deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I'm so pleased! New Approaches to Popular Romance Fiction: Critical Essays will be out imminently.

Despite the prejudices of critics, popular romance fiction remains a complex, dynamic genre. It consistently maintains the largest market share in the American publishing industry, even as it welcomes new subgenres like queer and BDSM romance. Digital publishing originated in erotic romance, and savvy on-line communities have exploded myths about the genre’s readership. Romance scholarship now reflects this diversity, transformed by interdisciplinary scrutiny, new critical approaches, and an unprecedented international dialogue between authors, scholars, and fans. These eighteen essays investigate individual romance novels, authors, and websites, rethink the genre’s history, and explore its interplay of convention and originality. By offering new twists in enduring debates, this collection inspires further inquiry into the emerging field of popular romance studies.


One of those essays is by me: '“Why Would Any Woman Want to Read Such Stories?”: The Distinctions Between Genre Romances and Slash Fiction'. This essay comes from a paper that began six years ago as a conference paper helped on by Kristina Busse, and I'm so happy to see it reaching this new milestone. So much thanks to Kristina, and to Eric Selinger and Sarah Frantz, for helping me to get it this far. Order from your local indie bookstore or order from Amazon.
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Over at the Transformative Works and Cultures blog, TWC editor Karen Hellekson has posted an excellent essay "Breaking the primacy of print". Karen asks why online-only peer-reviewed journals are valued less than peer-reviewed journals with a print presence, when the delivery medium has nothing to do with the rigorous miss of the scholarship. TWC, in particular, is a multimedia-rich scholarly journal, for which a print presence would be a watered down equivalent.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
from the YALSA blog: "Whose Line is it Anyway? or Teens and Plagiarism Within Creative Works". This essay discusses the Helene Hegemann and Nick Simmons cases, and makes me a little uncomfortable in the way it does so.

Excerpts from the post:

"The past month has brought us two stories from the publishing world that highlight just how little most people understand copyright law.
...
From scanalations to fanfic and fanart to blatantly stealing someone else’s ideas, most people just don’t understand copyright and why we have it.
...
I’ll be the first to admit, it can be confusing. Sampling has long been an accepted technique in electronic music and Hip Hop, and major artistic figures like William S. Burroughs and Robert Rauschenberg have based their careers around different techniques of borrowing and re-purposing the creations of others. Add to it things like fan videos on Youtube and you have a climate that makes people think it’s okay to take someone else’s ideas whenever you want and do whatever you like with them without obtaining permission."


The post author doesn't draw any explicit conclusions himself about copyright and fair use. I admit that I have no knowledge of the merits of either Hegemann's or Simmons' cases. But there's something about the phrasing -- "From scanalations to fanfic and fanart to blatantly stealing someone else’s ideas, most people just don’t understand copyright and why we have it" -- that strongly implies that scanalations, fanfic, and fanart come out of a complete lack of understanding of copyright, just as blatantly stealing someone else’s ideas does. "Add it to things like fan videos" to you create "a climate that makes people think" it's okay to steal?

I don't know whether or not the post author has such a simplistic idea of fair use and transformative work, or whether he has a very complex understanding and was just careless in his phrasing in this instance. But either way, the whole blog post makes me uncomfortable.

I 100% agree that people need to be more educated about copyright and why we have it. The number of people who don't understand that you can't just rip passages and images wholesale off Wikipedia and put them in your own book is just ludicrous. But part of educating people about copyright is not frightening them. Fair use and transformative works -- from sampling to fan fiction to machinima -- is not the same thing as a copyright violation.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I've been enjoying Public Knowledge's 4-part video series "We Are Creators, Too," but I never expected Francesca Coppa discussing vidding to come across my blog roll!

Kudos to PK for treating vidding like any other form of video remix, not as some weird dysfunctional female behaviour. And kudos to PK for doing the shockingly unusual behaviour of not normativizing male video creation; 3 of the 4 interviews are with women, and video remix not treated as a male activity that some women do as well.

And of course, kudos to Francesca for for an excellent interview which touches on so many of the key points of vidding culture, history, and law.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Oh, happiness. The open access, peer-reviewed fan studies journal Transformative Works and Cultures has just released its debut issue. A large crowd of volunteers and contributors has worked very hard to make this happen -- neither editor of the journal has institutional support, so their achievement is particularly impressive.

