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Dear researcher: Rethinking engagement with fan authors

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Scholars of online fan studies have engaged with fanfiction since at least the publication of Henry Jenkins’ Textual Poachers in 1992, and our access to it has only increased and improved with the explosion of online fan communities and with the development of massive, easily searchable online archives like and archiveofourown. org. Much of this academic research and analysis, however, has taken place with no involvement or even knowledge on the part of the fan author. This unfortunate lack of engagement ignores the ways in which fan author practice is different from that of published authors due to the nature of fanworks and fan authorship, as well as intrafandom codes of ethics and the inherent power dynamics of researcher and research subject. Using direct input from fan authors and readers, this article proposes a more multifaceted take on best practices for fan studies researchers.
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Keywords: Sherlock; fan communities; fan fiction; fan studies; online fandom; participatory culture; research ethics; television fandom

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Massachusetts Amherst

Publication date: September 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • The multi – disciplinary nature of fan studies makes the development of a community of scholars sometimes difficult to achieve. The Journal of Fandom Studies seeks to offer scholars a dedicated publication that promotes current scholarship into the fields of fan and audience studies across a variety of media. It focuses on the critical exploration, within a wide range of disciplines and fan cultures, of issues surrounding production and consumption of popular media (including film, music, television, sports and gaming), The journal aims to address key issues in fans studies itself, while also fostering new areas of enquiry that take us beyond the bounds of current scholarship.
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