Of course I'm thrilled about adding a new open access journal to scholarship. Both the social sciences and humanities have far too few OA journals. And of course, I'm particularly smug about some of the things I brought in. DOIs might not seem such a big deal to those of you who are librarians and archivists, but think about how difficult it can be to have your library's databases provide links to material on the open web. And of course, from a preservation perspective DOIs will keep our articles accessible even if the infrastructure changes. For example, if we change our backend software so it is no longer the Open Journal Systems, our URLs might change but our DOIs will remain the same. Once we have the requisite number of published issues, I look forward to seeing our journal indexed in a large variety of indexing and abstracting services.
But one of the most exciting things about this journal is that it is fully multimedia, taking advantage of the online medium -- and of the journal is prepared to stand behind its assertions of fair use for some of the multimedia clips used. For example, Francesca Coppa's "Women, Star Trek, and the Early Development of Fannish Vidding" embeds both images and video, and Bob Rehak's "Fan Labor Audio Feature Introduction" includes audio clips from a workshop discussion at the 2008 Console-ing Passions conference that was inspired by the Gender and Fan Culture discussion (in which I was a participant) and Henry Jenkins' blog in 2007. And even the journal software itself encourages participatory culture; the software allows (and we encourage) commenting by readers.
The first issue of Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC; http://journal.transformativeworks.org/) was released on September 15, 2008. This open-access online multimedia fan studies journal publishes scholarly essays, personal essays, and book reviews. TWC is published under the umbrella of the nonprofit fan advocacy group Organization for Transformative Works (http://transformativeworks.org/), and although its audience will primarily be acafans (academic fans), its scope ranges widely with the aim of providing a forum for fannish voices, academic or not.
“One important aspect of the journal is its open-access nature,” Karen Hellekson, coeditor of TWC, commented. “It will be available for anyone to read, without any subscription restrictions. Plus it’s online, so the articles can use hotlinks and embed videos. It’s really time to move beyond the print model, so it’s exciting that we’re able to do that.” She points to Francesca Coppa’s essay, “Women, Star Trek, and the Early Development of Fannish Vidding,” as an example of an essay that uses embedded media. “It’s got screen caps from fan vids, plus embedded links to video, all to support her argument. It really explores the range of what multimedia has to offer.” The issue also contains an audio feature, presented by Bob Rehak, with two downloadable recordings of a discussion held at the 2008 Console-ing Passions academic conference.
The first issue ranges widely to showcase TWC’s interdisciplinary scope. For example, the political realm is dealt with by Abigail De Kosnik in “Participatory Democracy and Hillary Clinton’s Marginalized Fandom,” which applies fan theoretical models to contemporary Democratic political behavior. “This is a great example of fan studies being used to inform the political,” Kristina Busse, TWC coeditor, pointed out. “The field ranges so widely, and I don’t think people realize how applicable the scholarship is in other arenas.” For example, pedagogy and writing is handled by Bram Stoker award-winning horror writer Michael A. Arnzen, whose essay, “The Unlearning: Horror and Transformative Theory,” uses a classroom writing exercise revolving around horror texts to emphasize the central importance of transformation in writing, and Madeline Ashby’s “Ownership, Authority, and the Body: Does Antifanfic Sentiment Reflect Posthuman Anxiety?” uses specific anime films as metaphor for the role of women’s writing online.
Several interviews also appear in the issue. The TWC editors interviewed Henry Jenkins, whose groundbreaking work in fan studies is required reading by all fan studies scholars, and the three members of the Audre Lorde of the Rings, a conglomerate of academics, artists, and activists. Veruska Sabucco interviews one member of the Italian writing collective known as Wu Ming to talk about Wu Ming’s activist project and fan writing in terms of collective authorship, copyrights concerns, and popular culture. And fan voices are also heard in the Symposium section, including an essay by the founder of the Fanfic Symposium, Rebecca Lucy Busker, whose “On Symposia: LiveJournal and the Shape of Fannish Discourse” focuses on fannish meta discourses and the particular ways LiveJournal’s interface has shaped and affected style and content.
“This is a strong issue that we hope will invite many more diverse contributions,” Busse said. The second issue of TWC, which will focus on games and gaming, is scheduled for March 15, 2009, publication; No. 3 will appear September 15, 2009, and will feature more general submissions.
This press release may also be downloaded as a .pdf here.
The call for papers for No. 2 is available as an .rtf file here. Do disseminate widely!