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.

Press Release )

The call for papers for No. 2 is available as an .rtf file here. Do disseminate widely!
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After Henry Jenkins' male/female scholar acafan debate, he asked for feedback from the participants. I didn't contribute any, mostly because real life intervened, but I was so intrigued by the responses of those who did that I found I did need to say a little something, after all.

Here is what I sent to Henry, which will probably be added as comments to the above-linked post )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
It's odd to pull up your blogs in the morning and see your own name, you introducing yourself, at the top of the list.

Gender and Fan Culture, Round 16, Part One: Deborah Kaplan and Alan McKee, over at Henry Jenkins' place.

The generosity of Henry for making these conversations possible, the drive of Kristina Busse for rounding us all up and making this happen, and Alan McKee's all-around wonderfully funny smarts have made this entire experience a thoroughgoing pleasure. As an independent scholar, I get far too little opportunity to interact with others in media and fan studies outside of the sometimes stultifying atmosphere of conferences; this has been really a great experience for me.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I've been far too overwhelmed to post here recently, or even to read my blogs, and for that I feel immensely guilty. I've been doing so much: getting settled in my new job at Tufts Digital Collections and Archives, working on my research on romance fiction, working (far too little) on the project I'm doing with Rebecca Rabinowitz on subversive children's literature.

I've also been talking with Alan McKee in preparation for our installation of Henry Jenkins' fangirl/fanboy detente. That has been an absolute joy. It's so wonderful whenever you find another scholar who delights in examining the same kinds of questions that you do. Both of us have found such pleasure in talking about media fandom, and I confess it has been from both a scholarly perspective and a fan perspective. This, of course, is the most wonderful part about being an acafan; the shameless delight in the subjects of our study.

I wonder how much further I would have gotten in children's literature scholarship if the academic blogging community had existed 10 years ago. Would I have made further inroads there? I've made such friends in media and fan scholarship, real genuine friends, people I love and care for -- and I suspect I will be making similar friends in romance scholarship, based on what I've seen of that community. As an independent scholar, it is so discouraging to have no infrastructure for my fields of study. And it's not like I'm not busy, it's not like I'm not doing this scholarship in my spare time after work and dinner and gardening and feeding the cats. If it weren't for the social network of wonderful people who share my interests, I don't know if I would be able to keep it up.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Now I follow up that librarianship entry with one on scholarship, just to keep the readers of my infrequent posts hopping.

You may remember that recently I blogged about the gender issues which were raised after Media in Transition. I've been invited to participate in Henry Jenkins' fanboy/fangirl détente. I'm very pleased by the opportunity to contribute to the conversation. In the original version of this post I was also going to say how honored I am that as an independent scholar at been asked to contribute, but the thought-provoking first installment of the conversation in Henry's blog, this one between Karen Hellekson and Jason Mittell, has raised some interesting questions about the gender divide in the academic hierarchy. As Jason said,

I would hope that within media studies, the gender divides would be less structuring than in older & grayer fields, but there's no doubt that divisions between tenure-track and adjunct, affiliated and independent scholars are gendered across the board. Even perusing the lists of Henry's invitees for this forum suggests that more women are in less traditional academic roles.


Anyway, I' be writing in September with Alan McKee from the Queensland University of Technology. Right now I'm delving into his work to learn more about it. I have to admit that one of the very nice side benefit of this whole conversation is that it's giving me the impetus to read the work of some scholars that I have sadly neglected. Of course, to a certain extent, that's not a side benefit, that's the point of the entire exercise: encouraging communication across whatever gender boundary may or may not exist.

(Although Karen and Jason have started the first round of official conversation, I suspect that side conversations will be springing up all over the place as this project heats up. Kristina Busse and Will Brooker have already started a preliminary conversation online).
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
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.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
The essay I co-wrote with Rebecca Rabinowitz, "'Beautiful, or thick, or right, or complicated': Queer Heterosexuality in the Young Adult Works of Cynthia Voigt and Francesca Lia Block", has been published. The collection is Straight Writ Queer: Non-Normative Expressions of Heterosexuality in Literature (Amazon, Powells, Table of contents). I haven't read the rest of the essays, but I'm excited to. Calvin Thomas wrote the introduction to the book, too!

