Unconventional Conventionists (not quite a Fannibal Fest recap)


*warning for show-typical gore/violence

At the first entirely fan-run convention for NBC’s Hannibal (2013-2015), Fannibal Fest Toronto, guest Vladmir Cubrt (who played serial killer Garrett Jacob Hobbs in the series) observed that he had originally expected Hannibal fans to be like other horror genre fans, only to find that we have more similarities to the participatory fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman, 1975). He didn’t elaborate much on what specifically RPHS fans and fannibals have in common (and I’m not entirely sure what distinguishes horror fans) but the comparison has lingered on a back burner in my mind for the two weeks since Fannibal Fest ended. It feels like a particularly apt comparison, but I’ve been struggling to articulate the reasons why. (more…)

Spoiler Alert: It’s All Transcultural


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It doesn’t sound sexy. It isn’t the story of enthusiasm or passion or creativity or love or anything like that. No one particularly wants to talk about it – at least in my experience – because it’s perceived to be outside most people’s experiences of both fan studies and fandom. But, let me tell you, fandom is all transcultural – and so too should fan studies be.

The argument that ‘transcultural’ is not necessarily synonymous with ‘transnational’ is an old one, and you’re welcome to have a look at the essay I co-authored with Bertha Chin if you need a more detailed explanation. But one thing few people ever seem to really get into is what transcultural might be when it’s not being transnational, and my answer – especially in this age of intensifying media and fan convergences* – is that it’s inherently transcultural. But understanding fandom as transcultural requires understanding the many ways we might understand ‘culture’. (more…)

Are You Kidding Me? A Response to “Podcasting in Plain Sight”


The Chronicle of Higher Education – that behemoth that still locks articles about academia behind a paywall where they cannot be sullied by the unwashed adjunct and independent masses (I’m only being a little sarcastic here) – has done it again. In a piece by Hannah McGregor entitled, “Podcasting in Plain Sight,” we’re introduced to the apparently radical concept of embracing one’s love of a thing as an academic – in this case, the Harry Potter novels. It’s actually a story I’m 100% behind in terms of what she and her collaborator, Marcelle Kosman, accomplish in and through their Witch, Please HP podcast. As anyone who follows me on Twitter (@acafanmom) knows, I am ALL ABOUT the open embrace of what I love as an academic. (more…)

Home Movie


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So, this is a something I’ve had rattling around in my head for awhile, and I finally managed to edit it into… a thing. I’m not sure how successful it is; basically, the idea was to try to communicate the experience of watching a Hong Kong movie as someone who lived there as a kid. Specifically, a movie (it began as “movies,” but trying to track down editable copies of old HK films is incredibly difficult, as it turns out) that shows a LOT of Hong Kong itself from around the period my family lived there. Michael Hui’s The Private Eyes (1976) does that – it’s surprisingly local, in fact – and so I edited it down to particularly recognizable scenes (because it was either that, or do the whole movie and… no), and then asked my brother to watch them with me while I recorded our conversation, which I then cut into the video edit. (more…)

Doing What Can’t Be Done


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Or, doing what others can’t do.

As I slowly make my peace with not being a ‘real’ (read: employed in an institution of higher learning) academic, I’ve turned my attention to what I do want to do. Although financial precarity is always only an unanticipated catastrophe away, I’m blessed with a spouse who believes in my research and insists that my time is better spent writing and researching than working in a job that doesn’t pay enough and complicates the daily hassles of getting kids where they need to go. While I don’t always share his faith in my abilities, I have been trying to think of ways to make being outside institutional academia work for me. (more…)

Fan Studies Network Conference 2017


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Just back from the University of Huddersfield, where the 2017 Fan Studies Network Conference was held this year, commemorating both five years of FSN and the opening of the Centre for Participatory Culture there. My biggest takeaway from the conference was a kind of zeitgeist that, for me, both re-energized my own commitment to what I’m working on, as well as made me a bit melancholy that I can’t be doing more. (more…)