Historicized Fandom and the Conversation between East and West Perspectives10.1515/9783110740202.
Digital fandom is traditionally connected to the concept of “participatory culture” (Jenkins 1992) and framed as a novelty developed thanks to the socalled “Internet turn”. We cannot deny the fact that fandom has changed with digitalization, but the focus on “digital fandoms” has often led to an overestimation of the novelty of modern fan communities. In this chapter, we study fandom using a historical and comparative approach demonstrating that, if we historicize fandom, we can easily see how digital fan practices can often be dated back to a pre-digital era. We will try to understand why scholarship has been focusing on the “Internet turn,” neglecting other shifts, by looking at the key issue of fan productivity as one of the most popularized traits of digital fandom. By inserting fandom in a broader transnational context and analyzing different case studies, from the East and West, we will also show that different kinds of fandom definitions and fan traits might become visible if we focus on nonwhite fans’ historical participation.