isisindarkness: (was that a deadline?)
2030-08-01 12:00 pm

Okay, this isn't working...

This journal is defunct, at least for now.

I found that I was unable to write quickly enough to maintain the blogging schedule I had envisioned, and that trying to do so was hindering other aspects of my research. My supervisors began to suggest that I would be unable to finish my PhD on time if I did not abandon this part of my project.

I may attempt to come back to this later, and I may also use it to contact people as part of my ongoing research, but I do not anticipate making any more entries in the near future.

I will leave the entries and profile unchanged, as a record of this effort, but they do not necessarily reflect the current state of my research.
isisindarkness: (The Doctor - a multi-author pseudo myth)
2013-07-14 05:29 pm

On the role of the reader

During my Master’s fieldwork, I asked an informant who writes both fic and original stories if this dual status gave her any particular insight into the conflicts that arise between fandom and the published writers who think their authorship gives them the right to ban fan-fiction of their work. She told me that while she understood those authors’ reticence to discover what would become of their ‘babies’ in the public domain, she herself felt that her work would be incomplete without fan input:
I love all my characters, but I will never understand some of them as well as my readers will, because I have not lived their lives. I am not, for example, a man. I’m not a mother, I’m not black, or English, or disabled, or a whole list of other things. I can empathise with all of those conditions, but they’re not something I know. My readers do, and I can only hope that I have written the things I don’t know accurately enough that they can…fill the gaps themselves, from their own experiences.
Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Lois McMaster Bujold, who herself started out in Star Trek fandom, said something similar:
No two people, reading the same text, will create exactly the same reading experience in their heads, nor will the same person experience the same book identically at different times of their life. A book, the real book, the art as it takes place and makes its existence, requires two elements: the text on the page, and the mind that is processing or remembering that text. “The Book”, the thing I as a reader love or hate or remember for the rest of my life till the day I die, is the whole cascade of thought and emotion and experience that occurs as I run my eyes across the type. The mind without the text is un-moved, unawakened, blank; the text without the mind is dead, meaningless, senseless, no more than ink blotches on a bundle of paper. ("When Worlds Collide”).

I don't want to clutter up the quotes, so this is going to be a short post... )
isisindarkness: (The Doctor - a multi-author pseudo myth)
2013-07-08 02:58 pm

A much longer entry than I had originally intended...

I think of myself as a New Yorker. I was born and raised on the Lower East Side, and New York is still "The City" to me, with a definite article and no need to specify what city I mean. So you can imagine that it came as a bit of a shock when I realized, during my visit home this Christmas, that I have now spent more than a quarter of my life in the United Kingdom.

Being a certain sort of New York expatriate, The New York Times is an important part of how I hold on to my city. It's not just that it keeps me up to date on events back home; the experience of reading the paper, with its familiar style, perspective, and cast of regular contributors is a direct link to the days when I would read the paper on the train on the way to school (there's a trick to folding it so that it doesn't get in everyone's way), and worked on crossword puzzles between classes.

Despite my diligent attempts to keep up with both the Times and with news articles that are relevant to this dissertation, I totally managed to miss this article when it was published. "A Superhero Who Looks Like My Son" is the story of a father (Chris Huntington) who tried to share the comic books of his youth with his son (Dagim, adopted from Ethiopia), only to have Dagim reject them because he could not identify with the square-jawed, WASP-y heroes of the golden and silver age of comics. It was only when Marvel introduced Miles Morales, a 13-year-old boy of African-American and Latino descent, as the new Spider-Man in its Ultimates universe (a well-developed but parallel continuity to the core Marvel universe) that his son was able to attach to the idea of comics and superheroes.

In a lot of ways, the article illustrates everything that fandom is about... )
isisindarkness: (Default)
2013-06-17 01:46 pm

I thought I'd begin as I intend to go on, with a Jenkins quote...

Textual PoachersIn addition to having one of the best covers in all of fan studies, Textual Poachers by Henry Jenkins is one of the core texts in the discipline. There's a good reason for that; half the time, when I'm struggling to articulate an idea, I go back through the book and discover that he's already said what I wanted to - and more eloquently than I had been able to.

This passage was one of those times. I must have seen it before - I've read the whole book cover to cover - but it fit so perfectly with the things I was already thinking that I promptly forgot it wasn't entirely my idea to begin with. It was only when I was rereading Textual Poachers in preparation for starting this part of my research that I rediscovered the quote and realized that it said a lot of the things I had wanted to say. (And this is why we go back and re-read our sources. Because inadvertent plagiarism will still get you in a lot of trouble with the review board when it comes time to defend your thesis).

My original genius plan had been to use this quote as a springboard for explaining the technicalities of my methodology - what exactly I am going to be doing with this journal and how it is part of my research. But instead it seems to have to morphed into a sort of mission statement; a philosophy of my research rather than an explanation for it.

The technical post will come later, but for now, have this:

Here's the quote )

And here are my thoughts... )

I will do everything in my power to give people a chance to speak to themselves - even more than Jenkins', my work hinges on it, because what I'm studying is how fans speak for themselves. But there are limits to what I can do by myself. So I'm asking you - if this is important to you, or even just interesting, help me out. Link me your meta, link your friends to me, drop me a PM, ask me questions. Engage.

Thank you.
isisindarkness: (Default)
2013-06-03 06:02 pm

Obligatory Introductory Post: About me and my research...

I became a fan scholar by accident )

The TL;DR version is this: I ended up in fan studies for two reasons. First, because my initial status as an outsider meant that I had an unusual perspective to bring to the discipline. And second, because I was interested in the ways that fan meta discourse, or self-analysis, could contribute to the academic understanding of how we do research, how we relate to our informants, and how we use their opinions and perspectives in our work.