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The Theory of Fanfiction

Katrina Hall Isadora Lamego


kaehall@berkeley.edu iblamego@berkley.edu

Theyre fans, but theyre not silent, couch-bound consumers of media. The
culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.
Lev Grossman

From the time of the ancient Greeks to the zines of the 1960s, fanfiction has
grown into a vibrant and complicated literary subculture. This course will aim
to answer the question, Is fanfiction a valid literary genre in its own right?
It will explore the growth of prominent tropes in fanfiction, from gender
swapping to de-aging, as well as the role of fanfiction as a vehicle of
alternative sexuality and kink expression. Further, this course will investigate
how modern fanfiction came to be what it is today, how it is still changing,
and what it might look like in the future.

Going through major fanfiction works spanning Harry Potter, Star Trek, Lord
of the Rings, and smaller communities, the class will provide insight into the
workings of fandom and the utilization of social media. By the end of the
class well have addressed why, at the end of the day, well always fight for
our OTPs, cringe at our NOTPs, and willingly spend hours of our lives reading
expanded storylines, Alternate Universes, and appreciate some well-drawn
out Unresolved Sexual Tension.

This course is structured around brief lectures, followed by longer discussions


centered on the readings. This class will meet once a week. Participation in
the discussion will be an essential component of your grade, therefore
reading the material is vital.

Course Assignments:
1. Class Participation (10%)
2. Weekly Reading Reviews (10%)
3. Short writing assignments (2) (20%)
4. Fifty Reviews Assignment (50%)

Weekly Reading Reviews:


To show completion and comprehension of the readings, students will be
required to submit a review on the last chapter assigned for each reading
assignment. To receive credit, students must screen shot these reviews and
email them to kaehall@berkeley.edu no later than 5pm on the day prior to
their relevant class.

Short Writing Assignments:


Students will be required to submit two short writing assignments of no less
than 1500. Topics will be given in class and in accordance to discussed
themes.
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Students may use these short writing assignments as part of their larger Fifty
Review Assignment at their own discretion. We are not, however, requiring
that these works be posted online, though it is encouraged.

Fifty Reviews Assignment:


To pass the class students must put to action their understanding of fandom
to create a successful portfolio of fanfiction online. The goal of the
assignment is to achieve significant immersion and success in the fanfiction
community. Students may decide the form of their fanfiction work, either as a
single multi-chaptered story, a collection of single-chaptered works, or a
mixture of both. The assignment is considered complete when students
achieve at least fifty reviews, likes, or kudos on their body of work.

Students will create new accounts on either Fanfiction.net or Archive of Our


Own for this class. They will not be allowed to post work for credit on pre-
existing accounts or repost existing stories from their former accounts onto
their class account for credit.

For this assignment reviews, kudos, and likes will all be given equal value;
however, students will only receive credit for the feedback of each reader
once per chapter. That is, if the student receives both a kudos and comment
from the same person on their single-chapter story, together that counts as
one review. However, if it were a multi-chaptered story, different reviews for
different chapters by the same commenter would be considered separate.

Attendance Policy: There will be a sign in sheet at the front desk. It is your
responsibility to sign yourself into class. No more than 2 unexcused absences
will be permitted.

Late Homework Policy: Weekly Reviews must be posted to later than 5pm
on the night before class. No credit will be given for reviews posted after
5pm. Extensions on the short writing assignments will be given at our
discretion, provided a valid reason is shown. No extensions will be given on
the Fifty Review Assignment.

Plagiarism:
There is a difference between plagiarism and fanfiction that we will discuss in
class. Please note if you turn in fifteen pages of Harry Potter and the
Sorcerers Stone or copy word for word the transcript of a movie we will
notice.

All written work submitted in this course, except for acknowledged


quotations, is to be expressed in your own words. Is should also be
constructed upon a pan of your own devising. The Berkeley Campus Code of
Students Conduct defines plagiarism as the use of intellectual material
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produced by another person without acknowledging its source and


stipulates that plagiarism includes:

1. Copying from the writings or works of others into ones academic


assignment without attribution, or submitting such works as if it
were ones own;
2. Using the views, opinions, or insights of another without
acknowledgement; or
3. Paraphrasing the characteristic or original phraseology, metaphor,
or other literary device without proper attribution.

Unacknowledged use of the words or ideas of other sfrom any medium (print,
digital, or otherwise) is plagiarism. The submission of plagiarized work will,
under University rules, render the offending students subjected to a failing
grade for the work in question or for the whole course, and will also make
him/her liable for referral to the Student Judicial Affairs Office for further
disciplinary action. If you are struggling with an assignment or dont
understand the difference between plagiarism and fanfiction, come talk to
us, and we can help you with your writing.

Schedule of Classes

Lecture 1: Introduction & A Brief History of Fanfiction


Spockanalia excerpt*

Lecture 2: Stepping into the Community


Less Wrong Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Ch. 1-10

Lecture 3: Media Reception


Snowqueens Icedragon Master of the Universe Ch. 1-7
closer 5U175

Lecture 4: Mary-Sues, OCs, and Self-Inserts


My Immortal*
Dantes Inferno excerpt*
not_poignant From the Darkness We Rise Ch. 9
Optional Reading: not_poignant Game Theory

Lecture 5: Alternative Universes


waldorph Delilah
First short writing assignment due in class.

Lecture 6: Crossovers
closer Sidekick
esama Safehguard ch. 1-3
AvocadoLove The Boy Who Spoke With Ghosts
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Lecture 7: Sidekicks and Villains


Lise Life in Reverse ch. 1-5
Magneticwave kyle wei, tree whisperer

Lecture 8: Tropes De-aging & Gender Bending


laventadorn The Never-ending Road ch. 1, 31, 54, 70-72

Lecture 9: Tropes Forced Bonding & Time Travel


Elenothar lay down your sweet and weary head
Second short writing assignment due in class.

SPRING BREAK March 23-27

Lecture 10: Fanfiction as Vehicle of Social Commentary


megganoconner All Thats Best of Dark and Bright
RobinRocks Werthams Law
songlin Random Numbers

Lecture 11: Slash


Diane Marchant A Fragment Out of Time

Lecture 12: Femslash


yollm For Her Hand
TardisIsTheOnlyWayToTravel If I had to beg for your love, would it ever
be enough

Lecture 13: Kink


MajaLi Good Boy
Whisper91 As Luck Would Have It (Im already smitten) Ch. 1-5

Lecture 14: Closing - Is fanfiction a valid literary genre?


eleveninches, Febricant, helltailor, M_Leigh, neenya, tigrrmilk Steve
Rogers at 100: Celebrating Captain America on Film

RR&R Week May 4-8

FINALS Week May 11-15

Fifty Reviews Assignment Due

*provided in class