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TWC issue 2: call for papers

Now that we’ve put our first issue of Transformative Works and Cultures together, it’s time to start thinking about the second. The Spring 2009 issue will have a focus on games and gaming, and you can read the full call for papers here.

For Symposium in particular, we’re looking for your reflections on games and gaming culture––memories, manifestoes, analyses, complaints, celebrations. We’d like to hear about video games old and new, RPGs on and offline, fan art and fiction around games, gaming communities; anything at all. Speaking for myself, I’d particularly like some submissions that discuss race, gender, class, ability and how they play out in the social worlds of gaming.

Please contact if you have any enquiries, and please, please pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested in submitting.

The full CFP text, since my link goes to a .rtf file:
Read the rest of this entry »


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Transformative Works and Cultures, Issue One!

I’m very excited to announce that Transformative Works and Cultures has just published its first issue. It’s been a lot of work, and far less for me than for the heroic editors Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson, but it all feels so worth it to see the great issue we’ve put together.

The image above links to the table of contents; you can also read the press release and the editors’ introduction. I think the journal has really achieved its aims of being both serious and rigorous enough for academic respect and accessible enough for a wider readership, and I’ve seen some postings by nonacademic fans who agree.

The peer reviewed entries include a marvellous piece by Francesca Coppa on the history of vidding, and Abigail De Kosnik extending fan theory beyond “fandom” per se by reading American electoral politics as a conflict of fandoms. There’s plenty queer sex from Catherine Tosenberger on incest, queer theory and Supernatural fic and Anne Kustritz on BDSM symbolism in Story of O and Star Wars fan fiction. Louisa Stein and Sam Ford discuss fan discursive practices around genre TV and soap opera respectively, and Madeline Ashby takes on posthuman anxieties in anime and their relationship to women writing in fandom. The “transformative” of the journal’s name is taken into unexpected ground by Michael Arnzen‘s piece on the transformative work of teaching.

The Symposium section, for which I was coeditor, is themed rather self-reflexively for this issue. From perspectives which all start in the personal and spread into wide-ranging reflections on communication structures and ways of producing knowledge, Dana Bode, Rebecca Lucy Busker and Cathy Cupitt write about how fannish, academic and other communities of practice write and interact. Symposium also contains a recording from a panel at the media conference Console-ing Passions, which was itself a reflection on the way fannish academics interact with one another and with different forms of fandom. You can hear my voice rambling on about queer gender in the first question of the discussion track.

Writing this, I realise how much I pop up in this issue, because I also interviewed the Audre Lorde of the Rings (online home base Oh!Industry). I loved what they had to say about work, love, racialized affect, queer collectivity and other clever things. We also have interviews with the illustrious Henry Jenkins and the Italian artistic collective Wu Ming.

And reviews, as if that weren’t enough! But I’m not going to describe them, or even explain why I disagree with the review of Sandvoss’s Fans. I have exhausted myself with all this summarizing––please click on some links and see what you think for yourself.


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Transformative Works and Cultures call for meta: please link and share widely

Transformative Works and Cultures, the online academic journal associated with the Organization for Transformative Works, is looking for your meta.

The Symposium section of the journal is a section of concise, thematically contained essays. These short pieces provide insight into current developments and debates surrounding any topic related to fandom or transformative media and cultures. These essays will not go through academic peer review but will be reviewed by the editorial team. We’re looking for 1500 to 2500-word essays on any aspect of fandom, transformative works, online culture.Images, music and video can be included.

Symposium pieces will be more polished than a meta post, less detailed than an academic paper: we’re imagining them as an archive of fannish and academic meta debates of issues relating to fan cultures, saved for posterity. We hope to continue and expand the work of Lucy Cereta’s Fanfic Symposium, which has been doing that for many years.

Here’s the full Journal call for papers for your information. Please note that although TWC is a part of OTW’s umbrella organization, we are not an organ of OTW. We have editorial independence and are happy to consider pieces that criticize the OTW organization. And we are very much looking for submissions from non-academics.

We are still accepting submissions for the September issue, and we need those by the end of the month. Our loose theme for this issue is online scholarship, the Organization for Transformative Works, and the relationship between criticism and theory from inside and outside the academy, but we’re open to more or less anything.

Email us on if you’d like to talk about your ideas.

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Why I haven't been blogging much lately

… Aside from all the regular graduate school time-consuming things such as term papers, reading, grading and teaching, I have been devoting an extraordinary amount of mental energy to co-chairing my department’s conference on obsession and excess. Follow the poster thumbnail link to see further information, including a schedule.

AEGS conference poster

It’s on March 28 and 29 2008 and we have keynote speeches from Tavia Nyong’o and Stephen Elliott, as well as an evening of readings, a DJ set from Tavia Nyong’o, and critical karaoke — where a scholar of pop performs reflections on a song while the song plays in the background. It should be a pretty fun event.

Although I must admit I am looking forward to it being over so I can have my life back.

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New journal announcement: Transformative Works and Cultures

I’m on the editorial team for this new online journal, and I’m very excited about its queer geek theory-making, transformative potential. Please link to and distribute the CFP widely, if you in any way agree!

Journal Announcement and Call for Papers

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) is a Gold Open Access international peer-reviewed journal published by the Organization for Transformative Works edited by Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson.

TWC publishes articles about popular media, fan communities, and transformative works, broadly conceived. We invite papers on all related topics, including but not limited to fan fiction, fan vids, mashups, machinima, film, TV, anime, comic books, video games, and any and all aspects of the communities of practice that surround them. TWC’s aim is twofold: to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics, and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community.

We encourage innovative works that situate these topics within contemporary culture via a variety of critical approaches, including but not limited to feminism, queer theory, critical race studies, political economy, ethnography, reception theory, literary criticism, film studies, and media studies. We also encourage authors to consider writing personal essays integrated with scholarship, hypertext articles, or other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing. TWC copyrights under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Theory accepts blind peer-reviewed essays that are often interdisciplinary, with a conceptual focus and a theoretical frame that offers expansive interventions in the field of fan studies (5,000–8,000 words).

Praxis analyzes the particular, in contrast to Theory’s broader vantage. Essays are blind peer reviewed and may apply a specific theory to a formation or artifact; explicate fan practice; perform a detailed reading of a specific text; or otherwise relate transformative phenomena to social, literary, technological, and/or historical frameworks (4,000–7,000 words).

Symposium is a section of editorially reviewed concise, thematically contained short essays that provide insight into current developments and debates surrounding any topic related to fandom or transformative media and cultures (1,500–2,500 words).

Reviews offer critical summaries of items of interest in the fields of fan and media studies, including books, new journals, and Web sites. Reviews incorporate a description of the item’s content, an assessment of its likely audience, and an evaluation of its importance in a larger context (1,500–2,500 words). Review submissions undergo editorial review; submit inquiries first to

TWC has rolling submissions. Contributors should submit online through the Web site ( Inquiries may be sent to the editors (

The call for papers is available as a .pdf download sized for U.S. Letter or European A4. Please feel free to link, download, print, distribute, or post.

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