Fan studies and/as feminist methodology

  • Briony Hannell University of East Anglia
Keywords: Acafan, Affect, Autoethnography, Epistemology, Feminism, Reflexivity


Feminist cultural studies and feminist theory in genealogies of fan studies are taken for granted. However, the implications of feminist methodological and epistemological frameworks within discussions of fan studies methodology are more often inferred than directly stated—or cited. Examining the parallel debates taking place around knowledge, power, and reflexivity within feminist theory, feminist cultural studies, and fan studies illustrates how key methodological approaches within fan studies are deeply grounded in feminist epistemology and ontology. Building on theorizations of the dual positionality of the acafan alongside feminist theorizations of self-reflexivity permits an exploration of how acafandom aligns with feminist methodological frameworks regarding researcher fragmentation and reflexivity. Emotion and affect are important concerns for acafan scholarship to address, as they align fan studies with feminist traditions of personal and autobiographical writing that privilege subjectivity as a legitimate source of knowledge. Explicitly reframing fan studies within this theoretical and methodological context augments the understanding of many of the fundamental beliefs and principles underpinning the production of knowledge within fan studies, and helps refine the critical language used to frame and describe scholarly methodologies.