|Romance is one of the most beloved genres of media around the world. Catherine Roach describes fans of romance fiction as ‘ludic readers... who read for play and pleasure’ (2016, 32). According to Roach, romance fandom is both ‘intensely private, as the reading experience can be, but also powerfully communitarian’ (32). Despite the popularity of romance media, romance fandoms remain relatively unaddressed within fan studies. Traditionally, the relationship between “shipping” and romance has been cast as either oppositional or ambivalent. Catherine Driscoll argues that romance “generally appears as a mute field” in studies of fan fiction (2006, 82). Romance is framed as a force that sexually explicit fan fiction responds to or acts against. This framework has a tendency to privilege certain fan works and overgeneralize popular romance genres.
This special issue aims to examine the romance/fan relationship from three directions. First, we seek to examine the relationship between fan works and romantic storytelling today. How do we theorize the flow of works, authors, and audiences between contemporary fandoms and commercial romance genres? By examining romantic texts and their producers, how might we reconsider the rich dynamism of romantic aesthetics and tropes across cultures, national contexts, and media? Next, we want to explore what constitutes a romance fan or romance fandom. What is a romance fan/fandom and how are they positioned in relation to other fan networks? Finally, we want to consider the figure of the romance fan and its construction. How do discourses depicting fans as overly romantic and hysterical frame our understandings of romance and romance fandom? How are fans able to resist these characterizations?
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
* Romance and fan fiction; the application of terms like romance, erotica, erotic-romance, and pornography to fan works.
* The creation, curation, and sharing of visual media (e.g., fan vids and gifs; memes; manips) in romance fandoms.
* The role of sexually explicit materials in romantic fan works.
* Book clubs and reading the romance.
* Romance fan field trips, gatherings, and conventions.
* Shipping and anti-shipping practices in fandoms.
* Romance anti-fandom.
* Social media practices in romance fandoms (e.g., the use of Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook).
* Social activism in online romance fandoms.
* Romance fandom and the event (e.g., comic cons, book releases, movie premiers).
* Teens and youth cultures in romance fandom.
* The figure of the fangirl and “fangirling” as excessively romantic.
* Representations of romance fandom (e.g., in reviews/articles, on screen, in print, online).
Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC, http://journal.transformativeworks.org/) is an international peer-reviewed online Gold Open Access publication of the nonprofit Organization for Transformative Works copyrighted under a Creative Commons License. TWC aims to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community. TWC accommodates academic articles of varying scope as well as other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing.
Theory: Conceptual essays. Peer review, 6,000–8,000 words.
Praxis: Case study essays. Peer review, 5,000–7,000 words.
Symposium: Short commentary. Editorial review, 1,500–2,500 words.
Please visit TWC's Web site (http://journal.transformativeworks.org/) for complete submission guidelines, or e-mail the TWC Editor (editor AT transformativeworks.org).
Contact—Contact guest editor Katherine Morrissey, Athena Bellas, and Eric Selinger with any questions or inquiries at romancefans[AT]katiedidnt.net.
Due date—December 31, 2017, for estimated March 2019 publication.