International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts
The International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA) is an annual conference held by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA).
The IAFA is a scholarly organization devoted to the study of the fantastic (broadly defined) as it appears in literature, film, and the other arts. The purpose of the organization is to promote and recognize achievement in the study of the fantastic, mainly through the organization and management of the annual academic conference. They also publish the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts (JFA), which is a peer-reviewed journal for scholarship within the field of the fantastic.
The idea of holding an International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts was conceived in 1979 by Robert A. Collins of Florida Atlantic University (with the counsel of Roger C. Schlobin of Purdue University and then aspiring author Timothy R. Sullivan). Collins had long bemoaned the hostility with which readers and students of fantasy literature were greeted by scholars; and Schlobin had recently been rebuffed by members of the SFRA for suggesting they add the word "fantasy" to the description of what their organization researched. In launching the conference they defined its scope in relation to Eric Rabkin's definition of the fantastic as any literature in one hundred eighty degree opposition to realism.
The first meeting, in March of 1980, was so successful that it inaugurated an annual celebration of the fantastic. It was in 1982, at the 3rd ICFA meeting, that the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts was established, with Jules Zanger as President and Roger Schlobin as Vice President.
In 1988, IAFA began publishing the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, an interdisciplinary quarterly.
Fan Participation at the ICFA
By the very nature of its subject, the ICFA was the creation of fans—fans who were also academics, or interested in seeing an academic approach to texts that, at the time, were usually dismissed by academe as unworthy of serious consideration. Put simply, only a fan would be passionate enough to write an academic paper on a subject that, even today, means that the paper will be considered of lesser significance by many potential employers or tenure track committees.
Participation at the annual conference is not limited to people with formal academic affiliation; and many papers are given by fan-scholars.
Other attendees include professional authors and artists, and magazine editors or publishers' representatives in the field of the fantastic.
The IAFA currently has the following divisions:
- Fantasy Literature: broadly defined to mean anything from genre fantasy to magic realism and folk tales, including criticism on works by fantasy authors writing in English, interdisciplinary approaches to the genre, and scholarship on fantasy theory.
- Horror: any aspect of horror literature, including discussion of the evolution and theory of Horror.
- International Fantastic: either non-anglophone or originating in a culture considered/considering itself as foreign within the anglophone world; this may include minority literatures within an anglophone country.
- Science Fiction Literature: focus on texts (rather than film, television, or comics), as well as critical theory
- Visual and Performing Arts and Audiences: visual arts such as comic books, paintings, architecture, sculpture, photographs and illustrations; the performing arts, including music, dance and theater; games, including fanfic, fan artwork and cosplay; transformative texts, both fan and professional, including mashups and viral marketing; and audience/reception studies concerning audiences for any medium or genre of the fantastic.
- Film and Television: the fantastic—broadly construed—in cinema and television.
- Children's & Young Adult Literature & Art: literature aimed at younger readers, including picture books as well as middle-grade and young adult novels, short stories, and graphic novels that involve fantasy, horror, paranormal romance, science fiction, and any other aspect of the fantastic.
Papers Relating to Fandom
Papers on the subject of fandom and its activities were initially the purview of the Fantastic in Popular Culture and Visual Arts Division. However, the increasing number of papers led to the establishment in 2006 of a separate Communities and Cultures of the Fantastic Division, which was renamed Participatory and Convergence Studies Division in 2010.
The head of this division was Barbara Lucas. With the completion of her tenure as division head in 2012, the ICFA combined Participatory and Convergence Studies and Visual & Performing Arts into Visual and Performing Arts and Audiences. The current head of this division is Isabella van Elferen.
ICFA 23 (2002)
- Sesson 36: Women and Power (Chair: Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College)
- "The Sith Academy: Fan Writers and Self-Reflexivity: by Eden L. Lackner, University of Calgary
ICFA 24 (2003)
- Session 1: Criticism, Conformity, and Control: Negotiating Authority in Slash Fiction (Chair: Debbie Felton, University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
- "Criticism from the Inside Out: The Very Vocal Diaries of Cassandra Claire" by Eden Lackner, University of Calgary
- "Discourses of Desire: Subversion and Conformity in Slash Fiction" by Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College
- "Discipline and Domesticity: Repetition Compulsion as Control in Slash Fan Fiction" by Kristina Busse, Alabama School of Mathematics & Science
- Session 31: Panel: Fandom and Academia (Chair: Eden Lackner, University of Calgary. Panelists: Andrea Campbell, F. Brett Cox, Barbara Lucas, Robin Reid, Joe Sanders, Theresa L. Storey, Christopher A. Vaughan.)
