Institute of Communications Research
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Stanfill, Mel. 2013. “’They’re Losers, but I Know Better’: Intra-Fandom Stereotyping and the Normalization of the Fan Subject.” Critical Studies in Media Communication. doi:10.1080/15295036.2012.755053
Stanfill, Mel. 2012. “Finding Birds of a Feather: Multiple Memberships and Diversity Without Divisiveness in Communication Research.” Communication Theory 22 (1): 1-24. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2885.2011.01395.x.
Stanfill, Mel. 2011. “Doing Fandom, (Mis)doing Whiteness: Heteronormativity, Racialization, and the Discursive Construction of Fandom.” In “Race and Ethnicity in Fandom,” edited by Robin Anne Reid and Sarah Gatson, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures 8. doi:10.3983/twc.2011.0256.
Research and Teaching Interests
- Media studies
- Critical industry studies
- Queer theory
- Digital media
- Critical race and gender studies
- Fan studies
My work can best be understood as critical industry studies undertaken through the lens of the changing relationship between media companies and their fans in the Internet era. In this, I consider how fandom has become normalized–both in the sense that activities formerly the province of fans have become normal for all consumers, and in the sense that a normative idea of fandom has emerged in the mainstream that traces out proper and improper modes of being a fan. I study this process with respect to both speculative media fans and sports fans through representations of fans, the design of official websites for media properties (television shows, sports franchises, etc.), and interviews with industry practitioners who produce content for fans. My key concerns include the ways fandom is articulated to industry through heternormativity, whiteness, intellectual property law, consumption, and labor.