If you missed the first part of our SPN DePaul interviews, check out the post here.
On May 9-11, DePaul University in Chicago hosted an academic conference celebrating ten years of Supernatural, welcoming attendees from all corners of fandom, including Keynote Speaker and writer on the show, Robbie Thompson. Unfortunately, Chicago is a bit out of the way for either of the Collective gals, so we asked our friends KT Torre, plus Katherine Larsen and Lynn Zubernis, the Fangasm girls, to keep us abreast of the goings-on at the conference. We sat down to ask them a few questions, and here’s part II of our SPN DePaul interview.
The Collective: How does the academic study of Supernatural affect the views of nonfans on the fandom?
KT Torrey: I think the biggest impact is that it makes SPN fandom visible to a much broader and more diverse body of critics. But you could argue that the creatives’ decision to introduce fandom into the show’s canon did the same thing. Taken together, I think there are lots of people outside of SPN fan culture that know of us, or about us, in a way that’s out of proportion with the size of our fandom and the number of people who watch the show.
Lynn Zubernis: Speaking about our own work in particular, I hope that it helps nonfans to understand why fans are as passionate as we are. Understanding and familiarity are the only things that make a dent in stigmatizing and prejudice, so it’s essential that the inaccurate stereotypes and misunderstandings get challenged. That’s what we tried to do with all of our books on Supernatural and fandom.
Another important outcome of the academic study of Supernatural is making the healthy and positive aspects of fandom in general, and Supernatural fandom in particular, more visible to nonfans. Fandom has traditionally been a community of activists, working to support not just other fans but humanity in general. Charity drives, involvement in social justice work, and a strong norm of giving make fandom a community very different from much of our culture. There has been both academic and mainstream media coverage of Misha Collins’ work with Random Acts and Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles’ ‘Always Keep Fighting’ campaign for mental health issues, which is illustrative of what fandom has always been about.