National Young Women's Day of Action Bruncheon: Tracy Deonn Walker, “Fandom and Identity, Fandom as Identity”
November 14, 2018
“Fandom and Identity, Fandom as Identity”Tracy Deonn Walker - National Young Women's Day of Action Talk OverviewTracy Deonn Walker is a scholar-artist, published young adult author, and geektivist. She investigates and celebrates the spaces inhabited by women and people with marginalized identities in science-fiction and fantasy media, literature, and fandom. In this talk, Tracy will discuss The #GeekGirls Project, her two-year digital anthropology project around networked fandoms and digital tribes. Tracy’s research on this hashtag began in 2016 with graduate coursework at Duke University and contributed to her being named a 2017-2018 Graduate Fellow in Duke’s Story Lab, a humanities lab within the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. Through the Lab, she continued her work by traveling to Seattle for GeekGirlCon 2017, a fan-created, material-world convention born from the original online, digital movement. Tracy’s project recently concluded when she was invited by the co-founder of GeekGirlCon to speak on a San Diego Comic-Con International 2018 panel called “What Rebellions Are Built On: Popular Culture, Radical Hope, and the Politically Engaged Geek.”Tracy’s talk will also include nuanced extensions from The #GeekGirls Project, which address Black and queer experiences of fandom through fanworks— fanfiction, fanart, memes, etc. The first project is a comparative look at the Black vernacular work of “signifyin’” and meaning-making in the context of Black transformative fanworks. The second project is about social media campaigns and fanworks around queer “shipping.” (Shipping is a fan’s personal support of a fictional romantic relationship.) Tracy is most interested in how fanworks reclaim, challenge, and illuminate canon source material in empowering ways for marginalized communities.Tracy is a YA author, in part, because young adult fiction assumes a growth mindset of its readers. It demands narratives of possibility and expansion and that is directly connected to her geektivist work. She will share her experiences of creating art in academia, creating art in professional spaces, and creating art for herself and her community. She’ll discuss her personal path to publication and how it involved many career “detours” and finding ways to be really good at something that’s never been done.Tracy Deonn Walker Bio Tracy Deonn Walker is a scholar-artist, young adult author, and geektivist. Her essay about growing up Black, female, and geeky is published in Simon & Schuster’s OUR STORIES, OUR VOICES anthology and her debut YA contemporary fantasy series, DESCENDANTS, will be published 2020 and 2021. Tracy is on the Advisory Board of the upcoming 2019 documentary film, Looking for Leia, which explores the fandom of Star Wars fangirls. Tracy received her BA and MA in Communication and Performance Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she wrote an award-winning thesis play about Superman, West African myths, and secret identities. After working as a theater director and a video game co-writer/producer, and returning to academia, Tracy was named a Graduate Fellow of Duke University’s Story Lab.