Propped Up: Fan Cultures and Fabricated Objects
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7/17/2018 at 3:45:31 AM GMT
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Propped Up: Fan Cultures and Fabricated Objects

When fan practices such as cosplay are discussed, the emphasis is commonly on costuming and rarely on props; however, props often have as much narrative resonance and character embodiment for fans and consumers as costumes do. Props create bonds with fans and intricate mythologies that stand on their own--The Maltese Falcon, Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber, Nakia’s ring blades, etc. These objects, both created by the film industry and replicated by the fans, prove that people connect with the physical things inside media texts as readily as the texts themselves.


The depth and breadth of these fan experiences with props have yet to be fully addressed in scholarship. This panel explores the often complex relationships between fans and/or media producers with their fabricated objects. Each paper will express a different facet of these relationships in order to offer a nuanced understanding of the importance of props within fandom.


Topics can include but are not limited to:


  • Issues of authenticity in licensed props, collectibles, and replications

  • A material cultures perspective or history of a specific prop

  • Collector culture and props--its motivations and limitations

  • Fan desires to acquire--cultural caches and cultural economies

  • Historical or contemporary auctions of props and the fans’ relationships therein

  • Marketing of props and merchandising to fans

  • Fan crafting of props

  • DIY YouTube channels or other instructional outlets for fan builds

  • Practices of curation of media props in museums or exhibits

  • The economies that spring up around prop creation

  • The aesthetics or challenges of realizing an “unreal” object such as props from video games or other animated media

  • Cosplay and prop making

  • How props are utilized/censored at conferences such as ComicCon

  • The differences between replicas and merchandise in either materiality or usage


Please submit 1) an abstract (250 words) and a title (120 characters max)   2) a 3-5 work bibliography 3) a 150 word author biography to caitlinemccann@gmail.com by August 1st. Participants will be notified on August 15th.


Last edited Monday, July 16, 2018

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