Squirrel Girl and Feminism

I created this video for DePaul’s Pop Culture Conference in 2021 on superheroes. For the first time, it was an entirely online conference with asynchronous, video presentations for academic work. The ideas in this piece come from a chapter I wrote for an anthology being produced by Bryan Carr and Meta G. Carstarphen. That chapter…

Fandom During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on our lives, including how we experience our fandoms. Cons were moved online or cancelled. New movies came out on streaming apps at the same time as theatrical releases. Online gaming replaced in-person gaming. And people turned to their fandoms to cope with the pandemic. Krysten Stein and…

Disney+, the Fan Industrial Complex, and Star Wars

I love this term: Fan Industrial Complex. Chris thinks he heard it from someone else, so I will need to investigate it. Because from a media ecology perspective, it’s very useful. That’s what we have now with online mediated fan-producer networks. The technologies and economic systems require a symbiosis between more ardent fans and producers,…

Taxonomy of Fannish Behaviors: A Work in Progress

I’m really interested in the ways we define fandom. Is it just associated with popular culture, or is it a more fundamental aspect of human life? I’m going to use this blog to work through my thoughts on this matter, so it isn’t by any means a completed document, and I will do my best…

Virtual World Fandom Quasi-Autoethnography

This post contains my reflections on trying to express my Star Wars fandom in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. These reflections are based on the Twitter thread I ran in the summer and fall of 2020, which can be found here. I tried to reconstruct it chronologically to show the progression of events and my thoughts…

WrestlePosium I Presentation

Earlier this year I organized, ran, and presented at the inaugural WrestlePosium open online symposium for the Professional Wrestling Studies Association. My presentation concerned the work I have been doing looking at wrestling fans writing slash for the characters of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. The entire presentation can viewed here. The other presentations from…

Call for Proposals: Mental Health and Fandom

Before the concretization of fan studies as an academic discipline, fans would routinely be labeled and treated as “fanatics” or people with excessive love for something or someone that could lead them to engage in maladaptive, even dangerous, behavior. In a sense, public discourses positioned fandom as a mental health issue. Along with being problematic…

Trauma and Fractured Fandom

This blog post contains my presentation at MPCA/ACA 2019 from our panel on mental health and fandom. This presentation is the first step in a deeper analysis of my fractured fandom work to understand the traumatic experiences fans expressed in their self-interviews. “fear fearfearfearfear feeling hella unsafe”: The Trauma of Fractured Fandoms As a brief…

Happy 25th Anniversary, Friends!

Welcome back to a new season! For the fifty-first episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast, Christopher Olson and I are joined by our colleague and pop culture scholar Jennifer Dunn to discuss the 25th anniversary of one of the most successful sitcoms of all time: Friends (1994-2004). In this episode, the trio consider the impact of…

Discussing Weird Al’s Staying Power

In a first, the forty-ninth episode of The Pop Culture Lens podcast finds friend of the podcast Noelle Lynn Blood joining Christopher Olson and I to discuss the importance of Weird Al Yankovic to pop culture and nerds. In this episode, the trio examine how Weird Al has adapted himself to different eras in pop…