One of the organizing concepts of the Symposium Blog is the intersection of academic and fannish modes of analysis. Sometimes, these converge in a single acafan (an identification I myself am perfectly comfortable with, as I spend equal portions of my time on my academic and fannish work), and other times, they refer rather to the possible terrain of an argument, a feeling of accountability to the very different, but equally intellectually exciting “rules of engagement” in the academic sphere and in fandom. The term “acafan” is controversial because, like “queer,” it is in flux, and has different meanings within and outside the academy, as well as within and outside fandom.
This summer, Henry Jenkins is hosting a series of conversations called “Acafandom and Beyond,” which bring together some of the “people from Game Studies, Critical Race Theory, Performance Studies, Queer Studies, and Gender Studies, who are confronting similar issues surrounding the role of subjectivity and cultural criticism,” which are at the heart of the acafan debates.
Now that fandom has finally gotten a momentary fair shake from the mainstream, I’d say that it’s high time to return to the complex questions that self-reflexive fans are so good at asking, like: the role of passion in serious debate, the importance of complex media engagement, and the intersections of various forms of privilege and taste. It is certainly not the case that one needs to be a practicing academic to engage, either. However, academics who form part of the critical sphere created by the media landscape, especially those who also value fannish as well as institutionalized methodologies, are uniquely equipped to have conversations that fascinate me.
Check it out! And feel free to join the conversation on the blog, or on the Dreamwidth mirror site.