Considering how crucially comic book marketing depends on loyal customers, especially fans, and to how great an extent the ever-expanding franchises surrounding Marvel’s or DC’s comic worlds rely on user participation and fandom, it seems striking that the connection between Comics Studies and Fan Studies has hardly been explored in any great detail so far.
Is this because Comics Studies focus on the text and Fan Studies on its recipient? At least in Germany, Comics Studies have strong roots in (Comparative) Literary Studies, Art History, or Philology while Fan Studies are either grounded in Media and Cultural studies or in Sociology (focusing on individual and mass consumption practices or group phenomena).
In our 2019 Workshop on Comics/Fandom, we want to address possible overlaps and frictions between Comics Studies and Fan Studies. Potential topics for contributions may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- In what ways do approaches and perspectives, topics, and objects of investigation differ in Comics Studies and Fan Studies?
- In what ways can Comics Studies profit from Fan Studies’ approaches and conceptions – and vice versa?
- Which production, distribution, and consumption practices of comics and other media formats rely on and inspire fan cultural practices?
- What is the role that cult fandom plays within professional contexts, either in the industry (as comic or media fans turn into illustrators, designers etc.), or within academia (as comics scholar-fans and film/tv scholar-fans emerge as leading figures within certain disciplinary fields)?
- Are there gendered notions for the respective fields – perhaps a tendency for comparatively ‘male-dominated’ Comics Studies to stand out against more ‘female-oriented’ Fan Studies?
- Historical perspectives on Comics Studies and Fan Studies
The workshop is a collaboration between the Committee for Comics Studies (AG Comicforschung) and the Committee for the Studies of Fandom and Participatory Culture (AG Partizipations- und Fanforschung) at the German Society for Media Studies (GfM). It is organized by Sophie G. Einwächter (Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt/Philipps-University Marburg), Vanessa Ossa (University of Tübingen), Véronique Sina (University of Cologne), and Sven Stollfuß (University of Leipzig).
The workshop will take place at the Institute for Media Culture and Theatre at the University of Cologne on the 28th and 29th of March 2019.
Please send your suggestions for 15-20-minute papers by November 30th in the form of a 300-word abstract with short bio (150 words) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also volunteer for a 10-minute response to a panel – we will contact you once the program is taking shape.
Participants are not required to be members of the German Society for Media Studies (GfM). Contributions from non-members are welcome!