ephemeral traces

September 15, 2012

TWC releases No. 11

Filed under: academia,fandom,fanfiction,twc — kbusse @ 7:10 pm

Transformative Works and Cultures has released No. 11, a general issue with essays that focus on a variety of topics, including lipdubbing, fan fiction, early modern romance, pro fiction that includes fans as characters, and author’s notes. The issue comprises six theoretical essays, four Symposium pieces, and two book reviews.


June 15, 2012

New collection out: Sherlock and Transmedia Fandom

Filed under: academia,books,fandom,fanfiction — kbusse @ 7:06 pm

Louisa Ellen Stein and I edited a collection on the new BBC series Sherlock, and it came out recently: Sherlock and Transmedia Fandom

cover for Sherlock and transmedia Fandom

Table of Contents (more…)

November 15, 2010

Call for Papers (Sherlock book collection; complete essays due 03/01/2011)

Filed under: academia,fandom — kbusse @ 7:14 pm

sherlock book cover

CFP: The Game is On! The Transmedia Adventures of Sherlock

When the BBC premiered its 2010 three-part series Sherlock, it re-envisioned a character who had been adapted and re-adapted in multiple reincarnations for over a century. 113 years earlier, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced Sherlock Holmes in his first serial incarnation. The logical detective solving unsolvable crimes became a key archetypal figure in the mystery and detective genres, crossing media and centuries.

In this collection, we emphasize Sherlock Holmes as an evolving cross media/transmedia and international figure and the myriad cultural intersections and robust and diverse fan traditions that have converged in Sherlock and its fandom. The collection will bring together essays that consider the literary and reception histories informing Sherlock, the industrial and cultural contexts of Sherlock’s release, the text of Sherlock itself as adaptation and transformative work, and Sherlock’s critical and popular reception.


February 24, 2010

Digital Divide in Reverse: A Provocation

Filed under: academia,teaching — kbusse @ 1:35 am

I’ve been thinking a lot about digital media literacy and teaching lately. The conference, my response to it, and Alexis’s conference report all seemed to point to the paradox that simultaneously hails digital media access as a privilege and something to aspire to, yet at the same time we can already see some of the privileges of F2F interaction looming large. In other words, while I’m a big fan of using online resources, extending the classroom digitally, and teaching our students how to actively engage with digital media, I do wonder and worry about the implicit dangers.

This fear comes from two near anecdotal moments: One is Alexis’s description of S. Craig Watkins’s keynote. She describes “The news that young people of color spend more time online than young white people was greeted with much excitement on the twitter stream; I couldn’t help thinking that, rather than greater equality, this just marks a change the relationship between access and class” (Digital Media and Learning). The other is the news at my regional university that starting this fall all departments are asked (required?) to offer lower level courses that function part online (in larger groups), part in the classroom (divided into smaller groups). That way larger groups of students can be taught with less F2F time and no need for larger classrooms. (more…)

February 20, 2010

Digital Participation/Academic Gatekeeping?

Filed under: academia,conference,personal — kbusse @ 2:44 pm

There are many different kinds of obstacles to full participation, many different degrees of access to information, technologies, and online communities, and many different ways of processing those experiences. (CfP, DML2010)

Nearly three years ago I made a blog post that got me more attention than probably anything else I’d done up to date. I complained about the situation/role of women in fan studies, and in part, I like to believe, as a result of that, Henry graciously invited academics from various fields to debate the issue in his blog (and we mirrored it on LJ in Fandebate). The results were inestimable, both personally, and I’d like to believe for the subdiscipline. Seeing a fellow fan’s manipulated fan image of a female fangirl on the cover of Cinema Journal, the discipline’s institutional journal, is to me a personal as well as a collective achievement. (more…)

February 19, 2010

back from sweden

Filed under: academia,conference — kbusse @ 11:04 pm

I’m back in the States after ten days in Europe, five visiting my family in Germany and then five at the Textual Echoes conference in Umeå, Sweden. Home was nice and Sweden was great! The people, the city, the SNOW! I had a marvelous time, and everyone was great and nice and helpful. The conference was lovely and intimate if a tad intense (especially on Friday), And they had the best approach to keeping people to their 20 minutes: withholding of food (or, at least, threat thereof!). I met lots of wonderful fans and fan scholars and am looking forward to seeing more of their work. And our hosts were jusdt fabulous. Thank you, again!!!

