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?