J’ai écouté : It’s a Thing!, un podcast sur les fan studies

Le podcast It's a Thing!Après les cours en ligne Fan Studies for Fans, maintenant disponibles en format ebook, Lori Morimoto s’est lancée dans un projet de balado (podcast). Intitulé It’s Thing!, ce podcast reçoit des invités, qui discutent des études sur les fans ainsi que de leur relation avec le fandom en général. Après l’écoute des trois premiers épisodes, voici à quoi vous pouvez vous attendre.

Épisode 1 : Suzanne Scott & Lesley Willard

Pour le premier épisode de ce podcast, Morimoto reçoit Suzanne Scott, professeure adjointe au Département Radio-Cinéma-Télévision de l’université du Texas, ainsi que Lesley Willard, doctorante au même département de l’université du Texas. En avril 2019, Scott a publié le livre Fake Geek Girls. Fandom, Gender, and the Convergence Culture Industry chez New York University Press.

Morimoto : It did two things that really have stuck with me. One is that whole issue of, that you were just talking about, of trying to update in some ways the ways that we’re talking about women and fandom and feminism and fandom in fan studies.

Scott : Yeah. I mean, yeah. I think what’s interesting is a lot of the book is focused on various boundary policing practices that we tend to associate with toxic masculinity, or toxic technocultures, and how that gets endorsed by media representations and industries when they imagine this white male version of a fan.

Morimoto : Yeah

Scott : What was interesting is there’s a similar kind of boundary policing practice that happens within fan studies, within the same decade that I’m looking at, but a lot of that’s about protecting a feminist underpinning of the field that I was sort of fascinated by, and that I think people worried, as the field got bigger and bigger, and more vast and more diverse, that we were going to lose some of those feminist politics.

Quant à Willard, elle prépare une thèse sur les relations entre les producteurs de télévision et les fans, notamment l’utilisation du fan art en tant que matériel promotionnel.

Willard : But I think ecosystems online like Tumblr put into practice and into a visual, trackable space all the connections that I’m tracking. So it’s not just like a monolithic industry, right? There are people that are making strategic decisions on their promotional side. There are people that are fans of their own right, but they work the social media accounts for companies like Viacom, you know. And then you have the fans who are doing the art and posting that, who some of them are very interested in using that as a way to move into the industry, much like happens in video games and comics and animation. And then there are people that are, you know, more on the traditionally resistant side of it. And just tracking how all of the different elements interact together in that ecosystem, especially with the various changes from the platform affordances and the platform intermediaries, I think it’s just really evocative of how complicated this system is, and how, you know, it’s not a monolithic audience and not a monolithic industry, but it’s a series of players and decisions and subjectivities that are all kind of mixed together. And I think that’s a really interesting Gordian Knot to pull at.

Épisode 2 : Rebecca Williams

Au deuxième épisode, Morimoto a discuté avec Rebecca Williams, auteure de Post-Object Fandom: Television, Identity and Self-Narrative, mais également directrice de l’ouvrage Everybody Hurts: Transitions, Endings and Resurrections in Fan Cultures. Elle travaille également sur la rédaction d’un livre à paraître prochainement, soit Theme Park Fandom: Spatial Transmedia, Materiality and Participatory Cultures.

Williams : So, there’s a lot of different things happening in the themed spaces that I find interesting from a fan studies perspective, but also just from a wider media studies viewpoint, which is why do- why are people going to these places that they know aren’t « real, » that they know are designed to sell them stuff? They know that these are corporate commercial spaces, they’re aware of that, but yet they still engage and it still has meaning for them. And so that was kind of where I came at the project from, which was all these things in my head together and thought, let’s go and find out what is happening with that.

Épisode 3 : Kavita Mudan Finn & EJ Nielsen

Lors du troisième épisode de ce podcast, Morimoto reçoit Kavita Mudan Finn et EJ Nielsen, codirectrices du livre Becoming: Genre, Queerness, and Transformation in NBC’s Hannibal. Elles ont, entre autres, discuté de la place de la subjectivité dans les recherches.

Finn : I mean one of the things that I have been seeing in fields outside of fan studies, the other fields that that I kind of move around in, is finally a greater acknowledgement of researcher subjectivity. The fact is that we all come from somewhere. We all have our own our own unique backgrounds, and that is going to impact the way that we read texts and the way that we interact with our subjects of study. In one of my two fields, one of my two primary fields is medieval studies, and there has been a lot of controversy about racism and white supremacy in that field. And it has made people, it has forced people to really look at themselves and think about where they’re coming from. What kinds of biases and assumptions they’re bringing with them.

And so I feel that the whole idea of critical objectivity in academia is coming under scrutiny, and rightly so. Because academia for a very long time has associated neutrality and partiality, critical distance, with whiteness and with maleness. So I feel that fan studies is, to some extent, ahead of the game, because acafans are essentially, they are essentially stating upfront that this is our perspective. We are personally involved in this. It does not make us any less rigorous in our research, but we do, we at least acknowledge.

Nielsen : We acknowledge. We are, yeah, we are these bodies in this space. And objectivity is a lie.

Finn : It is.

Nielsen : Affective disengagement in research is kind of a lie. No one gets a PhD in something they don’t passionately care about.

Finn : That’s for sure.

Que penser du podcast It’s a Thing?

Après l’écoute des trois premiers épisodes, il est intéressant de constater la diversité des sujets abordés. De plus, les personnes interviewées ne parlent pas seulement de leur sujet de recherche, mais également de sujets qui les passionnent personnellement, comme le cosplay avec Suzanne Scott ou les comédies musicales avec Rebecca Williams.

Nous tenons également à souligner le travail de Lori Morimoto, notamment pour la maîtrise des sujets abordés. Nous sentons ses efforts de recherche, mais aussi son aisance avec ses invitées. Nous lui souhaitons beaucoup de succès avec ce projet!

Pour connaître la diffusion des prochains épisodes de ce podcast, n’hésitez pas à suivre la page Facebook d’It’s a Thing! ou son compte sur Twitter.