English | Projects in Reading and Writing
W170 | 1822 | Brigid Reardon

Topic:  FANS

What's the difference between a fan and a fanatic?  Are fans mindless
consumers of products or sophisticated producers who are directly
involved in the creative process?  This class seeks to address these
questions by examining fans and the objects of their obsession,
including television, movies, music, and books along with the actors,
musicians, and writers responsible for them.  We will examine items
created by fans, including fan fiction, fanzines, web sites, and
videos.  We will also consider the ways in which the latest batch of
reality shows, particularly programs like AMERICAN IDOL and MTV's
BECOMING, appear to validate the role of the fan.  In addition, we
will concern ourselves with the ways in which fans are depicted in the
media, both by news programs, such as the recent VH-1 News Special on
CELEBRITY OBSESSIONS, and by the entertainment industry, such as the
infamous SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skit in which William Shatner tells
Trekkies to "Get a life!"  Over the course of the semester, we will
screen several videos outside of class.  These materials will also be
available on reserve.  Students will write two short papers (1-2
pages), three medium length papers (3-4 pages), and one researched
analysis (6-8 pages) that will serve as the final project for the
course.  There will be no final exam.