanmom: I would also like to make a plug for this essay in TWC: Fitting Glee in your mailbox – ….

acafanmom:

I would also like to make a plug for this essay in TWC:

Fitting Glee in your mailbox – . wordplay

This is the kind of fan-produced writing we solicit for the Symposium section of TWC. If you look it over, you’ll find that it’s reflective, but very much grounded in the writers own fan experiences – that’s the kind of thing we’re looking for. Writing that speaks to the broader experience of fandom – that puts it into some kind of context, that seeks to understand it a bit better. If you have a piece of writing you’d like to submit, or if you have an idea you want to bounce off of us, please contact TWC or just PM/ask me, and I can help get you started. :)

Yes!

[LINK] April Membership Drive: Spotlight on Transformative Works and Cultures

The OTW blog shines a spotlight on the academic fan studies journal TWC. Excerpt:

What gets you excited about academic studies in fandom?

“Here’s what I’m excited about,” said Karen Hellekson in 2008: “an academic journal that welcomes, instead of rejects or overtly mocks, fan studies as a topic … that takes as a given the notion that fans provide something valuable to our culture that ought to be analyzed.”

That journal is Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC): run, peer-reviewed, edited, and supported by OTW members and fans like you.

TWC is a journal with contributions from fan studies scholars all over the world. Edited by Hellekson and Kristina Busse, TWC has produced 15 issues so far, featuring fascinating contributions in topics ranging fromfanvids to fan labor to Supernatural.

Here’s another reason to get excited: TWC is completely free to the public, and has been from the beginning. Academic journals are traditionally locked to people with university affiliations. Often you have to pay US$30 to $45 for access to a single article. But ours is an online-only Open Access Gold journal: free for the readers at the point of access. Plus, our Creative Commons copyright lets anyone reprint the essays for free. These are essential principles behind TWC, enabling its goal of connecting academics and fans through community and accessibility. That’s why the journal also has an open space for non-academic fans to chime in, through the Symposium section in every issue.

Read more

[QUOTE] From Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, Editorial: Fandom and/as labor

It is now well established that watching television can usefully be conceptualized as work (Jhally and Livant 1986; Smythe 1977), and a labor framing has been applied to user-generated content by critical media studies scholars (Andrejevic 2009; Fuchs 2012; Hesmondhalgh 2010). However, fans have not often been approached this way. This disjuncture partially comes from the fact that fan activity is both by all appearances freely chosen and understood as pleasure, neither of which is typically associated with work. Instead, fan action has been framed as being active or participatory, and while these conceptualizations have been productive, when the lens of labor is applied, unique and crucial questions come into view.

To speak of labor is to attend to the value fans generate—an antidote to surprisingly tenacious notions of fan activity as a valueless pleasure. Once we have conceptualized fan work as generating value, we can also inquire into how that value is distributed and whether work circulating between fans in gift economies or among fans and industry is potentially exploited labor. This special issue of Transformative Works and Cultures takes the premise that if fans are a vital part of the new economy, then we have to take the economy part as seriously as the vital part.

Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, Editorial: Fandom and/as labor

Issue 14 of Transformative Works and Cultures is out!

Congratulations to the editors and writers! Links to all articles below. As usual, we’ll be posting some good quotes from these in the coming days, and you’re very welcome to submit your own.

Editorial

Spreadable fandom - TWC Editor

Theory

Metaphors we read by: People, process, and fan fiction - Juli J. Parrish

Sub*culture: Exploring the dynamics of a networked public - Simon Lindgren

Praxis

A Japanese media pilgrimage to a Tasmanian bakery - Craig Norris

Trans-cult-ural fandom: Desire, technology and the transformation of fan subjectivities in the Japanese female fandom of Hong Kong stars - Lori Hitchcock Morimoto

Fannish discourse communities and the construction of gender in “The X-Files” - Emily Regan Wills

