Essay topic

DUE DATE: 21st May 2018

Essays should be handed in to the SLL department office (Beattie building) before 4pm and should also be submitted via Vula for Turnitin checking.

  • I don’t usually have a problem with granting extensions if you ask in advance, and if you have a good reason. However, all extensions for this course should be arranged through the SLL department office, NOT directly through me; essays should also be handed in to the SLL office.
  • This section of the course involves a lot of Internet material. Internet references in your bibliographies MUST include the FULL URL of the specific article (not just the URL of the home page), plus the title of the article or page, and the date on which you accessed it.  Where possible, the author’s name and the copyright date of the material must also be included.
  • You will need to reference the work(s) of fan fiction you are focusing on; these will look a bit odd, given that author’s names are usually nicknames or usernames. Don’t worry; put in as much info as you can, including the author’s odd alias, the title of the fic, the name of the website, and make sure the URL is to the specific fic, not to the site in general.
    Example:celli, “When I Think (Oh, it Terrifies Me), Archive of Our Own, 3 April 2012,, accessed 20 April 2014
  • Please make sure that URLs are correctly typed (I suggest you cut-and-paste from your browser).  Chasing up URLs which only give error messages because they’re mis-typed, really annoys me and causes essays to mysteriously lose marks.
  • Resist the temptation to steal your ideas from a website or article. I’m much more interested in your analysis than in your ability to synthesise outside sources.
  • I will not under any circumstances tolerate plagiarism at third-year level; students detected in plagiarism will be sent to the University Court.  I do know a lot of these articles well, and if not I check them, and plagiarism really annoys me.


Essay length should be around 2000 words.
You may use an example or examples of erotic fan fiction based on any canon text of your choice. While you may refer to them in passing for purposes of comparison, your analysis should NOT focus on the specific works of fan fiction we have discussed in class.


Enter The Default, that strong-jawed, clear-eyed, straight, white, cisgendered, able-bodied, vaguely Christian (but not too Christian) male. Everyone who grows up on a diet of Western media learns, on some level, to accept The Default as their avatar, because we historically haven’t had much choice. Want to be the hero, instead of the love interest, the scrappy sidekick, or the villain? Embrace The Default. Learn to have empathy with The Default. He’s what you get.
(Seanan McGuire)

McGuire’s statement, above, attempts to account for the prevalence of female-written fan fiction which focuses on on male heroes. With specific reference to one or more examples of fan fiction from any canon text, discuss its presentation of a male homoerotic relationship(s) in light of the above quote, in particular the ways in which slash fiction might attempt to refigure accepted cultural definitions of maleness.


How does the development of an erotic relationship in fan fiction allow the writer to explore and address issues of power? You should pay some attention to power dynamics between canon characters within the depicted relationship, but also to the story’s address to narrative and gender power balances within the original text, and to the forms of erotic empowerment offered to the writer by their appropriation and control of the text.

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