Reminder: Special Issue of Pop Comm CFP---Queer Women's Fandom

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Lila Yang

Oct 5, 2023, 9:50:25 AM10/5/23

Dear Colleagues, 

On behalf of Dr. Jamie J. Zhao, we are writing to send you a gentle reminder for the approaching deadline (October 15th) for submitting paper proposals to the special issue “Queer Women’s Fandom: New Global Perspectives” co-edited by Jamie J. Zhao and Eve Ng to be published in 2024 (as issue 3) in the journal of Popular Communication

Please kindly find the full call copied below. 

Thank you for your interest and support.


Queer Women’s Fandom: New Global Perspectives


Special issue for Popular Communication:

 The International Journal of Media and Culture


Co-editors: Jamie J. Zhao (City University of Hong Kong) and Eve Ng (Ohio University, USA)


There are numerous fan communities and spaces, in different geocultural locations and linguistic contexts, dedicated to intimacies between women. Yet research on queer women’s fandoms – including fandoms of queer female public figures and their media presence, fan communities comprised of non-cis/non-heterosexually identified women, and/or queer reading activities done by women-identified fans – remains rather scant, especially compared to work on the queer fandoms of stars, celebrities, and idols who are cis-men. Furthermore, most scholarship on queer women’s fan cultures is focused on two types: femslash in Euro-American contexts and GL (“girls love” or yuri/baihe) in East Asian contexts. To develop a theoretically richer and more globally diverse account, this special issue seeks critical approaches to the transnational dimensions of queer women’s fandoms, including as they pertain to the formation and transformation of cross-racial, transcultural, and global queer fan identities, relationships to feminist and queer movements, the capitalization and coopting of queer fan labor, and other complexities of transcultural fandom.


In the only published edited collection entirely focused on queer women’s fan studies, Eve Ng and Julie Levin Russo called for a recentering of “queer women as the object of fannish cathexis” (2017). This current project builds upon that volume and further emphasizes that the global and transcultural elements of queer women’s fandoms deserve deeper investigation. Following Bertha Chin and Lori Hitchcock Morimoto’s (2013) transcultural fandom theory, we do not take “global” simply as something from the non-Western world. Instead, we propose that queer women’s fandom makes visible the encounters of local, transcultural, and global understandings concerning gender, sexuality, and media. It thus proffers fannish imaginaries and productions that contest, negotiate, and sometimes even collude with globalist and digital capitalism and heteronormative social structure.


In addition, we envision the special issue as working to redress the disproportionate focus of current literature on fan cultures around explicitly lesbian-identified characters and celebrities that are available in LGBTQ-friendly, relatively democratic media and social environments. To date, there has been little academic attention on fandoms dominated by and about queer women in contexts where overt LGBTQ politics, movements, and representations remain taboo topics. We are therefore particularly interested in research on queer women’s fan spaces in largely conservative, misogynistic, homophobic settings, both online and offline, and the transcultural, cross-racial encounters and negotiations that may occur.


In sum, this special issue of Popular Communication will examine fan practices and discourses centered on women’s homoerotic imaginaries through fresh transnational perspectives. Challenging the Euro-American-centrism and (more recently emergent) East Asian-centrism in global queer media and fan studies, we seek to advance cross-geocultural-linguistic conversations about how images, personas, desires, identities, and subjectivities of queer women are (re)produced, negotiated, and deconstructed, and the relations of these queer fannish imaginaries to the media texts and platforms, sociocultural contexts, and economic-political and regulatory forces through which they are enabled, complicated, and sometimes curtailed.


The special issue will address the following overarching questions:

·          How has globalization facilitated or complicated the emergence, development, and interconnection of queer women’s fan cultures in different parts of the world?

·          In what ways are identities, subjectivities, and desiring voices of queer women enabled and reconfigured through negotiation with local, cross-cultural, transnational, and global media and public discourses on girlhood, womanhood, feminism, and queerness?

