The essays and reflections included in Essays on Memory (under contract with McFarland) will combine, in various ways, the perspectives of four theoretical/conceptual spheres:
- Modern interpretations and explorations of the ancient rhetorical canon of memory.
- Contemporary fandom concepts of canon and participatory media.
- Theoretical perspectives on narrative.
- Maturing scholarship into digital media.
This intersection provides a complex and robust means through which to examine artifacts of the popular culture experience, both the targets of fandom (genre texts) and the objects of fan memory (including fan fiction/fan art, cosplay, and episode guides).
This rhetorical/theoretical foundation of Essays on Memory is an extension of the narrative analysis I completed in The Science Fiction Reboot, where I identify the mechanics of the fan experience with such texts as the 2009 Star Trek and 2003-09 Battlestar Galactica television series. In order to complete this narratological analysis, I make many assumptions about the authorial and narrative audiences because the primary driver for the evidence in that analysis was the rebooted texts, and their previous versions, themselves rather than the broader rhetorical situation or the actual fans experiencing them. For this project, however, I’m putting my rhetoric “hat” back on to delve into that messy position often referred to as context.
In many ways, this collection is also a follow up to Writing and the Digital Generation, as described above, an extension that was requested in several reviews of that 2010 collection (e.g., Kairos and Science Fiction Studies, both published in 2011). To continue the conversation begun in Digital Generation, however, this new project will take a more rhetorical/theoretical focus and include analyses not only of fan activities but also of “official” texts such as genre novels, films, and television shows.
Nevertheless, Essays on Memory will follow Digital Generation’s interdisciplinary pattern, soliciting perspectives from a variety of fields including game design, cultural rhetorical studies, sociology, and even traditional literary analysis. Given the dynamic nature of this topic, there is much room for a variety of perspectives and scholarly approaches. This collection will be open to as many of these as possible, with the goal of describing and analyzing what is occurring in the popular culture world, with specific focus placed on the science fiction/fantasy and online gaming music segments of the “mass” or popular culture.