Capital, dialogue, and community engagement: “My Little Pony—Friendship Is Magic” understood as an alternate reality game - Kevin Veale

Symposium

So bad it’s good: The “kuso” aesthetic in “Troll 2” - Whitney Phillips

Translation, interpretation, fan fiction: A continuum of meaning production - Shannon K. Farley

Fan/dom: People, practices, and networks - Katherine E. Morrissey

Fandom, public, commons - Mel Stanfill

Review

“Spreadable media: Creating value and meaning in a networked culture,” by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green - Melissa A. Click

“Reclaiming fair use,” by Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi - Josh Johnson

“Genre, reception, and adaption in the ‘Twilight’ series,” edited by Anne Morey- Amanda Georgeanne Retartha

[LINK] Destination: Toast!: Conversations about fandom: on non-canonical ships and judging fans.

destinationtoast.tumblr.com/post/55679106603/conversations-about-fandom-on-non-canonical-ships-and

acafanmom:

destinationtoast:

51pegasi-b and I had an interesting email thread about societal judgement of different kinds of fans, and also canonical vs. non-canonical ships. I wanted to post excerpts and expand a little.

51:

I think [fandom is] something only some people choose to be “out” about. I feel as…

This is a long, interesting discussion; I’m truncating just because destinationtoast had asked about acafandom resources, and I wanted to share a few of my fandom studies favorites:

Confessions of an Aca-Fan – this is Henry Jenkins’s blog, and Jenkins is basically the father of fan studies. Check out also his seminal book (a newly revised version), Textual Poachers, to see where it all began. More recently, he’s co-edited Spreadable Media, which I am clearly going to have to read myself.

Founded by Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson, the bi-annual journal Transformative Works and Cultures is the academic arm of the Organization for Transformative Works, which also houses our own AO3. There is a LOT of really excellent writing on fandom here, covering a range of topics, and it’s dedicated to its Open Access policy. They put out a special topics issue (most recently, comic book fandom) and a general issue every year.

Another excellent journal is Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, headed by Sue Turnbull and Martin Barker. While this journal is more broadly focused on audience studies (which can include fandom studies, but also encompasses other aspects of filmgoing/TV viewing). Also Open Access!

A really exciting, newer blog is Suzanne Scott’s Revenge of the Fans – I’m still getting up to speed on her work, but the blog is accessible and really interesting.

Sadly, scholar Matt Hills doesn’t keep an academic blog, but his work continues to have a strong influence within the field. Online, he’s most active on the Doctor Who News website, where he writes reviews of newly-aired episodes (if you read anything of his, you’ll quickly figure out the extent of his Love of DW). He also has an essay that I really liked in the book Sherlock and Transmedia Fandom, edited by Kristina Busse and Louisa Ellen Stein (who blogs at transmedia | new media, tv, fandom).

A more recent book that’s been generating a lot of buzz in the fandom studies community is Lynn Zubernis and Katherine Larsen’s Fandom at the Crossroads, which looks at fandom (and, in particular, fan pleasure) through the lens of their own Supernatural fandom. They have an active blog at Fangasm!, and I think another book in the works.

Finally, the University of Iowa Press is currently putting together a series of fan studies-related books – something to keep an eye out for, as some terrific scholar-fans are said to be contributing.

These are just some resources off the top of my head – happy reading! :)

ETA: I forgot to pimp my own blog. I contribute at On/Off Screen which, while not solely focused on fandom studies, has a strong fan studies component. Regular contributors are Inger-Lise Kalviknes Bore, Rebecca Williams, Bertha Chin, and me. We’re still pretty young and so it’s not an extensive blog, but the posts are – IMHO – great. We also occasionally feature guest posts. :)

ETA2: ALSO, the Fan Studies Network has a nice list of fan studies journals that’s more comprehensive than what I have up above.

[REQUEST] Transformative Works and Cultures wants reviewers!

