Call for Papers for our Panel at the Annual Meeting of the ASA in Los Angeles (6-9 November 2014)


Our research initiative calls for contributions to a panel at the 2014 ASA Annual Meeting (6-9 November 2014) at the Westin Bonaventure, Los Angeles, CA:

Fandom and the Public Sphere: Textuality, Affect, and Social Relevance

The political impact of texts is often theorized within either of two paradigms: their reception in the Habermasian public sphere or the practices of fandom they trigger. This panel aims to dialog these approaches. Habermas's notion of the public—conceptualized as a sphere of rational exchange foundational for modern democracy—has facilitated much critical thinking about the political work of texts and cultural practices. While Habermas conceives of affect as impeding the rational operations he sees at the heart of the public sphere, fandoms are typically understood as spheres of communal cultural practices and exchange organized around pleasure and play, whose political valency is circumscribed by their connections to commercial 'mass culture.' How can a dialogue between the disparate conceptions of public and fandom help unlock the complex dialectics of pleasure and politics in contemporary literature and culture? How can it help conceive of the modes of political appeal, mobilization, or opinion formation inscribed in texts and/or picked up by their audiences? We welcome case studies of contemporary texts in any genre, mode, and medium, as well as of their circulation in the US and beyond, that address these or related questions.

Please submit your abstract by 6 January 2014 to

For more information, please see: