In a 2015 essay in Transformative Works and Cultures, Rebecca Wanzo calls for “a new genealogy of fan studies” to begin to remedy the systemic oversight of race in fan studies. Drawing mostly from scholars who may not claim or be claimed by fan studies, Wanzo offers a genealogy of black popular culture theorists who have engaged in “black fan criticism and acafandom.”
We welcome authors who wish to build on this genealogy of black fandom scholarship or to create parallel and intersectional genealogies of fan scholarship. Recent discussion of race and fandom has addressed issues of media representations of characters of color (Warner 2015), fannish responses by and to fans of color and the conversations surrounding race in fan works (Pande 2017), and racebending and “racial revision” in fan productions (Thomas and Stornaiuolo 2016, carrington 2016).
This issue seeks to expand on these lines of investigation, and to promote new ones. The editors invite the submission of short and long scholarly essays by and about people of color who self-identify as fans (“fans of color”), and about fan communities that have formed around media characters and texts that predominantly or prominently feature characters of color (“fandoms of color”). The editors are particularly eager to review contributions that involve methodological innovation, and/or draw on sources from historical periods other than the contemporary.
As both the scholars and objects fan studies have, to date, been predominantly white, we seek work from fan scholars of every ethnicity about their own experiences, and the experiences of people of color, in and with fandom. Here are additional topics that authors might wish to explore for this special issue:
- The fannish and transformative practices of audience members of color.
- How a community of color is fannish about performers of color or about media texts that primarily feature people of color.
- How a predominantly white community is fannish about performers of color or about media texts that primarily feature people of color.
- Fans, “stans,” and stanning.
- Close readings of the performances or public personae of stars or characters of color, or of specific media texts about communities of color.
- First-person essays: what it feels like to be a fan of color, or what it feels like to be in a fandom that is mostly comprised of fans of color, or what it feels like to be a fan of an ethnic performer/text who is not the same ethnicity of that performer/text.
- Revisiting key concepts of fan studies or race/ethnicity studies in the context of fans of color/fandoms of color.
- Being a fan (or non-fan or anti-fan) of racially problematic/racist texts.
- Actors of color who play white characters or other cases of actors portraying an ethnicity other than their own.
- “White savior” texts or whitewashing in film/television casting.
- Race/ethnicity in fan casting (“racebending”).
- Diversity (or lack thereof) in awards shows.
- Black Girl Nerds or “blerds” in general.
- Fans of color in/and Diaspora, or other transnational audience communities.
- Fansubs, or other transformative/interpretive practices, and language, nationality, race/ethnicity.
- Mixed-race and racially ambiguous characters/actors.
- Ships of color, slash, and other fan fiction/art featuring characters of color.
- Interracial ships, brotps, BFFs.
- Intersections between race/ethnicity and gender, sexuality, class, nationality, and/or religion in fan communities, fan practices, or the experiences of individual fans.
- Transformative works, reception, and fandom in the scholarly fields of East Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander, and Asian American Studies; Indigenous/First Nations Studies; Africana/Black Studies; Latinx Studies; Middle Eastern, Islamic Studies, and other fields.
carrington, andré. 2016. Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Pande, Rukmini. 2017. “Squee From the Margins: Investigating the Operations of Racial/Cultural/Ethnic Identity in Media Fandom.” Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Western Australia.
Thomas, Ebony Elizabeth and Amy Stornaiuolo. 2016. “Restorying the Self: Bending Toward Textual Justice.” Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 86, No. 3, pp. 313-338.
Wanzo, Rebecca. 2015. “African American Acafandom and Other Strangers: New Genealogies of Fan Studies.” Transformative Works and Cultures, Vol. 20. http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/699/538.
Warner, Kristen. 2015. The Cultural Politics of Colorblind TV Casting. New York: Routledge.
Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC, http://journal.transformativeworks.org/) is an international peer-reviewed online Gold Open Access publication of the nonprofit Organization for Transformative Works copyrighted under a Creative Commons License. TWC aims to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community. TWC accommodates academic articles of varying scope as well as other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing.
Theory: Conceptual essays. Peer review, 6,000–8,000 words.
Praxis: Case study essays. Peer review, 5,000–7,000 words.
Symposium: Short commentary. Editorial review, 1,500–2,500 words.
Please visit TWC’s Web site (http://journal.transformativeworks.org/) for complete submission guidelines, or e-mail the TWC Editor (editor @ transformativeworks.org).
Contact guest editors Abigail De Kosnik (adekosnik @ berkeley.edu) and andré carrington (profcarrington @ drexel.edu).
March 1, 2018, for estimated March 2019 publication.