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Featuring: Embodied - How fandoms build community

This week we're highlighting a recent episode of the award-winning podcast Embodied (which is also produced at WUNC). We hear a lot about toxic fandoms in our culture — but there's also a lot to share about the brighter side. Guest host Anisa Khalifa first became a fan in high school. She gets an explanation from a psychologist about how being in fandoms benefits mental health, and a journalist describes what role the internet has played in shaping fan culture. Plus, Anisa invites the co-hosts of her K-drama podcast to reflect on how fandom brought them together — and what it means to be a fan.

Meet the guests:

- Lynn Zubernis, a psychologist and professor at West Chester University, talks about what poises some people to become superfans more than others, and how being in a fandom can be mentally beneficial

- Candice Lim, co-host of ICYMI, Slate's podcast about internet culture, talks about how different internet platforms shape fan communities, and the increasing ways that fandom and regular life are overlapping

- Paroma Chakravarty and Saya, Anisa's co-hosts on the podcast Dramas over Flowers, share how the K-drama fandom bonded them together, and what responsibilities fans hold in their communities

Dig Deeper:

Lynn's research and writing on fan psychology

The ICYMI episode on this summer's hacking of AO3

Read the transcript | Review the podcast

Kaia Findlay is the lead producer of Embodied, WUNC's weekly podcast and radio show about sex, relationships and health. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Gabriela Glueck is a producer for Embodied, a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, health and relationships.
Anisa Khalifa is an award-winning podcast producer and host at WUNC. She grew up in a public radio household, and fell in love with podcasts shortly before her friends convinced her to start one with them about Korean dramas. Since joining WUNC in 2021, Anisa has produced Me and My Muslim Friends, CREEP, Tested and Dating While Gray, and is the host of WUNC's weekly podcast The Broadside.
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