We have entered an historical moment
in which political communication is filled with fandom. Grassroots
fan communities mobilize to influence elections. Political candidates
perform fandom on the campaign trail. And of course, rallies on both
sides of the aisle are filled with bursts of fannish excitement.
Examples range from the Princess Leia “We are the resistance”
posters used during the 2017 Women’s March to Elizabeth Warren’s
Harry Potter references to the strong attachment Trump fans felt for
their candidate. Still, the affective nature of fandom is often
treated as being at odds with the rational discourse of the political
sphere, and the relationship between fandom and politics is often
dismissed or ignored.
Fan studies has a longer trajectory
of investigation into fan activism, beginning with letter-writing
campaigns and boycotts that sought to influence media decisions like
cancellation and casting calls (e.g. Jenkins, 1992; Lopez, 2012),
through to fan activism that impacted public issues, using charity
fundraisers, boycotts, and protests (e.g. Hinck, 2016; Jenkins &
Shresthova, 2012). This special issue specifically seeks research
into the role of fandom in political discourse—both in terms of
political organizations attempting to reach out to fans and fans
attempting to mobilize to participate in political discussion.
include, but are not limited to:
developments in fan activism since Jenkins and Shresthova’s 2012
fans use resources from fandom to make political arguments
candidates, political officials, and other mainstream actors try to
connect with fans
theoretical terms, apparatuses, and perspectives for understanding
fandom and politics
cases of fandom and politics
- Historical cases of fandom and
Hinck, A. (2016). Ethical
frameworks and ethical modalities: Theorizing communication and
citizenship in a fluid world. Communication
Jenkins, H. (1992). Textual
Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture.
New York: Routledge.
Jenkins, H., &
Shresthova, S. (2012). Up, up, and away! The power and potential of
fan activism [editorial]. Transformative
Works and Cultures, 10.
Lopez, L. K. (2012).
Fan-activists and the politics of race in The Last Airbender.
International Journal of
Cultural Studies, 15(5),
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.
essays. Peer review, 6,000–8,000 words.
study essays. Peer review, 5,000–7,000 words.
commentary. Editorial review, 1,500–2,500 words.
Please visit TWC’s Web site
for complete submission guidelines, or e-mail the TWC Editor (editor
guest editors Ashley
Hinck (hincka AT
xavier.edu) and Amber
1, 2019, for estimated
June 15, 2020 publication.