Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Welcome to CSAPhD, featuring the scholarship of Crystal S. Anderson! I am Research Scholar of Cultural Studies at Longwood University (USA) and Director of KPK: KPop Kollective, the oldest and only aca-fansite for modern Korean popular music (K-pop). My work fits best within transnational American Studies and global Asias contexts.  I focus on African American, Asian and Asian American cultures in popular culture and audience and reception studies.   You can view my complete CV here.  Some of my scholarship can be found in traditional forms. My 2013 book, Beyond the Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production(University of Mississippi Press).

Because much of this scholarship requires readers to purchase a publication or pay for access,  I also publish my some of my scholarly work on the Internet to make my scholarship more accessible to the public.  To read my most recent work, click on the folder on the sidebar.

I am Director of KPK: Kpop Kollective, the oldest and only aca-fansite for modern Korean popular music (K-pop). Established in 2010, it has developed into a community of practice  and a thematic research collection centered on K-pop. Members are also active scholars and aca-fans who work on individual scholarly projects related to Hallyu, a contemporary Korean cultural movement. Kpop Kollective promotes the public’s understanding of contemporary Korean popular culture, creates resources and provides analysis and context on K-pop from a global perspective.


 

 

I manage KPOPCULTURE, a digital humanities project that curates modern Korean popular music (K-pop) through digital exhibitions of music, choreography, fandom and industry.


I manage iFans: Kpop Global Fandom, a project site that examines K-pop fandom through qualitative surveys and curation of fan production.


I blog about Asian popular culture, including K-pop, K-drama, anime and East Asian film at High Yellow.


I’m happy to be a guest in high school and college classrooms via Skype. Please requests for speaking engagements and classroom visits to csaphd5@gmail.com or andersoncs2@longwood.edu.

 

 

 

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Panelist, “Black American Music and K-pop,” KCON 2017 LA

I’ll be a panelist at KCON 2017 LA! Panel 502B, “Black American Music and K-pop”, will be on Sunday, August 20, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Hope to see you there!

In the meantime, check out some of my work on Black American Music and K-pop.

Not Just Pretty Faces: K-pop Idols and Quiet Storm Masculinity

Black Popular Music and K-pop

Ethnicity, Glamour and Image in Korean Popular Music

What Type of Fan Are You?: Fan Hierarchy vs. Fan Continuum

Image: Pixabay

Fan identity is at the heart of fandom studies, and one of the most contested issues revolves around differentiating types of fans based on their knowledge, behavior or both. Fan hierarchy and fan continuum are two concepts that attempt to answer this question, with different implications.

In Understanding Fandom, Mark Duffett defines a fan as “a person with a relatively deep, positive emotional conviction about someone or something famous, usually expressed through a recognition of style or creativity. He/she is also a person driven to explore and participate in fannish practices” (18). As a result, a fan differs from a general member of an audience, for “contemporary culture still marks out an emotional and rhetorical divide between the identities of the fan and the ordinary audience member” (45). By definition, fans are emotionally attached to the object of fandom, while ordinary audiences are just not as attached. Fans can be identified by what they know and how they engage in a variety of fan activities.

Perhaps it is this emotional attachment that also factors into the way fans see themselves in relation to each other. In Fan Cultures, Matt Hills refers to the notion of fan hierarchy, which he argues involves both fan cultural capital, or “the knowledge that a fan has about their object of fandom,” and fan social capital, or “the network of fan friends and acquaintances that a fan possesses, as well as their access to media producers and professional personnel linked with the object of fandom” (57). Hill’s issue is more with academics who study fans and how they arrange fans in relation to each other. Fan cultural capital is based on knowledge alone, whereas fan social capital is based on interaction with other fans and larger fan culture. This tends to lend itself to comparisons and valuing certain kinds of fans over others, privileging those who have more knowledge or more interaction with the larger fandom.