Transformative Works and Cultures, the OTW’s scholarly fan studies journal, is looking to expand its pool of volunteer reviewers. If you are interested in peer reviewing for TWC, please come over to the site, sign up, and create a profile as Reviewer: journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/user/register. You’ll be asked to fill out some information (such as uni affiliation if applicable), but, most importantly, there’s a field in the software where you input your interests and expertise. 

Once you’ve created a reviewer account, please e-mail us to tell us who you are, how you found us, and what you are specifically interested in. We use the journal’s database to find reviewers, but it is often easier when we have spoken to reviewers already and know a bit about them. Then we’ll contact you when a manuscript comes in that fits your expertise, and ask if you can review it.

If you have any questions about reviewing; if you want to know more about submitting essays, Symposium pieces, or book reviews; or if you there’s something specific you want to know about TWC, please feel free to contact us. For more info on what TWC does, check out the recent interview with the editors on the OTW blog.

The Journal Team

editor@transformativeworks.org

Crosspost: fanhackers.tumblr.com/post/56457445212

[LINK] CfP European Fandoms and Fan Studies Conference

European Fandom and Fan Studies: Localization and Translation One Day Symposium, 9 November 2013 Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and University of Amsterdam Department of Media Studies Call for Papers The increasingly global circulation of media often threatens to obscure local contexts of reception, identification, interpretation, and translation. This one day symposium at the University of Amsterdam seeks to explore the state of Fan Studies and the variety of Fandoms focused within the social and geographical boundaries of Europe, particularly with regard to processes of localization and translation, broadly interpreted. Inter-disciplinary papers are invited to explore the nature of the field itself, how different fandoms function within Europe, and how European fan cultures re-interpret, re-imagine, translate, and localize foreign media texts or foreign fan practices. Potential avenues of exploration may include how Fan Studies is represented, studied, and received within European universities, by funding bodies and publishers. Papers on fandoms may explore how European (English and non-English speaking) fans of European and non-European objects of fan appreciation participate in fandom, the differences between internet fandoms and local/national/international fan practices, and objects of fan appreciation that originate within Europe. Topics of interest include but are not limited to: -Regional fan histories. -Negotiation between international and local fan infrastructures. -Local and national adaptation of fan cultures and identities. -European fans’ impact on international public policy and industry practice. -Fans’ relationships to national media industries and public policy. -National and transnational economies within fandom and/or fan studies. -Crossing national, cultural, and language boundaries in fandom and fan studies. -Translation, both linguistic and cultural. -Fans’ local and international languages and economies of desire. -Framing local European fan objects and cultures within fan studies. -Processes of translation, adaptation, and localization in European fans’ interaction with global media. The symposium is associated with a special issue of the journal of Transformative Works and Cultures tentatively slated for 2015, with full papers due January 1, 2014. Event Details The symposium will be held in the center of Amsterdam, easily accessible from Amsterdam international airport. Submission Process Please send a 300 word abstract along with a short (100 word) biographical note to Anne Kustritz (A.M.Kustritz@uva.nl<mailto:A.M.Kustritz@uva.nl>) or Emma England (E.E.England@uva.nl<mailto:E.E.England@uva.nl>) by 10 September.

[META] New issue of Transformative Works and Cultures on comics fandom

Fan studies journal Transformative Works and Cultures has published its thirteenth issue on comics fandom. Here are links to all the articles, on topics ranging from women in comics fandom to fans on 4chan to Captain America and various other Avengers-related things. Enjoy! As usual, we’ll be posting some good quotes from the articles too.

