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deborah ([personal profile] deborah) wrote2007-05-06 20:47

Media in Transition 5, fan scholarship, and gender boundaries

I'd really like to say something intelligent about the conversation which started after Media in Transition 5 about acafen and gender, but for two things: First of all, I only attended one panel at the conference, so I'm not sure I can speak informatively about anything other than my greater experiences as a scholar and as an acafan. And secondly, I just took another look at the pile of books I need to review tonight, and that is genuine professional obligations, to which blogging will have to take a backseat. So for now, I am going to link to some of the blogs which are making really fascinating points in this discussion. It's worth reading not only the blog posts but the comment threads, in which people who fundamentally disagree are having really worthwhile conversations with some valuable give and take.

So go take a look at Kristina Busse, especially her MiT5 Review, which has some fascinating discussions in the comment section. Karen Hellekson doesn't delve as much into the issues which concern Kristina, but she gives a good conference report of the panels about which Kristina is concerned with their gender makeup. Louisa Stein, who was unable to attend the conference, speculates that the paper she was intending to present would have spoken to many of these issues.

Also, as I've chosen to keep my professional and scholarly blog identity within livejournal, I should certainly not neglect those others who have done the same thing. [livejournal.com profile] heyiya responded to Kristina with her post Fandom, gender, and knowledge. [livejournal.com profile] robin_anne_reid asks people to discuss their experiences in fan scholarship as pertain to gender, and also links to Ron Robinson's comment in Henry Jenkins' blog about the absence of scholars of color at MiT5.

The only thing I have to add to the conversation that won't take more thought than I have time for right now is that fan scholarship has far and away been the most supportive scholarly community I have ever been a part of. Never before has the editor of a volume spent uncountable hours on long-distance calls with me fine-tuning my contributed paper far beyond the requests and suggestions made by the anonymous peer reviewers. Never before I entered fan scholarship have a number of other scholars called or e-mailed me to say "that point you made last week was excellent; you have to come to this conference and join a panel with me." I don't know if I would call that gendered -- children's literature scholarship is heavily female, and I certainly never felt so encouraged and mentored by that community -- but it is certainly an overwhelmingly positive experience for me.