Archive for 2021

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[Commlist] conference Returning to the Page: Visualising Design and Desire in Fan Magazines

Tue Jan 19 17:34:19 GMT 2021

We are pleased to let you know that registration for Returning to the Page: Visualising Design and Desire in Fan Magazines (8-13 February 2021) is now open. The event is free and will take place fully online; to register, simply send us an email via ( /at/ This will ensure you are included in all communication about the conference schedule, and you will also be provided with all the info you need to access the conference’s dedicated Discord server.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Please see below for further information about the event, which will also include an online film screening and an exciting fan magazine quiz!

*Returning to the Page: Visualising Design and Desire in Fan Magazines*

8-13 February 2021

Keynote: Sally Stein, Professor Emerita, University of California, Irvine

This conference is designed as a sequel to our 2015 event Turning the Page: Digitization, movie magazines and historical audience studies. That conference focused on the development of the study of historical fan magazines in recent decades, with a particular emphasis on the impact of increased digitization (by the Media History Digital Library, among others) on this development. In this context, we particularly emphasised the importance of “reclaiming” the fan magazine – an ephemeral and often academically neglected object – as an important research tool for the study of stars, fans, Hollywood and non-Hollywood film industries and cultures, and more.

The purpose of this follow-up event is two-fold. Firstly, we wish to investigate the ways in which the field of historical fan magazine studies has evolved over the past five years. Secondly, we wish to focus, for this event, specifically on the design of the magazines and the relationship between the visual aspects of the publications and their contents. This choice is partly motivated by the online nature of the conference: since we will all be consuming the conference papers on a small screen, this format is excellently suited to an in-depth and detailed study of magazines’ visual elements.

With this focus, we particularly want to emphasise the importance of talking about the fan magazine holistically, as a complete and multi-layered object often consumed by its original readers in unorthodox and non-linear ways. As Sally Stein noted in the context of/Ladies Home Journal/in 1985:

"Studies of magazines have usually treated literary texts, or editorial images, or ads, as independent entities, and have proceeded to analyze their meanings divorced from their original context. This strategy flattens our conception of the way magazines came to be assembled and then received. For these elements are certainly not apprehended in isolation; rather images and texts, ads and editorial matter, are each designed to work off each other within the larger ensemble of the magazine." (Stein, 1985: 7)

While some scholars have appreciated this importance of taking a holistic approach, we believe that much coverage of the fan magazine as a research object still tends to treat the visual and textual elements as easily separable from each other, failing to appreciate the holistic reading experience these periodicals offered their readers, who often consumed them in their available “scraps of time.” (Stein, 1985: 6) This conference attempts to address this lacuna.

*Conference organisers:*
Tamar Jeffers McDonald
Lies Lanckman
Sarah Polley
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