- Session 76: Character, Community, and Culture: The Influences of Fan Fiction and Fandom (Chair: Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College)
- "Excuse Me, But Can I Borrow That Body?: The Hidden Relationship Between Character Slash and Real People Slash" by Elizabeth Guzik, University of Southeren California
- "Busting the Canon: Enterprise Slash Fiction" by Karen Hellekson, independent scholar
ICFA 25 (2004)
- Session 10: Panel: Fan Fiction/Fan Culture Scholarship (Moderator: Eden Lackner, independent scholar. Panelists: Matt Hills, Irma Hirsjarvi, Christine Mains, Catherien Siemann, Jennifer Stoy, Stephanie Tuszynski.)
- Session 15: Finding Middle Ground in Middle Earth: Negotiating Character and Audience in The Lord of the Rings Fandom (Chair: Kristina Busse, University of South Alabama)
- "Cunning Linguists: The Queer Erotics of "Words/Silence/Flesh"" by Robin Reid, Texas A&M University - Commerce
- "Blurring Boundaries: Divining the Divide Between Actors and Actor-Characters in The Lord of the Rings Real People Slash Fiction" by Eden Lackner, University of Calgary
- "Deconstructing Faramir: The Fluidity of Fandom in The Lord of the Rings Slash Fiction" by Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College
- Session 19: Conformity and Divergence: Canon and the Fan Fiction Writer (Chair: Elizabeth Guzik, University of Southern California)
- "Bridging the Gap: Writing Slash for Myself" by Karen Hellekson, independent scholar
- "Enforcing Canon: Modes of Fan Fiction and Fan Responses" by Rebecca Gellott, John Carroll University
- "Fictional Characters" by Jane Glaubman
- Session 46: Popular Culture Theory Roundtable (Facilitators: Barbara Lucas, Eden Lackner, Kristina Busse)
- Session 67: (Sub)Culture: Uncovering the Dynamics of Fan Communities (Chair: Karen Hellekson, independent scholar)
- "The Fan as Voter: The Trek BBS" by Astrid Vicas, Saint Leo University
- "Will Success Spoil the Fandom?" by Jennifer Stoy, University of California - Santa Barbara
- "Fannish Fandom from Early Literary Influences to the Audience and Fandom" by Irma Hirsjarvi, Jyvaskyla University
- Session 91: Antipodean Latitudes: Gender, Power, and the Erotic Ideal (Chair: Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College)
- "Hold On, I'm Typing One-Handed: The Erotics of Ideal Audiences in Fan Fiction Communities" by Elzabeth Guzik, University of Southern California
- "Negoatiating Authority: The Balance of Power in Harry Potter Slash" by Kristina Busse, University of South Alabama & Susie Lute, independent scholar
- "Clark Kent and Lex Luthor: "theirloveissopure" Discourses of Genre, Gender and Morality in Smallville Slash Fiction" by Louisa Stein, New York University
ICFA 26 (2005)
- Session 24: Warriors and Wights: The Fantastic in Popular TV and Film (chair: Rhonda Brock-Servais, Longwood University)
- "From Warrior to Wimp?: An Analysis of Violence and Subjectivity Transformation in Xena, Warrior Princess and Fan Fiction: by Rachel McGrath-Kerr, Australian National University
- Session 47: Fantasy and Fan Fiction: Merging Modes and Genres in Appropriated Texts (Chair: Karen Hellekson, independent scholar)
- "If I Wasn't a (Celebrity)": Alternate Times/Bodies/Realities in Celebrity Fiction and the Search for Identity" by Kristina Busse, University of South Alabama
- "Embodying the Geek Hierarchy: Media Fanfiction and Threatrical Performance" by Francesca Coppa, Muhlenberg College
- ""In Real Time": Role Playing Games and the Inflection of Fantasy in the Everyday" by Louisa Stein, New York University
- Session 74: Many Meetings: Identity and Community in The Lord of the Rings Fan Fiction (Chair: Kristina Busse, University of South Alabama)
- ""In the Darkness Bind Them": The Dark Erotic in The Lord of the Rings Slash Fiction" by Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College
- "Bound to Their Fate: Character Drift Between Source Texts and Real People Slash Fiction in The Lord of the Rings by Eden Lackner, independent scholar
- "Breaking of the Fellowship: Competing Discourses of Archives and Canons in The Lord of the Rings Internet Fandom" by Robin Anne Reid, Texas A&M University - Commerce
- Session 90: Popular Culture Theory Roundtable (Text to be discussed: Sara Gwenllian Jones' "The sex lives of cult television characters". Moderators: Kristina Busse, University of South Alabama & Louisa Stein, New York University.)
