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“Finite Diversity in Infinite Combinations”: A Study of Women in the Original Star Trek Fandom

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Hayley Anderson

When asked for the motivations behind the Star Trek convention of 1972, the first exclusive fandom convention, organizer Devra Langsam responded with, "...[so] we can talk about Star Trek, and nobody would look at us funny and say, 'That's not real science fiction...'" (Langsam, 2017) While scholars, including Michael Jindra and Erin Hanna, have noted the impact of the early Star Trek fandom on shaping the series and modern fan activities, few have studied the fandom's activities, such as fanzines and exclusive conventions, as a women's group excluded from the broader science fiction fandom. This research involves examination of the themes and practices  of Star Trek fanzines, mainly published and consumed by women. I will discuss how certain conventions developed by the fandom, such as creative writing within the series and the creation of fan art, have become commonplace within fan culture. For example, Star Trek fanzines featured the first creative fan-written stories set within this fictional universe. Previously, science fiction fanzines featured only original work or essays. These differences distinguished the fandom from its predecessors but also made it a target for exclusion. Interviews from fanzine publishers and authors will reveal the backgrounds and experiences of these Star Trek fans throughout their time with the series. In examining these sources, I will reestablish women's presence as a driving force within fandom and illuminate causes for their exclusion.
University / Institution: Brigham Young University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Social Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Rebecca de Schweinitz
Location: Sill Center Conference Room (3:50pm)