Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Politics and International Relations
© 2016 Grace M Jasper
In this thesis, I examine definitions of fan activism in context of the assumption that Millennials are not politically active and that all online political engagement is superficial. I argue that the perception of political apathy is partially due to the fact that some of the most enthusiastic and intensive political work done by this generation is simply not picked up by conventional means. Some of this ‘hidden’ work is being accomplished by way of radical fanworks. Specifically, I examine Harry Potter fanworks and the ways in which they place marginalized identities at center stage, as well as the misogyny and homophobia that underlie the stigmatization and belittlement of fanworks. While many validate fan activism only when it engages with traditional political problems via traditional political means, I advocate for the validation of the cultural politics work done by fandom—of the purposefully transgressive narratives individuals create in defiance of typical cultural stories. To dismiss fandom is to dismiss a critical element of youth culture, and to dismiss the cultural politics of fandom in favor of traditional civic and political engagement by fandoms is to ignore the more radical positions being explored online.
Jasper, Grace M., "Beyond Dumbledore's Army: Making Space for Fan-Created Content as Fan Activism" (2016). Scripps Senior Theses. 871.