Editorial:

Matthew J. Costello: The super politics of comic book fandom

Theory:

Suzanne Scott: Fangirls in refrigerators: The politics of (in)visibility in comic book culture

Praxis:

Catherine Coker: Earth 616, Earth 1610, Earth 3490—Wait, what universe is this again? The creation and evolution of the Avengers and Captain America/Iron Man fandom

Lyndsay Brown: Pornographic space-time and the potential of fantasy in comics and fan art

Tim Bavlnka: /Co/operation and /co/mmunity in /co/mics: 4chan’s Hypercrisis

Symposium (short articles):

Forrest Phillips: Captain America and fans’ political activity

Babak Zarin: The advocacy of Steve Rogers (aka Captain America), as seen in hetrez’s “Average Avengers Local Chapter 7 of New York”

Amanda Odom: Professionalism: Hyperrealism and play

Rebecca Lucy Busker: Fandom and male privilege: Seven years later

Kayley Thomas: Revisioning the smiling villain: Imagetexts and intertextual expression in representations of the filmic Loki on Tumblr

Ora C. McWilliams: Who is afraid of a black Spider(-Man)?

Interviews:

Matthew J. Costello: Interview with comics artist Lee Weeks

Kate Roddy, Carlen Lavigne, Suzanne Scott: Toward a feminist superhero: An interview with Will Brooker, Sarah Zaidan, and Suze Shore

Reviews:

Daniel Stein: “Comic books and American cultural history: An anthology,” edited by Matthew Pustz

Drew Morton: “Of comics and men: A cultural history of American comic books,” by Jean-Paul Gabilliet

[META] 32 fic writers arrested in China in 2011, and we missed it

Reading Reflection on Chinese boys’ love fans: An insider’s view by Erika Junhui Yi in the latest issue of TWC, I was struck not just by how extreme reactions to BL can get, but also how little info sometimes gets through to English-speaking media fandom about fandoms in different places that use different languages.

Yi describes how BL fans are sometimes stigmatized in China because BL often involves explicit sexual content, and homosexual content at that. For instance, she says that “in the massive censorship crackdown launched in 2010, thousands of BL fan forums, Web sites, and personal blogs were censored, along with pornography”.

Censorship is bad enough. But then there’s this:

These media reports, along with the Internet censorship, made BL fandom a target of attack. Perhaps the most outrageous action taken against BL fan girls happened in 2011. The police in Zhengzhou Province arrested 32 slash fiction writers whose work had appeared on a Web site specializing in homoerotic content. The arrested writers were all women, and most were in their 20s (Xin Kuai Bao, March 22, 2011, www.ycwb.com/epaper/xkb/html/2011-03/22/content_1068001.htm). This news caught the attention of other BL fan girls, most of whom had also created some kind of fan work, making them vulnerable to legal action.

If this was talked about in English fannish circles, I completely missed it. Was it discussed? Google is being no help at all. The only thing in English I found that mentions this episode is an academic article on BL in China, Forbidden love: incest, generational conflict, and the erotics of power in Chinese BL fiction (paywalled, alas. Comment if you’re looking for access, someone may be able to help). A bunch of Japanese friends I mentioned it to did know about the incident, though. Turns out it was even slashdotted in Japan.

It’s things like this that make me think we need better ways to make sure that at least the very important info about troubles and incidents in non-English-speaking fan communities gets over the language barriers. I’m not sure if English-speaking fans could have been of any help in this particular incident, but 32 fic writers getting arrested seems like something that should have made more waves than it did.

[META] New TWC issue on boys’ love fandom is live

Transformative Works and Cultures has published its twelfth issue, entirely devoted to boys’ love fandom around the globe (full press release). There are some excellent articles on Hetalia, the politics of BL in Germany, character bots on Twitter, BL in China, dojinshi, the origins of the word fujoshi, criticism from Japanese LGBT activists on BL, and more. We’ll be posting some short bits of analysis and good quotes from the articles in the upcoming weeks. Enjoy!

