Perma.cc is a service, currently in beta, that allows users to create citation links that will never break. When a user creates a Perma.cc link, Perma.cc archives a copy of the referenced content, and generates a link to an unalterable hosted instance of the site. Regardless of what may happen to the original source, if the link is later published by a journal using the Perma.cc service, the archived version will always be available through the Perma.cc link. http://bit.ly/19MbtdE

Much of the literature on fan fiction sees slash fiction as transformative because of its imposition of a queer framework on heteronormative texts. While I do not disagree that this is one way fan fiction can be transformative, it is a mistake to believe that slash is inherently more transformative than het or gen fic just because of its queering of canon.

5 Ways of Understanding the New, Feminist MOOC That’s Not a MOOC


“We find the following principles to be fundamental to an ethical approach to internet research:

  • The greater the vulnerability of the community / author / participant, the greater the obligation of the researcher to protect the community / author / participant.
  • Because ‘harm’ is defined contextually, ethical principles are more likely to be understood inductively rather than applied universally. That is, rather than one-size-fits-all pronouncements, ethical decision-making is best approached through the application of practical judgment attentive to the specific context (what Aristotle identified as phronesis).
  • Because all digital information at some point involves individual persons, consideration of principles related to research on human subjects may be necessary even if it is not immediately apparent how and where persons are involved in the research data.
  • When making ethical decisions, researchers must balance the rights of subjects (as authors, as research participants, as people) with the social benefits of research and researchers’ rights to conduct research. In different contexts the rights of subjects may outweigh the benefits of research.
  • Ethical issues may arise and need to be addressed during all steps of the research process, from planning, research conduct, publication, and dissemination.
  • Ethical decision-making is a deliberative process, and researchers should consult as many people and resources as possible in this process, including fellow researchers, people participating in or familiar with contexts/sites being studied, research review boards, ethics guidelines, published scholarship (within one’s discipline but also in other disciplines), and, where applicable, legal precedent.”

— “Ethical Decision-Making and Internet Research: Recommendations from the AoIR Ethics Working Committee (V 2.0),” Markham & Buchanan

The idea of fan cultures, or “fandoms,” cultivating fan fiction writers began at the earliest in the 1920s with societies dedicated to Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes, but took off in the late 1960s with the advent of Star Trek fanzines. The negative stereotype of “fans today is that of obsessed geeks, like “Trekkies, who love nothing more than to watch the same installments over and over…” However, this represents a core misunderstanding of what it is to be a fan: that is, to have the “ability to transform personal reaction into social interaction, spectatorial culture into participatory culture… not by being a regular viewer of a particular program but by translating that viewing into some kind of cultural activity.” Henry Jenkins, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and expert on fan culture, likens fan fiction to the story of The Velveteen Rabbit: that the investment in something is what gives it a meaning rather than any intrinsic merits or economic value. For fans who invest in a television show, book, or movie, that investment sparks production, and reading or viewing sparks writing, until the two are inseparable. They are not watching the same thing over and over, but rather are creating something new instead.

Casey Fiesler, Everything I Need To Know I Learned from Fandom: How Existing Social Norms Can Help Shape the Next Generation of User-Generated Content, p735

Update: Now with link to an open access version of the paper and correct page, apologies for the typo.

So if being online is so important to fanfiction, why has Amazon not adopted this central mechanism which could have drawn millions of views to its own online site? One reason may simply be that they are relying on sites like Wattpad to generate the traffic to Kindle Worlds. The other may have to do with content control. The plural “Worlds” in Kindle Worlds marks a clear separation between the different fanbases; there will be no boundary crossing here. For fanfiction, boundary crossing of various types is the point. Trying to constrain the unconstrainable is an inherent paradox in a model based on content control. Of course, one way to attempt to control content/text is to contain it in a book rather than have it online where control is always subject to slippage. However, the existence of Fanfiction itself undermines this attempt. Amazon and the licensors have a difficult balancing act. Most licensors would want to retain control over the content that appears online and therefore restrict official content, whether it be original or fan-generated, to their own fan sites; it might indeed be very difficult to keep the licensed Worlds separate in one online environment.

So one could argue that the “form” of the ebook in this case, where online would normally be the “native” medium, answers primarily the needs of the licensors rather than those of the fans and readers. This is not to say that Kindle Worlds shouldn’t have ebooks; even in the fanfiction communities, people create ebooks of fanfics for free download. It is the fact that Kindle Worlds appears to be only about ebooks that is the issue in the context of fanfiction.

The erotic herterosexual romance, with content that is sexually appealing and stimulating to a large number of women, came into existence during the 1970s, when the social climate combined with a distribution strategy that put these romances into retail outlets that legitimatized them for mass consumption by women… Their legitimacy was further enhanced by the fact that stories were allowed to evolve as erotica without much notice and under the guise of a different label—romance.

Carol Thurston (The Romance Revolution, 9)

From audiences sitting in the dark of the theater, to impassioned fans at conventions, there are many ways to engage with media texts. Popular media inspires our passion, our anger, and sparks public conversations around the role of media in society. This class will explore different theories of audiences, viewers, and fans and look at film, television, and digital media texts through these lenses. Over the course of the semester we will investigate how different media organize reception and the ways that viewers have responded to popular media. The course will ask students to take an active role in the class by reflecting on their own experiences as viewers and producing creative and critical responses to media texts. Students will also investigate historical contexts for different media texts and celebrities, placing their own experiences with media texts in conversation with others.

At UW-Milwaukee this fall! [x]