My project aims to investigate how Italian fans explore their gender and sexual identities through the production and consumption of slash fanfictions. I adopt a post-structuralist and queer feminist approach to study the relations that fan texts hold with the literary canon and examine how heteronormative values can be subverted to create alternative meanings and content. A comparison between Italian and Anglophone fan literatures will observe differences and similarities in both cultural contexts and provide a fuller picture of the way gender and sexual norms are deconstructed.
My research is based upon the following investigative questions: what role do fan fictions play in the Italian contemporary society? What are the implications of their dissemination/circulation in the virtual context? What is the view of literary criticism about fan fiction nowadays? Bearing this sociocultural background in mind, I’ll draw attention on slash fan fictions (fan texts containing queer content) and examine the effects that writing and reading queer fan literature has on the individual self: how do fans engage with the text? To what extent do queer subjects influence the development of the individual self? Does writing about sexual and gender fluidity contribute to the deconstruction of meanings in fan texts? And how?
With this study, I seek to offer a fresh perspective to fan studies scholarship, and provide a substantial contribution to Italian scholarship in the field of gender and queer studies by picturing current forms of sexual and gender expressions of new generations, who especially engage in virtual contexts.