Education and Curriculum

  • OTW Fannews: Skewing the Process

    By Claudia Rebaza on Zondag, 19 April 2015 - 5:23pm
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    • Matt Binder wrote in Salon that right-wing conservatives in the U.S. were trying to exploit the activities of misogynistic fans for personal gain and political capital. "A common tactic used by right-wingers is the call to 'stop politicizing everything' — while at the same time trying to push forth their own political agenda in the culture wars, of course. Keeping politics out of any art form is laughable, but there is a certain extra level of hilarity in attempting to do so with one that already has a long history of social justice...these are actual panels from an actual Green Lantern co-starring Green Arrow comic from April 1970 addressing racial justice head-on."
    • At Medium is the Message, Rex Sorgatz discussed changing habits regarding spoilers. "Back in the aughts, we survived a similar crisis, when two cultural events coincided:The quality of television programming suddenly got much better [and] The conversations around television exploded on social media. The collision of these trends triggered a nuclear reaction — a pop culture fission, spewing immense heat. People got very, very serious about The Spoiler Alert. The burgeoning recap society, in particular, was put under immense scrutiny."
    • Japan Times talked about how marketing tricks meant fans were skewing the music sales charts. "The problem is that music purchases by idol fans aren’t really music purchases at all: They are a sort of abstract currency by which the fans make extravagant expressions of love for the group — the more you buy, the greater your love. They’re a completely different class of consumer from someone who simply buys a song in order to listen to it, and trying to force them to behave like traditional music fans misses the point."
    • The Millions featured a long piece from Elizabeth Minkel on academic courses on fanfiction. "The cynical side of me expected to hear that a fanfiction class in an Ivy League English department would’ve been met with criticism from the old guard...But [Jamison] hasn’t encountered professional backlash at Princeton or back home in Utah. 'I’m sure there are people who think that but they haven’t told me about it — not my colleagues...I get more pushback on YA and, frankly, on Victorian women’s poetry than I do on fanfic. Nothing can match the snideness with which male scholars of modernism tend to regard Victorian poetry by women.'”

    Where have you seen fans changing cultural practices? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: This Is Your Life

    By Claudia Rebaza on Zondag, 15 March 2015 - 4:27pm
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    • At xojane, Emily Ansara Baines claimed I Learned Everything I Know About Sex From Reading X-Files Fan Fiction in High School. "Thanks to fan fiction, I didn’t mind some dirty talk. I also finally started to understand how oral sex was supposed to work and maybe even be enjoyable. While anal didn’t intrigue me, thanks to X-Files fan fiction I saw how it could be romantic and not, as my girlfriends told me, demeaning. So, when it came to me actually having sex, I felt prepared. At 16, I was the youngest of my friends to embark on that experience."
    • Rosemarie Alejandrino wrote about her anger at the idea that fanfiction should be hidden. "A friend of mine told me that her parents had lectured her about not reading enough books and wasting all her time on the computer. Then she said to me in confidence, 'I read thousands of words a day, and I can’t tell anybody because … all I read is ‘Glee’ lesbian fanfiction.' And suddenly I was angry. As someone who found solace and comfort in reading, who looked up to the Matildas and the Belles and the Rory Gilmores of the world, I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to be ashamed of reading and to keep such an impactful part of your life hidden from the world."
    • While some students are winning cash prizes for their fanfiction, others decided to teach about it. The Daily Californian featured a story on a pair of undergraduates at UC Berkeley exploring erotic fanfiction. "At a weekly DeCal class called “The Theory of Fanfiction,” students share and explore the forms and themes of fan fiction. Students meet each Monday to discuss the genre’s role in the literary world as well as in society as a whole. Through the class, started this semester by UC Berkeley senior Isadora Lamego and junior Katrina Hall, students explore the history of fandom, the role of social media in developing the genre and fan fiction’s importance in providing a vehicle for alternative sexuality and kink expression."
    • Ten Eighty looked at the line between hearing your audience and turning their interests or identities into an ongoing joke. “There is a possibility of a Queer kid seeing that thumbnail, clicking on it with the hope of their favourite YouTuber coming out as part of their Queer/LGBTQ+ community,” says Jazza. “For the YouTuber to use that click-bait and to then shoot down the possibility of them being Queer as being weird and gross, that’s what made me angry.”

