OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Rebecca Black & Jonathan Alexander

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Jonathan Alexander is Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of California Irvine. The author, co-author, or coeditor of 16 books, he writes frequently about literacy, multimedia and digital forms of composing, and issues of social difference and justice. Rebecca Black is an Associate Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. She studies the role of digital media and popular culture in how young people learn, develop, and play. Today, they talk about their recent collaboration studying fanfiction.

How did you first find out about fandom or fanworks?

JA: I’ve long been a fan myself, particularly of science fiction and SF film and television, and have written in the past as (what Henry Jenkins calls) an “acafan” — an academic who also studies fandoms and the popular genres that we enjoy in our “private” lives. I’ve written about comics, graphic novels, SF, and most recently young adult fiction. In my most recent scholarly book, Writing Youth: Young Adult Fiction as Literacy Sponsorship, I look at how many young adult novels model for young people ways to manage the various media tools that surround them. But I also examine the kinds of media content — including short films or video trailers —- that young people make in response to their favorite Young Adult (YA) novels and narratives. I’m interested in how young people use popular narratives -— from Hunger Games to Harry Potter — to think about their lives, their worlds, and their futures.

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This Week in Fandom, Volume 107

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released this week! What did you make of it? Has it got you excited for episode IX? Let us know in the comments!

The OTW was itself the subject of a major news story, as the AO3 was nominated for a Hugo award in the category of Best Related Work. Many fans have been celebrating the “nomination of our own” as evidence of fanworks’ growing legitimacy; others have taken the opportunity to praise the AO3’s hardworking developers, systems administrators and other volunteers. OTW co-founder (and AO3 visionary!) astolat took the opportunity to express gratitude for everybody involved with the Archive’s creation and continued life: ‘if you have contributed to the AO3 in any way, I hope you too feel happy and seen and recognized’, she wrote in a Tumblr post responding to the news. Read More

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March 2019 Newsletter, Volume 133


It was a busy month for the OTW’s Legal team, beginning with a post to mark Fair Use/Fair Dealing week, which ran this year from 25 February to March 1. The week is coordinated by the Association of Research Libraries and celebrates the laws that permit fans to create transformative works based on copyrighted content.

Unfortunately, the rest of the month was less celebratory as EU lawmakers voted on March 26 to pass the “Digital Single Market Directive,” which contains fan-unfriendly proposals related to the use of copyrighted material. The good news is that AO3, as a non-profit, will not be affected by the legislation; but other platforms may have to make more adjustments. Legal wrote a post for the OTW blog, which explains the ruling and its implications in detail.

The OTW is committed to advocating for the rights of fan creators, and the Legal team also took action this month to make sure that our voice is heard as part of these debates. They joined the Horizon 2020 European Advocacy coalition, which will conduct research and advocacy in Europe, and submitted a comment to the US Copyright Office regarding the definition of “commercial.” Read More