An Inaugural Lecture by Professor Lincoln Geraghty

An Inaugural Lecture by Professor Lincoln Geraghty

  • 18 October 2022
  • 18:00 - 19:00
  • University of Portsmouth - Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth, PO1 2DJ
  • FREE
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From Underground to Mainstream: The People, Places and Practices of 21st Century Media Fandom

In this inaugural lecture, Prof Geraghty reflects on the nature of 21st century media fandom, what makes fans like what they like, go where they go, and do what they do. Evaluating fan culture through popular examples, he surveys its shift from an underground economy to a mainstream lifestyle choice.

He will discuss the relationships between corporate needs and fan desires, arguing that popular media fandom is caught between two equally powerful forces: the media industries that seek to use it and the fan communities that continue to subvert the media. Fandom is about personal identity, community, and all the places in between. This inaugural lecture will chart the transformations fandom has undergone using some of his own journeys as a fan.

Professor Geraghty's PhD focussed on Star Trek fans and American culture, specifically the relationship between the franchise, its fans and how they communicated their affection for themes, stories and characters. He studied fan letters, correspondence that shared thoughts, feelings and emotions that he termed a “network of support”. Following that, his interest turned to the wider genre of science fiction, examining the connections between texts and culture, transmedia platforms and fandom. As he continued to publish on fans and fan practices his focus narrowed on the cultural and creative links between audiences and the transmedia entertainment industries; particularly the affective and nostalgic relationships fans create through practices such as convention going, collecting and tourism.

Media fandom today has become ubiquitous, when studios launch their latest big-budget franchise or purchase another once forgotten intellectual property they are looking to attract, speak to and profit from the associated fan community. Fans have moved from being on the periphery of industry concerns to a position of both power and convenience. Digital media platforms give fans a voice to help affect change and share opinions but at the same time those same platforms have become monetised by global media conglomerates in order to market and manipulate fandom.

About Professor Lincoln Geraghty

Lincoln is Professor of Media Cultures in the School of Film, Media and Communication in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth. Major publications include Living with Star Trek: American Culture and the Star Trek Universe (IB Tauris, 2007), American Science Fiction Film and Television (Berg, 2009) and Cult Collectors: Nostalgia, Fandom and Collecting Popular Culture (Routledge, 2014).

He has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in American Studies from Lancaster and Nottingham universities. In the final year of completing his PhD at Nottingham, he came to Portsmouth in 2004, and a year later was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, coordinating modules in Hollywood film history and science fiction cinema. In 2007, He became Principal Lecturer and Subject Leader for the BA (Hons) Media Studies and combined honours degree programmes. In 2011 he was made Reader in Popular Media Cultures, School Research Lead and Director of the Centre of Cultural and Creative Research. In 2019 he was promoted to Professor of Media Cultures and continues to teach across the film, media and creative writing degrees; coordinating and contributing to modules on American film, media fandom, transmedia storytelling and fan fiction. Lincoln is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Royal Society of Arts.

In addition to Lincoln's research activities, he serves as an Editorial Board Member for The Journal of Popular Culture, Journal of Fandom Studies, Transformative Works and Cultures, and Journal of Popular Television. He is Senior Editor for the online open access journal from Taylor Francis, Cogent Arts and Humanities. He co-edits a book series for Palgrave called "Fandom and the Humanities", and has presented his research at academic conferences across North America, Europe and the UK as well as at global fan conventions such as the San Diego Comic Con and Destination Star Trek at Birmingham’s NEC. Lincoln has consulted on a range of pop culture events; organising panels at conventions such as the annual Portsmouth Comic Con and Star Wars European Celebration in 2016.

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