    How have fanworks been part of your life? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom Education

    By Please leave a name on Dinsdag, 9 December 2014 - 5:47pm
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    • At Campaign Asia-Pacific Dave McCaughan wrote about studying fans to develop marketing strategies. "Personally I was a little surprised that when we asked 20,000 people around the world about being a fan of something, only around 40 per cent see themselves as fans. Of that number, 5 per cent say they are die-hard fans. Of course the numbers vary. Higher in the USA, much lower in Hong Kong and China. And this was fans of anything, not limited to football or sports. But as I said it was self-defining. And regardless, the numbers of 'fans' are huge. And among those millions who recognize their devotion, we noted three distinct new behaviors."
    • Loyola University's Student Dispatch wrote about a lecture on Harry Potter's links to Christianity. "John Granger came to speak at Loyola University on 'The Seven Keys to Harry Potter', hosted by the club Alliance for Awesome...He told the crowd that reading the [first] book brought him to tears and the comparisons to Christianity are unmistakable. 'I realized by the end of the book that she was a Christian,' Granger said. 'She chose to entrench the books with Christian symbolism like Narnia.' The lecture continued to dissect each book, and several characters and moments and relate them back to Christianity. Granger also commented on J.K. Rowling and her faith life."
    • NPR reported on Robert Morris University-Illinois' institution of 45 to 50 athletic scholarships to competitive gamers. The "school of 7000 students, reports it has received 70 applications and over 500 email inquiries since the announcement. The only qualm Shaffer has, he said, is the existence of varsity sports in the first place, and the millions of dollars spent on them by universities around the country. 'Whether it makes sense to award scholarships to an academic institution based on performance in a sport (whether electronic or not) is less clear.' In other words, if giving kids money to hit buttons on a controller seems strange, so is rewarding kids who are good at putting a ball through a hole."
    • Fanfiction is increasingly seen as a way to get young people writing, but Camp Lejeune's The Globe profiled a library making fandom a family affair. "'The goal of the event is to celebrate all the fandoms out there and remind people that being a fan of something is good and cool,' said Pittman. 'Also for the families to have something different to do on base and above all have fun.' After competing in costume contests and bean bag toss games, families gathered for popcorn and treats as they watched Marvels 'Guardians of the Galaxy.'"

    Did you get to study fandom in school? Write about your courses in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Educated Readers

    By Kiri Van Santen on Donderdag, 2 October 2014 - 5:51pm
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    • LancasterOnline introduced its readers to the basics of fanfic in an article that gave a broad overview of fic types and issues--good, bad, and ugly. In an interview, a local library employee discussed her history of reading and writing Supernatural fic and shared her experience stumbling across uncomfortable elements: “'There have been times where I’ve come across summaries or some such, you honestly don’t know — should I call the police?' she says, only half-jokingly. Plenty of fan fiction is benign, though, she says, noting, 'You kind of have to wade through.'" The article also covers shipping and alternate-universe fics.
    • Another librarian described bringing fandom into her workplace in Steal This Idea: I Dig Fandom. Autumn Winters described using fandom-based events to draw teen readers into her library for the summer reading program. In addition to asking teens what fandoms they were interested in and researching them online, she wrote, "I also thought about ways to remake previously successful programs with an eye toward fandom. For example, Perler beads to Minecraft pixels or button making to My Little Pony cutie marks." Ultimately, her Doctor Who and Minecraft events turned out to be the most popular.
    • In other Minecraft news, We all know Minecraft draws kids (and adults) to their computers and consoles, but a popular book series is now encouraging kids to read. TheLedger.com reports on a Scholastic guide series that has become popular with the game's target audience. In the article, a parent of a 7-year-old notes that "there are books kids are reading for schools and books that they hopefully like in their free time. And if ‘Minecraft' books are a motivation to read, that's a good thing, right? At the very least, they're developing skills, reading skills." The article also cites the popularity of fanfic and another hit book based on The Legend of Zelda.

    What have been your guides to fandom? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Produces Fan Fiction Studies Reader

    By Claudia Rebaza on Dinsdag, 25 February 2014 - 9:39pm
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    The OTW is proud to announce the release of The Fan Fiction Studies Reader. The brainchild of Transformative Works and Cultures editors Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse, the reader is a reprint collection of many key works in the field of fan studies. The Reader is intended for classroom use, but it will also be of interest to people in the field of fan studies.

    All royalties for The Fan Fiction Studies Reader will go to the OTW. The OTW supported the project by paying fees for the essays' reprint rights. (In the case of many such anthologies, these payments are provided by the academic institutions that employ the editors.) Karen and Kristina have written a general introduction as well as brief overviews for each of the book's four sections. Because of their interest in open access publishing, Karen and Kristina have placed their introduction and the headnotes in the public domain, effective in 10 years' time.

    The essays, which are organized into four thematic sections, address fan-created works as literary artifacts; the relationship between fandom, identity, and feminism; fandom and affect; and the role of creativity and performance in fan activities. Fan works, considered as literary artifacts, pose important questions about the nature of authorship, the meaning of originality, and modes of transmission.

