This blog is long overdue, to the extent that this wordpress shell has been sitting around half-finished for well over a year now. So, why now? Well, first and foremost, I strongly believe that some of the most challenging and thought-provoking scholarly work right now is being done on personal blogs and online journals like Transformative Works and Cultures, Flow, in media res, and Antenna. I believe in the conversational forums these spaces create. I believe in the networks of scholars that coalesce around these virtual watercoolers. And I believe that, slowly but surely, academia is going to be forced to reconsider the relative value of these spaces to more conventional modes of scholarly publication.
In addition to housing ongoing discussions of my work on fandom, convergence and participatory culture, and the gendered mainstreaming of geek culture, I centrally view this blog as an exercise in practicing what I teach. The politics of participation within the media industry and fandom are currently undergoing significant shifts that will shape the future of how we engage with culture, and exploring how those shifts resonate with debates currently circulating around the digital humanities is a conversation that is worth having. Moreover, it’s a conversation that we need to have with our students, as well as ourselves.
I feel exceedingly lucky that my new position, as the Mellon Digital Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellow at Occidental College’s Center for Digital Learning and Research, not only allows, but actively encourages me to poke at the shifting state of academia. It encourages me to create spaces like this one, to provoke these conversations and debates with scholars and students and anyone else who might stumble across this blog who wants to weigh in. It encourages hybrid modes of scholarship, which echoes with my own self-identification as an acafan, and my continued investment in that scholarly identity. And, most importantly, it is offering me a space to practice what I teach, to consider how we might effectively apply the tenets of participatory culture and transformative fan texts to our views on pedagogy and publishing.
So, expect updates on some of the lessons learned over the past couple of years teaching fandom, comics, and transmedia storytelling to a wonderful collective of undergrads at UC Santa Cruz, updates on what Occidental’s Center for Digital Learning and Research is up to, and my thoughts/rantings on the double-edged sword that is Zack Snyder’s model of fanboy auteurism…and how he effectively impaled himself on it when making Suckerpunch.
And, in the spirit of this endeavor, suggestions on topics to tackle here, from the pleasures/perils of wikis in the classroom, to the joys of aca-tweeting, are always encouraged. Send them my way at: firstname.lastname@example.org or @iheartfatapollo.