I couldn't agree more with Roberta that we need to theorize what it is we mean when we talk about being a "fan" as well as an "acafan." Without that, we find ourselves talking at cross purposes--though, of course, it's the very overdetermination of both those terms that keeps them alive and interesting. That said, it is difficult to engage in this conversation without giving in to a certain urge to self-disclosure. Especially because the way I experience the overlap of academia and fandom in my own life has everything to do with personal ethics, with the contexts and standpoints that shape my participation in knowledge production.
For me, fandom is less an identity than a location, a set of networks and connections within which I'm situated. My participation in fan culture mostly means being accountable to a community that I became part of through my love for science fiction and my interest in transformative works and fan video, but it's been sustained--and friendships formed--more through discussions of feminism, race, queer sex, and capitalism than through exploration of a source text. In fact, I find it difficult to name anything that I am intensively a fan *of* at the moment. Other than to say that I'm a fan of critical fanworks that engage transformatively with the hegemonic politics of the culture industry, which is possibly partly a way of seeking excuses for the extent of the pleasures I take in the aforementioned hegemonic products.
Being a fan is difficult, as Jack Halberstam says in this debate. The things you love betray you and other people just don't understand. In fact, my own movement away from more object-oriented fandom can probably be traced to the intensity of my disappointment with the end of Battlestar: Galactica, around which I participated in an exciting whirl of collaborative fanwork-making, drawing out queer and antihumanist and other critical interpretations through transformative works. The show's last half-season (and here I do speak as frustrated fan!) made a mockery of everything that excited my collaborators and I, and even though the fanworks the group created maintained the queer worldmaking we'd been doing around the show in ways I think are fascinating and important, I've been less inclined to give myself over to a fannish passion since...."
Monday, August 15, 2011
Henry Jenkins: Aca-fandom and Beyond: Roberta Pearson and Alexis Lothian (Part One)
Posted by siobhan at 10:38 AM