Extending transformation

TWC Editor

[0.1] Abstract—Editorial for Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 3 (September 15, 2009).

[0.2] Keywords—Fan studies; Open access; TWC

TWC Editor. 2009. Extending transformation [editorial]. Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 3. https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2009.0183.

1. Introduction

[1.1] Although academic research is notorious for discussing issues that only a handful of other scholars might understand, let alone consider important, TWC's mission has always been to bridge academic and fan communities. In addition, the journal is interdisciplinary, so scholars and fans from a wide range of backgrounds and fields can be exposed to each other's ideas. We hope that this makes the potential reader base quite large, and we are continually striving to ensure that the topics TWC works with appeal to more than specialists. We want information should go viral; knowledge should spread, not remain constrained by limited access. Now that TWC is publishing its third issue, we have grown even more convinced that open access, permissive Creative Commons copyright, and online distribution are the keys that will allow us to reach as many people as possible. That access has allowed the academic essays to be read alongside online meta conversations. The commenting feature used by TWC's software, OJS (http://pkp.sfu.ca/?q=ojs), lets readers talk directly to the authors—although we'd like to see more use of this, and so we encourage readers to start a conversation. And finally, the online nature of TWC means that the essays provide easy-to-click hotlinks and embedded media to illustrate and support arguments. We want information to be at people's fingertips, not a library visit away.

[1.2] We extend thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about TWC, from word of mouth, to flyers passed out at scholarly and fan conventions, to academics revising a conference paper for publication, to teachers suggesting that their advisees consider TWC as an outlet for their work, to fans who felt compelled to say something important about a fan-related issue. In our third issue, which begins our second year of existence, the essays again interrogate and extend the concept of transformative works. Our subjects range from wikis and fan films to quilting and filking, and the authors use legal and film theory, literary studies, and cultural studies to focus on large cultural concerns such as race and gender and to analyze how fan spaces reflect and magnify these issues.

[1.3] Acafans are finding themselves riding a crest of acceptability: fan events such as Comic-Con have drawn huge audiences—an estimated 126,000 attendees attended the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con (http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2009-07-09/attractions-hotels-resorts/comic-con-2009). TV shows and films are wooing active fans thanks to viral marketing and online interaction. Accordingly, more academics are doing part- or full-time fan studies from a stunning range of disciplines that in fact intersect and overlap: political remixing, fan film, and fan vidding; hip hop, wizard rock, and filking; copyright concerns in dance, remixing, and crafts; literary pastiche, tie-in novels, and fan fiction. Both in practice and in academic discussion, acafans struggle with preserving distinct heritages while acknowledging the mutual influences and indebtedness between these diverse yet complementary fields.

2. Theory and Praxis

[2.1] This issue's first essay is representative of the breadth we're hoping to continue: Debora J Halbert's "The Labor of Creativity: Women's Work, Quilting, and the Uncommodified Life" looks at the way traditional crafts—in this case, quilting—have been negatively affected by copyright concerns. The gendered aspect and the fannish investment of its creators connects Halbert's subject matter closely to many of the other essays in this issue. Identity, authenticity, and community are central to the quilting community as they are to the communities Melissa L. Tatum describes in "Identity and Authenticity in the Filking Community." In an essay that is both an introduction to the fannish practices of filking and an argument about the complications filkers encounter in terms of copyright concerns, Tatum connects filking with other musical fan engagements, notably wizard rock, and she provides sound clips to demonstrate the range of creativity in fan-based musical expression.

[2.2] If community is important to both these essays, it is at the center of the arguments of Jason Mittell's and Leora Hadas's essays. Both focus on one fandom (Lost and Doctor Who, respectively) and one online network (the fan wiki and a fan fiction archive) to look at the way conversations surrounding these sites give us insight into the interpretive debates within the fandoms. They also explicate how fans define themselves and collectively negotiate their fannish self-understanding. Mittell's participant observation of a Lost wiki, "Sites of Participation: Wiki Fandom and the Case of Lostpedia," foregrounds the way discussions on wiki content articulate show canon and user self-understanding. Competing fandom interpretations and its associated community infighting are the topic of Hadas's "The Web Planet: How the Changing Internet Divided Doctor Who Fan Fiction Writers," where she discusses how seemingly innocuous administrative decisions related to an online fan fiction archive affect and reflect internal fandom discontent.

[2.32] Viewer responses and interpretations are also the focus of Julie Levin Russo's "Sex Detectives: Law & Order: SVU's Fans, Critics, and Characters Investigate Lesbian Desire." The essay, which centers around the contested queerness of one of SVU's main characters, Olivia Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay), connects the show, the fan responses, and the paratextual structures (co)created by both to interrogate concepts of deviant sexualities and its myriad vicissitudes. Finally, where Russo's fans are purposefully and consciously manipulating media representations, in "On Productivity and Game Fandom," Hanna Wirman's game players do so to the computer games they enjoy. Wirman looks at various forms of player productivity in an effort to stretch our understanding of what exactly constitutes productivity and what exactly constitutes fannish behavior.