There were two keynote speakers, Liz Woledge presented on “Fan Fiction – The Logical Extension,” and my talk was entitled “Affect and the Individual Fan: Rethinking Aesthetic and Economic Values of Originality” (abstracts are at the top here)

And both our talks are actually online: http://hulken.humlab.umu.se/humlab/humlabseminariet (Though, do beware the heavy German! : ) I wish they could have recorded and shared the entire symposium, though the flip side is that people don’t talk as freely knowing they are recorded, I think. I know we’ll take these ideas and exchanges back with us to talk more…

September 10, 2009

when i became a mom

Filed under: fandom,feminism,personal — kbusse @ 4:31 am

This week I posted some random thoughts on my LJ/DW about what it means to be a fannish mom, the way ideologies of motherhood and stereotypes of fans as obsessive fanatics merge into a mix of guilt and reproach and unease outside and even within fandom. Kirrily Robert of geekfeminism asked me whether I’d be willing to revise/expand for a broader audience. The results were just posted there:

When I Became a Mom I Put Away Childish Things

August 12, 2009

writercon 09 in minneapolis

Filed under: conference,fandom,fanfiction,otw — kbusse @ 7:38 pm

I posted this recap of Writercon to my fannish journal last week, but scarlettgirl asked me to share the presentations in particular with the writercon community, so I’m basically copy&pasting the good and the bad, the personal and the theoretical, the con and the city.


July 8, 2009

guest blogging

Filed under: academia,fandom — kbusse @ 4:10 am

Weirdly I seem to be able to write blog posts for other blogs but not my own. FandomResearch (An index of (f)anthropological surveys, studies, and science) asked me to guestblog; today my contribution went up, in which I talk about Muñoz’s ephemeral traces, LJ meta, research ethics, and more:

Online Salons: Fannish Meta Conversations as Ephemeral Traces (DEAD LINK)


April 2, 2009

cool academic fan things

Filed under: academia,conference,twc — kbusse @ 2:34 am

The second issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, a special issue guest-edited by Rebecca Carlson on Games as Transformative Works went live March 15th. Among my favorite pieces are an unsettling piece on the use of games in the army by Robertson Allen , an informative overview essay on Chiptunes by Kevin Driscoll and Joshua Diaz of the MIT Singapoure Research Lab, a smart and moving Symposium piece on Asian Americans and video game representation by Thien-bao Thuc Phi and a Symposium essay on LARPing by my local colleague and friend Amanda Odom.

Currently, we are soliciting full and Symposium essays for a general issue 3 out this fall, and a special issue on Supernatural, guest-edited by Catherine Tossenberger.

I have been invited to be a speaker both at WriterCon: Between the Lines (July 31 – August 2, 2009 in Minneapolis) and at a conference in Europe solely dedicated to fan studies, Cyber Echoes: Fan Fiction and Sexualities (February 11-13, 2010 in Umeå, Sweden). Below the cut, see the entire Call for Papers.


March 31, 2009

dreamwidth and me

Filed under: dw,interface,otw — kbusse @ 9:39 pm

Almost two years ago I started this blog, because I wanted to talk to people beyond LiveJournal (LJ) and didn’t think they’d hear me or that they would take me quite as seriously. After all, having a fannish pseudonym on a journaling site that often is seen as synonymous with whiny teens doesn’t really scream academic credentials. And every time I’ve posted here, I’ve thought about the relationship between infrastructure and content, the way it affects what and how we write but, even more so, the way it facilitates or inhibits communication.

