Fandom + Piracy is a virtual mini-series taking place in Spring 2021, exploring the connections between media love and media access.

Join the conversation online with #fandompiracy.

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Moderator / Abigail De Kosnik

Fandom and piracy are two modes of countercultural computing, alternative media, distributed creativity, and copying culture. Their critics often characterize them as illegitimate, or even criminal.

 

In this conference mini-series,

consisting of two lectures and two panels taking place online on four consecutive Thursdays, we will hear from scholars whose work enables us to understand how fandom and piracy have played a part in the evolution of the internet, how they have attracted millions of participants and become akin to social movements, how they have given rise to digital platforms that both augment and defy the corporatization of media production and the web, and how race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality operate within fan and pirate communities.

 
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"How Should We Theorize Injury in Fan Studies?"

Feb 25, 2021 / 5-7 PM PST

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“Studies in Unauthorized Reproduction: The Pirate Function and Postcolonialism"

“Studies in Unauthorized Reproduction: The Pirate Function and Postcolonialism"

Mar 04, 2021 / 5-7 PM PST

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The series will be recorded and available on BCNM's YouTube channel.

*Note: We will only be sharing the recording of the Q&A portion of Rebecca Wanzo's Keynote Lecture.  

Introductions and Moderation / Abigail De Kosnik

Staff / Lara Wolfe, Sophia Hussain, Jaclyn Zhou, Alicia Moreira

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Keynote Speaker / Rebecca Wanzo

Feb 25, 2021 / 5-7 PM PST

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Keynote Lecture / 

Fandom

“How Should We Theorize Injury in Fan Studies?”

Perhaps no issue makes disciplinary differences in approaches to the popular transparent like the question of injury. In Fan Studies, scholars are very attentive to the agency of fans and concerned about reductive characterizations of them, just as fans are attentive to dismissive interpretations of their love objects. Fans and media studies scholars more broadly push against causal claims about the injuriousness of popular culture that are more common in the social sciences, as such scholarship rarely without examines the transformational and utopian work of the popular. This talk takes as a case study a popular text in which accounts of injuriousness came from multiple directions: the HBO limited series Watchmen. Damon Lindelof called the show “a very expensive bit of fanfic,” and for some fans of the original comic book, the injury was the emphasis on race and social justice. Many fans were also sympathetic to comic book writer Alan Moore’s understandable objections to constant infringement on his intellectual property by the publishers. For some descendants of the Greenwood Massacre, the writers were guilty of cultural theft. And for others, the political discourse of the show was injurious because of its casting of a Black woman as a police officer and the treatment of reparations. In this talk I will explore how injury is just as important as pleasure in our understanding of the role of the popular in our lives, and discuss how competing injuries often structure evaluations of the popular text’s value. Note: We will only be sharing the recording of the Q&A portion of this event. 

Rebecca Wanzo is Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

 

Interlocutors /

Grace Gipson is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Malika Imhotep is a Ph.D candidate in African American Studies at University of California, Berkeley.

Patrick Johnson is Assistant Professor of American Multicultural Studies at Sonoma State University. 

 

Hosted by Abigail De Kosnik, Associate Professor in the Berkeley Center for New Media and the department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at University of California, Berkeley.

 

Keynote Lecture / 

Piracy

"Studies in Unauthorized Reproduction: The Pirate Function and Postcolonialism"

 

Pirates who threaten to invert power relations through appropriating things less tangible than ships and bodies have become a growing concern for the managers of twenty-first-century economic globalization. Appropriating, modifying and sharing a range of less concrete but equally crucial objects, intellectual property “robbers” today traffic in images, music, and software. Although business analysts regard this as a novel problem, supposedly precipitated by the unprecedented importance of “knowledge” as a force of economic production, historians of science and law tell stories of intellectual property theft that predate the current IPR discourse by two centuries. Anti-piracy discourses now frequently intersect with anti-terrorist security discourses, where both pirates and terrorists function as threats to free markets and civilized nations. Clearly, even while it participates in a longer history, the current discourse of piracy is specific to our present historical and economic moment, and illuminates particular characteristics of the emerging forms of global informational capitalism.  What forms of globalized citizenship and personhood are being shaped via the emerging legal discourses of intellectual property, on both sides of the struggle for access to new forms of information? In Studies in Unauthorized Reproduction: The Pirate Function and Postcolonialism, I read the 21st-century debate over “sharing,” “openness,” and “freedom” in software, music, and film not as an entirely unique and unprecedented moment, but rather, via a genealogical understanding of its legal, cultural, and political economic conditions of enunciation.