 

Transnational boys’ love fan studies, by Kazumi Nagaike and Katsuhiko Suganuma

Doing Occidentalism in contemporary Japan: Nation anthropomorphism and sexualized parody in Axis Powers Hetalia, by Toshio Miyake

Rotten use patterns: What entertainment theories can do for the study of boys’ love, by Björn-Ole Kamm

Transplanted boys’ love conventions and anti-“shota” polemics in a German manga: Fahr Sindram’s “Losing Neverland”, by Paul M. Malone

Simulation and database society in Japanese role-playing game fandoms: Reading boys’ love dōjinshi online, by Lucy Hannah Glasspool

Reflection on Chinese boys’ love fans: An insider’s view, by Erika Junhui Yi

Where program and fantasy meet: Female fans conversing with character bots in Japan, by Keiko Nishimura

The possibilities of research on fujoshi in Japan, by Midori Suzuki

On the response (or lack thereof) of Japanese fans to criticism that yaoi is antigay discrimination, by Akiko Hori

Book review by Samantha Anne Close of “Mechademia Vol. 6: User Enhanced,” edited by Frenchy Lunning

Book review by Emerald King of “Writing the love of boys: Origins of ‘bishōnen’ culture in modernist Japanese literature,” by Jeffrey Angles

[META] Breaking the primacy of print: open access and TWC

Second post on open access: if you’ve seen the Open Access Explained video, it may seem pretty obvious that academic work on fans should also be open access. But what are the challenges of making a journal like Transformative Works and Cultures open access? TWC editor Karen Hellekson posted this fine analysis of the issues in August 2010, with a special focus on how making such a journal online only affects things. Reposting.

I was brought on board to help launch TWC in part because of my expertise in the scientific publishing world and my background in production. I was a hard sell when asked to lend my time to the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) and to TWC. What convinced me was the open access nature of the journal, the Creative Commons copyright, and the notion of fair use that would permit the journal to embed video and stills. These are in striking contrast to the locked-down access, repressive reprint rules, and monetization of content that I see every day in the journal-publishing industry. When it came time to decide whether we wanted a print component available for TWC’s articles, like a print version or PDFs, I spoke out strongly against it. I argued for the primacy of the online version because TWC embeds media, like YouTube videos and screen caps. How could that be duplicated in print? It can’t. Better that there be only one official version, and that one online. We would strike a blow for online-only content!

Two years later, TWC is still online only, but it’s become clear that that ideal has a cost. TWC’s audience is made up of acafans, and lots of academics who might otherwise submit to TWC find that they ought not, because their university has rules that online-only publications do not count for promotion and tenure. Some publishers won’t send us review copies of books because they have a blanket policy that they will not provide books to online-only publications. It’s clear that the reputation of online-only publications is markedly lesser than print publications. Discussions have been going on for years about online publishing models and how to weight them for tenure and promotion: Robert B. Townsend’s “History and the Future of Scholarly Publishing” discusses the issue in the field of history, and the Modern Language Association lays out its suggestions in its Statement on Publication in Electronic Journals.

The academic articles in TWC are double-blind peer reviewed. This means that every article is read by two scholars in the field who are unaware of the identity of the writer, and the writer is shielded from the identity of the readers. That’s the gold standard in the journal-publishing industry. (Several sections of the journal, including the Symposium section, are editorially reviewed.) We naively thought that rigor, peer review, excellent editing, and overall high standards would trump mode of publication. But little has changed in institutional practices. It is too easy to replicate the existing model, or too difficult to permit an institutional committee to assess items on their own merits. They would rather offload their assessment to a proxy, such as publication in a prestigious journal or by a prestigious press. Why read the book if Oxford University Press published it? It’s Oxford University Press! Similarly, to assess importance, you might look at proxies that are meant to suggest importance in the field: you might check the journal’s acceptance rates; if in the sciences you might check their impact factor; or you might examine a listing maintained by, say, the MLA, and if it’s on the list, it counts.

