Transformative Works and Cultures

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Academic Commentary
Title: Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC)
Commentator: acafen
Date(s): 2008-present
Medium: online
Fandom: panfandom
External Links:

Subpages for Transformative Works and Cultures:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) is a peer-reviewed academic journal that seeks to promote scholarship on fanworks and practices. It comes out twice a year and is a project of the Organization for Transformative Works.

TWC defines its purview as

"articles about media studies; and articles about the fan community. We invite papers in all areas, including fan fiction, fan vids, film, TV, anime, comic books, fan community, Category:Video Games, and machinima. We encourage a variety of critical approaches, including feminism, gender studies, queer theory, postcolonial theory, audience theory, reader-response theory, literary criticism, film studies, and posthumanism. We also encourage authors to consider writing personal essays integrated with scholarship; hyperlinked articles; or other forms that test the limits of the genre of academic writing."[1]
a flyer for "Transformative Works and Cultures" posted at MediaWest*Con in 2008


These often interdisciplinary essays with a conceptual focus and a theoretical frame offer expansive interventions in the field of fan studies. Theory essays undergo blind peer review. (5,000–8,000 words, plus a 100–250-word abstract)


These essays analyze the particular, in contrast to Theory's broader vantage. They may apply a specific theory to a formation or artifact; explicate fan practice; perform a detailed reading of a specific text; or otherwise relate transformative phenomena to social, literary, technological, and/or historical frameworks. Praxis essays undergo blind peer review. (4,000–7,000 words, plus a 100–250-word abstract)


Inspired by The Fanfic Symposium, a meta website which ran from 1999 to 2006, TWC publishes "Symposium," a section of the journal for non-peer reviewed essays:

"Parallel to academia's tradition of compact essays, often published as letters, fandom has its own vibrant history of criticism, some of which has been collected at the Symposium archive. In the spirit of this history, TWC's Symposium is a section of concise, thematically contained essays. These short pieces provide insight into current developments and debates surrounding any topic related to fandom or transformative media and cultures. Symposium submissions undergo editorial review." [2]

The Symposium Blog[3] associated with TWC posted infomal meta, to create a "bridge between the OTW’s academic journal and fannish discussions, through posts that discuss both fannish meta topics and fannish perspectives on fan and media studies." [4]


Reviews offer critical summaries of items of interest in the fields of fan and media studies, including books, new journals, and web sites. Reviews incorporate a description of the item's content, an assessment of its likely audience, and an evaluation of its importance in a larger context. Review submissions undergo editorial review. (1,500–2,500 words)


Interviews are editorially reviewed and can be submitted by readers or solicited by editors.


The multimedia section includes essays that are primarily not textual, i,.e., video curation (Ian Roberts, Genesis of the digital anime music video scene, 1990–2001; Jonathan McIntosh, A history of subversive remix video before YouTube: Thirty political video mashups made between World War II and 2005) or experimental pieces (Alexandra Juhasz, Fred rant).

Published Issues

Issue 1

Issue No. 1 of TWC appeared on September 15, 2008. It includes Francesca Coppa's seminal essay on the history of vidding, Women, "Star Trek," and the early development of fannish vidding, and a range of essays on fandom and fan works from Abigail DeKosnik on politics as fandom and Anne Kustritz on The Story of Obi to Rebecca Busker on meta discourses in fandom and an interview with Henry Jenkins.

Issue 2

Issue No. 2 (March 15, 2009) is a special topic issue on "Games as transformative works," edited by Rebecca Carlson. The issue combines various accounts of online play, especially World of Warcraft, with essays ranging from card collectors and table-top and live action role-playing games to chiptunes and machinima.

Issue 3

Issue No. 3 appeared on September 15, 2009. This general issue expanded the range of the journal with essays on quilting, fannish wikis, and filk communities as well as an important reflection on fannish race conversations with Pattern recognition: A dialogue on racism in fan communities

Issue 4

Issue No. 4 (March 15, 2010) is a special Supernatural issue, "Saving People, Hunting Things," edited by Catherine Tosenberger. The issue approaches the television show and its fandom from a variety of disciplines and approaches and discusses the role of religious, the supernatural, and folklore as well fannish creations ranging from specific fanvids and mpreg.

Issue 5

Issue No. 5 appeared on September 15, 2010. This general issue contained a range of essays on various forms of fan production (including fan subbing and fan films) with a particular emphasis on concerns of the body and disability in fandom. )

Issue 6

Issue No. 6 appeared in April 2011. "Fan Works and Fan Communities in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," special history issue guest edited by Nancy Reagin, Pace University, and Anne Rubenstein, York University.

Issue 7

Issue No. 7 appeared in August 2011 and was a general issue with several articles about aspects of fan identity.

Issue 8

Issue No. 8 appeared in November 2011 and was a double guest-edited issue on the topics of "Race and Ethnicity in Fandom", guest edited by Robin Anne Reid and Sarah N. Gatson; and "Textual Echoes", guest edited by Cyber Echoes.

