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Jennifer Chen

Student Researcher

.txtlab, McGill University

Jennifer is a second year B.Sc. student at McGill who is planning to major in Computer Science. Originally from Richmond Hill, Ontario, she is now living in Montreal, where she conducted data science research at .txtLab McGill on fanfiction as a powerful and transformative form of writing, especially for LGBTQ+ youth. Jennifer is also passionate about philosophy, frontend engineering, and software design.


The difference queer fanfiction makes: Lessons for the publishing industry

March 10, 2022

As Nikoo Sarraf and Jennifer Chen from McGill University’s .txtlab write in their introduction to their 2021 report, queer fans: the difference that queer fanfiction makes, “fanfiction is a powerful and transformative form of writing that provides a safe space for youth to explore their gender and sexuality, knowing that they are part of a larger community.”

Sarraf and Chen will join Tech Forum to share insights from their research: revealing the stylistic qualities of queer fanfiction that allow readers to form strong attachments with the material and showing how queer fanfiction authors approach content from a place of emotional vulnerability, explore taboo topics, and offer character-focused storytelling. By comparing queer fanfic with books published in the mainstream, Sarraf and Chen will highlight how fanfiction normalizes intimacy and emotional vulnerability for sexual and gender minority youth.

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