To up our profile, we submit TWC to various indexes. These indexes are lists of vetted content that meets certain criteria, and being listed in the index is a way to show legitimacy and drive readership. Well-known indexes that most people have heard of include PubMed (for medicine) and ERIC (for education). TWC signed an agreement permitting EBSCO, a database aggregator, to list TWC. But our application to be listed in Scopus was rejected, perhaps because when we applied, only a single issue had come out. (We’ll try again later.) To be listed, not only must TWC maintain its status as blind peer reviewed, but the journal must print a careful ratio of peer-reviewed content to non-peer-reviewed content to retain the status of “academic.” The indexing services seek to ensure quality by going down a checklist of current best practices in the journal-publishing industry and only listing journals that fulfill these criteria. Yet best practices have clearly not yet been able to adequately account for online-only publications, or online-only publications would not be treated differently by academic institutions during review for tenure and promotion.

When I fill out forms, surveys, and index submission forms related to TWC and its practices, it becomes clear how strongly the print model affects every aspect of what is considered the norm for publishing. I skip entire sections: I don’t know the number of subscriptions because we don’t use a subscription model. I can’t estimate readership because many of the user accounts are obviously spam accounts, and plenty of readers never create a user ID. We don’t offer different levels of access to different people. We don’t have office expenses because we don’t have an office, instead using freeware OJS to shepherd copy through the publication process. I can’t estimate readership for an essay because our copyright permits the author, or anyone else, to repost, which bleeds off readers and thus they aren’t counted by the software. We have no income from reprint or author fees because we don’t charge those fees. All the questions meant to assess readership and subscriptions are, with an open access model, nearly impossible to estimate. Ironically, the traditional journal-publishing world seeks to maximize impact by minimizing access, even though study after study has shown that people are far more likely to read and cite publications available in full online.

Despite these very real drawbacks, all of which are remnants of the print model, I stand by our decision to reject print in favor of online-only open access. We probably don’t need to be cited in indexes like Scopus because Google searches easily find us, with no block to obtaining full text. It has also struck me that my coeditor, Kristina Busse, and I are the perfect people to edit this journal precisely because neither of us is affiliated. Our jobs aren’t going to be affected by our work; working on the journal will never “count” one way or the other. That’s tremendously freeing.

I’m proud to be working on a publication that is on the vanguard of changing the journal-publishing model by testing models and ideas that permit the free and open exchange of ideas within a context of intellectual rigor. I am saddened that some authors will never submit to us because they can’t afford to, but I am also confident that within the next 10 years, that will change. And it will be because TWC, and journals like it, stood its ground.

[LINK] Transformative Works and Cultures No.11 released

Somewhat belatedly, we’d like to congratulate the authors and the editorial team of the journal Transformative Works and Cultures on the publication of another excellent issue, TWC No.11. The next deadline for submissions to TWC is March 15, 2013. The press release:

Transformative Works and Cultures has released No. 11, a general issue with essays that focus on a variety of topics, including lipdubbing, fan fiction, early modern romance, pro fiction that includes fans as characters, and author’s notes. The issue comprises six theoretical essays, four Symposium pieces, and two book reviews. Natasha Simonova, in “Fan Fiction and the Author in the Early 17th Century: The Case of Sidney’s Arcadia,” argues for the early modern era as a point of origin for fan fiction with Sir Philip Sidney’s romance, The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia. Nicolle Lamerichs’s “The Mediation of Fandom in Karin Giphart’s Maak me blij” looks for fannish tropes and narrative structures in nonfannish fiction, in this case a 2005 Dutch novel that features fans as characters, thus self-reflexively looking at the connections between lesbian fiction and fan fiction. Kyra Hunting’s “Queer as Folk and the Trouble with Slash” addresses the discrepancy between a show that already includes queer and explicit sexualities and its fan fictions by analyzing mpreg stories. Alexandra Elisabeth Herzog’s “`But this is my story and this is how I wanted to write it’: Author’s Notes as a Fannish Claim to Power in Fan Fiction Writing” studies the particular genre of author’s notes to address the power struggle between readers and writers used to generate meaning. Mark C. Lashley’s “Lip Dubbing on YouTube: Participatory Culture and Cultural Globalization” reads lip dubbers as transnational creators as they appropriate and alter popular songs, thus resituating them within their own cultural contexts and performing them with their own, often non-Western, bodies. Finally, Heather Osborne looks at virtual performances in online gaming, in particular gender expressions within the games, in “Performing Self, Performing Character: Exploring Gender Performativity in Online Role-Playing Games,” and analyzes data from an online survey that addresses gamers’ gender and sexualities as well as their respective representations. TWC’s Symposium section features shorter, often personal essays that address particularly fannish connections. D. Wilson’s highly personal meditation on “Queer Bandom: A Research Journey in Eight Parts” merges the author’s personal journeys of following several bands around the country with meditations on queer space and time in the shifting discourses of online band fandom. Sharon Wheeler, in “From Secret Police to Gay Utopia: How a Professionals Slash Writer Disrupts Readers’ Expectations” focuses on The Professionals (1977–1983) and provides a close reading of an alternate universe fan fiction series. Paul Mason looks toward the beginnings of tabletop role-playing games in “RPG Transformations: Fan or Pro?” Mason offers an important historical overview of the early years of Dungeons & Dragons and its fans. Finally, Staci Stutsman also addresses the unclear boundaries of authorship in “Blogging and Blooks: Communal Authorship in a Contemporary Context,” in which she studies popular blogs and the tendency to turn blog posts, including selected comments, into publications. Two reviews appear in this issue. Francesca Coppa reviews Paul Booth’s Digital Fandom (Peter Lang, 2010), focusing on the use of fan cultures, and in particular multimedia digital fan works, to address the general tenets of media studies. Michael Z. Newman and Elana Levine look at the shifting demands of media studies in the convergence age in their book Legitimating Television (Routledge, 2011), reviewed by Melanie E. S. Kohnen. The next two issues of TWC, Nos. 12 and 13, will appear in spring 2013 as guest-edited special issues: Kazumi Nagaike and Katsuhiko Suganuma coedit the special issue on Transnational Boys’ Love, and Matthew Costello’s special issue focuses on transformation and comics. TWC No. 14 will be an open, unthemed issue, and we welcome general submissions. We particularly encourage fans to submit Symposium essays. We encourage all potential authors to read the submission guidelines (journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions ). The close date for receipt of copy for No. 14 is March 15, 2013.

[META] I Know I’m Still Thinking About Wisconsin

The latest issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, “Transformative Works and Fan Activism,” is now available for your reading pleasure. There’s so much great content here to peruse, much of it offering context for ongoing debates among fan activists, many of which speak to still-unfolding current events. Just last week, for example, Andrea Horbinski and Alex Leavitt updated readers on the latest developments surrounding the Metropolitan Tokyo Youth Ordinance, whose implications they had explored at length in their article. The piece I first clicked on when I accessed the issue, however, was on an issue closer to my immediate context and long-term concerns: Jonathan Gray’s moving Symposium piece, “Of snowspeeders and Imperial Walkers: Fannish play at the Wisconsin protests.” This piece describes the morale-boosting role played by fannish signs and chants at protests, and argues for their incalculable contribution to the large-scale registering of political dissatisfaction.

The topic of activism is inherently emotional, which is part of why I think that its union with transformative works is so illuminating. Henry Jenkins and Sangita Shresthova begin their editorial introduction to the issue with two quotations that speak to this point, one by Liesbet van Zoonen, from her book Entertaining the Citizen, and one from Stephen Duncombe’s own Symposium piece on More’s Utopia, and his own relationship to that concept, such as it has emerged in his own experiences with fandom and activism. There is a clear thread that ties each piece in this issue to the rest, as well as tying the issue as a whole to a long series of debates, online and off-, about those most seriously critical, and thus, seriously hopeful energies within fandom, and how these intersect with those same energies in activist movements, often within the same subjects. From my own standpoint in the Midwestern United States, no single recent event has filled me with as much hope, and then disappointed me so strongly, as the fannishly-inflected 2011 Wisconsin protests against Scott Walker and his union-busting legislation, which, sadly, did not in the end lead to his replacement.

