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Looking to Fandom in a Time of Change

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Keynote talk for EUROCALL 2017 (August 25, 2017) at the University of Southampton.

We live in a time of change that requires flexible and creative approaches to the socio-political mandates and constraints imposed upon our teaching and scholarship. While CALL provides us with technology-mediated solutions to some of the challenges that stem from recent political developments (e.g. subverting limitations to academic freedom imposed by national travel bans; see Oskoz & Smith, 2017), technology itself poses other challenges, including threats to personal dignity, privacy, individual agency, and democratic digital citizenship (European Data Protection Supervisor, 2015). In this talk I argue that we look to fandom for inspiration and motivation in responding to the socio-political challenges facing us in this time of change.

Publicado en: Educación
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Looking to Fandom in a Time of Change

  1. 1. Looking to Fandom in a Time of Change Shannon Sauro Malmö University @shansauro l l
  2. 2. “I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order ...” Executive Order No. 13,769 (2017)
  3. 3. “…we, language educators and applied linguists …need to “double-down” on our commitment to cultural openness. We need to facilitate a broadening (not narrowing) of our world view, and technology-enhanced language learning can play a crucial role in this endeavor, as language is at the heart of communication, understanding, empathy, and ultimately a peaceful existence”. (Oskoz & Smith, 2017, p. ii)
  4. 4. Investigating L2 text-based & voice chat performance of EFL Syrian Learners Shahlah Adi
  5. 5. Parisa Mehran Designing and Developing a Blended Course: Best Practices for Japanese Learners & Learning by Design: Bringing Poster Carousels to Life Through Augmented Reality in a Blended English Course (with Mehrasa Alizadeh, Ichiro Koguichi, Haruo Takemura) End of Conference Reflections on Virtually Connecting (CMC SIG Workshop) Saturday 11:00-12:00 Building 67 Room 1027
  6. 6. J.K. Rowling @jkrowling 20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others. It's been wonderful. Thank you. #HarryPotter20 12:27 PM – Jun 26, 2017 Art: Fox Estacado
  7. 7. “’cultural acupuncture,’ mapping fictional content worlds onto real-world concerns.” (Slack as explained in Jenkins, 2012, para. 1.9)
  8. 8. “A fan is a person with a relatively deep positive emotional conviction about someone or something famous...” (Duffet, 2013, p. 18) Photo credit: Sake Jager
  9. 9. “…online fandoms, have made use of networked technologies not only to engage with each other, but also to influence the artistic, legal, and political conversations around the media or individuals they are fans of.” (Sauro, 2017, p. 132)
  10. 10. Learning Activism Challenging Privacy
  11. 11. Learning Art: Fox Estacado
  12. 12. “What is needed for the beginning of the twenty-first century is a recognition of the complexity of language learning: that it is sometimes play and sometimes for real, sometimes form-focused and sometimes meaning-focused, sometimes fiction and sometimes fact.” (Cook, 1997, p. 231) Art: pennswoods
  13. 13. How a fan and L2 learner of English developed a new textual identity through regular correspondence in English around the design of a fan website for a Japanese pop singer. (Lam, 2000)
  14. 14. The advanced leadership and academic literacy skill development of a 13- year-old engaged in debate and moderating discussions in online forums and fan sites. (Curwood, 2013) Art: pennswoods
  15. 15. The development and use of intercultural and L2 language skills of a Spanish manga fan who engaged in amateur translations (scanlation) of Japanese manga from English into Spanish in an online fan community. (Valero-Porras & Cassany, 2015) Figure 2 (Valero-Porras & Cassany, 2015, p. 11)
  16. 16. Case studies of ESL learners’ use of fanfiction in anime fandoms to transition from novice writer in English to successful writer, and the bilingual fanfiction writing practices of Finnish fans of American TV shows to index multilingualism and global citizenship. (e.g. Black, 2006; Lepännen et al, 2009)
  17. 17. The Blogging Hobbit: A collaborative story of a missing moment from The Hobbit: • Story outline and map • Collaborative roleplay fanfiction - each group member to write from the perspective of one character from the novel • Reflective paper (Sauro & Sundmark, 2016)
  18. 18. “this writing activity has influenced my language skills…. During this project I have been able to expand my repertoar [sic] of English words which are not so commonly used in everyday English anymore.” (Sauro & Sundmark, 2016, p. 420 )