    The Fan Fiction Studies Reader is part of the University of Iowa's newly launched fan studies line. Their university libraries' special collections department also works with the OTW's Fan Culture Preservation Project, which preserves fanzines and other nondigital forms of fan culture.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom accomplishments

    By Claudia Rebaza on Maandag, 24 February 2014 - 6:22pm
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    • Transformative Works and Cultures editor, Karen Hellekson, will be delivering one of the Academic keynote presentations at the 72nd meeting of WorldCon in London. She will discuss a range of Doctor Who fan videos, including those that recreate missing episodes and re-frame post-2005 episodes.
    • Legal staffer Heidi Tandy will be presenting at South by Southwest on Tuesday, March 11 at 10 AM at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Together with professor Anne Jamison, she will be discussing Why Fanfic Is Taking Over the World
    • The 5th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference, themed “Connecting Practices,” calls for learning organizations and institutions to pursue “extreme collaborating" and will be attracting hundreds of technologists, educators, activists and researchers to the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, Massacussets on March 6-8. Among the projects being highlighted is an "online fan fiction community that brings together readers and writers to create, read and review fiction works, fostering mentoring relationships that advance writing and intergenerational learning."
    • The speedrunning site Speed Demos Archive has been holding an annual winter livestreamed speedrunning marathon called Awesome Games Done Quick which has been raising money for cancer research. This year, they raised over a million dollars for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. As LibertyVoice noted "The non-stop game-fest continued for seven days straight and then kept going for bonus games."

    What fan accomplishments do you think should be remembered? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: A closer look at fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Donderdag, 13 February 2014 - 8:32pm
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    • King's College London will be offering a new undergraduate degree in Digital Culture which includes sessions on transformative and fan culture as part of its modules. Admissions have opened for the degree program which will launch in 2015.
    • Den of Geek wrote about Holmesians as the template for modern fandom. "The kind of hype surrounding Sherlock today very much resembles the hysteria around the time the stories were originally published; in fact, Sherlock Holmes is arguably responsible for much of fandom as we know it today. Long before the possibilities of today’s mediated world, he was one of the first characters to massively, irrevocably, step off the page and into the world, and refuse to get back on the page...It’s a fascinating history about what it means to love a story, to let it have power, and to be a fan (or a geek)."
    • While the Holmes fandom is certainly a very long running one, sites as varied as The Asheboro Courier-Tribune and Huffington Post have been looking at Beatles fandom, which is reaching an important U.S. milestone. One fan in particular is part of a nightly remembrance. "When Paul performs a song 'All My Loving'...he picked one girl to be behind him in the Jumbotron showing the days from 1964. There is Irene--she travels the world with Paul." Irene added, "The first time I saw it was just totally amazing to me. I had no idea it was coming up, and all of a sudden you see my face jumping from screen to screen to screen, ending up on the Jumbotron. And then I did scream, because I was completely freaked out."
    • The demographics of fandom is something that NPR's discussion of Supernatural failed to examine, only mentioning how slash is "usually written by women." But it focused on the effect of fandom on a show's success and even storylines, asking "Fan engagement gives color and volume to dry data, such as ratings, but the question remains, how do you quantify depth of feeling? Writing a story takes longer and means more than hitting a 'like' button or re-blogging a picture. How do you measure a kind of success that, by its very nature, is completely resistant to metrics?"

    What closer looks at fandom have you come across? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fanfiction's benefits

