The Critical Fan Toolkit

Dissertation Acknowledgements

This project would not be possible without the support, brilliance, and kindness of so many people. I created this project because of you all and, in some cases, for you. Typically, acknowledgements are supposed to be short, but there are so many people who not only made this dissertation possible, but made it possible for me to get through my program.

Of course, I want to begin by thanking my dissertation committee. Mya Poe is the best dissertation chair I could have asked for. When I took a course with her for the first time, I loved how she traced histories so easily and clearly. I hope one day I can achieve a similar expertise. I admire her endlessly for her brilliance, careful eye, and ever-expanding dedication to protecting the graduate students with whom she works. Watching her lead meetings, carve out space for graduate students, and advocate for us has made me feel safe, heard, and loved at every step of this journey. I next want to thank Ellen Cushman, who laid a solid foundation for my first few years at Northeastern as both my first advisor and through the several courses I took with her. She enthusiastically pushes me to carefully execute and articulate my research methods, all while caring for the communities with whom I work and of which I am a part. I also want to thank Neal Lerner, whose laid-back attitude and affinity for laughter made me feel welcome at Northeastern immediately. Thank you for continuing to talk to me after we first met at NEWCA, when I fangirled about your chapter conclusions. Finally, I want to thank Laura Nelson, for her commitment to feminist praxis, computational feminism, and interdisciplinarity. I could only create this dissertation because she taught me Python and invited me to help build the Digital Integration Teaching Initiative. She inspires me to continually carve out feminist computational spaces.

I also want to thank those who made this project possible — fanfiction authors. There are millions of us that write, publish, read, and discover community through fanfiction. We are complex, persistent, and ever-expanding. Thank you especially to those who shared their stories and perspectives with me for this project. To Aria, Dialux, Gillywulf, Kittya Cullen, Valk, and Writegirl: you are each brilliant writers, thinkers, and people.

Next, I want to thank all those whose patience and technical brilliance helped me create an entire website, learn XML for qualitative coding, build data visualizations, and think about all the messy steps of publishing digital projects. Thank you especially to Ash Clark for eir endless kindness and willingness to brainstorm with me; William Reed Quinn for answering my persistent coding questions; Avery Blankenship for guiding me with Flask and recommending the best YouTube tutorials (shout out to Corey Schafer); Julia Flanders for teaching me XML, RelaxNG, and encoding practices as well as helping me articulate the theoretical and practical components of sustainability; Avey Nelson, whose gaming dissertation — and sardonic humor — inspired me to move to a digital project; Amanda Visconti for sharing her experience building a digital dissertation; and of course, Sarah Connell who helped set up grant funding, invited me to join create DITI, and demonstrated best practices for teaching digital tools. I’m looking forward to drinks when the pandemic is over! I also want to thank Heather Hardy, the Graduate Program & Communications Coordinator, who has been instrumental in helping me navigate the details of the program; thank you for being a great coordinator and friend.

I could not have finished this program without the love and kindness from my friends. Just like in a shōnen anime, our kinships inspire me to keep fighting, even at my lowest. First, I want to thank my motherdaughterwives, Abbie DeCamp, Eamon Schlotterback, Alanna Prince, and Avery Blankenship. My phone is always on the fritz because of all the memes, jokes, and love. Thank you for always teaching and supporting me; I hope I do the same for you. Next I want to thank all the friends I made at Northeastern and in other academic spaces who remind me that academia does not need to be an isolating, lonely place, especially Tieanna Graphenreed, Cherice Jones, Kyle Wholey, Laura Johnson, Galen Bunting, Genny Barco-Medina, Matthew Hitchcock, Sarah Payne, Meg Stefanski, Vijeta Saini, Rachel Molko, Les Hutchinson Campos, Vyshali Manivannan, Kyllikki Rytov, Qianqian Zhang-Wu, Izetta Autumn Mobley, and Mandy Olejnik. I also want to thank Anne Ellen Geller, my Master’s thesis advisor; when I thanked her for being a wonderful mentor after I graduated from St. John’s, she told me to “pay it forward.” I hope I do. Finally, to all my forever friends, including Diya Vazirani, Natalie Hallak, Dean Kritikos, Caroline Shaw, Avey Nelson, Alyssa-Rae McGinn, Alison Perry, Jack Wells, and Alyssa Alarcón Santo, who designed the CFT’s sick logo: I love you all.

Thank you to my family: my loving, ever-supportive mom, Jeanne Haid; my sometimes brilliant dad, Steve Messina; my sister, Elizabeth Messina, who I still idolize; the entire Haid family, especially Casey, Allie, and Ryan; my billions of other family members, too many to count; and my family-in-law, William and Tricia Reed Quinn, Catherine Myers, and little Sam who loves Peppa Pig so much.

Finally, to the love of my life, William Reed Quinn. Thank you for answering my coding questions, even while you’re in the middle of an intense game of Overwatch; for cooking me food when I forget to eat; for laughing until we cry watching TikToks in the evenings; and for being the best pup dad to our best pup. And thank you for promising to go where I go; being there when I need you; and loving me with your words, actions, and touch. I could not have done anything without you.