But Duffett realizes that this may not capture the complexities of fan culture. It also may reinforce a negative appraisal of fans. Remember that Duffett defines fan activity as positive. Instead, he proffers the notion of a fan continuum “that stretches between the least committed fans and the most dedicated fans” and allows for the consideration of other kinds of fan characteristics, including “fan self-identification, community participation, consumption of publicity material and archiving” (44).

This move attempts to get us away from thinking about “good” fans and “bad” fans, and more on what fans do and how they think of themselves. It recognizes as a fan anyone who has any level of the emotional attachment to the fan object. In this way, if you think you are a fan, then you are one. At the same time, it allows us to make distinctions based on how fans operate. We might be fans, but we are not the same type of fans. Some fans have a superficial engagement with the fan object, while others have deep knowledge. Hills acknowledges this when he notes that one can have high fan cultural capital, but low fan social capital. This doesn’t take away a fan’s identity, but it does describe a different mode of fandom. Fan continuum allows us to recognize the differences in fan practices without passing judgement on fans or questioning a fan’s authenticity.

Sources

Duffett, Mark. Understanding Fandom: An Introduction to the Study of Media Fan Culture. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.

Hills, Matt. Fan Cultures. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.

New Survey! Not the Only One: Multi-Fandoms and K-pop

Can’t decide which K-pop group or artist is your favorite? You are not alone! Global fans of K-pop tend to support several groups and artists at the same time, while their Korean counterparts tend to support only one group or artist. But why? And which groups tend to be in a global fan’s multi-fandom? This study seeks to answer these questions in survey that uses open-ended and multiple-choice questions. Take the survey and tell your friends!

Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/kpopmultifandom

A Not So New K-pop Survey: Last Fans Standing: Veteran Fans of K-pop

One of the things that happens when conducting qualitative surveys is that they can raise more questions than they answer. This is what happened with the preliminary data from Last Fans Standing: Longtime and Adult Fans of Korean Popular Music (K-pop). Response rates were unusually low, which was unusual given the rising number of fans who have been fans for more than five years. I speculated that respondents may think that only adult fans who had also been fans for five years or more could take the survey. So, I revised the survey to focus solely on veteran fans of K-pop, individuals who had been fans for five years or more. The revised survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/vetfans !

Last Fans Standing: Longtime and Adult Fans of Korean Popular Music (K-pop)

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This survey has been revised! Click here for new survey!!!

Most people assume that the only audience for modern Korean popular music (K-pop) is teenagers. As a result, they also assume that K-pop music lacks longevity.  However, the presence of longtime fans suggests that K-pop remains appealing to some fans for years. The existence of adult fans challenges the notion that K-pop only appeals to teenagers. Both groups represent understudied demographics in studies of K-pop fandom.  This project uses multiple case study and oral history to understand K-pop’s lasting appeal.

Multiple Case Study

This multiple case study seeks to understand why individuals remain K-pop fans for years and why adults find K-pop appealing. For three years, I will be asking questions about these atypical fans of K-pop. This survey contains several open-ended and multiple-choice questions that ask how fans see themselves and ask about their K-pop music preferences and fan activity.

 

Not Just Pretty Faces: K-pop Idols and Quiet Storm Masculinity

2PM

2PM

2PM, a six-member male group from JYP Entertainment, may be the model for K-pop’s beast-like masculinity, which primarily depends on appearance, but they also participate in the black male soul tradition, which uses vocal ability to inform a different kind of masculinity.

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Digital Humanities for the Rest of Us

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One Thing That All Humanities Scholars Can Do To Integrate The Digital Into Their Humanities

I recently gave a presentation at the Council on Undergraduate Research 2016 Biennial Conference on undergraduate research and digital humanities. The session was well-attended. Some the individuals who attended were not only interested in undergraduate research as a co-curricular activity, but also the unicorn that is digital humanities. I know many scholars in the humanities do not feel that they can participate in digital humanities. However, I think there is at least one thing that all humanities scholars can do to digital into their humanities.

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