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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Meeting ARR fans face-to-face!

I spoke with the moderator of the ARR fan collective yesterday. He asked me what my schedule was like, and went on to invite me to a meeting on Saturday. He also said he’d like to meet with me before going to the meeting. I’m excited at the prospect of attending a fan meeting, but also a bit nervous about how I will be received.

I know I’d be hesitant about an academic lurking around, taking notes, asking questions that would not normally be a part of the meeting, and so on. But I also know that I wouldn’t mind having an academic around as long as the academic was, at least to an extent, a fan. Fan-scholar, scholar-fan. These terms, that are at the center of much discussion in media & cultural studies, now matter to me much more. I have to, however provisionally, figure out what these terms mean to me, and how I am going to present myself to a group that I intend to study.

I’m nervous about something I cannot control completely – I can spend time preparing an introduction that makes clear my level of involvement as a fan and as an academic. I can also tell them about how fandom is at the very center of developments and transformations in the “new” media industry in India and around the world. In all probability, I will also end up saying something about how fans have been (mis)represented in both popular and academic discourse in India.

Sounds like I’m making this more difficult than it is, or should be. But I cannot afford to not have the support of the people I will be meeting on Saturday. These guys are regular participants, and key in terms of pushing the group as a whole in one direction or another. Their interests often define what the group as a whole wants to achieve.

So, as I was thinking about this last night, what book did I have for company? Urvashi Butalia’s The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India. It is hard to read a book like that and not feel, even if only momentarily, that my concerns are utterly inconsequential. But I suppose the sensible response is: as long as I’m fired up about the questions I’m asking, I should keep at it. Come back over the weekend to hear about the meeting!

On another note, I'm off this afternoon to check out the newly opened Oxford Bookstore in Bangalore. As their website says:

Oxford Bookstore, Bangalore is the largest bookstore in the city. The bookstore is spread over 6000 sq feet of dynamic vibrant space at Leela Galleria. The Shelves
Leveraging on relationships built over 80 years with various publishers, it offers over 100,000 titles spread over 89 sections along with books, music, gifts, Internet, Cha Bar, gallery space and stationery, videos, CD, CD ROMs, DVD. The store is committed to bringing the best in international publishing and book retailing to the city. This is the third such store in India.
Pictures of the bookstore tomorrow!

3 Comments:

  • Just wanted to let you know that I linked to your post here with regards to your ideas on academic-fans and fan-academics. Thanks!

    By Anonymous Kendra, at 10/22/2005 3:28 PM  

  • Kendra - thanks so much for sending me the link! And the course also looks great - i'm sure I'll come back to the site often as I design a course next year.

    By Blogger Aswin, at 10/23/2005 12:08 AM  

  • I really wish you luck with your course; as a student in this first year of its current incarnation, I am absolutely thrilled with how the course has gone over the past few months. As you can see, from the use of the topics of fandom and fandom-studies, this course can be taken in any amount of directions.

    By Anonymous kendra, at 11/08/2005 2:08 PM  

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