- Session 100: Always Already Written: Fan/Fiction (Chair: P. Andrew Miller, Northern Kentucky University)
- "Fan Fiction and the Gift: Writer, Reader, Text" by Karen Hellekson, independent scholar
- "Righteous, Proper and Good: Engendering Honor in Star Trek and Babylon 5" by Larisa Mikhaylova, Fulbright scholar at UWBC
- "Fanfiction: An Ethnographic Perspective" by Bryn Neuenschwander & Alyc Helms, University of Southern Indiana
ICFA 27 (2006)
- Session 15: Where Do We Go From Here: Gaming, Space and Culture (Chair: Eden Lackner, independent scholar)
- "Game Time in Fantastic Space: Temporality in Final Fantasy XI" by William Huber, Univesity of California, San Diego
- "Hypercapitalism in Hyperspace: The Exploitation of Fan Style and WorldCon" by Brian Burns, George Washington University
- "One Middle-earth, Hold the Mordor: On the Cultural and Economic Impact of Lord of the Rings Tourism in New Zealand" by Alyc Helms, Indiana Unvrsity, Bloomington
- Session 63: Heterogeneity, Gender, and Nationalism in The Lord of the Rings Fandom (Chair:Sharon Emmerichs, University of Misssouri-Columbia)
- "A Thrust in the Dark: Slash Girls' Internet Queerness" by Robin Anne Reid, Texas A&M Unversity-Commerce
- "All the Peoples of Middle-earth: The Lord of the Rings Fandom and the Myth of Homogeneity" by Eden Lackner, independent scholar
- "Falling to Shadow and Ruin: Darkfiction, Slash, and the Failure of Romance" by Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College
ICFA 28 (2007)
- Session 7: Negotiating Fantastical Communities: Barriers, Borderlands, and Bondage. (Chair: Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College)
- "New Relationship Communities and Science Fiction: Polyamory and the Goreans" by Amy Hale, St. Petersburg College
- "Breaking Gender and Sexuality Barriers in a New Frontier: Hidden Frontier, the Fan's Star Trek" by Trey Stohlman, Central Michigan University
- "The Gothic Internet: Exploring Uncanny Borderlands in Cyberspace" by Isabella Van Elferen, Utrecht University
- Session 20: Mary Sues, Male Pregnancy, and Men of Gondor: Navigating Gender and Sexuality in Fan Communities (Chair: Amy Hale, St. Petersburg College)
- "Autopsying the Living: Mary-Sues-Cum-Maenads in Online Picture Communities" by Eden Lackner, independent scholar
- "Frodo is Having My Baby!: Fannish Fascination with Male Pregnancy" by Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College
- "Into the Woods: Faramir as Top, Bottom and In Between" by Robin Reid, Texas A&M University - Commerce
- Session 26: The Roles We Play and the Worlds We Play In: Identity and Environment in Role-Playing Games (Chair: Manuel Tejeda, Barry University)
- ""Only Words": "Half-Life" in Philip K. Dick's Ubik and the Dynamics of Online Role-Playing Environments" by Liam R. Watts, Missouri State University
- "Role-Playing Morality: An Examination of Alignment and Identity" by Philip Lightweis-Goff, independent scholar
- Session 40: Culture Theory Round Table (Moderator: Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College)
- Session 44: The "Fan" in "Fantasy": New Narratives, Heroes, and Technologies (Chair: Anthea Murphy, independent scholar)
- "I've seen your movies: you always come back!": What Genres (And Fans) Know About The Dark Side In Buffy The Vampire Slayer" by Arnie Parry, National Central University, Taiwan
- "Reluctant "Heroes" and "Goth" Fans: Politics of Anime Representation of Machine Bodies and Violent Pleasures" by Jen-Pen-Liu, National Tsinghua University, Taiwan
- Session 82: Panel: I am Legion: Self and Identity in Fan Communities (Moderator: Eden Lackner. Panelists: Christine Mains, Paula Jane Remlinger, Ronald C. Thomas Jr, Shannon White.)