At the same time as I was having my own personal fan studies growing pains after Media in Transition 5, after having gone to some media studies conferences and trying to figure my/our place there, a bunch of other things were happening over on LJ, all of which in the end were about gender, about technology, about infrastructures and communities. All the things that I’m interested in theoretically and personally.

I’ve spoken at length before about Transformative Works and Cultures, the journal Karen and I started for OTW, which brought together our realization that fan studies could use a place of its own and the fannish initiative that started that same spring two years ago and has resulted in the non-profit Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), a group by fans for fans. OTW oversees not only our academic journal but also the fan archive, Archive of Our Own, the collaborative fan wiki, Fanlore, various historical projects, like the vidding history project, the zine preservation project, and a legal and support arm. At its center, the battle cry has always been, I want us to own the goddamn servers. Owning the spaces we inhabit has become a central issue for fans, an issue that is gendered insofar as we’re dealing with a female dominated fan world encountering a male dominated tech and computer world. But really it is more about issues of ownership of one’s words, enforcement of copyright and obscenity laws (all to often carelessly and preemptively), and who makes money off our fannish labor. After all, fandom may be debating back and forth about the need for remaining a gift economy–all the while others *are* making profit, from the email servers we’re using and the web hosting services to the journaling sites on which we congregate.[1] And two years ago, shortly after some folks started seriously thinking about creating this space of our own, LJ showed us just how vulnerable we were as it deleted numerous accounts without warning or any real cause.

Fandom online came of age through Usenet and mailing lists and bulletin boards to blogs and, for many of us, LiveJournal. LJ, for all its bad rep in the larger blogosphere had several vital advantages that other interfaces only developed later or have yet to develop.[2] It offered RSS feeds via its friendslists long before those were common, thus congregating and individualizing one’s own fannish experience. It allowed various sets of filters that allowed full to limited privacy, offering a way to share conversations or fannish works with one another but not the world. It offered community creation where people with similar interests could come together and, again, customize their interactions. It had icons (more and more as time went on), this creating a separate layer of communication and a fannish art form all of its own. And it threaded comments, thus allowing people to hold separate conversations and, once you’re used to it, separate out uninteresting threads more easily. Over time, notifications became really useful, and once tags were added, conversations could continue in almost real time. As soon as someone commented to you, your post, or a post/comment you were interested in, you’d see it in your mailbox. No waiting or checking the blog again and again. It was an almost one-to-one conversation–for better or worse. Moreover, LJ for a long time was able to see itself as semipublic, which made people more chatty and more open than they might have been on a BBS or a blog. Finally, unlike blogs who were completely visually controlled by the owner, LJ created a default reading interface that allowed me to know where everything is on every page. In other words, every LJ owner had a certain control over customizing their pages–but I could at the same time override their customization, making it more usable for me and my reading habits. In fact, I often want to read the entire internet with my ?style=mine button.

So if I am a proud member of OTW, because for me this is a fannish venture par excellence, I am also an early adapter of the new journaling site Dreamwidth (more thanks to refreshing my flist at the right time than any inherent beta abilities of mine). And it is for many of the same reasons. There have been various alternatives to LJ (the fannish Journalfen and the impressive singlehanded venture of InsaneJournal‘s founder for example), but I knew i’d only leave LJ if I found something that was better and something that I could believe in more. I was a fan of LJ. I actually thought about writing an essay on it years ago. My engagement with LJ was similar to my engagement with new fandoms. I liked other fans because they were on LJ too. I still have my LJ t-shirt. I bought an account not because of the few extra icons but because I believed in the idea behind it. That was before Brad sold to 6A and long before SUP took over. Now LJ is a corporate entity that’s supposed to make someone money. Which is OK, but it’s not what I fell into fannish love with. So when someone I knew personally through fandom who’d also worked at LJ for a long time and seen it develop from the ground up decided to create an alternative to LJ (meaning, not just take the public LJ code and implement it but rather use it as a basis to write new and better code for new and better functionality), when my friend and former LJ employee Denise started thinking about Dreamwidth, I was more than excited!

