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Digital Studies pres.

Queer Geek Methodologies: Social Justice Fandom as a Transformative Digital Humanities

Alexis Lothian

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alexis
Mobilized in contexts ranging from the Movement for Black Lives to debates about safe spaces and freedom of speech on university campuses, digital demands for social justice are often expressed in creative forms that draw from popular media. This talk draws from early work on a new book project that explores the digital production of knowledge about gender, race, and disability through the intersection of social justice discourse and fan culture, exploring ways that the creative production of media fan subcultures has preceded and shaped the development of contemporary digital politics. Participants in creative fan communities have theorized their own knowledge production as in conversation with, yet distinct from both media industrial and academic models; drawing from these approaches enables us to understand “digital humanities” as a phenomenon that need not be contained within the bounds of academic disciplines. Through the creation, circulation, and reception of fan fiction, vids, and other creative works, fans have developed complex methodologies for social justice activism, bringing together concepts from feminist, queer, critical race, and disability studies with the intense effective investments that being a fan entails.

Alexis Lothian is Assistant Professor in the Department of Women’s Studies and Core Faculty in the Design Cultures and Creativity Program at University of Maryland College Park. Her scholarship is situated at the intersection of queer studies, speculative fiction, and social justice in digital culture. Her book Old Futures: Speculative Fiction and Queer Possibility is under contract with NYU Press, and she has also published in venues that include Poetics Today, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Cinema Journal, Camera Obscura, Social Text Periscope, Journal of Digital Humanities, Extrapolation, and Ada: a Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology. She is a founding member of the #transformDH digital humanities collective and the editorial team of the open access journal Transformative Works and Cultures, a member of the Tiptree Award motherboard, and co-chairs the academic track at the feminist science fiction convention WisCon.
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alexis

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