Fandom and Politics (1/1/19; 6/15/20)


We have entered an historical moment in which political communication is filled with fandom. Grassroots fan communities mobilize to influence elections. Political candidates perform fandom on the campaign trail. And of course, rallies on both sides of the aisle are filled with bursts of fannish excitement. Examples range from the Princess Leia “We are the resistance” posters used during the 2017 Women’s March to Elizabeth Warren’s Harry Potter references to the strong attachment Trump fans felt for their candidate. Still, the affective nature of fandom is often treated as being at odds with the rational discourse of the political sphere, and the relationship between fandom and politics is often dismissed or ignored.

Fan studies has a longer trajectory of investigation into fan activism, beginning with letter-writing campaigns and boycotts that sought to influence media decisions like cancellation and casting calls (e.g. Jenkins, 1992; Lopez, 2012), through to fan activism that impacted public issues, using charity fundraisers, boycotts, and protests (e.g. Hinck, 2016; Jenkins & Shresthova, 2012). This special issue specifically seeks research into the role of fandom in political discourse—both in terms of political organizations attempting to reach out to fans and fans attempting to mobilize to participate in political discussion.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • New developments in fan activism since Jenkins and Shresthova’s 2012 special issue
  • How fans use resources from fandom to make political arguments
  • How candidates, political officials, and other mainstream actors try to connect with fans
  • New theoretical terms, apparatuses, and perspectives for understanding fandom and politics
  • Global cases of fandom and politics
  • Historical cases of fandom and politics

Works Cited

Hinck, A. (2016). Ethical frameworks and ethical modalities: Theorizing communication and citizenship in a fluid world. Communication Theory, 26(1), 1–20.

Jenkins, H. (1992). Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge.

Jenkins, H., & Shresthova, S. (2012). Up, up, and away! The power and potential of fan activism [editorial]. Transformative Works and Cultures, 10.

Lopez, L. K. (2012). Fan-activists and the politics of race in The Last Airbender. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 15(5), 1–15.


Submission guidelines Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC, 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 ( for complete submission guidelines, or e-mail the TWC Editor (editor AT

Contact—Contact guest editors Ashley Hinck (hincka AT and Amber Davisson (Amber.Davisson AT

Due dateJANUARY 1, 2019, for estimated June 15, 2020 publication.