    By Claudia Rebaza on Dinsdag, 4 February 2014 - 6:44pm
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    • Writer Jim Hines discussed what his experience writing fan fiction taught him about writing. This included "Writing good fanfic is just as challenging as writing good anything else", "Instant feedback is dangerously addictive", "Fanfic can be freeing", "I can do 'realtime' writing", and "A writer is someone who writes. I’ve never understood why some people jealously protect the coveted title of 'Author' or 'Writer.'...Having done both profic and fanfic, I don’t get it. Calling someone who does fanfic a writer or an author doesn’t in any way diminish or dilute me and my work. Why is this even an argument?"
    • Teen Librarian Toolbox hosted a post by author Frankie Brown discussing fanfiction and writer's block. "I couldn’t invest in writing original fiction. I was too tired, too anxious, too stuck." She turned to "Fanfiction. Lots and lots of Sherlock fanfiction. Reading it, writing it (Yes! Writing it!), reviewing it, chatting with bloggers and digging through archives. Sitting down to write about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson didn’t make my chest feel tight or my throat close up. There were no expectations. If it sucked, who cared? No one would know it was me. But of course it was me. Me at the keyboard, remembering why I loved writing, and -- eventually, tentatively -- typing out the first sentences to my next novel. When I submitted my final edits to Meredith, editor-in-awesome at Bloomsbury Spark, I was as happy and excited as I should’ve been."
    • Writer A.L.S. Vossler told a similar tale. "I was sailing through some rather severe writing doldrums with my novel when I experienced this fan fiction epiphany. So, swallowing even more of my pride, I allowed myself to indulge in a little fan fiction writing and returned to my former habit of telling stories to myself. I was blown away by how much fun it was. My creativity levels soared. I wrote pages and pages of fan fiction in a few days. That was when the bonds of writer’s block fell away and I returned to my own novel, my own 'real' writing."
    • Blogger Sara K. cited a fanfiction drawback that led her to stop reading. "I think being aromantic/asexual is a big part why I could not get into fanfiction. When I first learned about online fanfiction, I imagined being able to explore many different aspects of stories I loved. When I discovered how the vast majority of fanfiction revolves around romance and sex, so much so that identifying the ‘ship is a standard part of categorization ... I felt really disappointed...Yet finding fic...is so hard that it’s not worth it ... especially when you are part of a community where you’re expected to at least read each other’s fics. I simply felt more comfortable just staying out of the fanfic arena."

    What fanfiction benefits have you come across? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom in classrooms & history

    By Claudia Rebaza on Zondag, 15 December 2013 - 8:37pm
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    • A post on the New York Times' Learning Network discussed students confronting 'what ifs' in classwork. "In this lesson, students will discuss how they 'read' their favorite television shows in order to make predictions about what will happen, then apply these skills to speculate about what happens to literary characters after their favorite novels or plays end. Finally, they will use the inferences they gain through close reading to create imagined futures for these characters in comic strips, next chapters, letters, journals or videos."
    • Fandom scholar Henry Jenkins' hosted an exploration of comics fandom in Poland on his blog. "In the 'Participatory Poland' report a group of Polish aca-fen makes a preliminary attempt towards defining the specificity of an Eastern European country’s participatory culture shaped both in the communist and post-communist periods. By placing the development of selected fan-based activities against a broader socio-historical background, we are trying to capture the interplay between the global and the local context of participatory culture, as well as take preliminary steps towards making its Polish branch available for academic research."
    • Pinboard creator Maciej Cegłowski gave a presentation titled "Fan is a Tool-Using Animal" on fandom communities online and their use of bookmarks. He discussed his interest in having fans come to his site after observing their intriguing use of Del.icio.us, but due to their attachment to the site he had no luck until the site changed enough to drive fans away. He also spoke about the importance of fandom culture and its endurance over time. "Part of the reason our television sucks less than it used to is because people are more sophisticated about the way they watch them...fandom analyzes this stuff to death and deconstructs it...and this percolates back into the culture." (Audio only)
    • The University of Iowa, which houses Open Doors' Fan Culture Preservation Project, released a video about the Doctor Who fanzines in their Special Collections & Archives to celebrate the show's 50th anniversary. Although there is no transcript available, the post description includes a mini guide to the collection.

    What academic explorations of fandom have you come across? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Legal stands

    By Claudia Rebaza on Zaterdag, 14 December 2013 - 10:55pm
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    • Online platform WordPress recently took a stand against abuse of DMCA takedown notices. They decided to join with journalists using the site in a suit "for damages under Section 512(f) of the DMCA, which allows for suits against those who 'knowingly materially misrepresent' a case of copyright infringement. Until there are some teeth to the copyright laws, it’s up to us — websites and users, together — to stand up to DMCA fraud and protect freedom of expression...We’ll also be actively involved, on behalf of our users, in trying to change the law — both through court cases and in Congress — to make sure that everyone has the right to share their voice on the internet without threat of censorship."
    • The University of New Hampshire's student newspaper reported on a challenge to courses using pop culture texts. "Over the summer, UNH offered an online class to children grades four through eight using Harry Potter to teach the kids grammar and literature tools. Warner Brothers, however, sent the university a cease and desist letter regarding some of its copyrighted material." The "cease and desist letter asked UNH to change the class so that those interested in it did not think Warner Brothers sponsored the course."
    • Fans interested in learning more about copyright can take a free non-credit online course. "CopyrightX is a twelve-week networked course, offered each Spring under the auspices of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning initiative, and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The course explores the current law of copyright and the ongoing debates concerning how that law should be reformed. Through a combination of pre-recorded lectures, weekly seminars, live webcasts, and online discussions, participants in the course examine and assess the ways in which law seeks to stimulate and regulate creative expression." Registration begins December 13.

    What legal fandom issues have you become aware of? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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