Issue 9

Issue No. 9 appeared in March 2012. "Fan/Remix Video," special issue of TWC guest edited by Francesca Coppa and Julie Levin Russo.

Issue 10

Issue No. 10 appeared in June 2012. Transformative Works and Fan Activism, guest edited by Henry Jenkins and Sangita Shresthova, University of Southern California.

Issue 11

Issue No. 11 appeared in September 2012.

Issue 12

Issue No. 12 appeared in March 2013. Transnational Boys' Love Fan Studies, guest edited by Kazumi Nagaike and Katsuhiko Suganuma (Oita University).

Issue 13

Issue No. 13 appeared in June 2013. Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books, guest edited by Matthew Costello, St. Xavier University, Chicago.

Issue 14

Issue No. 14 appeared in September 2013.

Issue 15

Issue No. 15 appeared in March 2014. Fandom and/as Labor, guest edited by Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign).

Issue 16

Issue No. 16 appeared in June 2014. Materiality and Object-Oriented Fandom, guest edited by Bob Rehak (Swarthmore College).

Issue 17

Issue No. 17 appeared in September 2014.

Issue 18

Issue No. 18 appeared in March 2015. Performance and performativity in fandom, guest edited by Lucy Bennett (Cardiff University) and Paul J. Booth (DePaul University).

Issue 19

Issue No. 19 appeared in June 2015. Transnationalism, localization, and translation in European fandom: Fan studies as global media and audience studies, guest edited by Anne Kustritz (University of Amsterdam).

Issue 20

Issue No. 20 appeared in September 2015. The anniversary was commemorated by OTW communications with three events: a special post on Symposium, Symposium By and For Fans; an interview with three contributors, Spotlight on Journal: Twentieth Issue Celebration; and a chat session with several Symposium contributors, see TWC Panel Chat: 2015.

Issue 21

Issue No. 21 appeared in March 2016. The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work, guest edited by Ika Willis (University of Wollongong).

Issue 22

Issue No. 22 appeared in September 2016, and was a general issue containing essays on topics such as Star Trek, Hillary Clinton remix videos, "Brony" identity and anime music video fandom.

Issue 23

Issue No. 23 appeared in March 2017, Sherlock Holmes Fandom, Sherlockiana, and the Great Game, guest edited by Betsy Rosenbaum (Whittier) and Roberta Pearson (Nottingham).

Issue 24

Issue No. 24 appeared in June 2017, Queer Female Fandom, guest edited by Eve Ng (Ohio University) and Julie Levin Russo (Evergreen College).

Issue 25

Issue No. 25 appeared in September 2017.

Issue 26

Issue No. 26 appeared in March 2018, Social TV Fandom and the Media Industries, guest edited by Myles McNutt (Old Dominion University).

Issue 27

Issue No. 27 appeared in June 2018, Tumblr and Fandom, guest edited by Lori Morimoto (Independent) and Louisa Stein (Middlebury C).

Issues 28

Issue No. 28 appeared in September 2018. The Future of Fandom, special 10th anniversary issue.

Fan-created PDF of issues

  1. PDF of TWC No. 1: General issue
  2. PDF of TWC No. 2: Games as transformative works
  3. PDF of TWC No. 3: General issue
  4. PDF of TWC No. 4: Supernatural issue
  5. PDF of TWC No. 5: General issue
  6. PDF of TWC No. 6: Fan Works and Fan Communities in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
  7. PDF of TWC No. 7: General issue
  8. PDF of TWC No. 8: Double issue: Race and Ethnicity in Fandom and & Textual Echoes
  9. PDF of TWC No. 9: Fan/Remix Video
  10. PDF of TWC No. 10: Transformative Works and Fan Activism
  11. PDF of TWC No. 11: General issue
  12. PDF of TWC No. 12: Transnational boys' love fan studies
  13. PDF of TWC No. 13: Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books
  14. PDF of TWC No. 14: General issue
  15. PDF of TWC No. 15: Fandom and/as labor
  16. PDF of TWC No. 16: Materiality and object-oriented fandom
  17. PDF of TWC No. 17: General issue
  18. PDF of TWC No. 18: Performance and performativity in fandom
  19. PDF of TWC No. 19: Transnationalism, localization, and translation in European fandom
  20. PDF of TWC No. 20: General issue
  21. PDF of TWC No. 21: The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work
  22. PDF of TWC No. 22: General issue
  23. PDF of TWC No. 23: Sherlockian and the Great Game
  24. PDF of TWC No. 24: Queer Female Fandom
  25. PDF of TWC No. 25: General issue
  26. PDF of TWC No. 26: Social TV Fandom and the Media Industries
  27. PDF of TWC No. 27: Tumblr and Fandom

Forthcoming Issues

General issue:The Future of Fandom (September 2018)

Special issue:CFP: Fans of Color, Fandoms of Color (June 2019). Guest edited by Abigail De Kosnik and andré carrington/

General issue (September 2019)

Special issue: CFP: Fan Fiction and Ancient Scribal Cultures (December 2019). Guest edited by Frauke Uhlenbruch, Sonja Ammann, and Mette Bundvad.

