In Defense of Aca-Fans

My colleague Candace Benefiel wrote a short piece on Aca-Fans for

The question is still occasionally raised whether the fan academic can function objectively as a scholar while concurrently in an atmosphere of deep engagement with other fans. Is it possible or even necessary to maintain critical distance from a text while simultaneously discussing it with deep affection and even love? If one is tempted to shrug and answer, “Go ask a Trekkie,” we respond with “Go ask a Beowulf scholar.” Both texts involve a language removed from our own, a lengthy history of the text with multiple iterations and exhaustive commentary, and a tightly-knit group of followers who expect a high level of engagement and who will not tolerate sloppy errors or ignorance of the source material.

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