Portrait of Kathryn Heffner

Kathryn Heffner

PhD student


Kathryn (Kate) Heffner is a PGR student at the University of Kent, studying the History of Science and Technology. She holds a Masters of Library and Information Science and a Bachelor’s of English Literature (Honours) from the University of Iowa.

As an undergraduate, she was awarded the University of Iowa’s Special Collections ICRU fellowship to research the production of women’s fanzines in the early 20th century. She then pursued a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science, in order to explore radical pedagogies for maker spaces in library and archival institutions.  In addition to obtaining a fellowship for the Obermann Institute on Engagement and the Academy, she also served as a research assistant for the digital humanities project, Mapping the Independent Media Community. In addition to this project, Kate worked with Undergraduate Outreach and Engagement Librarian, Katie Hassman, on a research methods course exploring Post-Truth. Before being awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship and coming to the University of Kent, Kate was a research librarian and Adult services coordinator. 


Textile Technoculture Creations and the Early Days of Women’s Cosplay, 2019 

Women Make SF Podcast, Episode 5: ‘Fan Grrling’  2020 

 Editor to Editor: Letters between a Lovecraft fan and Poe Scholar, 2018 

So Be It, See To It! The Legacies of Octavia E. Butler 2020 

Research interests

Katie grew up in Long Beach California, where she watched feminist science fiction movies with her Mom as a child. These experiences nurtured her interests in reading and researching science fiction written by women. 

Katie is interested in the intersections of participatory cultures, intersectional science fiction, media studies and science. Her current research explores the ways that women in early science fiction fan communities articulated their subjective experiences with technology and science in amateur produced magazines (colloquially referred to as ‘fanzines’). Through the examination of these small-print publications by women in England and America during the Cold War, her dissertation examines how women fans resisted gendered notions of ‘masculinist science fiction.’ 

PhD Title

Femmes in Fandom: Women's Participation in 20th Century Science (Fiction) Clubs


Making History, HI481     


Professor Charlotte Sleigh, Dr. John Wills  and Dr. Vybarr Cregan-Reid.

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