I'm very proud of this essay. It's the first -- but not the last -- formal compilation between me and Rebecca (although we've helped each other extensively on our prior work).

And here's another plug for Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet: New Essays, edited by Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse (McFarland, Table of Contents, Amazon, Powells, Henry Jenkins Review, Rebecca Tushnet Review). I say with no false modesty that I think most of the essays in this book are way better than mine -- not because mine is bad, but because this collection is so damn good.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
The book Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet: New Essays, edited by Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse, is now available for purchase from the McFarland web site. My essay in this book is called "Construction of Fan Fiction Character Through Narrative", and I'm rather proud of it, if only because most of the writing in fan studies is about community and my essay is much more a close reading of the fiction itself than anything else. (I have Kristina Busse to thank that it draws on community at all, instead of being nothing but close reading, and because of her contributions it is a much stronger essay.)

The other essays in the collection are all excellent. If you're at all interested in fan studies, take a look at the book.

Our two early reviews make me dance:

"Innovative explorations of fandom and new media...marvelous...a much-needed record of developments in contemporary fan practices. Anyone wanting to learn more about media fandom—where it’s come from and what it means today—will need a copy" —Matt Hills, author of Fan Cultures and How To Do Things With Cultural Theory

"What is especially impressive here is the focus on collaboration or collective story telling. The essays speak to how fan authors relate to the inspiring texts and their authors, how they deal with issues of intellectual property, how they fit within larger literary traditions, how fan authors deal with both canon and fanon, and how fan authors interact with each other in terms of collaborative authorship. This book gets me excited about the whole field all over again. I learned something fresh and interesting in every chapter"—Henry Jenkins, author of Textual Poachers


I don't know when my other forthcoming essay in a compilation is due, although it is ironically also McFarland, even though it is not about fan studies at all. That one I cowrote with Rebecca Rabinowitz, and is about queer heterosexuality and children's literature. Don't worry, I will be sure to kvell about it here when it comes out.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I've just come back from a conference, and even though it wasn't a library conference, I think it's interesting to post about here; in fact, there are some issues that arose at the conference which I think are of interest to librarians. Console-ing Passions is a feminist media studies conference. While there is ostensibly a focus on new media, most of the panels I attended had to do with traditional forms of interacting with more traditional media, such as television, news media, and the like. Even many of the panels which focused on the Web treated the more static forms of media still created by an editorial team. Don't get me wrong, many of the panels were extremely good and I enjoyed the conference, but there wasn't a lot of emphasis on social networking. Facebook and Myspace got mentioned in passing several times, but I only went to one panel (decides the two fanfiction panels with which I was involved), which really focused on user-created content. That panel had two papers about message boards and one about identity creation on Friendster.

I think there's a good space open for a crossover conference that covers issues of social networking. From a literary analysis perspective I'm primarily interested in the texts which are the product of social networks; as a librarian I am interested in various forms of communication and information sharing that social networks enable. I assume media scholars would also be interested in social networking but that's not my field of expertise, I'm afraid.

In any case, it was absolutely wonderful to me my fellow panelists in person, when before I only knew them online (and in the case of [livejournal.com profile] kbusse, on the telephone). Everyone had great things to say, and I've great ideas about this paper and more. Now I just need to find an OA humanities journal to submit the paper to. *g*
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I'm finishing up a paper which I will be presenting at Console-ing Passions in a few weeks, and I'm trying to maintain both the longer, reference-full version for later publication as well as the panel version. I feel like I should be putting my scholarship where my mouth is, which means I should be looking for an open access or green journal for publication. But for some rather obvious reasons, there is much more pressure to produce open access year-reviewed journals in the sciences than in the humanities, and the papers I write are such niche publications anyway. I need to find an open access humanities journal which will take a literary criticism article of the type that is usually only interesting to media and culture studies people. This will be an entertaining research project.

On an entirely nonlibrary related note, today is turning out to be an entirely hands-free day for me, mostly because I was an idiot over the weekend. You know, dictation is wonderful, but it really hurts my brain when it's the only way I'm allowed to control a computer. It's not difficult, it's just exhausting. Its neural exercise, and it hurts.
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