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Research Seminar: Dr Judith Fathallah, Solent University, Southampton
A talk on Emo: How Fans Shaped a Subculture (Iowa University Press, 2020)

The label “emo” has a troubled history, used to indicate a genre, a youth scene, a subculture and as a gendered insult. the full term “emotional hardcore” first emerged in 1980s zines and trade press to describe a few underground US post-punk bands which developed as a reaction against the all-macho, all-rage, intermittently racist excesses of local hardcore punk scenes. In the 1990s, the term became associated with softer, more pop punk sounds, and then finally in the 2000s with somewhat more mainstream bands like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Panic! At the Disco. The derision of emo is intensely gendered, recognisable as part of a long, dense, and solid discourse seeking to align “real,” “authentic” music with hegemonic masculinity, warding off the threat of feminine hysteria and excess. It is only recently that the term itself has shed its derisive connotations. Emo: How Fans Shaped a Subculture demonstrates the active process by which fan communities came to define, reclaim and shape the meanings of emo, a process fraught with the negotiation of persistent masculinist narratives. The eventual re-uptake of the term by the music industry demonstrates the need to move beyond a reception studies perspective in fan studies more generally, as I will demonstrate, the meaning of emo as a genre is largely a fandom invention.

Feb 10, 2021 04:00 PM in London

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