cyborg sex in public, fan fiction on-line, and a fantasy of political consumption
J/7 Pulp Fiction Cover Art Series!
No. 6, "I Prefer Girls"
(by permission of the artist)
original cover painting by
Robert Maguire, 1963
the 1970s, people have been writing fan fiction and organizing communities
in which it could be shared. Many of these stories about characters swiped
from television, movies, or other mass media revolve around queer erotic
narratives. Captain Janeway and the cyborg Seven of Nine from the show
Star Trek: Voyager have become a common lesbian pairing, part of
the fan fiction explosion that occurred with the popularization of the
internet. Well-known academic work on fan fiction in the field of audience
studies (e.g. Jenkins) cannot adequately account for the vast structural
changes the internet and related technologies precipitated in fan culture.
I will argue that it is time to cultivate a new approach to media reception
from the perspective of critical theory. My method, which in this example
draws on Donna Haraways A Cyborg Manifesto and Berlant
and Warners Sex in Public, provides a framework for
modeling realistically intricate and expansive connections between the
site of mass culture production and the site of its consumption. I will
apply this model to an exploration of Janeway/Seven fan fiction on the
internet, discussing the relationship of new communication technologies
to compromises of intellectual property law, to the creation of spaces
that are both public and erotic, and to the (political) possibilities
of non-economic models of mass media production and consumption.
"I do not believe the Collective intended for me to..."
She searched a moment for the phrasing.
"...make love to you."
~ Seven of Nine in "The Dress" by Boadicea
Production is also immediately consumption...
Consumption is also immediately production...
Each is immediately its opposite. But at the same time
a mediating movement takes place between the two.
~ Karl Marx, Grundrisse (Tucker 228-9)
[07.05] Several different
versions of this paper are posted here:
[download as PDF] - This article, now
entitled NEW VOY cyborg sex
J/7 [NC-17] 1/1: New Methodologies, New Fantasies, was accepted for
publication in The
Slash Reader, but then that project died (I assume). The book version
is available here.
It's the best one so far, in my humble opinion, and balances conciseness and
completeness. It also includes a brand new introduction. At some point I'd
like to put this through one more revision, given that I now have some grad
school under my belt, and try again to get it published.
- I presented this paper at the Technotopias
conference at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow) in July 2002, as part
of the panel "Redefining Location." Weighing in at about 12 pages, it's based
on the "long" version and is a much more comprehensive condensation of my work
than the excerpt that was here previously. There is no hypertext in this
version, so if you want the full cyber experience, check out one of the ones
below. If you want to read this version offline, you can download
it as a PDF.
- As this label suggests, I present here nearly all the material I produced
in the first two years of this project (most changes date from Spring 2001).
In later versions, I cut different pieces out to meet length requirements. I
think the level of detail is quite satisfying, and you'll also enjoy hypertext
-- it's a great read, if you've got the time.
- This paper was submitted as a senior thesis in the English Department of Swarthmore
College in December 2000 (Patricia White was my advisor). It's come a long
way since then, but I leave this version up for old times' sake, and in case
you're really curious about how my work has developed.
links, and acknowledgments
are combined to apply to the whole project: there is just one version of each
To contact the author, email
me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texts related to this project, and other
materials here not specifically attributed, are copyright © 2000-2002
by Julie Levin Russo (email@example.com
and are licensed under a Creative
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