Tisha Turk

Fan Cultures and Fan Creativity

PLEASE NOTE: This class is an Intellectual Community course for first-year students only; I cannot give permission numbers to upper-level students. If you're interested in what we're up to, feel free to follow the class Tumblr!

This is a class about media fandom. It's about the many activities that fans participate in: posting and commenting on episode reactions, writing and reading fan fiction, making and watching vids, creating and sharing art and user icons and playlists, crafting and wearing costumes, collecting images and action figures, coding and maintaining archives, compiling recs and links, adding and editing wiki entries, liking and reblogging other fans' work, and more. It's about the communities that fans build in order to discuss shows and movies and to share the things we make in response to those shows and movies.

In this class, we'll talk about why and how fans make the things we make and how those creations function both as responses to commercial media and ways of connecting with fellow fans. We'll read and view examples of fic and vids, and class members are encouraged to draw on their own fandom backgrounds in discussions and papers, but for the most part the class will be about fandom itself rather than specific shows, movies, or books.

Topics will include the history of media fandom, recent scholarly theories of fandom, and economic and legal issues related to fandom. We'll talk about archives, forums, mailing lists, conventions, cosplay, zines, Usenet, LiveJournal, DeviantArt, Twitter, Tumblr, user icons, VCRs, digital editing software, fests and challenges, kink memes, beta readers, wikis, and probably a whole bunch of other stuff as well. We'll discuss the mainstreaming (and, increasingly, the commodification) of fandom and examine some of the ways in which fans are organizing to advocate for our own interests in order to influence (or talk back to) our representation in the mainstream media.

Like fandom itself, this class is an example of serious play. It's a space in which to be excited about fandom and to connect with other fannish people, but it's also an introduction to fan studies, the academic study of fandom. We're going to do a lot of analysis, a lot of thinking, a lot of writing. If you believe that analyzing things makes them less fun, then this is not the course for you. But if you're excited to learn how scholars have written about fandom and to explore how your own fannish passions might intersect with rigorous academic work, then come geek out with us.


The syllabus for this course is still under construction. However, I do know that we'll be reading Textual Poachers, by Henry Jenkins; Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World, by Anne Jamison; and a number of essays from the online open-access journal Transformative Works and Cultures.


Again, I'm still figuring out the details, but I'm pretty sure that there will be both traditional academic analytical assignments and some more creative assignments. A few of the assignments will probably have some sort of multimedia option.

last updated: Monday, 03-Nov-2014 15:28:52 CST

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.