Disability and Fandom discusses the accessibility and welcome of fan spaces, and it explores how disability functions in fan practices. In a readable, personal style, Katherine Anderson Howell shows the overlaps between disability studies and fan studies, analyzing how fandom operates in physical and digital fan spaces. She argues that it is time for fan studies to let go of the idea of fans in general as marginalized or as powerless groups.

Anderson Howell examines how key fandom platforms—including cons, Tumblr, Archive of Our Own, Instagram, Reddit, and TikTok—set up user interfaces that may mask their true values, potentially decreasing access and creating a system by which disability remains stigmatized. Readers will find case studies of fan fiction, disability influencers, anti-fans, trolls, and celebrities. The argument is made for incorporating disability into the analytical tools of fandom so that we may begin with better tools and better questions.

“This is a crucial topic. Disabled fans exist and have power in many arenas. This book is sorely needed to highlight disabled people’s place within fan studies.”—Beth Haller, author, Disabled People Transforming Media Culture for a More Inclusive World

“Katherine Anderson Howell’s Disability and Fandom is a wonderful addition to the scholarship of disability studies and fan studies. Anderson Howell does an amazing job of connecting the fields by (as she says) ‘cripping’ fan studies. Her thorough examination of the ways digital and physical spaces allow for fan activity and discipline fans who dare to step out of white able-bodied norms is definitely needed in a world profoundly affected by COVID. Anderson Howell insists upon the complexity of disability and fandom throughout, resisting easy answers. Her book covers fandom from several locations, including place and space, fan (and antifan) works, and the public image of Ye/Kanye West.”—Meredith Guthrie, University of Pittsburgh

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Publication Details

Publication Date
190 pages
Trim size
6 x 9 inches
1 b&w figure