Is internet archiving a specific problem of fandom?

Recently, I attended an internet archiving vocational training held by our National Library. Most of the other attendees came from libraries – I did, too. We all had somewhat different experiences regarding internet archiving. The National Library is doing complete harvests: they download everything from a website in a way that makes it possible to reconstruct later. The practices of a public archive like that differ from those of the Open Doors which again differs from the efforts of volunteer groups. That is partly because even the internet is such a new thing, internet archiving is only experimenting with a mix of methodologies. But it is also because they all have different considerations.

What considerations do you think can shape these practices? Have you been part of any archiving project?

Aca fan discourse, fandom academic discourse

Fan criticism is the institutionalization of feminime reading practices just as the dominant mode of academic criticism is the institutionalization of masculine learning practices.


If Jenkins already saw fandom as a type of criticism parallel to literary criticism, we might have an understanding of parallel fandom studies: the ones inside academia and the ones surrounding it. There are already spaces in fandom where these parallel stories meet, Fanhackers aim to be such a space for us.

An update from the blogger

I apologise for being absent for so long. Funnily, neglecting this blog resulted from the work needed for preparing for a conference. So I thought, why not talk about our conference experiences.

This was a multidisciplinary conference for students and young researchers but the audience for my presentation was almost full of philosophers and literary scholars. My presentation was, as you can guess, about examining fannish texts with the tools of literary theory. Given that the research method was the same, I did not prepare for there to be a barrier between my subject and audience.

The professors could not remark on anything besides how there can be such a thing as fanfiction. Among the other presentations, there were ones about unfamiliar works, including an entire wave of cinema, yet these remarks were different in nature. I certainly expected to profit from insights from those literary scholars but we could barely talk.

It was only a fifteen minutes long talk with a few minutes for discussion. This experience doesn’t make me believe that discourse is impossible but it did highlight how I underestimated the barriers that do exist. Here, at Fanhackers, we enjoy a mix of academic and non-academic discourse on fandom. But it appears, a conversation between fandom studies and other scholars is not a given without bridging the gap the unfamiliarity of our subject presents.

Do you have good practices for that? How do you start conversations with people unfamiliar with fandom that goes beyond its mere existence? What are your experiences with encouraging conversations?

There is something queer here

The question of queerness in fandom is as old as fandom studies itself. It can be said that

The queerness of podfic exists in the text itself, because the stories are about queer characters and relationships, and in the reader’s literal performance of queerness in the act of reading these stories out loud.

Riley, Olivia Johnston. 2020. “Podfic: Queer Structures of Sound.” Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 34.

This line of questioning suggests that when examining fannish culture as writing, it can not only be done in the framework of queer literature or queer art.

(Slash) in particular raises particular issues of identity and sexualities: women writing fantasies with and for another projected through and by same-sex desires that fandom may be a queer female space – if not at the level of the text and the writers, then at least at the level of their interaction.

Busse, Kristina. 2006b. “My Life Is a WIP on My LJ: Slashing the Slasher and the Reality of Celebrity and Internet Performances.” In Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet, edited by Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse, 207–25. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Fandom as a queer space in these descriptions mean more than spaces where queer people are or spaces where queer acts happen.

All the participants share a romantic, sexual space that attaches fluctuating gender and sexual identities to their roles as reader and listener, which may or may not align at any given time with the reader or listener’s own. This highlights the messy queer potential that fans enter into when they become part of this desire-filled narrative space, where the abundance of shifting gender positionalities and desire lines encourages unique formations of identity and sexuality that run obliquely to normative male/female heterosexual ones.

Riley, Olivia Johnston. 2020. “Podfic: Queer Structures of Sound.” Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 34.

There is something queer in here and it’s more than the sum of its very queer parts.

Boundaries of fannishness in yaoi fanzines

When theorizing fanworks as a genre of its own, it is always interesting to look at works that are not transformative in their nature but they are related to fandom in some way. That’s why I was excited to find this remark in this 2003 work about the history of yaoi:

These amateur fanzines (sold at Tokyo Comic Market) include both ani-paro (…) and original compositions, despite the fact that the English term “fanzine” may suggest only the former.

Mizoguchi, Akiko. 2003. “Male-Male Romance by and for Women in Japan: A History and the Subgenres of ‘Yaoi’ Fictions.” U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal, no. 25, pp. 55. JSTOR, Accessed 10 Jun. 2022.

This section refers to a connection in publication (the same zines, the same convention) and in genre. There is a presumption of interest of the ani-paro fans in original yaoi works implied in publishing them together and there is a recognition of similarity implied in grouping them under the same genre names (yaoi, BL etc.)

What kind of paratext makes you recognise an original work as part of fannish culture? What are your thoughts?

Signal Boost: A Survey About the Tag Exclude Function

Our last drive is over, Election is upon us soon, k-pop groups are making their comebacks left and right, Star Wars released a truly marvel worthy material (pun intended) and it is time for another survey. Sarah Bieletzki is working on a Bachelor thesis about if and how the exclude tag function is used and its potential for other applications. 

The survey is anonymous and should take no more than ten minutes to complete. Participation is open for all ages and no prior knowledge is necessary. You can access the survey here.

The survey will stay open until June 14th 2022.

If you have any other question, be encouraged to reach out:

Theorization of the Racialized Fan

”…I posit that the unexamined yet assumed whiteness of media fan spaces has allowed for successive theorizations about their workings to have now solidified into accepted histories. This positioning now forces any consideration of racial dynamics within those spaces to be considered as something additional to, rather than constitutive of, media fan identity. Because the activities of (white) women interested in reworking popular cultural texts have been the target of societal scorn (like Cath), the project for the reclamation of their practices has been constructed as a particular narrative around the ways in which fan communities engage with difference and how fan works engage with bodies and sexualities.

In this theoretical construction, any discussion of race becomes an exception, an interruption, and a bringer of fandom drama.”

Pande, Rukmini. “Introduction.” In Squee from the Margins: Fandom and Race, 12. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2018. 

The Man with Qualities

Twitter user kawí brought the idea of featureless protagonist in video games. There is a reason I didn’t make that connection before and that reason is a presupposition. Video games, to state the obvious, brings the question of games into the discussion. Then when we ask the question if the audience can identify with the reader insert, we have more than one answers: not only they are encouraged to see themselves in the character but they are the one committing their actions. The way the reader is encouraged to identify with y/n is also through this lack of features. But this character has their actions fixed in texts by nature which mark their preferences, they have bodies with which they commit these actions and these can easily differ from the reader’s.

When it comes to a story, a reader can find places that they can occupy. The Avengers have not travelled to their country in canon yet, maybe when they do, they will save them from an attack and become friends from then. If the barricade boys from Les miserable reincarnated, they could be an exchange student coming to their school. Their favourite idol could go on secret trips to a hole in the wall restaurant where they are already a regular but they don’t recognise them and maybe that’s what attracts the idol to ask if they can share a table… In reader insert, these places are already filled up as the position of the reader is fixed, the meeting of y/n with the fictional world is set. Maybe, there is actually less freedom for the reader to see themselves in the narrative this way.

What do you think, y/n?