Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Havens, Timothy

First Committee Member

Peters, John

Second Committee Member

McLeod, Kembrew

Third Committee Member

Vlastos, Stephen

Fourth Committee Member

Brock, Andre


The democratization of new media technologies, particularly the software tools though which "content" can be manipulated, has invited a seemingly vast array of modes through which people can express themselves. Conversations in fan studies, for example, cite the novel ways in which new media allow fans to alter texts in the expression of their subcultural needs, while theorizations of media often reverse the paradigm by arguing how advances in technology will revolutionize how we interact with, and hence, know the world. Frequently overlooked are the ways in which these technologies and communities co-construct engagement and the extent to which this engagement spurs novel ways of interaction.

This dissertation addresses these problems by theorizing the role of the medium as a ludic negotiation between text and fan, informed--but not determined--by the rules and strictures that construct both these discrete media artifacts and the communities in which these texts circulate. Nowhere are these concerns more evident than in the subcultural realm of anime fan translations, where an eclectic blend of tech-savvy, Japanese language proficient, culturally competent individuals from different backgrounds converge to form groups who have self-nominated themselves to spread anime through timely, efficient, and accurate translations. To be successful, they must navigate multiple linguistic and cultural currents as they move between Japanese and their target language, deftly avoid running aground on the shores that structure the boundaries of container media, all the while remaining mindful of ideological and subcultural discursive shoals as they scan the horizon for alternate paths to their translation goal. These fan translators are, to be less dramatic, limited in the types of translations they can provide by the formal properties of the selected medium, but these limitations should be conceived as a generative process motivating translators to seek novel ways of engagement with the medium to meet both their translation needs and the needs of the communities in which their translations circulate.


anime, fandom, ludology, media engagement, sociolinguistics, translation


vii, 159 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 155-159).


Copyright 2012 Douglas Michael Schules

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Communication Commons