EVERYONE STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW AND READ THIS BECAUSE HOLY SHIT MY WHOLE LIFE JUST CHANGED FOR THE BETTER.
So apparently in addition to running Archive of Our Own and providing legal advocacy to fans who run up against plagiarism accusations, the Organization for Transformative Works also publishes a peer-reviewed academic journal called Transformative Works and Cultures that is dedicated to promoting scholarship about fanworks and practices. This journal is 100% free to access and has been publishing 2-3 volumes (each containing 15-18 articles, essays, interviews, and book reviews) per year since 2008.
Why is this so fucking exciting? For one thing, academia has a terrible habit of being increeeedibly sloooow to discuss new ideas — partly due to the very long turnaround time necessary to get articles published. By contrast, Transformative Works and Cultures is super up-to-date and teaming with topics that are actually relevant to modern fandom.
Want to read an academic article about female fans being “fridged” in comic book culture? Done. Interested in learning about the societal implications of mpreg within fanfiction/fanart? Here you go. Want to learn more about race and ethnicity in fandom? Well, would you look at that. Feel a mighty need to read a specially-conducted interview with Orlando Jones about producer/fan interactions in “Sleepy Hollow”? Holy butts the show only came out in 2013 and they already have this what the hell.
And all of this — all of the knowledge, all of the analysis, all of the academic credibility being added to fannish ideas — is 100% free to access.
Transformative Works and Cultures is doing fandom an incredible service: by giving a voice to people within fandom, by preserving the discussions and ideas that were important to fannish culture at certain points in time, by emphasizing our significance as a subculture — and all the while doing it on our own terms.
These are fans working hard to give legitimacy to other fans, and if you don’t think that’s rad as hell then I don’t even know what to tell you.