By Ryan Dougherty, October 16th, 2014
“Approaching fandom through an explicitly materialist lens may at first seem redundant,” posits Bob Rehak
, associate professor of Film & Media Studies, in a recent issue of Transformative Works and Cultures
. “Haven’t fans always been defined, for better or worse, through their relationships to objects?”
Guest editing the prominent fan studies journal, Rehak cites a Saturday Night Live sketch from nearly 30 years ago, in which William Shatner mocks his paraphernalia-obsessed fans at a Star Trek convention, urging them to “Get a life.” Still, the “things” of fandom are more prominent than ever, he argues, “offering a window into our present while revisiting the past with a freshly object-oriented historicist eye.”
Exploring Comic-Con, video games, blockbuster films, the Batmobile, online fan communities, and much more, the publication “explores the material practices of fandom through craft, commodity, collection, and curation,” says Rehak.
Rehak also blogs at Graphic Engine
, designed as a place for academically-oriented discussions of media culture, history, and theory. Below, he discusses how the internet has changed fandom and the Baby Boom’s impact on the media landscape.