Picture this: A group of passionate fans is huddled around their devices. Their favorite outlet has just dropped the latest response to a hotly contested article that has divided their community. As the group reads through, they debate, discuss, inquire, and post in their chosen social network. They make reference to other similar works, cite compelling evidence, and have different perspectives on the future direction of their community. Now, what kind of community did you have in mind during this scene? Were you imagining a group of teens debating the latest controversy from The Real Housewives or Keeping Up With the Kardashians? Or what about a group of literary scholars discussing a new interpretation that challenges the consensus on a canonical texts? What if it was referring to both? That might surprise you, but it’s an overlap that’s incredibly familiar to our guest this week—Assistant Professor of ELA Education and SUNY Empire State College, Dr. Karis Jones. Dr. Jones is a self-styled acafan activist studying the interpretive and discursive practices that happen in fandom spaces. Like me, she believes this broadening of how we conceptualize literacy can have transformative implications for how we frame and teach the discipline. So, whether you’re a literary scholar, Marvel Movie fan, or K-Pop enthusiast, this episode has much to offer. Enjoy!
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