Francesca Coppa

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Name: Francesca Coppa
Also Known As: fcoppa, FC, Cesca
Occupation: former OTW board member (2007-2012), professor
Medium: talks, articles, video, other
Works: listed
Official Website(s):
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

Francesca Coppa is a long-time fan and also an academic. She is one of the founding board members of the OTW, serving from 2007 to 2012. She is a Professor of English and Film Studies at Muhlenberg College, where she teaches. Right now, she is writing and lecturing on vidding as a form of remix culture, but she has also written about: fan fiction, fandom history, dramatic literature, stage magic, and performance studies. She also directed a series of short films about vidding for MIT's New Media Literacy project.

Fans sometimes confuse her with Franzeska Dickson.

OTW Biography

Francesca Coppa is director of film studies and professor of English at Muhlenberg College, where she teaches courses in dramatic literature, popular fiction, and mass media storytelling. Her writings on media fandom have been included in Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet and presented at MIT's Media in Transition conference. Coppa has been attending conventions and buying zines since the early 1980s, when she and her friends wrote fanfiction by hand and circulated it by snail mail. She has been involved in online fandom since the mid-1990s as a writer, list administrator, vidder, archivist, and community moderator.[1]

OTW Tenure

She was the Secretary of the Board and served on several committees at various times over the five years she served: ADT, Communications, Open Doors, and Vidding. Like all Board members, she also served as the Board Liaison for several other committees at various times, including Legal and Journal. Coppa resigned from all her positions in the OTW at the end of the 2012 term.[2] In 2016 she rejoined the OTW staff as one of the soliciting editors of Transformative Works and Cultures's "Symposium" section.


While serving with the OTW, Coppa worked with OTW Legal to petition the Library of Congress for a DMCA exemption for noncommercial remixers like vidders. The OTW and EFF got that exemption in 2009, and Coppa worked with OTW Legal again in 2012 and 2015 to secure the renewal (and also the expansion to hi-def and Blu Ray) of the exemption. She and Rebecca Tushnet have also lobbied the House Judiciary committee to have fandom's voice heard in any future reconsideration of copyright legislation.

Some 2019 Thoughts

I have been in school nearly all my life and the OTW has been, hands down, the best school I ever went to: like they say, “everything I really needed to know I learned in the OTW!” I have such fond memories of those early days in the summer of 2007, after the call for an Archive of Our Own. The meetings lasted for hours! Naomi Novik and Michele Tepper were evaluating technological tools and drawing up user experience blueprints, and Rebecca Tushnet and Susan Gibel were working on our nonprofit paperwork and creating the legal and institutional structures governing our existence. (I think Susan is the unsung hero of the early OTW.)

Meanwhile, I was organizing our volunteers into committees. We’d asked those who were “Willing to Serve” to tell us about their skills and interests, and it was the most impressive and moving thing: we had lawyers, coders, public relations professionals, database analysts, professional fundraisers, sysadmins, journalists, management consultants, accountants, and technical writers; just so much expertise and so many kinds of expertise, and all of it offered to us out of love.

That is the thing that stays with me, and the thing I think most about now: that the OTW and the AO3 are about the collective, the network of fandom with its strong ties (“I would die for you”) and its looser ties (“Hey, we were in a fandom together once”), and then just the ties of shared identity (“you have once loved a thing as I have loved a thing!”) that make us recognize each other when we see a t-shirt, a sticker or an open tab. All of us are pulling together toward a common goal. We are what the web was meant to be: a network of people coming together to build something and keep it going.[3]


Bibliography of Fandom-Related Work


  • Vidding: A History, University of Michigan Press, 2022, a book that traces the history of vidding through a "critical, feminist lens".[4] The title is open-access, something that was funded in part through a restricted donation to the Organization for Transformative Works from Harry Potter Education Fanon.[5]
  • The Fanfiction Reader: Folk Tales for the Digital Age, University of Michigan Press, 2017, a collection of fanfiction stories in major Western fandoms with contextual and analytical essays on each.


Selected Media Appearances

Video Work

Director, Vidding, a documentary on remix culture produced by the Organization for Transformative Works in partnership with MIT and New Media Literacy, 2008. Edited by Laura Shapiro. Sound by AbsoluteDestiny. Segments include:

  1. What is Vidding? (2:48)
  2. Technology and Tools (3:09)
  3. Good Vids, Bad Vids (3:18)
  4. I like to watch (3:19)
  5. Collaboration and Community (3:03)
  6. Why We Vid (3:50)

Director, “5 Questions with Sandy and Rache of the Media Cannibals," a short film for TWC's history issue, March, 2011

Director, "5 Questions with Kandy Fong," a short film for TWC, 2014.


Coppa has curated shows of fan vids for Spectacle: The The Music Video at the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati; Cut-Up an exhibition at the The Museum of the Moving Image, NYC; MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture at the Vancouver Art Gallery; and for the DIY 24/7 Video Summit at the University of Southern California.

Class Syllabi


  1. ^ Who We Are. Organization for Transformative Works website (Accessed 2 December 2012)
  2. ^ Board Resignations and Appointments for 2013. OTW news post 27 December 2012. (Accessed 4 December 2013.)
  3. ^ Ten Years of AO3: Francesca Coppa
  4. ^ Tweet by University of Michigan Press, February 24, 2022. Accessed May 3, 2023.
  5. ^ We also received our first restricted donation: US$5,161.62 from HP Education Fanon, Inc., a fellow 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting the benefits of reading that sadly ceased operations in 2018. The donation will go toward supporting Francesca Coppa’s book on the history of fan vidding for the University of Michigan Press, which is currently in production. The money will be used to pay for the University of Michigan to host the fanvids referenced in the book, as well as assist in making the book free for everyone to read and use. 2020 Budget Update Post, Organization for Transformative Works, October 7, 2020. (Accessed May 3, 2023).