  19. 19. “I felt it unfair to work with The Hobbit on such a project since a big part was to connect with a character from the book and write from that perspective. To choose a book with absolutely no women at all made me not wanting to take neither Tolkien nor this assignment to heart.” (Student Reflection, Cohort 2014)
  20. 20. Challenging Art: mudblood428
  21. 21. Sequence of subtasks Cognitive complexity Target form(s) Degree of interaction Modality of interaction Authenticity Common Task Concerns
  22. 22. “Fanfiction is a story written by a person in the fandom because breaking into the creator’s office and telling them that everything that they did is wrong and rewriting it is considered ´rude´ and ´illegal´” (Fan definition reported in Klink, 2017) Art: mudblood428 & lizardspots
  23. 23. “…restorying can also characterize the complex ways that contemporary young people narrate the word and the world... In other words, as young readers imagine themselves into stories, they reimagine the very stories themselves, as people of all ages collectively reimagine time, place, perspective, mode, metanarrative, and identity through retold stories...” (Thomas & Stornaiuolo, 2016, p. 323) Figure 1. Forms of Restorying (Thomas & Stornaiuolo, 2016, p. 319)
  24. 24. “Racebent characters have long been making appearances on sites like Tumblr, but they’ve been picking up heat recently. One of the most popular and frequent, at least on my dash? Hermione Granger as a woman of color, most often black.” What a “Racebent” Hermione Granger Really Represents (Bennett, 2015) Art: mariannewiththesteadyhands (in Bennett, Feb 1, 2015)
  25. 25. “…if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn't see myself reflected at all. “ What a “Racebent” Hermione Granger Really Represents (Bennett, 2015)
  26. 26. “The teacher is of course an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves.” Freire, in We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change (Horton & Freire , 1990, p.179) Art: mudblood428
  27. 27. “A challenge is an organized activity in which participants agree to perform or produce fan activities or fanworks according to some pre- determined criteria.“ • Gift exchanges Secret Santa, ficathon • Prompt-based Fests, games, battles • Other Big Bangs, charity drives (“Challenge”, n.d.)
  28. 28. A Study in Sherlock: Collaborative mystery writing with a challenge 1. Retell a Sherlock Holmes mystery or tell an original mystery but in an alternate universe. 2. Tell an original Sherlock Holmes mystery in the original context.
  29. 29. “See here” Sherlock said pointing to the small screen, “I have had a google alert set up for these certain phrases ever since I took a small interest in the Ms. Al-Farsi-case, relating to racial violence in the Malmö area.…” “Islamophobiacs who fear everyone and everything they can’t buy at Ullared” scoffed John. “Yes, well, not quite” replied Sherlock. “The people behind the avatars on this particular site is not your average, uneducated riffraff pointing fingers at anyone who doesn’t share their love of meatballs.” A Study in Brown (Cohort 2016) Study in Graffiti (Cohort 2016)
  30. 30. Activism Art: mudblood428
  31. 31. They (the Uganda people) seem savages but they know that the laws of nature should not be offended. Hopefully they do not keep the sentenced ones in dormitories. Stanislaw Pieta (Polish MP)
  32. 32. “Jag tror att de flesta med judiskt ursprung som blivit svenskar lämnar sin judiska identitet. Men gör de inte det behöver inte det vara ett problem. Man måste skilja på medborgarskap och nationstillhörighet. De kan fortfarande vara svenska medborgare och leva i Sverige. Samer och judar har levt i Sverige under lång tid.” I think most people of Jewish origin who became Swedes leave their Jewish identity. But if they do not, that does not have to be a problem. You must distinguish citizenship and nationality. They can still be Swedish citizens and live in Sweden. Sami and Jews have lived in Sweden for a long time. Björn Söder (Second Deputy Speaker, Swedish Riksdag) Dagens Nyheter, 14 December 2014
  33. 33. “For many of us, this crisis — this looming violent, white supremacist, misogynistic, ableist, homophobic, transphobic administration, and all this hatred our neighbors have elected — is the darkest we’ve ever faced…. It is understandable that references to fictional stories amid all this very real horror might seem glib or profane..... Still, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what stories are, and what they’re for. Stories do not come from thin air; they come from what we’ve seen, what we’ve believed, what we’ve lived through. Stories are not how we escape the world, but how we make sense of it — how we navigate it, how we survive it, and how we archive our survival.” Wizard Rock in the Age of Trump (Morales, Nov. 28, 2016)
