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: Pan-fandom
External Links:

Subpages for Transformative Works and Cultures:
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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).

Issue 28

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

Issue 29

Issue No. 29 appeared in March 2019, Fans of Color, Fandoms of Color, guest edited by Abigail DeKosnik (UC, Berkeley) and andré carrington (Drexel U).

Issue 30

Issue No. 30 appeared in September 2019, General issue.

Issue 31

Issue No. 31 appeared in December 2019, Fan Fiction and Ancient Scribal Cultures, guest edited by Frauke Uhlenbruch (Independent) and Sonja Ammann (U Basel).

Issue 32

Issue No. 32 appeared in March 2020, Fandom and Politics, guest edited by Ashley Hinck (Xavier U) and Amber Davisson (Keene State C).

Issue 33

Issue No. 32 appeared in June 2020, Fan Studies Methodologies, guest edited by Julia E. Largent (McPherson C), Milena Popova (Independent), and Elise Vist (U Waterloo).

Issue 34

Issue No. 34 appeared in September 2020, General issue.

Issue 35

Issue No. 35 appeared in March 2021, Fan Studies Pedagogies, guest edited by Paul Booth (DePaul University) and Regina Yung Lee (University of Washington).

Fan-created PDFs of issues

  1. TWC No. 1, General issue: PDF MOBI EPUB
  2. TWC No. 2, Games as transformative works: PDF MOBI EPUB
  3. TWC No. 3, General Issue: PDF MOBI EPUB
  4. TWC No. 4, Supernatural issue: PDF MOBI EPUB
  5. TWC No. 5, General issue: PDF MOBI EPUB
  6. TWC No. 6, Fan Works and Fan Communities in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: PDF MOBI EPUB
  7. TWC No. 7, General issue: PDF MOBI EPUB
  8. TWC No. 8, Double issue: Race and Ethnicity in Fandom and & Textual Echoes: PDF MOBI EPUB
  9. TWC No. 9, Fan/Remix Video: PDF MOBI EPUB
  10. TWC No. 10, Transformative Works and Fan Activism: PDF MOBI EPUB
  11. TWC No. 11, General issue: PDF MOBI EPUB
  12. TWC No. 12, Transnational boys' love fan studies: PDF MOBI EPUB
  13. TWC No. 13, Appropriating, Interpreting, and Transforming Comic Books: PDF MOBI EPUB
  14. TWC No. 14, General issue: PDF MOBI EPUB
  15. TWC No. 15, Fandom and/as labor: PDF MOBI EPUB
  16. TWC No. 16, Materiality and object-oriented fandom: PDF MOBI EPUB
  17. TWC No. 17, General issue: PDF MOBI EPUB
  18. TWC No. 18, Performance and performativity in fandom: PDF MOBI EPUB
  19. TWC No. 19, Transnationalism, localization, and translation in European fandom: PDF MOBI EPUB
  20. TWC No. 20, General issue: PDF MOBI EPUB
  21. TWC No. 21, The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work: PDF MOBI EPUB
  22. TWC No. 22, General issue: PDF MOBI EPUB
  23. TWC No. 23, Sherlockian and the Great Game: PDF MOBI EPUB
  24. TWC No. 24, Queer Female Fandom: PDF MOBI EPUB
  25. TWC No. 25, General issue: PDF MOBI EPUB
  26. TWC No. 26, Social TV Fandom and the Media Industries: PDF MOBI EPUB
  27. TWC No. 27, Tumblr and Fandom: PDF MOBI EPUB
  28. TWC No. 28, General issue, Future of Fandom: MOBI EPUB
  29. TWC No. 29, Fans of Color, Fandoms of Color: PDF MOBI EPUB
  30. TWC No. 30, General issue: PDF
  31. TWC No. 31, Fan Fiction and Ancient Scribal Cultures: PDF
  32. TWC No. 32, Fandom and Politics: PDF
  33. TWC No. 33, Fan Studies Methodologies: PDF

Beginning with issue No.34, full PDFs of the issues are available in the editorial:

  1. TWC No. 34, General issue: PDF
  2. TWC, No 35, Fan Studies Pedagogies PDF

Forthcoming Issues

General issue (September 2020)

Special issue CFP: Fan Studies Pedagogies (March 2021) Guest edited by Paul Booth and Regina Yung Lee. [Call for Papers (PDF)]

Special issue: CFP: Fandom Histories (March 2022). Guest edited by Philipp Dominik Keidl and Abby Waysdorf. [Call for Papers (PDF)]

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 for issue Nos.1-24 and a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License for issue No.25 and beyond. For an explanation of the journal's reasoning, see the editorial, Copyright and Open Access.

For Nos. 1 through 24, TWC, not the author, retains copyright. Anyone seeking to reproduce content for profit, including authors, must obtain permission from TWC, which is routinely granted for free. Starting with No. 25, the author retains copyright and any reproduction of content, including for profit, is covered under the CC BY-4.0 license.

TWC is indexed in major academic databases, open access directories, and services such as Google Scholar. The journal is a member of the Directory of Open Access Journals.

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 2008-18 with links

Editorial Team

The editorial team for 2007 - present includes:


Review editors

Symposium editors

Production editors

  • Karen Hellekson (#1-#6)
  • Rrain Prior (#5-#30)
  • Christine Mains (#27-#35)
  • Claire P. Baker (#35-35)


  • Karen Hellekson (#1-#35)
  • Margie Gillis (#1-#2)
  • Shoshanna Green (#1, #3-#17, #19-#26)
  • Ed Greengrass (#3)
  • Mara Greengrass (#1-#4, #10, #27-#28)
  • Vickie West (#2, #5-#8, #30-35)
  • Beth Friedman (#5-#14, #17-#35)
  • Christine Mains (#13-#35)
  • Jennifer Duggan (#29-#35)

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, #30-#35)
  • Gretchen Treu (#5-#9)
  • Ekaterina Fawl (#7, #9)
  • sunusn (#10-#13)
  • Gabriel Simm (#18-#29)
  • Claire P. Baker (#21-#35)
  • Sarah New (#21-#35)
  • Rebecca Sentance (#21-#35)
  • Christine Mains (#30-#35)


  • 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-#29)
  • Karalyn Dokurno (#28-#32)
  • Latina Vidolova (#21-#35)
  • Rachel P. Kreiter (#23-#35)
  • Claire P. Baker (#29-#35)

Editorial Board Members

Past Members

Nancy Baym, Microsoft Research - Will Brooker, Kingston U - Rhiannon Bury, Athabasca U - Wendy Chun, Brown U - Melissa Click, Gonzago U - Francesca Coppa, Muhlenberg C - Paul Draper, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith U - Catherine Driscoll, U of Sydney - Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Pomona C - Sam Ford, Convergence Culture Consortium - [Jonathan Gray]], Fordham U - Judith Halberstam, USC - C. Lee Harrington, Miami U - Heather Hendershot, MIT - Matt Hills, U of Huddersfield - Henry Jenkins, USC - Derek Johnson, U of Wisconsin - Roz Kaveney, Independent - Melanie Kohnen, Lewis&Clark C - Derek Kompare, Southern Methodist U - Alexis Lothian, U of Maryland College Park - Elana Levine, U of Wisconsin, Milwaukee - Farah Mendlesohn, Middlesex U - Myles McNutt, Old Domionion - Helen Merrick, Curtin U of Technology - Jason Mittell, Middlebury C - Roberta Pearson, U of Nottingham -  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 - Louisa Stein, Middlebury C - Catherine Tosenberger, U of Winnipeg

Current Members

See Editorial Board

Critical Reception


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