Now, there’s a central difference between OTW and DW. One’s adamantly not for profit, working with volunteers only; the other has created a business model that will not make them rich but is trying to make the company self sustainable without ads! They are different projects, covering different aspects of our fannish online experience, but they are both built on the idea that we need to own the godamn servers! Now, OTW literally wants us to own the servers, whereas DW will not be collectively owned. However, short of creating a journaling site of our own (which I don’t see happening), DW has everything I want it to be. It’s done by one of us (and while it’s not a fannish site, it’s created by a fan, invites fans, and has a very carefully drafted and very inclusive Diversity Policy, clearly delineating the things they know we’re concerned about), and, in a way, done for us! Moreover, it has all the advantages I listed above with LJ only more and better.[3] Others can explain the specific functionality more than I can, but for me Denise having listened for years to people bitching and being a superuser herself, she *knows* what works and what doesn’t, what people want and what they don’t. And like the archive, they’ve asked for suggestions and employed volunteers along the way. Because that’s what fans do. If we believe in something and feel strongly about it, we’ll pour our time and heartblood into it. That’s why LJ has left such a bad taste for many of us. Because we believed and it disappointed us. And Denise was one of us, knows how it felt. And I think that will make a difference. At the same time, running a journaling service needs constant attention that *is* a full time job, so I’m happy that they’re realistic enough to acknowledge it and not try to do it on volunteer labor and donations only. I’ll happily pay if I know I have a good home where my friends and I are welcome and we can do all the things we could do on LJ and more. Because this is not about writing a blog–it’s not about speaking to the world for me. I’m not giving monologues on my journal but engaging in conversations with my friends–comment notifications, tags, and all.

I am moving to Dreamwidth, because if I can’t own my own damn server, I want the next best thing: a functional, functioning journaling site by and for us.[4]


[1] There are two marvelous essays discussing both “sides,” so to speak in the In Focus section I edited in the forthcoming Cinema Journal by Karen Hellekson and Abigail Derecho, which I highly recommend.]

[2] This bad rep came quite clearly to the fore in the last few months in what has been coined RaceFail ’09 among other names. For a good and brief overview, see HERE and HERE; for a comprehensive and chronological listing, see HERE; but really, you should just start read through Rydra Wong’s list of amazing and angry and touching and depressing essays, such as those by Deepad, Ciderpress, Bossymarmalade, and everything coming out of the Remyth Project. For my purposes here, however, I want to especially point to Jonquil’s interesting discussion of how the different interfaces affected expectations and conversations .

[3] There’s a growing list of posts by users who have started adopting DW or are planning to as soon as it goes into open beta HERE. I find these especially useful by branchandroot, Foxfirefey, and Telesilla.

[4] The timeline for DW is as follows: April 30th the site will go into Open Beta with the sale of permanent seed accounts, monthly paid accounts (which will remain free if not renewed), and free accounts via invite codes.

September 15, 2008

TWC No. 1 Released

Filed under: academia,otw — kbusse @ 10:03 pm

TWC No. 1 Table of Contents

Karen and I met five years ago at a conference, where we both presented on fan studies. There and in the following year on LiveJournal, we began to see the amazing theoretical work that came out of fandom itself, the interesting new approaches and arguments that would be presented at conferences, the debates that occurred near daily online, all of which was missing from the academic scholarship that at that point seemed almost stale, all too often resorting to Textual Poachers and simply applying it to a new text. So a year later we started talking about editing a volume on fan fiction and fan communities that would draw from those new ideas and rich debates and not two years after that our edited volume came out.

Of course even as we put everything together, we knew that it would become obsolete–most scholarship does, and fan studies and media studies is pretty timely, which makes it even more difficult. All we wanted, then, was to add to the ongoing conversation–we thought of our book as contributing to the scholarship in ways similar to the way every new analysis/story/vid/fanart contributed to the fannish universe surrounding a show.

