Media Fandom and Participatory Culture


Spring 2020 | MDST 3559-014

T/Th 11:00 – 12:30 | ONLINE until further notice

We live in an age of media fandom. From the ‘fan demographic’ targeted by film and television studios through franchises such as Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to contributors to the Hugo Award-winning fanfiction site, Archive of Our Own (AO3), to K-pop stans, Bernie Bros, Trekkers and so on, fandom permeates the world around us. In this course, we’ll be exploring the histories, practices, and cultures that comprise media fandoms both at home and abroad. We’ll challenge media stereotypes of fans, as well as our own understandings of who fans are and the media texts fans love.

I believe that media fandom is a microcosm of the world we live in, and that the skills we learn in fandom can help equip us for life both online and off. As such, in addition to traditional modes of assessment and reflection, in this course we’ll try our hand at some of the more creative practices of media fandom. By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • express ideas through creative works
  • think critically about the relationship of fandoms to structures of power
  • demonstrate critical understanding of fandom histories and cultures
  • participate constructively in communities of shared interest