’The woman saying this is Black like us’: Black Women’s Fandom and Intersectionality Discourse on Tumblr

Pow, Kadian L. (2021) ’The woman saying this is Black like us’: Black Women’s Fandom and Intersectionality Discourse on Tumblr. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Kadian Pow PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Feb 2021_Final Award Oct 2021.pdf - Accepted Version

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The politics of representation has served as a lingua franca for how we understand discourses around marginalized stories and characters on TV. Though there have been exceptions, much of the academic conversation around historic debut and pop culture status of the US television show, Scandal, had been overdetermined by a representational politic. Those contributions are necessary and continue to be valid, but alone, remain inadequate. This dissertation is a departure which seeks to examine race, gender, and sexuality from the embodied subjectivities of a significant portion of the show’s fanbase: women--many of whom present as Black in social media spaces.

I will argue why a representation framework alone, serves to undermine the works of Black artists and Black subjectivities. I will then present why the context of the fan and fan studies, in this contemporary moment, is so important to the ways in which we consume and analyse media—specifically Tumblr--regarding issues around Black and female identities. By focusing on the praxis of the Black female fan, Fan Studies can broaden how we think of ‘the fan’, fan practice and power. Furthermore, I will make the case for choosing micro-blogging platform, Tumblr, as a creative and commercialized data-gathering site, wherein the plenitude of Black epistemologies, is made possible. Because Blackness critically intersects with race, gender, sexuality and more, the contours of fan discourse can take on complicated and contradictory trajectories.

Whilst the television show, Scandal, is the case study for examining Black subjectivities beyond representation in this dissertation, I do not seek to frame the study through only my own intellectual framework. Through Critically Engaged Ethnography, I will be analysing a variety of themes from data collected from Tumblr, that have been produced by fans of Scandal, including original contributions made by me, the researcher, whilst I was
an active member of the fandom. These will include exchanges with members of the fandom that, at times, include my participation. The analysis will rely primarily on a Black feminist lens, including Intersectionality theory.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
15 February 2021Submitted
29 October 2021Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Black women's fandom; women's fandom; TV representation; Black fan studies; Black representation; Scandal TV series; Intersectional fan studies; Tumblr; Scandal fandom; race and fandom; intrafandom conflict; social media fandom; sex discourse and fandom
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-02 - sociology
CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Criminology and Sociology
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2022 13:31
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2022 13:31
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13624

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