  34. 34. “The Ministry is determined to root out such usurpers of magical power, and to this end has issued an invitation to every so-called Muggle-born to present themselves for interview by the newly appointed Muggle-born Registration Commission.” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Rowling, 2007, p. 209)
  35. 35. We’re changing the world by making activism accessible through the power of story. Since 2005, we’ve engaged millions of fans through our work for equality, human rights, and literacy. The Harry Potter Alliance Art: mudblood428
  36. 36. “The HPA, founded in 2005, has conducted 25 social justice campaigns and boasts 120,000 members. In a single campaign to end the genocide in Darfur, the HPA donated more than $10,000, helped collect 7,500 petition signatures, mailed postcards to President Obama, and increased total phone calls made to 1-800- GENOCIDE by more than 50 percent. During an auction to raise money to help respond to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the HPA donated more than $123,000 to the nonprofit organization Partners for Health. The HPA donated more than 55,000 books to nonprofits in the Mississippi Delta and a youth village in Rwanda.” (Hinck, 2012, para 1.1)
  37. 37. • The Blogging Hobbit • A Study in Sherlock • Harry Potter and …What is the challenge we face today? Art: mudblood428
  38. 38. Privacy Art: pennswoods
  39. 39. “[I]ndividuals are increasingly required to disclose much more personal information over the Internet in order to participate in social, administrative and commercial affairs, with ever more limited scope for opting out….. ‘Digital breadcrumbs’ are dropped every minute and combined to classify individuals in real time to create multiple and at times contradictory profiles. These profiles can be circulated in microseconds without individuals' knowledge, and used as the basis for important decisions affecting them.” (European Data Protection Supervisor, 2015, pp. 12-13)
  40. 40. • 1999 LiveJournal (LJ) founded by Brad Fitzpatrick (USA) • 2000-2001 Fandom finds LJ • 2002 Fan communities, challenges, fests • 2000s Primary blogging platform in Russia • 2005 Sold to Six Apart • 2005 Memories, tags and archiving options • Mid-2000s Promoting posts (“LiveJournal”, n.d.) Art: mudblood428
  41. 41. • 2007 Sold to SUP (Russian ownership; Servers in USA) • 2007 Six Apart deletes certain fan journals due to threats from religious group • 2008 Founding of Archive of Our Own (Ao3) • 2008-2014 Fandom dispersal • 2016 Servers move to Russia • 2017 New TOS mandating compliance with Russian law (“LiveJournal”, n.d.) Art: mudblood428
  42. 42. “The Archive of Our Own emerged as an archontic struggle in the face of corporate media's wish to capitalize on its undercommons….The politics of this archive are explicitly concerned with legitimizing "transformative" uses under US law, clarifying the uncertain legal place of fan works for the sake of their makers' legal safety. The OTW wishes to halt its archival subculture's reliance on the incidental and unreliable archiving of most online information, which can so easily disappear or be appropriated, and provide a "deposit library" for fan works.” (Lothian, 2011, para 2.1)
  43. 43. “As you may already know, ORCiD is a freely available digital identifier service that directly links a researcher to their work, ensuring an individual and their publication/research activities can be easily distinguished and identified by anyone anywhere in the world. To facilitate this initiative, we will be requiring all users of the journal’s ScholarOne Manuscripts peer-review system to add their ORCiD ID to their account information over the next few weeks in anticipation of the initiative’s launch in June. This includes everyone; all editors, authors, co-authors, reviewers, and anyone else with an account on the ScholarOne site.” Excerpt from an Automatic Email for a Journal 24 May 2017
  44. 44. Learning Activism Challenging Privacy
  45. 45. Acknowledgements Art and Images: Fox Estacado of The Art of Fox Estacado: Fine Fan Art and Geekery ( All rights reserved and used in this presentation with permission. Mudblood428 of Potter on Paper ( All rights reserved and used in this presentation with permission. Pennswoods All rights reserved and used in this presentation with permission. Sake Jager Photo contribution. All rights reserved and used in this presentation with permission. A special thank you to: Shahla Adi and Parisa Mehran for sharing their experiences, images, and research. Francis M. Hult, Lorrie Kim, Robert O’Dowd, and Breffni O’Rourke for feedback and input on components of or prior versions of this talk. Sirkka Ivakko and Gosia Kurek for texts and translations.
