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June 16th, 2009

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 11:57 am
Well, hopefully I'll be presenting a paper at the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association meeting in Boston in November. It'll also be the beginnings of my dissertation research, laying down the basis for the terms I'll be using and the groups I'll be looking at.

The abstract for the paper:

Caste Among the Outcasts: A Taxonomy of Fandom

Fandom is a collective subculture composed of fans of wide range of media whose shared interests serve as the basis of their communal identity. However, the term can be defined in a number of ways: narrowly to include only fans of a single celebrity, literary work, or television show, such as the Harry Potter fandom; widely to encompass all fans of a genre or hobby, such as Sci-Fi fandom; or broadly as Fandom, to refer to an interconnected social network of smaller fandoms, many of which have overlapping membership. Each fandom has its own jargon, body of common knowledge, and social mores by which it defines membership and excludes non-fans. Within this subculture members continually negotiate their own membership in relation to individual fandoms and Fandom as a whole, leading to a fluidly defined hierarchy of fans and fandoms. But, what makes Trekkies different from Trekkers when both groups identify as fans of the Star Trek franchise? Why is being a video gamer more socially acceptable than being a Live Action Role-Player or LARPer? This paper examines the negotiation of identity within Fandom and attempts to work towards a taxonomy of fans and fandoms.

I'll post the paper and an account of the conference in November and some notes on the research for the paper as I work on it.
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 07:02 pm
If you've just stumbled upon this journal/community, welcome! My friends may remember when I used the community on LiveJournal while I was studying abroad in Japan. It's been renamed and reinvented to collect my field notes from conventions, reviews of the books I'm reading for my research, papers that I'm working on and notes from those, and general discussion and ideas related to fanthropology, fan culture and the anthropology of popular culture.

At first the content will likely be heavily centered around my dissertation research on conventions and the rise of fan culture, though I envision that the community may include other bits of research depending on what I'm researching at the time. Other topics that may come up include video game studies and theories, digital ethnography, social web media, fan fiction, anthropology and the media, comic books, anime, japanese culture, anthropology of religion, paganism... the list goes on and may open up to other posters and their interest in the (farther away) future.

The community will be mirrored on both LiveJournal and Dreamwidth so feel free to follow either if any of the above sounds interesting to you.