Queering Cosplay and Conventions: An Intersectional Study of Cosplay, Community, and Identity


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Cosplay is a form of fan interaction in which one dresses as a particular character from a fixed medium such as a TV show. Cosplay is also an example of fan translation of popular culture into folklore and a method through which cosplayers can explore their identity/identities and experiment with gender through the liminal, ritualesque space of the cosplay convention. This thesis draws upon ethnographic fieldwork to examine the performance of cosplay, cosplay conventions, and the broader cosplay community from a folkloric lens to learn how fans use cosplay to help them express love for a character and/or a particular fandom as well as find community within fandom spaces. Further, it will provide insight into how cosplay can be used as a tool for self-exploration and a form of self-expression of various identities—with a focus on LGBTQIA+ identities—that fans have both within a fandom and outside of it.