- Session 84: Homosexuality, Identity, and Hate: Virtual Personae in World of Warcraft (Chair: Robin Reid, Texas A&M University Commerce)
- "Putting The Gay In Gaming: The (Non)Experience Of Homosexuals In World of Warcraft" by Deborah Bowen, independent scholar
- "Identity Creation Tools and Blizzard's World of Warcraft" by Don Merritt, University of Central Florida
- "Gaming and Role-Playing: The Construction Of Hate In PVP Warcraft" by Manuel Tejeda, Barry University
ICFA 29 (2008)
- Session 11: Tolerance and Technology: Race and Culture in Fantastic Spaces (Chair: Karen Hellekson, independent scholar)
- "Tolerating the Unreal: Examining Anglo and Latin Representations of Fantastic Intrusions" by Manuel Tejada, Barry University
- ""Harshin Ur Squeez": Visual Rhetoric of Racisms in LiveJournal Fandoms" by Robin Anne Reid, Texas A&M - Commerce
- "Digital Metaphors for Phantom Selves: Computation, Mathematics and Identity in Speculative and Fantastic Fiction and Gaming" by Fox Harrell, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Session 22: Panel: Theorizing an International & Interdisciplinary Fan & Audience Studies (Moderator: Eden Lee Lackner. Panelists: Barbara Lucas, Robin Anne Reid, Vera Cuntz, Mads Haahr, Bryn Neuenschwander.)
- Roundtable Reading (Moderator: Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College. Text for discussion: "One True Pairing: The Romance of Pornography and the Pornography of Romance" by Catherine Driscoll.)
- Session 51: Capitalism, Control, and Connotation: Fan Fiction and Fan Economics (Chair: Robin Anne Reid, Texas A&M - Commerce)
- "Unnatural Little Beasts: The Possibility of Twincest from the Perspectivve of Fannish Reception of the Harry Potter Series" by Vera Cuntz, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
- "Dollars and Scents: The Collision of Fandom and Economics in the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Community" by Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College
- "Selling Shakespeare's Sister: Commodification and Control of the Fan Fiction Economy" by Eden Lee Lackner, independent scholar
- Session 82: Participation and Personalization: Constructing Fan Communities (Chair: Eden Lee Lackner, independent scholar)
ICFA 30 (2009)
- Session 25: Ideology, Interactivity, and Introjection: Development and Consumption in Video Games (Chair: Lars Schmenk, University of Hamburg)
- "The Costume and the Mask: The Avatar Between Use and Absolute Knowledge" by Christopher Patterson, University of Washington
- "I'm Just a Wizard Laboring in a Violent and Softcore Consumer Culture: A Historical Look at the Changing Culture of Consumption in Digital Games" by Nathan Garrelts, Saginaw Valley State University
- Session 34: Transgression and Transformation: Breaking Boundaries in Online Fiction (Chair: Kayley Thomas, University of Florida)
- ""A Room of Our Own": Women Writing Women in Fan and Slash Fiction" by Robin Anne Reid, Texas A&M University - Commerce
- "But We're All Stealing Anyway: Plagiarism in Fandom - Sanctions, Shunning, and Social Control" by Eden Lee Lackner, independent scholar
- "Slamming and Jamming: Anomalous Storytelling and Shadow Unit" by Barbara Lucas, Lakeland Community College
- Session 41: Power, Preservation, and Poaching: Constructing Story, the Self, and Space in Yaoi, Fan Texts, and Fan Communities (Chair: Eden Lee Lackner, independent scholar)
- "Finding Time: AU's, Missing Scenes, and Flashbacks in Fan Fiction" by Lisa Macklem, University of Western Ontario
- "Love and Other Monsters: The Fantasy of Incest in Supernatural, Slash Fan Fiction, and Society" by Kayley Thomas, University of Florida
- "TimeSpace Divagations in Japanese Boys' Love and Yaoi: Une Coupure Epistémologique for Western Eros?" by Mark McHarry, independent scholar
- Session 59: Communities and Cultures Roundtable Reading (Moderator:Barbara Lucas. Text for discussion: Hanna Wirman's I am not a fan, I just play a lot": If Power Gamers Aren't Fans, Who Are?")