And a year later, we got our chance to continue this project. When OTW asked us to start an academic journal, that’s exactly what we were hoping for: a marriage of academic and fannish, drawing from and giving back to both worlds; an online journal that could offer fast enough turnaround to be up to date and topical; Open Source and Creative Commons to mirror the ethos of OTW but also to reflect her and my nonaffiliated status, where access to university libraries and journals is often prohibitively expensive; full on peer-review to maintain academic cred but also offering access and space for nonacademic interested fans; and multimedia articles, which kind of makes sense given that we’re talking about more than print texts, with our ability and willingness to embed screenshots and video.

Moreover, after the Gender and Fan Studies debates that had just ended when we were asked last fall, I felt it was important to connect “our” approach that focused on fan communities and privileged creative (and often female) fan responses and the theoretical models and approaches brought in from other disciplines and other scholars. In an earlier draft of an essay I’m co-writing with Jonathan Gray, we’d written:

If there is a tension in current fan studies regarding its scope and goals, this tension is reflected by this essay’s two authors. Looking at the collections both of us recently edited, the different approaches are clearly articulated: whereas Kristina’s introduction with Karen Hellekson suggests that the authors are “more concerned with the collective nature of fandom, its internal communications, and the relationship between fans that arises out of a joint interest in a particular text” (2006: 23), Jonathan’s introduction with Cornel Sandvoss and C. Lee Harrington views their purview as larger so that “ through the investigation of fandom as part of everyday lives, [their] work aims to capture fundamental insight into modern life” (9).

And we were hoping to include both those approaches and a variety of others, issues we might not even think about yet and applications of fan studies that we’d never have thought of.

Our first issue is a great beginning and step in that direction: ranging from a close account of what I’d consider the history of “my people” with Francesca Coppa’s essay on early vidding culture to an essay on my current favorite show in Catherine Tosenberger’s reading of familial and sexual imagery in the Gothic and Supernatural, from Abigail Derecho’s application of fan theories to reading the Democratic primaries to Michael Arnzen’s personal essay on using affect as an effective pedagogical tool in a horror class, the essays are beginning to hint at the range of topics we’ll eventually hope to encompass.

Meanwhile, Symposium, the editorially reviewed section, showcases several fascinating essays that range in content and style (not unlike the interviews) from casual to more traditionally argumentative and all cover familiar ground in interesting and provocative ways. If one reason Karen and I edited a collection was that we were tired of reading yet another essay that had to spend half its space explaining slash and fanfic, then TWC’s essays show both how far we’ve come in terms of academic mainstreaming but also how useful a more niche publication, one that can assume an already educated audience, can be.

I’m personally very excited and proud of this first issue–it was hard work, not only for us and the authors but for the peer reviewers who worked with often insane deadlines, and the production staff, all of whom contributed their time and abilities.

So, I just want to link to a couple of things. Karen’s post on her blog; TWC’s press release; and Call for Papers for No. 2, an issue on games and gaming.

May 6, 2008

and what a year it’s been…

Filed under: academia,fandom,otw — kbusse @ 3:08 am

This week a year ago I started this blog: it was to provide me, more generally, with a real life online presence and, more specifically, with an outlet for a post I’d made on my fannish livejournal that some of the people in my flock had asked me to make public. This particular post (which I soon started to shorthand as the MiT5 post, but which actually had the much more poetic and allusory title “The Women Men Don’t See”) was my personal start of this past year. In it, I made some fairly aggressive accusations of misogyny on all levels of fan studies, suggested some pretty bold connections between the personal, the institutional, and the scholarly situation of women in the field, and got quite loud and angry. Moreover, given that it had been a LiveJournal rant, initially addressed to the few hundred potential readers who actually would have access to it, it was deeply personal and expected to be read within the particular context of my life.

When Henry emailed me and suggested what later came to be the series of blog conversations on gender and fandom, I was amazed and excited and, yes, a bit freaked. After all, I wasn’t anybody–most of my identity for a long time had been invested in my fannish persona and my meta writing over on LiveJournal, and I had just come from a conference, where my lack of institutional affiliation yet again reminded me of all the things I wasn’t. But maybe that was a blessing in disguise: while I wouldn’t want to suggest that people don’t speak up for fear of upsetting more senior colleagues or that I don’t have a personal stake in not upsetting others in my chosen field, I did feel kind of like the court jester who wasn’t situated anywhere in the academic hierarchy.

