Ep #58: Individuals, Whiteness, Gendered Fandoms and Picking Field Stories to Tell: This Month on TFS

This week we bring you another from home Zoom panel! This week we are joined by Senior lecturer Dr Yasmine Musharbash. Dr Musharbash is currently based in the Northern territory and has research interests in monsters, sleep and death. 

Alex [1:44] starts us off this week by returning to a topic touched on in the last panel. He dives further into Saba Mahmood’s work in the feminist space and asks, where does the individual exist in society? What does the conception of “individual” mean in other societies? 

Then, Jodie [8:13] takes us into the realm of vampires, teenage girls and fandoms. Jodie recently watched How Twilight Saved a Town: Fandom Uncovered, which is a documentary about the Twilight series. One particular quote stuck out:

“We have a tendency as a society to absolutely hate, revile and treat with vitriol, anything that has to do with teenage girls. We hate their music, we hate their icons, we hate their fashion, we hate their behaviour, we hate everything about them.”

Through this quote, Jodie asks the strangers, why are some fandoms more “acceptable” than others? Does gender have a role to play in that acceptability or disdain?

Next, Simon [13:53] references a conversation that happened over in our Facebook group. In the discussion, Ruby Hamad’s book White Tears/Brown Scars whipped up questions of what constitutes whiteness? What is the nature of whiteness? Is it simply a skin colour? Or is it much deeper and has much more far ranging effects in society today? What do you think? 

Finally, our guest this week, Dr Yasmine Murshabash [17:46] discusses how researchers have “hard” stories from the field and where the researcher fits into the stories they collected. Dr Murshabash had come up against this knotty problem when she was invited to a writing exercise. Dr Murshabash asks us to consider, how do you choose a story to tell? What makes a story “hard” to tell? 

Links and Citations 

Alex makes reference to Saba Mahmoud’s work which can be found here 

If you wanted more information on Judith Butler’s work 

If you were interested in reading about the Racial Name Studies 

The documentary Jodie mentioned: How Twilight Saved a Town: Fandom Uncovered

This is the news report of the Twilight fan that Jodie mentions https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-woman-hit-car-downtown-san-diego-dies-2012jul10-htmlstory.html

If you wanted to read more about the gendered nature of fandom

Don’t forget to head over to our Facebook group The Familiar Strange Chats. Let’s keep talking strange, together!

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This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
Shownotes by Matthew Phung
Podcast edited by Simon Theobald and Matthew Phung

Feature image ‘Forks, Washington’ By drburtoni  (2012)

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