How (not) to talk about race: A critique of methodological practices in fan studies


  • Rukmini Pande University of Western Australia



Cultural studies, Interdisciplinarity, Postcolonialism, Racism


Fan studies, a thoroughly interdisciplinary field, has drawn on methodological strategies from such fields as anthropology, literary studies, cultural and media studies, and psychoanalysis, resulting in a wide range of analytical frameworks and methodological approaches that highlight the different aspects of the fan communities being considered. Yet a lack of attention to how (unmarked) whiteness underpins these strategies has led to persistent blind spots regarding the operation of race and racism within these spaces. An analysis drawing from cultural and postcolonial studies highlights some of the ways scholars can overcome these gaps. Nonetheless, the logics of white supremacy continue to influence both micro and macro issues around research in fan studies.