Kavita Philip is President’s Excellence Chair in Network Cultures at The University of British Columbia, where she is Professor of English and Geography.  

 

Interlocutors /

Lou Silhol-Macher is a Ph.D candidate in German at University of California, Berkeley.

Vincente Perez is a Ph.D student in Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at University of California, Berkeley. 

Jaclyn Zhou is a Ph.D student in Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at University of California, Berkeley.

 

Hosted by Abigail De Kosnik, Associate Professor in the Berkeley Center for New Media and the department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at University of California, Berkeley.

Mar 04, 2021 / 5-7 PM PST

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Scholar /

andré carrington

Scholars Panel /

Fandom + Race

Scholars of color will discuss how fandom is racialized, how race is addressed (and not) in fannish spaces, how and where people of color explore and express their fannish interests, how fans of color are responding to the media industries’ attempts at diversifying casts and narratives, and fan studies and critical race theory currently intersect, and their visions for the future of fan studies. 

 

Likely topics include fandom and political activism, representation in media, race and fan platforms, and the Movement for Black Lives.

Panelists /

andré carrington is Associate Professor of English at University of California, Riverside.

Racquel Gates is Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at College of Staten Island, CUNY.

Alfred Martin is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at University of Iowa.

Rukmini Pande is Assistant Professor of English Literature at O.P. Jindal Global University.

 

Moderated by Abigail De Kosnik, Associate Professor in the Berkeley Center for New Media and the department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at University of California, Berkeley.

Rebecca Wanzo will join for the Q&A.

Mar 11, 2021 / 5-7 PM PST

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Scholars Panel /

Piracy + Capitalism

A discussion of the long and troubled history of piracy’s relationship to capitalist frameworks of ownership, authorship, access, infrastructure, sharing, saving, and theft from the perspectives of anthropology, architecture, media industries, archives, and literature. 

Likely topics include piracy and libraries, piracy and racialized capitalism, piracy and cultural imperialism in the Global south, and piracy and resistance to Global North capitalist hegemony.

Panelists /

Alexander Dent is Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at George Washington University.

Keller Easterling is an architect, writer and Professor of Architecture at Yale University.

Jennifer Holt is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara.

Brewster Kahle is the founder of the Internet Archive.

Elleza Kelley is a Ph.D candidate in English at Columbia University.

Moderated by Abigail De Kosnik, Associate Professor in the Berkeley Center for New Media and the department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at University of California, Berkeley.

Kavita Philip will join for the Q&A.

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Scholar / Alexander Dent

Mar 18, 2021 / 5-7 PM PST

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Access + Agreements

BCNM is committed to promoting technological equity and justice. As such, our free events are inclusive, respectful and harassment-free spaces.

Before joining our events, please read our Community Agreements.

 

Each event will have live-captioning (CART) and a link to a Streamtext window to view and customize the live-transcript. The series will be recorded and available on BCNM's YouTube channelNote: We will only be sharing the recording of the Q&A portion of Rebecca Wanzo's Keynote Lecture.

 

The Berkeley Center for New Media is an interdisciplinary research center that studies and shapes media transition and emergence from diverse perspectives. Through critical thinking and making, we cultivate technological equity and fairness in our classrooms, in our communities, and on the internet.

We recognize that BCNM is located in the territory of Huichin, the ancestral and unceded lands of Chochenyo speaking Ohlone peoples, specifically, the Confederated Villages of Lisjan. The history of prolific technological development in this region has always depended on this land, and all of our technological infrastructures and activities take place on and in relation to this land. We commit to supporting the sovereignty and ongoing stewardship of this place by Ohlone peoples through building long-term reciprocity and relationships with tribal leaders and organizations.​

About BCNM

 
 
 

BCNM Director

Abigail De Kosnik

BCNM Staff

Lara Wolfe

Sophia Hussain

Contact

info.bcnm@berkeley.edu

Berkeley Center for New Media

bcnm.berkeley.edu

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The Berkeley Center for New Media is a not-for-profit organization based at the University of California, Berkeley. All of our programs are free and open to the public. Please donate to support BCNM’s programming.

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