ClexaCon 2019: Academic Lab

Queer academic fans of queer content, Scholars/educators of queer fandom:
Collaborate and connect at the ClexaCon Academic Lab

We are scholars who are fans; we are fans who write and teach. In ClexaCon’s first academic lab, frequent attendees who teach and do research on lesbian and queer women representation will be speaking at research or teaching centered panels on Thursday April 11.

For some, it will be a chance to see where rising scholars in fandom studies are and for others, it will be a way to share ideas of bringing what we love and what we need to our classrooms. 

In this first lab, we aim to host a convening of minds to think through how we can learn from and support one another in our teaching and research goals.

In between research and teaching panels, we will be hosting a Bring Your Own Lunch informal meetup to discuss how we can support the intellectual and pedagogical interventions we seek to make for the LGBT community in our classrooms, our campus and our greater community. Dr. Abad will facilitate discussion at lunch as we seek to integrate teaching and research as a pivotal avenue to promote better representation.


Sessions at the ClexaCon 2019 Academic Lab:


LGBT Fanning the page and the screen – how we read, see, and react to queer content

Scholars Wendy Rouse, Amber Williams, and Nicole Espinosa will be exploring the relationships fans with LGBTQ content across different disciplinary frames. Historian Wendy Rouse will be extend her research insights on examining late nineteenth/early twentieth century lesbian representation to examine the tropes present in contemporary efforts at depicting queer women on screen. Amber Williams will be talking about her research on how consumers engage in confirmation bias when consuming queer content. Nicole Espinosa will be extending their discussion on fan responses to tropes, integrating Black feminist media concerns regarding which deaths are worth grieving.


The community we build while we watch, listen, and read – methodological insights on participatory fandom research  

Erika Abad and Heidi Mau have both attended cons over the years with specific interests. Heidi Mau has been following Earper fans across fan conventions and be will discussing her methodological approach to documenting their community-building and evolving response to the shows growing affirmative engagement with WayHaught, one of the most popular women loving women couples in television. Erika Abad will be discussing how social media presence and engagement informs how she approaches fandom studies, with attention to how queer and straight people of color centered or dominant television shows are (not) being discussed.


Queering the classroom one campus at a time – Teaching LGBT content in Higher Ed

In this panel, college professors and instructors across various disciplines will be discussing how they incorporate LGBT content into their courses. Heidi Mau will be discussing how she integrates her research into her communication courses. Erika Abad will talk about her fandom class and how she brought students, via service-learning, to ClexaCon. Patricia Vázquez, senior professor at College of Southern Nevada, will be talking about her LGBT lit course. Jessica Price will be discussing her experiences teaching courses in the LGBT minor at Nevada State College, connecting it with her own investment in fandom studies.


Minoring in age, majoring in hope – discussing how to create and sustain LGBT content in the classroom and in K-12 schools

Wendy Rouse will be discussing how she integrates LGBT content into her training of history teachers, with specific attention to the Fair Education Act which requires CA teachers to integrate LGBT content. Stephen Barney who works for Teach for America on inclusion training and advises the Equality Club at a local middle school will be talking about the significance of an LGBT student group for middle school population.


Looking for funding to attend ClexaCon to participate in the Academic Lab? Read “An academic case about ClexaCon” by Dr. Erika Abad below: 


An academic case about ClexaCon, by Dr. Abad

ClexaCon, as a convention, while geared towards fans, content creators and media critics, can also serve educators’ professional short- and long-term goals. Here are a few directions on how to ask for funds to attend and participate. These directions serve as recommendations of ways to look for funding and in no way guarantee funds from university institutions.

On campus funding sources – for undergraduate and graduate students


Student Government

Student government for graduate and undergraduate students may have professional development funds you can seek once a year and/or term. Information on those funds tends to be on the organization’s website

Student Organizations

If you are attending with a student organization as a part of professional development and/or outreach, there may be a broader source of funds for community outreach and/or professional development work from the office of student organizations (the name of the office, Student Life, Registered Student Organizations) are but a few names of this office.

Major’s Academic Department

Major – Inquire your academic major if they have professional development funds available to you. It may require writing a cover letter detailing how attending and/or participating in ClexaCon addresses department/college goals/mission as it relates to your professional development and/or intellectual inquiry.

Office of Undergraduate Research

If your institution has one, visit their website/office and ask about funding opportunities for students. Ask for directions on how to complete any documentation. Seek assistance from the office itself or from faculty mentors regarding completing the document.

Graduate College

Does the graduate college have discretionary funds for graduate students’ professional development? If so, inquire for more information.



Funding source recommendations for faculty, professors and educators

Professional Department

Various university have discretionary research and professional development funds for faculty. Pending use for other events and/or endeavors, this fund could be a source of support for (full-time) faculty seeking to attend/participate in the con. Faculty would have to make the curricular/research/professional development case for the department to fund the faculty member.

  • Are you bringing students from your department who will gain professional insight from attending/participating
  • How does attending the Con support curricular development and/or research development in your specific areas of expertise?
  • What potential marketing opportunities could there be to endorse the existing work of your department/college university?

Academic College

Depending on your college/university’s discretionary funds, there may be semester based fundings streams that faculty can access for research/professional development in addition to department funds. Funding sources may be for travel, for collaborative research across departments or awards based on supporting ongoing work.

  • What potential marketing opportunities could there be to endorse the existing work of your department/college university?
  • Are you attending the con with colleagues from other departments for cross-disciplinary research?
  • There may be college incentive funding for cross-disciplinary/cross-college research
  • How will your attendance/participation serve college/department/university long term goals/plans and/or mission?

Grant-funded Research

Depending on the nature of your research and discipline, there may be external grants that would allow you to include the significance of attending ClexaCon.

This brief summary of ways students can seek funding for attending ClexaCon, was written by Erika G Abad. Currently, Dr. Abad works as a professor of Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Since ClexaCon 2017, Dr. Abad has been working with Nicole Espinosa on research based on Clexa fanfiction and ClexaCon community building. Nicole Espinosa was able to receive funding for her ongoing research from University of Nevada Las Vegas’s McNair Scholars’ Research Institute. For ClexaCon 2019, Espinosa and Abad intend to teach a ClexaCon volunteer course titled “Hashtags, Fandom, and Social Movements,” during which students will be framing their volunteer work at ClexaCon with existing literature on critical race feminist fandom studies and social media based-research.


Thursday, April 11


Schedule (subject to change):

9:30-10 – Welcome
10-10:50 – Panel
11-11:50 – Panel
12-1 – Break & networking/BYOB working lunch
1-1:50 – Panel
2-2:50 – Panel
3-3:30 – Closing remarks
3:30-4:30 – Networking lounge


Dr. Erika Abad

ClexaCon 2019 Academic Lab
Academic Consultant

Dr. Heidi Mau

Dr. Wendy Rouse

Amber Williams

Nicole Espinosa

Patricia Vázquez

Jessica Price

Stephen Barney