3. Symposium, Interview, and Review

[3.1] Symposium and Interview work to bridge academic and fannish spaces. This issue features several essays that meditate on their own spaces and procedures as well as modes of engagements and infrastructures. Avi Santo looks at "The Future of Academic Writing?" and the role of online publishing for academic scholars, and K. Tempest Bradford interviews Verb Noire founder Karnythia and discusses the need for a press that focuses on protagonists of color. A group of fans discusses the role of race within online and off-line fannish spaces in "Pattern Recognition: A Dialogue on Racism in Fan Communities," while Suzanne Scott looks at the role of gifting and commercial models with fan spheres in her "Repackaging Fan Culture: The Regifting Economy of Ancillary Content Models." Jen Gunnels describes the fannish community of cosplayers (costume players) in "'A Jedi like my father before me': Social Identity and the New York Comic Con," Lynne Joyrich discusses the role of magical realism in contemporary TV programming, and zvi LikesTV interviews the founders of blogging and networking site Dreamwidth, Mark Smith and Denise Paolucci.

[3.2] Meanwhile, close readings of fan and source texts continue to be an important aspect of the essays in TWC. Dana Shilling looks at representations of rape in respect to Joss Whedon's Dollhouse with her "Snogs of Innocence, Snogs of Experience," and Anne Collins Smith provides a close look at Harry Potter's Blaise Zabini in her analysis of a particular wizard rock song in "Playing [with] Multiple Roles: Readers, Authors, and Characters in 'Who Is Blaise Zabini?'" Robin Anne Reid reviews and discusses a recently released The Lord of the Rings fan film in "The Hunt for Gollum: Tracking Issues of Fandom Cultures," which complements Emma Dollard's interview with the fan film's producer, Chris Bouchard.

[3.3] Reviews in this issue include Theresa M. Senft's Camgirls: Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks (Adriano Barone), which analyzes power, gender, and the gaze as articulated through Webcamming and addresses the ethics of rules building in online communities; Colette Balmain's Introduction to Japanese Horror Film (Alessia Alfieroni), which analyzes Japanese films as well as their Western remakes in terms of various subgenres, including rape-revenge, zombies, serial killers, and urban alienation, concluding that the horror genre articulates concerns related to the modernist breakdown of a collective social structure; and Craig Jacobsen's review of derivative novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a rewrite by Seth Grahame-Smith of Jane Austen's classic 1813 novel that includes both zombies and ninjas—and a book that Jacobsen ultimately finds disappointing.

4. Conclusion

[4.1] The next issue of TWC, No. 4, which will appear on March 15, 2010, will be a guest-edited special issue on the popular show Supernatural, which has a huge fan following—as well as more than a few interested academics. Guest editor Catherine Tosenberger published an essay on Supernatural in TWC No. 1 that, at more than 16,000 views, is far and away the most accessed TWC essay, demonstrating not only engagement with the topic, but also wide-ranging academic and fan interest. We are looking forward to offering more and more diverse intellectual and fannish engagements with the show in No. 4.

[4.2] TWC No. 5 will be an open, unthemed issue, and we welcome general submissions. We particularly encourage fans to submit Symposium essays. We encourage all potential authors to read the submission guidelines (http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions). The close date for receipt of copy for No. 5 is March 15, 2010.

5. Acknowledgments

[5.1] It is not possible to properly acknowledge the depth of appreciation we feel toward everyone who has helped make this issue of TWC possible. They have suffered hard deadlines, late nights, and short due dates. As always, we thank the authors in this issue, whose original work makes TWC possible; the peer reviewers, who freely provide their time and expertise; the editorial team members, whose engagement with and solicitation of material is so valuable; and the production team members, who transform rough manuscripts into publishable documents.

[5.2] The following people worked on TWC No. 3 in an editorial capacity: Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson (editors); Rebecca Lucy Busker, Lorraine Dubuisson, and Alexis Lothian (Symposium); Veruska Sabucco, Mafalda Stasi, and Cynthia W. Walker (Interview); and Veruska Sabucco and Mafalda Stasi (Review).

[5.3] The following people worked on TWC No. 3 in a production capacity: Karen Hellekson (production editor); Shoshanna Green, Ed Greengrass, and Mara Greengrass (copyeditors); Rrain Prior (layout); and Sarah Hazelton, Vickie West, and Liza Q. Wirtz (proofreaders).

[5.4] TWC thanks the journal project's Organization for Transformative Works board liaison, Francesca Coppa. OTW provides financial support and server space to TWC but is not involved in any way in the content of the journal, which is editorially independent.

[5.5] TWC thanks all its board members, whose names appear on TWC's masthead, as well as the additional peer reviewers who provided service for TWC No. 3: AnnaKatherine Amacker, Evelyn Browne, Cathy Cupitt, Monica Flegel, Ina Hark, Kurt Luther, Sara Magee, Suzanne Scott, Braxton Soderman, and Rebecca Tushnet.