starlady: the OTW logo with text "fandom is my fandom" (fandom^2)
[personal profile] starlady
In other words, the still-pervasive notion that folktales, especially fairy tales, are primarily "kids' stuff" owes a great deal to 19th-century racism, classism, and religious bigotry.

Endemic to this line of theorizing is the assumption that the folklorist, the one collecting and interpreting folklore, is not of the folk: the folk are always the Other. Traditional folklorists were educated bourgeois outsiders who traveled to rural areas in their own lands—or, better yet, foreign locales—since one cannot find folklore among one's own group, because only "they" have folklore—"we" have Culture (Toelken 1979, 3–7, 265). This did not change until Alan Dundes redefined the folk as "any group of people whatsoever who share at least one common factor" (Dundes 1965, 2)—thus including everyone, including educated bourgeois folklorists, in the category of the "folk." […] [note 7]

note 7: This distinction between the "folk" and the "not-folk"—as well as the revision of these definitions—is of obvious relevance to fandom studies. Fans have traditionally been figured as the Other, responding in unofficial and often "bizarre" ways to the official culture industry. The rise of the "aca-fan" as a category has gone a long way toward dispensing with these problematic assumptions.
--Catherine Tosenberger, "Kinda Like the Folklore of Its Day: Supernatural, fairy tales, and ostension"
(Transformative Works and Cultures, vol. 4, 2.6-7)
It's not that this is news, necessarily, but I do like it when people are able to synthesize so cogently and pointedly. And in the next paragraph there are some very perceptive comments on class (and folklore) in The X-Files. Oh, TWC, I ♥ you.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-22 18:35 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hee - I was actually looking at that same article and being really impressed with another footnote, regarding the opinion that actual folklore studies people have of the 'Campbellian monomyth.' I mean, I already know that the general reaction is essentially disdain, but knowing this anecdotally is one thing; seeing it actually confirmed in an article is another entirely. the same time, though, I still don't know how I feel about the whole aca/fan concept. Jenkins can certainly get away with it *because* his academic credentials are impeccable - and I certainly do not consider myself one. Then again, of course, this is why my own article is not as much on anything fans do, but rather, on how the official culture industry *responds* to fans.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-23 04:02 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Despite being both aca and a fan I am extremely hesitant to make the jump to describing myself as an "acafan," mostly because it seems like then both sides deride you--not without good reason, in light of things like SurveyFail ( And at this stage in my career that's simply not something I want to invite (despite the fact that I think all of my interests, both scholarly and fannish, ultimately do converge on one ur-concern). That said, I really do like the idea of acafen being a bridge between the two sides--or maybe it's the fact that they exist at all that breaks down the false dichotomy?

One thing about the Campbellian monomyth (that was pointed out to me by Tom Lamarre, actually) is that among its many other shortcomings it's really freaking Protestant. And many people are not Protestant, let alone not being Christian.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-24 23:59 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The problem with even trying to being an aca-fan, I think, is that you have to speak two languages at once. The aca and the fan may do similar things, like reading/watching closely and creatively, and forming networks with others who have similiar interests, but they do it in different frames. And that's why you can end up failing on both fronts. I often feel like my writing is too personal for a thesis (luckily, my advisor supports me), but too pretentious for a non-aca readership. It's a nerve-wracking place to be.

But still, if we don't try it, who will? Be the change you want to see in life, and all that!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-25 02:15 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've noticed my writing on the DW having a higher percentage of aca-speak lately and…I'm okay with that.

Actually I think this is one of the reasons I didn't go into media studies, that I can focus on history and only then circle back through intellectual history into fandom studies and posthumanism.

I was thinking more that aca-fen are still regarded with a great deal of suspicion in some spheres of fandom, and that I'm sure aca-fen must be inherently suspicious to those few aca people who know what an acafan is. But, yes. Be the monkey-wrench in the system!

P.S. Speaking of which, are you attending any cons south of the border this year?

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-25 14:50 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So far, I'm not meeting with a lot of suspicion from either fan or aca types in my life. I do sense that tension out there, but it seems to me that as long as you don't step on any major mines (a la SurveyFail) you can negotiate the field, carefully. Or so I hope!

As for cons, I don't know if I'll make any. I'm going to Scotland in May, and (with luck) Japan from late June-August. I want to try and make SGMS again in the fall too. And that about tops my yearly travel budget.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-25 23:17 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Scotland! I am jealous.

You should totally come to SGMS. I'll be there!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-22 19:17 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Love this. Thanks much for bringing it to my attention.


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