Transformative Works and Cultures CFP: Centering Blackness in Fan Studies
(3/15/2024; 1/1/2023)

Editors: Alfred L. Martin, Jr. and Matt Griffin

This special issue centers Blackness in fandom studies. Fandom studies has
gestured toward race generally, and Blackness in particular, from its
alleged white center while always keeping race at its margin. It has
largely co-opted the language of race, difference, and diversity from the
margins and recentered it around white geeks and white women. Indeed,
fandom studies has done lots of things—except deal with its race problem.
But as Toni Morrison (1975) asserts, that is the work of racism: it keeps
those at the margins busy, trying to prove that they deserve a seat at the
center table. In this way, those considered marginal expend energy trying
to be granted access to the center while citing, reifying, and expanding
the supposed universality of the center that fails to engage the margin
because it is too particular. If, as the title of Audre Lorde’s famous 1984
essay reminds us, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s
House,” then it is time to willfully ignore white fandoms, just as Black
fandoms have been willfully ignored.

For this special issue, we seek to privilege and celebrate Blackness, not
as a comparative but as enough on its own. We want essays that build on the
relatively small but groundbreaking scholarly work that centers Black
fandoms, including work on young Black male (Brown 2000) and female (Whaley
2015) comic readers; Black gay sitcom fans (Martin 2021a); Black fan
“defense squads” that protect fictional characters’ Blackness (Warner
2018); Black fan labor (Warner 2015); Black antifandom (Martin 2019b);
Black fans’ enclaving practices (Florini 2019b); Black female music fans
(Edgar and Toone 2019); and Black acafans (Wanzo 2015). It also engages and
with and builds on our Black feminist foremothers, including bell hooks
(1992), Jacqueline Bobo (1995), and Robin Means Coleman (1998), who showed
us ways to think about how Black audiences engage with media. This corpus
of work on Black audiences and fandoms provides a base for further
theorization about the experiences and meanings of Black fandom. We
encourage work that engages, nuances, and challenges this foundational
work, leading to novel reconsiderations of how fan studies defines and
understands Black fandoms.

We invite submissions that contribute to a conversation that centers Black
audiences, fans, antifans, and global Blackness itself. We are not
interested in comparative studies of Black fandom practices, because
Blackness is enough. This issue seeks to center Blackness and (anti)fandom
in all of its permutations. We hope the following suggested topics will
inspire wide-ranging responses.

Black folks and “doing” fandom.
Black fans and deployment of (anti)fandom.
Black fan practices imbricated in a politics of representation.
Affective Black fandoms.
The politics of Black (anti)fandoms.
Interactions between Black fans and media producers.
Audience/fan response to Black-cast remakes and recasting non-Black-cast
texts with Black actors.
Black fandoms of non-Black-cast media.
Blackness and enclaving.
Black music fandom.
Black sports fandom.
Black fandom and labor.
Black fandom and affect.
Black antifandom and hate.
Global Black fandoms.
Black fandom and contemporary or historical politics.
Mediated constructions of Blackness.
Black fandoms and celebrities/parasocial relationships.
Black queer fandom.
Disabled Black fandom.
Case studies of specific texts related to Black fandom.
Historical and archival accounts of Black fandom.

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