On Slash Fanfiction and Yaoi Manga: Fandom and Sexuality in the Archives
June 16, 2021

A fall quarter 2020 library presentation inspired a current UC Riverside student to donate his personal book collection to Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA).

On Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, Sandy Enriquez, Special Collections Public Services, Outreach & Community Engagement Librarian, and Andrew Lippert, Special Collections Processing Archivist, co-presented “On Slash Fanfiction and Yaoi Manga: Fandom and Sexuality in the Archives.”

During their presentation, Enriquez and Lippert gave a general introduction to the worlds of slash fanfiction and yaoi manga, also known as boys' love or BL; discussed how these items first arrived at the UCR Library and the emerging scholarship involving these important materials at UCR; and elucidated the reasons behind why the library hopes to collect more in the future.

“Slash and BL fandoms focus on romantic and/or sexual relationships between fictional male characters,” Enriquez explained. “Academic scholars have researched the impact and culture of slash and BL fandom for many years, but it wasn't until recently that they started incorporating a Feminist and Queer Theory lens to this research. From this lens, we now know that slash and BL fandoms are far more fluid and diverse than originally thought.”

The student donor, who wished to remain anonymous, shared what inspired him to gift his personal library to Special Collections: "I always thought that the history of our age would be written decades in the future, but attending a BL/slash event showed me that the work of analysis and preservation is happening now. That there was an enthusiastic community eager to delve into the whys and hows of something that has impacted my life. There are people that care enough about Boys Love and slash fiction to warrant a budding field of research. And I wanted to contribute to this wonderful project somehow, so I decided to make these books I've enjoyed available in the UCR Library."

According to Enriquez, other fans of slash or BL in the UC Riverside community are welcome to send their recommendations for this genre to SCUA staff at specialcollections@ucr.edu. “We hope to increase the BL manga collection at UCR and appreciate your suggestions,” she said.

The slash fanfiction and yaoi manga online event was co-sponsored by the UCR LGBT Resource Center and Asian Pacific Student Programs. Eighty-three members of the UCR community registered to attend. The replay is now available on the SCUA events page, along with other recent recordings of presentations by SCUA employees.