Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lizy's Project Proposal about S.H.I.E.L.D.

Title: (Currently) Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." as an Emerging Fandom: A Study in Fan Culture.

Thesis: Marvel's new television series "Agents of SHIELD" will succeed based on how it is projected through online media by digital fan communities.  Digital fan communities help fans navigate their immersion in a fandom to find meanings within their entertainment through online discussion and remixed content.  Fandoms grow better when their fans share content with their friends.  Dr. Wickman suggested I look at the scholarship on immersion and see how it compares to what I am seeing in fan culture.

Relevance:  Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is only in its first season.  In terms of both its episodes and its relationship with the fans, it has been dynamic.  It is part of the larger Avengers and Marvel fandom and one of the show's main producers is cult favorite Joss Whedon.  If there was any time to examine a possible fandom in the act of forming, this is the moment.  There is a lot of potential for the show and a lot of tension in the fan community.

Format:  I am thinking a formal essay, except maybe with picture snapshots of twitter and facebook posts.  Maybe I could go multimedia--not for the formal paper but the final blog post or something.

Curation of Content:  I started snipping pictures of Facebook and Twitter posts over break.  It will keep up.  I am also accumulating reviews of the show and fandom articles on Zotero.

Curation of Secondary Sources: I have read/am reading books about the Star Trek and Dr. Who fandoms.  I also have a few scholarly articles which I have curated via Google Docs and Zotero (I got it for Dr. Burton's Shakespeare Class--it's awesome!)

Curation of Community: I am following SHIELD fan sites on Twitter, the Helicarrier podcast and Agent Coulson's Army, and they in return are following me.  I am being followed by PhantasticGeek on Twitter. I follow the official SHIELD sites on Twitter and Facebook and most of the show's actors on Twitter.

Social Proof:  I normally watch SHIELD with my roommates and one or two friends, so I can talk to them about it.  I also have a guy friend CJ in the medieval club who likes the show (I mean, a lot of clubbies like the show, but CJ especially).  And then I am in contact with Jason Hamilton who is an expert on fandoms in general.
People I don't know directly:  I exchanged emails with I also tweeted the author of a Buzzfeed article about the Marvel Cinematic Universe's big impact on Hollywood.

So I just found this huge blog page about scholarly blogs and journals devoted to fandom studies.  Here is the link if my classmates or other interested parties want it: http://fanstudies.wordpress.com/fan-studies-journals/

Of the ones listed above, I want to submit to Participations, which is a journal of audience reception studies. Their organization exists because (quote from website) "we recognise that these fields are not at present well-supported within the broad academic communities. There are few undergraduate courses and even fewer postgraduate courses which emphasise this work. Only a small number of research students work in this area, compared to other kinds of work on all the many forms of cultural and media expression. Yet we believe that the findings of audience and reception work are of crucial importance to all our fields – not least because claims about the audience are so frequently embedded within other kinds of work, and within public discourses about media and culture."  

So it sounds like mine is the kind of paper they are looking for.
I would also like to submit to Transformative Works and Cultures, since it deals more specifically with fandoms.
The real challenge I am setting for myself is The Journal of Science Fiction Film and Television, which is published by Liverpool University Press IN THE UK!!!!!!!  More likely than not, if I got accepted to a conference they put on I'd have to do a video conference, but hey, it would still be cool.  The guidelines say I have to use UK grammar and spelling and also use specific citations for TV shows and actors.  My response:

self-generated meme.
What I need to do next:

Go through the Dr. Who fandom book I read over the break and comb for quotes.
Create an orderly history of FB comments and twitter quotes (also block out names).
Listen to the Helicarrier podcast
Post link to this blog and "Tweethis" statement to social media sites.  Ask fans about their views of fandom and S.H.I.E.L.D.
Start writing out the paper
Curate fan art and memes specifically related to SHIELD.
fandoms and immersion
Henry Jenkins
Cheryl Harris
get fandom books renewed at library
Find more recent SHIELD reviews