·          How do race, ethnicity, class, age, and geopolitics complicate global queer women’s fandoms?

·          Through what means have transnational feminist and LGBTQ movements converged with or diverged from queer women’s fan cultures in recent years?

·          How have emerging forms of digital technologies and social platforms contributed to the circulation of queer women-centered media and the formation of its fandom worldwide?


Potential topics may include but are not limited to:

·          Emerging forms of queer women’s fan cultures, such as webtoons, TikTok videos, GL-adapted fanfics, audio dramas, games, etc.

·          Queer global fandoms around Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Sinophone actresses, K-pop, J-Pop, and Chinese pop women idols and girl groups, and/or androgynous celebrities in Asia

·          Other transnational and/or cross-racial fandoms of queer women celebrities and representations

·          The intersection of age, gender, and sexuality in queer women’s fan cultures, such as anti-ageism, fans’ preferences or romantic imaginaries of middle-age or senior queer women

·          The role of social media in manufacturing women as queer-identified celebrities, and/or the engagement of such celebrities with their queer fans

·          Queer women-centered media and platformization (cultural practices and the venues for cultural production proliferated through digital platforms’ infrastructural characteristics) 

·          Conflicts and/or connections between feminist groups/communities and queer women’s fan cultures

·          The role of heteropatriarchal cultures and media regulations in the formation and development of queer women’s fandoms

To most strongly fit the theme of the special issue, submissions should examine their topics through a critical global/transnational/transcultural lens. Studies on queer women’s fan practices in the Global South from de-Western-centric, de-East Asian-centric perspectives are especially welcomed.




·          Please submit a 1,000-word abstract as well as a short (2-page) CV by October 15, 2023 to the co-editors of the special issue at and

·          Authors whose abstracts are selected will be notified by December 15, 2023.

·          Selected authors will be asked to submit complete manuscripts (6,000-7,000 words, including notes and references, in Word format, following the 7th APA style) directly to the journal’s submission site by February 28, 2024.

·          Acceptance of an abstract does not guarantee paper publication. All full paper submissions will be single anonymous peer-reviewed by at least two independent, anonymous scholars. The expected publication date for the special issue is 2024 (issue 3).


If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the co-editors.


Special Issue Editors:

Jamie J. ZHAO is Assistant Professor in the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong. She holds a PhD in Gender Studies from Chinese University of Hong Kong and received another PhD in Film and TV Studies from the University of Warwick. Her research explores East Asian media and public discourses on female gender and sexuality in a globalist age. She is the editor of Queer TV China (HKUP, 2023), and coedited Boys’ Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols (HKUP, 2017), Contemporary Queer Chinese Art (Bloomsbury, 2023), and the Routledge Handbook of Chinese Gender and Sexuality (Routledge, forthcoming). She has also (co)edited seven special journal issues on the topics of global media, celebrity, and fan studies. She is the founding coeditor of Bloomsbury's “Queering China” book series and Routledge's “Transdisciplinary Souths” book series. In addition, she serves on the editorial boards of Communication, Culture & CritiqueFeminist Media StudiesTelevision & New Media, and Bloomsbury’s “Asian Celebrity and Fandom Studies” book series.



Eve Ng is an associate professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Ohio University. She is the author of Cancel Culture: A Critical Analysis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), Mainstreaming Gays: Critical Convergences of Queer Media, Fan Cultures, and Commercial Television (Rutgers University Press, 2023), and has published in Communication, Culture & CritiqueDevelopment and ChangeFeminist Media StudiesFeminist Studies, International Journal of CommunicationJournal of Film and VideoJournal of Lesbian StudiesNew Review of Film and Television StudiesPopular CommunicationTelevision & New Media, and Transformative Works and Culture. She is an associate editor of Communication, Culture & Critique, and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Lesbian StudiesTelevision & New Media, and Transformative Works and Culture.



Ms. Lila Yang 

RA to Dr. Jamie J. Zhao

School of Creative Media

City University of Hong Kong

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