Writing Seminars: Fans, Culture, and Society

Instruction in writing well-reasoned analyses and academic arguments, with emphasis on the importance of reading, research, and revision. Using examples of nonfiction prose from a variety of academic disciplines, individual sections focus on topics such as vision, globalization, generosity, experts and expertise, the good life, and dissent in American culture.

Swiddleston, Hiddleswift, Swiddles, Tayto: however you may have taken the news, it was hard in summer 2016 to escape coverage of the star-crossed romance of Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston, a love-affair described by one publication as “[the closest] we’ll get to two memes dating.” Dragging their massive and fervent fanbases in their wake, the furore surrounding Swiddles encapsulated the state of modern fandom: noisy, opinionated, and emerging increasingly, irrepressibly, from the subcultural underbelly into the mainstream. Where the first fan-published magazines in the 1960s positioned fan culture as subcultural in the fullest sense of the word— at once subversive and subordinate— today’s fan behaviours and their platforms readily reveal what was long suspected: that we are all fans of something. Whether of a sports team or band, book or TV series, being a fan and participating in the shared culture of a fandom is an experience that binds strangers together as much as it drives them apart. From Potterheads to Twihards, Beliebers to Little Monsters, soccer hooligans to gamers, this course looks at the expressions of fan culture in a variety of fandoms in order to examine the formation and practices of these cultures.

Students who wish to enroll in a section of this seminar should participate in online preregistration, which opens at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, December 12, 2016 and closes promptly at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

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TTh 1:00pm-2:15pm