Gender and fandom

From spectators to social audiences

Authored by: Katherine E. Morrissey

The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Gender

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138924956
eBook ISBN: 9781315684062
Adobe ISBN: 9781317408055


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Studies of fandom are part of a broader history of research on film spectators and the cinema (see Janet Staiger’s piece on Reception Studies in this volume). At the same time, they represent a break from film studies traditions. “Fandom” is a term strongly linked with “fan studies,” a line of research that emerged in the 1980s and 90s. Fan studies strategically moved away from the term “spectator” and many of the conceptions of spectatorship that were dominating film studies during this period. The research addressed in this chapter—feminist analyses of fandom—represents both a response to film theory prior to the 1980s, and a continuation of the work already being done by feminist film scholars of this period. Despite the complex relationship between spectatorship and fandom, the history of fan studies—and of feminist studies of fandom—is dependent on a legacy of feminist film studies scholarship.

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