About the Presentation
Media fandom has been an object of academic inquiry since the 1990s, with much of the early theories of fandom describing it as a largely subversive subculture. However, media fandom became increasingly mainstream with the rise of digital culture in the second decade of the 21st century. This has led to conflicts between fans, and between fans and producers, over who gets to speak for fans, and what power they should have to shape contemporary popular culture. I will discuss the history of media fandom and its transformation over time, with a focus on how the mainstreaming of fandom has influenced current political discourse in the U.S. and Canada.
About the Speaker
Dr. Monica Flegel is a Professor in the Department of English and researches in the field of cultural studies, focusing on child studies, animal studies, and fan and media studies. She has developed courses on all of these subjects, covering everything from social media culture to representations of animals in popular culture. Her past SSHRC grant, with Dr. Jenny Roth from Women’s Studies, focused on fanfiction and its relation to legitimate authorship and copyright law. She has published extensively, both as a single author and with co-authors, in Victorian Literature and Culture, the Journal for Critical Animal Studies, Transformative Works and Culture, Continuum, the Journal of Fan Studies, and The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture. Her most recent book, co-authored with Dr. Judith Leggatt, Superhero Culture Wars: Politics, Marketing, and Social Justice in Marvel Comics (2020).