That aside, I think that Gray’s piece archives much of what was exciting about the 2011 protests, which moved so many people, and were so misrepresented by the mainstream media, first by not being represented at all, and then, worse, being mischaracterized as “riots,” as Gray describes:

As the protests continued and as they drew national media attention, for many protesters, and for the organizers especially, it became important to ensure that the protests remained peaceful and upbeat, countering Fox News’ images. The fannish signs aided this mission, offering reasons to smile and laugh amidst the anger and angst, and often inspiring discussions between fellow fans.

Gray is, of course, careful not to reduce the protests to a momentary fannish community-building exercise, although he is just as careful not to subordinate fannish caontributions to countable actions such as petition signatures, absolutely. Instead he inhabits the ground of the short-form social archivist, who witnessed positive social and political actions bolstered by fannish energy and tactics, and wishes to record it alongside the ultimately disappointing political verdict on Walker.

Gray’s piece exemplifies what I love about the Symposium section of Transformative Works and Cultures. The author guidelines for the Symposium section read as follows:

Parallel to academia’s tradition of compact essays, often published as letters, fandom has its own vibrant history of criticism, some of which has been collected at the Symposium archive. In the spirit of this history, TWC’s Symposium is a section of concise, thematically contained essays. These short pieces provide insight into current developments and debates surrounding any topic related to fandom or transformative media and cultures. Symposium submissions undergo editorial review. (1,500–2,500 words)

And indeed, in just over 2000 words, as well as photographs of six different fannish signs seen at the Wisconsin protests, he articulates a material intersection of fandom and activism, and one that will likely ring true, both for those of us who anxiously followed the protests as they happened, and for those who take pleasure in memes well-executed. He fleshes out the experience of the protests with memorable details, some of which speak to us quickly and generally, like his description of the protests’ occurrence “in the middle of a characteristically long Wisconsin winter,” while other descriptions speak to perceptions specific to the fan activist’s worldview. I love the idea that, “when the Capitol Square was covered in snow, it seemed distinctly Hothlike,” because it’s that level of observation that invites the reader into the process of forging lasting connections between different spheres of her life.

From Gray’s piece, the reader might move on to Aswin Punathambekar’s essay, “On the ordinariness of participatory culture,” which offers a different national context for the intersection of fandom and activism, namely, the Indian context, as well as a different kind of activism, namely how, in response to Indian Idol 3, “people in the northeast Indian state of Meghalaya had cast aside decades-old separatist identities to mobilize support for Amit Paul, one of the finalists.” The issues at stake here are very different than those in Wisconsin, but Punathambekar’s argument in fact shares much with Gray’s, although he uses a slightly different critical vocabulary. Punathambekar summarizes his argument as such:

We need to develop accounts of participatory culture that take the sociable and everyday dimensions of participation in and around popular culture more seriously while remaining attuned to the possibility that such participation might, in rare instances, intersect with broader civic and political issues and movements. Using Indian Idol 3 as a case, I want to suggest that sociability should be as fundamental to our analyses of participatory culture as civic/political engagement.

Like Gray, Punathambekar argues that we should make sure to value those moments of sociability that are often subordinated to specific political activity, as they share much with the energy that is needed to enact large-scale change and, ultimately, to create better societies. Both authors’ arguments are at home in the Symposium section, because it is a space in which this subtlety of individual and social experience can be articulated, and preserved alongside more long-form academic analyses of phenomena within fandom.

We are actively seeking Symposium submissions for upcoming issues, and all readers of this post, this blog, Transformative Works and Cultures, and other sources of fandom analysis to consider submitting. Thank you!