Fan Studies and/as Feminist Methodology

Briony Hannell

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This article examines the taken-for-grantedness of feminist cultural studies and feminist theory in genealogies of fan studies. It considers the implications of this for discussions of methodology within fan studies, in which feminist methodological and epistemological frameworks are often inferred but rarely stated. To do so, it examines a number of parallel debates surrounding knowledge, power, emotion, and reflexivity taking place within feminist theory, feminist cultural studies, and fan studies to demonstrate how key methodological approaches within fan studies are deeply grounded in feminist epistemologies and ontologies. Building upon theorizations of the dual positionality of the acafan alongside feminist theorizations of self-reflexivity, it explores how acafandom aligns with feminist methodological frameworks regarding researcher reflexivity and the ‘fragmented’ (Brunsdon 1993) feminist researcher. Moreover, it argues that the importance of emotion and affect to acafan scholarship aligns fan studies with feminist traditions of personal and autobiographical writing which privileges subjectivity as a legitimate source of knowledge. Finally, it considers how explicitly positioning fan studies within the context of the methodological and epistemological frameworks established within feminist cultural studies may allow us to expose and explore other gaps and silences within the field, particularly in the context of whiteness and race.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransformative Works and Cultures
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2020


  • feminism
  • Feminism and Feminist Theory
  • methodology
  • Affect
  • autoethnography
  • Intersectionality
  • Research methodologies
  • reflexivity
  • epistemology

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