Special issue: Fan Studies Methodologies (March 2020). Guest edited by Julia Largent, Milena Popova, and Elise Vist.

Special issue: CFP: Fandom and Politics (June 2020). Guest edited by Ashley Hinck and Amber Davisson.

General issue (September 2020)

Special issue CFP: Fandom and Theatre (March 2021) Guest edited by Balaka Basu and Louise Geddes.

Copyright and Licenses

TWC is a Gold Open Access publication of the nonprofit Organization for Transformative Works, copyrighted under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. TWC has been submitted for indexing in all major academic databases, open access directories, and services such as Google Scholar.

Zotero index

Bibliographical data for all articles published in TWC is recorded in Zotero as a subcollection of the Fan studies bibliography, a project affiliated with the journal.

See also: Bibliographical list of all articles with links

Editorial Team

The editorial team for 2007 - present includes:


Review editors

Symposium editors

Production editors


  • Karen Hellekson (#1-#20)
  • Margie Gillis (#1-#2)
  • Shoshanna Green (#1, #3-#17, #19-#26)
  • Ed Greengrass (#3)
  • Mara Greengrass (#1-#4, #10, #27)
  • Vickie West (#2, #5-#8)
  • Beth Friedman (#5-#14, #17-#27)
  • Christine Mains (#13-#27)

Layout editors

  • Karen Hellekson (#1-#20)
  • Wendy M. Carr (#4, #6-#9, #10-#13)
  • Allison Morris (#4-#5, #7-#9)
  • Kristen Murphy (#4-#5, #7-#13)
  • Rrain Prior (#1-#4, #6, #14-#20)
  • Gretchen Treu (#5-#9)
  • Ekaterina Fawl (#7, #9)
  • sunusn (#10-#13)
  • Gabriel Simm (#18-#27)
  • Claire P. Baker (#21-#27)
  • Sarah New (#21-#27)
  • Rebecca Sentance (#21-#27)


  • Sarah Hazelton (#3-#4)
  • Vickie West (#3-#4 #6-#12, #15-#19, #2-#23, #25)
  • Liza Q Wirtz (#1-#6)
  • Carmen Montopoli (#6-#16, #18-#19, #21-#22)
  • Jack Harrison (#6)
  • Kallista Angeloff (#10-#11)
  • Amanda Georgeanne Retartha (#10-#12, #15-#27)
  • Latina Vidolova (#21-#27)
  • Rachel P. Kreiter (#23-#27)

Board (past and present)

Nancy Baym, Microsoft Research - Lucy Bennett, Cardiff U - Rebecca Black, UC Irvine - Paul Booth, DePaul U - Will Brooker, Kingston U - Rhiannon Bury, Athabasca U - Bertha Chin, Swinburne U of Tech - Wendy Chun, Brown U - Melissa Click, Gonzago U - Francesca Coppa, Muhlenberg C - Abigail De Kosnik, UC Berkeley - Paul Draper, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith U - Catherine Driscoll, U of Sydney - Mark Duffett, U of Chester - Casey Fiesler, U of Colorado-Boulder - Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Pomona C - Sam Ford, Convergence Culture Consortium - Lincoln Geraghty, U of Portsmouth - Jonathan Gray, Fordham U - Judith Halberstam, USC - C. Lee Harrington, Miami U - Heather Hendershot, MIT - Matt Hills, U of Huddersfield - Anne Jamison, U of Utah - Henry Jenkins, USC - Derek Johnson, U of Wisconsin - Bethan Jones, Aberystwyth U - Roz Kaveney, Independent - Melanie Kohnen, Lewis&Clark C - Derek Kompare, Southern Methodist U - Anne Kustritz, U of Utrecht - Alexis Lothian, U of Maryland College Park - Elana Levine, U of Wisconsin, Milwaukee - Farah Mendlesohn, Middlesex U - Mark McLelland, U of Wollongong - Myles McNutt, Old Domionion - Helen Merrick, Curtin U of Technology - Jason Mittell, Middlebury C - Lori Morimoto, independent - Roberta Pearson, U of Nottingham - Constance Penley, UCSB - Line Nybro Peterson, U of S Denmark - Tom Phillips, U of East Anglia -  Whitney Phillips - Mercer U - Sheenagh Pugh, U of Glamorgan - Aswin Punathambekar, U of Michigan - Bob Rehak, Swarthmore C - Robin Anne Reid, Texas A&M-Commerce - Sharon Ross, Columbia C Chicago - Julie Levin Russo, Evergreen State C - Cornel Sandvoss, U of Huddersfield - Avi Santo, Old Dominion -Douglas Schules, Rikkyo U - Suzanne Scott, U of Texas, Austin - Mel Stanfill, U of Central Florida - Louisa Stein, Middlebury C - Catherine Tosenberger, U of Winnipeg - Rebecca Tushnet, Harvard U - Ika Willis, U of Wollongong - Rebecca Williams, U of South Wales - Berit Åström, U of Umeå

Critical Reception


  1. TWC Index
  2. TWC Submission Guidelines
  3. The Symposium Blog
  4. About, Symposium blog site