Journal of Fandom Studies: Disability, Pedagogy, and Identity in Fan Studies Classrooms
Disability stands as a unique category of identity and experience, as it has multiple entry points, and its duration varies from person to person. In the classroom, these disabilities, as well as the other gender, sexual, and racial identities with which they intersect become “identities-in-process” (Gray-Rosendale and Birnley 2011, pp 218). The popular culture, and by implication Fan Studies, classrooms in which these students learn become places to grapple with the questions born from the multiple, complex identities of students with disabilities.
As Fan Studies classrooms develop emerging pedagogies and consider how students’ identities impact their engagements with media texts, the question arises of how teaching fandom impacts the lived realities of students and instructors. For students and instructors with disabilities, this different representation and engagement may be particularly fraught.
- How does a consideration of disability as a category of identity play out when teaching fan studies?
- How can we interrogate the assumed “safety” of fan spaces?
- How does such an interrogation impact our understanding of Fan Studies classrooms as “safe spaces” as well?
- How do we as Fan Studies scholars and teachers resist the medical model of disability by avoiding diagnostic labels?
- How do we explore and incorporate a pedagogy that critically examines disability and its intersecting identities in the classroom?
- How do we study disability in fandom and in the media texts themselves and open our classrooms to that exploration?
- How does fandom reveal the politicized nature of identity and disability in ways larger cultural readings do not?
This special issue of the Journal of Fandom Studies aims to investigate the intersection of disability studies and fan studies. We welcome all explorations of this intersection, but are especially excited about discussions of how the pedagogy we employ, as well as the texts we teach and identities we embody, impact our students and our teaching.
We encourage you to define disability broadly as you examine your chosen text. Analysis of texts of all media are accepted and encouraged.
Submit proposals of 500–600 words by May 12, 2017 to issue guest editor
Katherine Anderson Howell
for July 2018 publication.