  46. 46. References Bennett, A. (2015, February 1). What A "Racebent" Hermione Granger really represents. Buzzfeed. Retrieved from alannabennett/what-a-racebent-hermione-granger-really-represen-d2yp?utm_term=.whRP7G78P#.ooKogjg4o Black, R.W. (2006). Language, culture, and identity in online fanfiction. E-learning, 3, 180–184. “Challenge”. (n.d.). Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Fanlore Wiki: Cook, G. (1997). Language play, language learning. ELT Journal, 51(3), 224-231. Curwood, J.S. (2013). Fan fiction, remix culture, and The Potter Games. In V.E. Frankel (Ed.), Teaching with Harry Potter (pp. 81-92). Jefferson, NC: McFarland. Duffett, M. (2013). Understanding fandom: An introduction to the study of media fan culture. New York/London: Bloomsbury. Exec. Order No. 13,769, 3 C.F.R. 8977 (2017). European Data Protection Supervisor. (2015). Towards a new digital ethics: Data dignity and technology. Retrieved from edp/files/publication/15-09-11_data_ethics_en.pdf Horton, M., & Freire, P. ( 1990). We make the road by walking: Conversations on education and social change. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Hinck, A. (2012). Theorizing a public engagement keystone: Seeing fandom's integral connection to civic engagement through the case of the Harry Potter Alliance. Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 10. 10.3983/twc.2012.0311 Jenkins, H. (2012). “Cultural acupuncture”: Fan activism and the Harry Potter Alliance. Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 10. doi 10.3983/twc. 2012.0305 Klink, F. (2017). Towards a definition of “fanfiction”. Retrieved from 178d4c681289 Lam, W.S.E. (2000). Literacy and the design of the self: A case study of a teenager writing on the Internet. TESOL Quarterly, 34, 457-484. Lepännen, S., Pitkänen-Huhta, A., Piirainen-Marsch, A., Nikula, T., & Peuronen, S. (2009). Young people’s translocal new media uses: A multiperspective analysis of language choice and hetero-glossia. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14, 1080–1107. “LiveJournal”. (n.d.). Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Fanlore Wiki: Lothian, A. (2011). An archive of one’s own: Subcultural creativity and the politics of conservation. Transformative works and cultures, no. 6. doi: 10.3983/twc.2011.0267 Morales, C. (2016, November 28). Wizard rock in the age of Trump. MTV News. Retrieved from wizard-rock-trump-election/ Oskoz, A., & Smith, B. (2017). Turbulent times and responsive action. CALICO Journal, 32(2), i-iv., J.K. (2007). Harry Potter and the deathly hallows. New York: Scholastic Inc. Sauro, S. (2017). Online fan practices and CALL. CALICO Journal, 34(2), 131-146. doi: 10.1558/CJ.33077 Sauro, S., & Sundmark, B. (2016,) Report from Middle Earth: Fan fiction tasks in the EFL classroom. ELT Journal, 70(4), 414-423 . doi: 10.1093/elt/ ccv075 Thomas, E.E., & Stornaiuolo, A. (2016). Restorying the self: Bending toward textual justice. Harvard Educational Review, 86(3), 313-338. Valero-Porras, M.-J., & Cassany, Y. (2015). Multimodality and language learning in a scanlation community. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 212, 9-15. Presentation available at