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Dissertationsprojekt von Anne Korfmacher

Negotiating Fan Participation in Commentary Podcasts (working title)

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. Podcasting’s unique affordances overlap and collide with aesthetic and social forms in fan commentary podcasts, revealing distributions of power and avenues for fans to participate in creating meaning about the texts they read and negotiating relationships to their listeners and other (fan) audiences. 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 research gap into fan podcasts by considering the complex dynamics of fan expression in the podcast medium, revealing it as a productive field for further study.


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. Currently, she is a research assistant at the a.r.t.e.s. Research Lab and teaching a seminar on one of her other research interests: Gothic fiction. Her first article on podcasting, “Reviewing Pornography: Asserting Sexual Agency on Girls on Porn”, will be published in summer 2020 in Gender Forum: An Internet Journal for Gender Studies. Her project is supervised by Julia HoydisRoman Bartosch and Dario Llinares.

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



“Reviewing Pornography: Asserting Sexual Agency on Girls on Porn”, in: genderforum, 2020. (forthcoming)

With Alyn Euritt: “Die Intimität und Temporalität der Podcast-Kommentarform am Beispiel von My Dad Wrote a Porno.” kommunikation@gesellschaft, Sonderausgabe “Senden, Hören, Teilen: Podcasts und digitale Audiokultu[en]”, 2020/21. (forthcoming)



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

“‘I will not enact Eternity for them’: Confronting Anthropocentrism in Le Guin’s ‘Direction of the Road’”, October 3-5, 2018, Myth and Fantasy in the Anthropocene, Brno.

“‘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

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.