History of Fandom

Writing Magic: Politicizing Fan Culture

February 22, 2017 // 9 Comments

reading magic
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, the most inexhaustible form of magic we have, capable both of inflicting injury and remedying it.” ~ Albus Dumbledore Fans are no doubt aware that online fanfics and the communities in which they circulate house rich critiques about gender, sexuality, race and identity. In fact, many fan writers deliberately insert feminist discourse, gender theory, and class commentary into their stories to make complex academic theories accessible for all readers. //

Fanfiction Through the Ages: From the Midrashim to The Magicians

August 3, 2016 // 0 Comments

If you think fanfiction started with Harry Potter and Twilight, think again. The first written fanfics were the Midrashim, ancient commentaries on the Hebrew scriptures, dating as far back as the 2nd century. These rabbinical texts were doing exactly what fanfiction does – interpreting stories, filling in the gaps, and sending off pre-existing characters on new adventures. Guess which story the Midrashim were fanficking?  Why, the Bible, of course! Apparently, Jewish scholars //

Transfic: A History

February 23, 2016 // 0 Comments

Transfic, an emerging genre of fanfiction, refers to stories about transgender characters who do not usually identify as trans in canon. Unlike its precursor (genderswap) or parent (genderfuck) genres, which often gloss over sex and gender issues through the use of problematic tropes, transfic foregrounds the materialities of sex and gender transitions and strives to account for a full-range of transgender experiences. Looking at the archival history of this genre can help contextualize its //

How To Make Your Own Fanzine

December 17, 2015 // 3 Comments

Before the rise of the internet, people got their fannish content from fanzines—amateur, small magazines printed in small batches and distributed by post or in person, often at fan conventions (and sometimes, secretly!) You can check out the Fanlore entry for fanzines if you’re curious about the history of the practice, but in short, fanzines are the direct modern precursor to the forums, Tumblr accounts, and fanfic archives of today. As fans, we owe a lot to zines. However, zines are not //

The Demise of Fandom on Tumblr

December 2, 2015 // 2 Comments

If you have an account on Tumblr—and if you’re involved with fandom, you probably do—you might have noticed a few unsettling changes: replies are gone, tracked tags are now tracked searches, and there’s more recommended content than curated content on your dash. Who is this person posting about this ship I don’t like? I don’t need to buy shoes. That is the ugliest looking video game I have ever seen in my life! That’s what browsing Tumblr feels like now. And //

Beatlemania: The First Fandom

November 27, 2015 // 0 Comments

I don’t need to explain to you who the Beatles are. At least, I better not have to. If you’re unfamiliar with the Beatles or have only heard of them from playing Rock Band, you need to do two things: First, head over to your favorite place to purchase music and immediately download the White Album. Next, call your parents and tell them that they’ve done you a great disservice by not introducing you to the Beatles. The Beatles were a rock band in the sixties. They remain, today, one of the //

Fanfiction: A Worldwide Phenomenon

November 25, 2015 // 1 Comment

Fanfiction recently hit mainstream media thanks in part to E. L. James and her erotica series, 50 Shades of Grey, which began as a BDSM Twilight spinoff. Among the many conversations held over the last several years, fanfiction legality and legitimacy are issues that have been raised repeatedly. The Wall Street Journal even did an article in 2012 about best-selling authors who began their career with the help of fanfiction. But beyond the USA, fanfiction can also be found in other parts of the //

How Archive of Our Own Revolutionized Fandom

November 1, 2015 // 14 Comments

A brief snapshot of fandom in early 2007: The first Naruto series had wrapped, and Naruto Shippuden had just started airing. Supernatural was wrapping up its second season with a shocking finale in “All Hell Breaks Loose.” Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy XII came out only the year before, and Final Fantasy 7 fandom was back with a vengeance with the release of Advent Children. The world waited breathlessly for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And fandom on //