- Session 87: Talk and Time: Mapping Fannish Histories and Relationships (Chair: Kyle Stedman, University of South Florida)
- "Fanfiction: A New Name for an Ancient Form" by Emily Mineart, Luther College
- "The Blessed Mary (Sue): Medieval Fanfiction and the Time Traveling Fan" by Anna Wilson, University of Toronto
- "Outcast Otaku: Subcultural Relationships of the Socially Inept" by Brianna Warren, Florida Gulf Coast University
ICFA 31 (2010)
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ICFA 32 (2011)
- Session 1: Fame, Fandom, and Filk: Fans and the Consumption of Fantastical Music (Chair: Elizabeth Guzik, California State University, Long Beach)
- "Out of this World: Intersectins between Science Fiction, Conspiracy Culture and the Carnivalesque" by Aisling Blackmore, University of Western Australia
- "'I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me': Fame, the Fantastic and Fandom in the Haus of Gaga" by Daryl Ritchot, Simon Fraser University
- "Pop Culture on Blend: Parody and Comedy Song in the Filk Community" by Rebecca Testerman, Bowling Green State University
- Session 17: Remixes, Roleplaying, and Real-World Skills: Audience Interaction with and Response to Digital Media (Chair: Lars Schmeink, University of Hamburg)
- "The Rhetoric of the Ridiculous in Videogame Music Remixes" by Kyle Stedman, University of South Florida
- "Performing Character, Performing Self: Representations of Self and Identity in Online Role-Playing Games" by Heather Osborne, University of Liverpool
- "Learning to Work and Play in a Simulated World — with Mummies!: Exploring Affect and Labour in The Sims 3" by Allyson Shaffer, Unveristy of Minnesota, Twin Cities
- Session 43: Panel: Mix It Up: Literary, Historical, and Fannish Remixes and Mash-Ups. (Moderator: Eden Lee Lackner. Panelists: Sarah Carpenter, Candas Jane Dorsey, Barbara Lucas, Lisa Macklem)
- Session 58: Reader and Response: Engagement and Community in Fandom (Chair: Barbara Lucas, Independent Scholar)
- "Films are (Never) as Good as the Comic Books: Developing a Fanboy Reading" by Tim Posada, Clairemont Graduate University
- "Drawing Outside the Lines: Fannish Engagement with Edward Gorey" by Eden Lee Lackner, Victoria University of Wellington
- "The Rise of Internet Fan Girls: Building Communities through Sexual Appeal"
- Session 65: Panel: Mirth, Mischief, and Mystical Melodies: Music Fans and Communities (Moderator: Kyle Stedman. Panelists: Cade Bourne, Isabella van Elferen, Heather Osbourne, Daryl Ritchot, Rebecca Testerman)
- Session 79: Roundtable reading. Moderator: Barbara Lucas. (Text for discussion: Roberta Pearson's "Fandom in the Digital Era".)
- Session 80: Wars of Culture and Consumption: Fandom Dynamics and Ideology (Chair: Karen Hellekson, Independent scholar)
- "Sincerest Affection: Factions and War in Forever Knight Fandom" by Greer Watson, University of Toronto
- "From Barad-dûr to Abu Ghraib: Tolkien's Impact on the War on Terror" by Maize Arendsee, Florida State University
- "Comparative Study on Fandom, Anything but Problems?" by Irma Hirsjarvi, University of Jyväskylä
- Session 105: Creative Differences: Tensions between Creators and Consumers in Fannish Communities (Chair: Lisa Macklem, Southwestern Law School)
- "Revisiting Representation: A Retrospective Analysis of Fan Reactions to Depictions of Fandom on Supernatural" by Breanne Armstrong, The University of Western Ontario
- "Fandom Kerfluffles as Experessions of Agency" by Karen Hellekson, Independent scholar
- "From Creator to Character: When Fans Fictionalize Authors" by Casey Wilson, University of Florida
- Session 114: Steampunks, NeoPagans, and FailFen: Ethnography, Economics, and Engagement in Fan and Fantastical Communities (Chair: Eden Lee Lackner, Victoria University of Wellington)
- "'It's Not My Job to Educate You!': FailFen and Social Justice as Fandom" by Barbara Lucas, Independent scholar
- "Making an Alternative Past: Steampunk and Participatory Consumerism" by Sara Brunkhorst, University of North Carolina, Wilmington
- "Fantasy Fiction and Embodiment: An Ethnographic Study" by Cade Bourne, University of California, Berkeley
- Session 124: Making Mirth and Meanings: Crackfic, Canon, and Coding (Chair: Daryl Ritchot, Simon Fraser University)
- "Leaping Gleefully Down the Rabbit Hole: The Appeals of Ridiculous Transformations in Transformative Works" by Elizabeth Guzik, California State University, Long Beach
- "Fiction as Interpretation: Star Wars Fanfiction Writers, the Construction of Head!Canon, and Fannish Critics" by Sarah Carpenter, University of Oregon
- Adapted from A Brief History of the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (http://www.iafa.org/about/history.htm)
- The information on the papers listed in this section is taken from the conference programs for each year.
- The division covered all aspects of fan culture, production, and communities; transformative works (both fan works and professional works); audience/reception studies; and convergence (multi-media, often interactive/participatory) narratives and "texts", including (but not be limited to) such topics as geek culture; fan fiction; fan art/film; vidding; conventions/convention culture; cosplay; marketing the fantastic; online fan communities, websites, forums, and mailing lists; alternate reality games/books/comics/tie-in products; and viral marketing.
- The program lists a third paper for this session, but it was not presented.
- Matt Hills accepted, but did not attend.
- This session included one or more additional papers unrelated to fandom.