At the same time, I’m not naive enough to believe that I didn’t have a certain privilege that Henry would care–now, as much as I may critique his ideas here and there and as much as we often like to posit him as “the Man” in our small pond, I know few senior scholars who continually go out of their way to help others and who try to remain careful of their own privilege. At the same time, had I not met him before, had I not already complained to him about gender issues in fandom studies before, he might not have emailed me. But email he did, and however many things the consequent conversations failed to do (and I’m sure anyone who was there could make a list, from the problematic color coding to that damn MIT blog interface, from rounds of gender bingo to moments of sheer personal frustration, from clear limitations in the scholars invited to limitations in the range of topics,…), I’m looking at it a year later and am nothing if not impressed with all of us.

Whereas a year ago I felt like there were two central groupings, so to speak (which were partially gendered and tended to exist in different parts of the Internet), this has changed: not only have those groups mixed but the process has also in effect drawn in more and more scholars. It’s like the blog post series (and is anyone noticing how many terms I’m coming up with to avoid the one I usually shorthand to, namely summer gender fan debate : ) created a critical weight that put people in touch on a one-to-one personal base (and as the person who coordinated the LiveJournal mirror site, I certainly had the privilege to talk to all the people I hadn’t met before) as well as introduced especially younger scholars and their ideas to others, thus allowing each of us to get a sense of the work happening in this field all over the place. It also showed up some serious gaps in fandom studies, but I hope as we continue on, we’ll address them as they come…

Practically, it meant co-writing and panels and workshops, it meant reaching out to those we might not know as well and maybe even reconsidering our own positions. For me, it means co-writing an article with Jonathan Gray, which is a perfect way to merge what I’d consider two different approaches to the field (not least of all characterized by the differences in my and his coedited books : ). It meant creating an SCMS panel with my friend and co-writer Louisa Stein, Jonathan Gray and Jason Mittell, really showing the range of what we consider and define as the object of fan studies (from Jonathan’s authorial paratextual creations to my fan paratexts). It meant witnessing the amazingly smart Console-ing Passions workshop (with Bob Rehak, Suzanne Scott, Louisa Stein, Julie Levin Russo, and Sam Ford) that started out as a response to the conversations but in the end had become so much more, pushing the field in new directions and complicating simple binaries.

Most importantly, it meant questioning my simple binaries, really revisiting the truths as I’d understood them in terms of gender and fandom and reconfirming some and overthrowing others. And it meant the merging of online spaces as more and more of the LJ “fangirls” created blogs but also more of the “fanboys” started hanging out on LJ–with some of them really enjoying the myriad advantages LJ has over most other blogging platforms (such as comment notification, threading, and flocking but, probably most importantly, an ease of communication and intellectual engagement that always struck me as a tad more personal and less performative than blog interactions). In a way, then, I feel like this past year has virtually made the blog obsolete.

And it meant a building block in what has been my biggest project of the last 6 months, namely the creation of Transformative Works and Cultures. I can’t say how our board would look if we hadn’t had these conversations, but I know I wouldn’t have asked many of these scholars, and they might not have seen the need for such a journal, might not have wanted to support such an ultimately feminist project (or seen it as only limiting rather than vital).

Transformative Works and Culture, of course, comes more directly out of a much more important post, a real turning point and watershed moment, namely Astolat’s brilliant An Archive of Our Own post (alluding to yet another famous feminist text) that was the beginning of what is now the Organization for Transformative Works. What our posts share is a deep commitment to the importance of this particular community and its creative energies, both as objects to be preserved and as worthy of study. We share a sense that this is a feminist project in many ways, that gender does affect (though clearly not as simplistically as I often tend to argue) the way we engage with media and the way we choose to appropriate and transform media. That’s why I support OTW and why I can’t wait for TWC to finally showcase what amazing work gets done in this field and why I’m thankful for this last year.

