Adding a digital dimension to fan studies methodologies

  • Suzanne R. Black University of Edinburgh
Keywords: Captain America, Digital humanities, Fan fiction, Fan studies, Intertextuality, Methodology, Paratext, Quantitative analysis, Topic modeling


Digital fan fiction challenges the sovereignty of the literary object and necessitates a reevaluation of textuality. Fan fiction may be taken as a form of networked digital narrative that exists electronically and shares features with the printed book. With a focus on the paratext as a site of transaction between fan fiction writers and readers, it is possible to attend to a negotiation between work and text. By using computational methods—word frequency analysis, topic modeling, and decision trees—to analyze fan fiction paratexts as they are used on the online fan fiction repository Archive of Our Own, it is possible to reevaluate the fan fiction paratext and the notion of the fan fiction text.