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Dissertationsprojekt von Anne Korfmacher

Fan Commentary Podcasts (working title)

Using the cultural studies informed formalist methodology by literary studies scholar Caroline Levine, my work seeks to systematically describe and understand the commentary genre’s affordances and constraints for the diverse group of fan podcasters, analysing a corpus of reread, recap, review and riffing fan podcast.

Creative fan labour flourishes in the digital landscape of current participatory culture and is increasingly visible in podcasting, which is characterised by a low entry threshold, ease of accessibility and affordances for intimacy, authenticity and community building (cf. Berry, Llinares et al., Meserko, McGregor). “‘[F]annish’ podcasts” were described as early as 2006, when Kristina Busse noted podcasts featuring “reviews, commentary, and even creative responses such as audio plays and recorded fan fiction” (n.p.). My project focusses on a particularly popular subgenre among these fan podcasts, namely what I refer to as commentary podcasts. These fan podcasts are characterised by their hosts’ thorough “scene-by-scene, almost line-by-line” (cf. The Fawlty Towers Podcast) engagement with a single or franchised media text and span so-called reread or rewatch podcasts previously addressed by Hannah McGregor (2019) as well as recap podcasts that, i.a., feature current and on-going media texts, and riffing podcasts with a mocking sensibility.

Using the formalist cultural studies methodology developed by Caroline Levine (2015) to perform close analytical listenings of a range of fan commentary podcasts, I contend that the fan commentary podcast genre can be defined through its dominant commentary form. My dissertation adopts an interdisciplinary approach that combines work in the emerging field of podcast studies and fan studies through a new formalist methodology to consider the affordances of the podcast medium and explore their productivity for commentary podcast hosts and their participatory practices as fans. While podcasting booms and fan activities become increasingly visible in mainstream media, fan podcasts have not been extensively researched let alone considered through a formalist cultural studies lens. My dissertation thus seeks to address the current lack of research into podcasts genres by considering the fan commentary podcast genre through its (aesthetic and social) formal structures.


Short Biography

Anne Korfmacher is a doctoral candidate in English Philology at the University of Cologne, researching anglophone fan commentary podcasts. She received her BA in English and American Studies and Educational Management, as well as her MA in British and North American Cultural Studies at the Albert-Ludwigs-University (Freiburg), during which she also spent time studying abroad at the University of Sheffield and the University of Helsinki. She is a research assistant at the a.r.t.e.s. Research Lab and teaching a seminar on one of her other interests: Gothic fiction. Her project is supervised by Julia Hoydis, Roman Bartosch and Dario Llinares. She is also a member of the Podcast Studies Steering Group and founder of the Podcast Studies PhD Group, which brings together international doctoral students working in Podcast Studies.

Contact: a.korfmacher(at)uni-koeln.de



“Reviewing Pornography: Asserting Sexual Agency on Girls on Porn”, in: genderforum,´ 77, 2020. (http://genderforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/03_Korfmacher_Reviewing-Pornography.pdf)

With Alyn Euritt: “ Intimität und Zeitlichkeit der Podcast-Kommentarform: Am Beispiel von My Dad Wrote a Porno”, In: kommunikation@gesellschaft 21, 2, 2020. (https://doi.org/10.15460/kommges.2020.21.2.619)


Selected Presentations

“Fan Commentary Podcasts – ‘Scene-By-Scene, Almost Line-By-Line’”, Poster Presentation, October 13-17, 2020, Fan Studies Network North American Virtual Conference.

“Podcasting Erotica: Comedic Commentary in the British Podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno”, October 11-12, 2019, Podcasting Poetics, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz.

“‘When you get what you want, you feel great!’ – Gender Negotiation in the Podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno”, January 12-13, 2018, Pop Hero and Action Princess? Negotiating Gender in Popular Culture, Münster.


Organised Events

International Student Conference “Exploring Alterity in Fantasy and Science Fiction”, October 19-20, 2018, English Department, University of Freiburg.


Teaching Experience

Winter Semester 2020
Proseminar “Exploring Gothic Spaces”, English Seminar I, University of Cologne

Summer Semester 2020
Proseminar “Exploring Gothic Spaces”, English Seminar I, University of Cologne


Cover picture: A woman is absorbed in her podcast while travelling on public transport. Credit: Photo by Siddharth Bhogra on Unsplash.