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Analyzing Fandom Community and Media Piece: A Personal Position Paper


Our course material covers multiple aspects of fandom as an increasingly more common mode of popular media consumption. For this assignment, we will take a broad definition of the term by Cornel Sandvoss: “Regular, emotionally involved consumption of a given popular narrative or text” (2005: 8)1.

While each of us engage with media in different ways, we, as citizens of the contemporary world, cannot avoid consuming media. Fans are distinguished from average consumers by the entrenched affective investment they have in the media texts they consume. While some fans immerse themselves in the fandom associated with the media piece, engage in cosplay or produce fan videos, others purchase specific merchandise, follow forums, blogs, vlogs, listen to podcasts, post videos on social media, or consume fanfiction. For this assignment, you will analyse the production and consumption of the media piece of your choice with specific attention to its fandom community that is constantly blurring the boundaries between these two processes.

This paper will be written as a personal ‘position’ paper, where you will include the following  information:

Part 1: Introduction and background information about the media piece and its fandom

Part 2: Personal positionality where you ‘situate’ yourself in relation to the main dynamics of the fandom and the piece.

Conclusion: mention the relevant media literacy skills you occupied for your analysis

For first part of the paper, you are invited to conduct a brief research into a fandom that you subscribe or used to subscribe. Your choices for the topic are quite limitless: films, TV Shows, Comic books, Sports Clubs, Musicians and the list goes on. Introduce the fandom in relation to the media piece in about two pages. The topic of your choice (that is the media piece in this case) will determine the media literacy questions you will need to pay attention in your analysis. However, I will provide some suggestions:

• You may want to mention the background, origin, context of the piece, the messages encoded in the piece and/or the affects it cause in fans.

• Do the producers or how do the producers engage with fans? What platforms do they use and why?

• What types of fan fiction -or content created by fans- is available on this specific fandom?

• Consider the power dynamics within the piece and how they relate to the ways that fans engage with it.

• Do you observe any sexist or racist representations in the media piece and do the fans employ any resistance strategies to mock with or subvert them?

In the second part, you are asked to position yourself in relation to the dynamics of the media piece and its fandom and write a reflection on your experience through an intersectional feminist lens. Once again, the piece of your choice will determine the specific aspects you should focus on. Consider the following questions in your reflection:

• Where would you situate yourself in this fandom? You will observe that the fandom community usually blurs the lines between production and consumption processes. Are you merely a consumer in relation to it, do you also produce content or use content created by other fans - memes-GIFs etc.?

• Why does this piece appeal/ used to appeal to you? What types of emotions does it evoke in you?

• In what ways do you decode the messages in the piece and why?

• Are there any aspects of the piece and its fandom that you identify/disidentify with and how do they relate to your multiple positionalities/identities/life circles?

• What are the elements that disturb you that you would like to see changed? Maybe you imagine ways to subvert those elements.

Complete your reflection with a brief conclusion where you lay out the ways you used your media literacy skills in your analysis.

• All assignment will be submitted online through the Assessment Submission links in the GNDS 125 onQ course site no later than 2:00 PM on the due date.

• Links to the submission boxes can be found within the QUICK LINKS section of this document or via the TIMELINE.

• The uploaded files are required to be in .doc or docx format.

• You are expected to follow the MLA style of referencing.

• Check your work to confirm that it is in 12-point font, Times New Roman, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins and a separate cover page including your name, student number, the name of your

TA as well as the title for your paper and the two key concepts.

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