Academia is a Fandom: The Impossibility of Critical Distance

Mafalda Stasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Hi – my name is Mafalda and I am a fan.I have been a media fan since 1994, when I first stumbled into fandom via Constance Penley’s 1991essay "Brownian Motion: Women, Tactics and Technology." Penley's essay discussed fandom, and it was only one of the many items on my postgraduate reading list. I do not remember to which seminar the reading was associated: to tell the truth, I do not remember much of the time immediately after Penley’s essay pointed me towards what was to become a large part of my identity, behaviour and social practice. I was too busy chasing fan fiction, attending fan conventions and joining mailing lists. I was bathing in the joy and pain of becoming part of a community of like-minded people, making friends,exercising my creating skills, writing, writing, writing, and talking, talking, talking. However, there was an area of my identity which was more or less off limits to fandom: my being a PhD researcher. As I progressively fell for fandom, I became defensive of it. It was mine, it was niche, it was naughty (yes, slash. Look it up.) As a fan, how dared I make a career of my passion, and maybe in the process “harsh my squee”? How dared I to expose my fellow fans? As a researcher, how dared I move from English Lit to something as frivolous and faintly odd as fan studies? How dared I compromise my critical distance by studying myself, by making it all about me me me?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(in press)
JournalJournal for Cultural Research
Volume(in press)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Feb 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Academia is a Fandom: The Impossibility of Critical Distance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this