It’s sure been a roller coaster for many of us, see sawing between excitement and panic, depression and elation. And we’re not nearly halfway there yet: this next year will hopefully see many of the fruits of our labor–the archive itself, of course but also the first issue of TWC. And when I read the essays for CP’s fandebate workshop, when I look at the work I’ve seen for TWC and elsewhere, I can’t be but excited that we’re doing great work and are doing it not in isolation any more.

March 10, 2008

scms recap

Filed under: academia,conference,fandom,fanfiction,vids — kbusse @ 4:07 pm

I did a much more detailed conference recap (from canceled flights to getting sick and all the cool people I met : ) in my LJ but felt it might be useful to at least write up some of the more academic aspects of it here. Also, I updated my web site with my conference paper, Paratextual Commentary as Writer Response Theory for the couple of people who asked me for it. Below the cut are my notes on the two full fan panels I saw (between traveling troubles and being sick for much of the conference I sadly missed much of what I wanted to see.)


March 1, 2008

book review for fan fiction and fan communities and scms 08

Filed under: academia,conference,fandom,fanfiction — kbusse @ 1:15 am

The Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies picked Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet as one of their books of the month. offers a very positive review, and we got a chance to present a response.

And I’ll be going to my one conference this year (it sucks to be an independent scholar!!!) next week: SCMS in Philadelphia. I’m on the panel Paratextual Architectures and the Shifting Boundaries of Television with Jonathan Gray, Louisa Ellen Stein, and Jason Mittell, a panel that came together in the comment section to my first real post almost a year ago when Jason suggested proposing a session and we started emailing and thinking abut what we were all interested in. My paper’s entitled Paratextual Commentary as Writer Response Theory.


February 1, 2008

TWC Announcement/CFP

Filed under: academia,fandom,twc — kbusse @ 1:18 pm

Here’s what I’ve been doing for the last few months :)

New Journal Announcement/CFP

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) is a Gold Open Access international peer-reviewed journal published by the Organization for Transformative Works edited by Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson.

TWC publishes articles about popular media, fan communities, and transformative works, broadly conceived. We invite papers on all related topics, including but not limited to fan fiction, fan vids, mashups, machinima, film, TV, anime, comic books, video games, and any and all aspects of the communities of practice that surround them. TWC’s aim is twofold: to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics, and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community.

We encourage innovative works that situate these topics within contemporary culture via a variety of critical approaches, including but not limited to feminism, queer theory, critical race studies, political economy, ethnography, reception theory, literary criticism, film studies, and media studies. We also encourage authors to consider writing personal essays integrated with scholarship, hypertext articles, or other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing. TWC copyrights under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.


vidding week and why we keep on harping about the good old days…

Filed under: fandom,vids — kbusse @ 5:12 am

This post was supposed to be only a heads-up and general linkage post for vidding week at In Media Res. I’d asked Avi whether he’d dedicate an entire week to vids, and while I can’t say whether anyone watched or liked (we kind of ended up commenting amongst ourselves : ), I’ve been really happy with this cross section of what vids are and can be, from mono to multi, from character study to meta, from old to new, showcasing some amazing vidders and some of my favorite vids.

Francesca Coppa (Muhlenberg College) “Pressure” – a metavid by the California Crew
Tisha Turk (University of Minnesota, Morris) “Not Only Human” – an X-Files vid by Killa and Laura Shapiro
Jacqueline Kjono (independent scholar) “A Day in the Life” – a Dead Zone vid by Shalott and Speranza
Louisa Stein (San Diego State University) “Bricks” – a Supernatural vid by Luminosity
Kristina Busse (independent scholar) “Us” – a multivid by Lim

And I know the little narrative about Kandy Fong’s slide show and the story about fan boys and Machinima at Harvard is getting kinda worn and yet–here’s what came across my friendslist tonight: In an Associated Press article, AP Entertainment writer Jake Doyle begins his article on Fans Make their own Music Videos as follows: “Since the dawn of YouTube, fans have been melding their own amateur video with the music of their favorite bands.”

