My dissertation project is examining lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) audiences and creatives (content creators) that collaborate in the creation of new media texts like web shows, podcasts, and video games. I believe that an emerging queer production culture is developing that prioritizes collaborative authorship with audience- participants in the creation of new media texts as a way of queering or othering capitalism. My project focuses on LGBTQ texts because minority groups are often early adopters and negotiators of new technologies and the changing culture around such media objects, in my case the negotiation of authorship and ownership in a capitalist structure. Methodologically, my project relies on textual analysis of media texts and audience social media feeds, legal discourse analysis, and ethnographic methods of surveys, interviews, and reflexive observation at events like conventions, live shows, and meet-ups. My dissertation answers questions about how collaborative authorship in queer new media projects change the relationships between audiences and creators, particularly concerning capitalism and communal art through social media storytelling, micropatronage, and licensed fan merchandise.
I am interested in examining two fandom/audience behaviors in particular: culturally modified cosplay as fandom formats and fan tourism as transcultural fandom. Cosplay is a portmanteau of costume and play that originates out of Japan and describes fans dressing and acting as a character from a media text. Cosplay is associated with fan conventions, meet-ups, and even parades. I am interested in examining cosplay that has modified the character’s costume design to better fit cultural conventions of the cosplayer—viewing the original costume design as the “format” of the character that is then modified for regional specificity.
Where I view cosplay as a “format” for cultural modification, I view fan tourism as not only fandom’s “pilgrimage,” but an economic and cultural industry that has the opportunity to contribute to transcultural fandom positively. My fan tourism research coincides with my teaching agenda, which includes developing a series of study-abroad courses devoted to the intersection of identity and fan tourism, integrating discourses on gender, orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, and nationality with transcultural fandom and fan tourism as an academic concept and audience behavior.
cultural studies, audience reception (fan studies), emerging media, LGBTQ+, queer theory, comics studies, video game studies, industries studies