Augmenting fan/academic dialogue: New directions in fan research | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2046-6692
  • E-ISSN: 2046-6706



Fan studies as a discipline is still in its infancy. But even given this nascence, there have been significant shifts in the ways that it has theorized, studied and investigated fans over the first two and a half decades of research. As scholarship, fan studies has moved away from ethnographic investigations of fans as the main object of study to focus instead on the output of fan discourse as the key mode of examination. At the same time, scholars like Henry Jenkins and Matt Hills, both central to the discipline, have opened dialogue about the nature of the fan/academic, often called the ‘aca-fan’. This article uses the lens of aca-fandom to analyse fan answers to interview questions at a large Midwestern Doctor Who convention. Fans were asked about the role that fan studies has played in their life, how they perceive the study of fans and whether fan studies as an academic discipline has an effect on their fandom. The fans’ answers reflect a critical awareness of fandom but a general ignorance of fan studies. This article argues three points to take away from this. First, fan studies needs to refocus attention back onto fans themselves through ethnographic work. Second, the discipline needs to refocus its output less on esoteric academic titles and more on popular venues. Finally, fans and academics should engage in specific dialogue to open up avenues for new fannish and academic exploration.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): aca-fan; academy; convention; Doctor Who; fan; interview
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