So, maybe it’s not about fanboys and fangirls…maybe it’s really about “fans” and “users”! And yes, who cares what one dude thinks or says–but I wouldn’t mind if some AP journalist looking for facts might actually see Francesca’s entry on Kandy Fong. It’s not like I’d expect him to read Jenkin’s 1992 chapter on how fans make their own music videos

January 8, 2008

why i joined otw

Filed under: fandom,otw — kbusse @ 12:13 am

Why I Joined the OTW

My name is Kristina and I am coeditor of Transformative Works and Cultures, the journal the Organization for Transformative Works sponsors. But even before and outside of that position, I support the OTW and what it stands for. I’ve been a fan for nearly a decade in more than a dozen fandoms starting with Buffy and now holding onto SGA for a good three years already. I have been a het shipper and a slasher, a lurker and hard to shut up, have fallen for some shows and searched for the fandom and fallen in other fandoms for the fic before I even could distinguish Lance from Justin. I have made close friends in fandom and have found writing partners, and have even been able to meet some of them in real life. I’m also an academic who has written on fandom for almost as long as I’ve been part of it. And it is not only as an acafan who can’t wait to have a journal in our subdiscipline but as a fan who’s dealt with mailing lists, central and not so central archives, and LiveJournal and other blogs that I think the OTW is a pretty marvelous project.


December 13, 2007

OTW, TWC, and more

Filed under: academia,otw,twc — kbusse @ 4:04 am

It’s this time of the year–between the holidays and end of semester and just general winter depression, December is my least favorite time of the year (and it doesn’t help that I just turned 40 and now cannot deny middle age :)

At the same time, this has been a most exciting time professionally: about a month ago, the Organization of Transformative Works asked me and my former co-editor Karen Hellekson to create an academic journal on fans, fan artifacts, fan cultures, and fandoms: Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) (link goes to otw_news announcement, since the web site’s not quite done yet). (more…)

November 21, 2007

Collaborative Authorship, Fandom, and New Media

Filed under: academia,communication,conference,fandom,teaching — kbusse @ 7:00 pm

I wrote most of this Monday while everyone was at MIT, but clearly hive minds are not restricted to fandom (though, I guess, in academic settings we call it zeitgeist), since there were multiple discussion going on at the same time on authorial concerns (though I’d read Derek’s Unboxing TV piece, so maybe it was already in my mind…collaborative thinking so to speak : ) Anyway, some of the discussions that I found as I was finishing this are Jason’s encounter with the author himself and Cryptoxin’s roundup with some interesting discussions.

Collaborative Authorship, Fandom, and New Media

One of the most interesting discussions in fan fiction studies and media studies has been the renewed focus on authors, authority, and auteurs, on the role that intent and overarching goals and visions play, and the interplay between various creators in collaborative spaces. Film—and even more television—are collaborative by nature, so that the modernist and even romantic notion of the lone artist (ludicrous as it already is given what we know about collaboration among Wordsworth and Coleridge, von Arnim and Brentano, and the entire Bloomsbury circle, to name only some of the more obvious ones) is pretty much impossible to maintain. It might be because of that, however, that the drive towards singular visions, overarching imagination, and single-author creativity remains a sign of quality—as if writing together, sharing thoughts and ideas is somehow inferior.

Think of some of the bigger TV hits of recent years: Whedon, Sorkin, Moore, all become representative and synonymous with the machinery behind them—individual script writers and directors and the entire support structure all become a tool in the hands of the auteur. Likewise, fan writers often emphasize their own authorship and control over the text in ways that seem slightly ironic given the transformative (and thus already collaborative) aspects of their work. There seems to be an anxiety of shared credit and the lesser reputation of joint creation in both these instances that makes me wonder what ideological underpinnings (modernist if I were to guess) we fall prey to when we value the single idea and mind over the joint and mutual.


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