Call for Papers – Eyes Unclouded: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli

Ghibli2019 Contemporary Directors Symposium
Eyes Unclouded: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli
Lewes Depot Cinema, Lewes, UK
May 8, 2019

Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli will be the focus of the 2019 Contemporary Directors Symposium, organized by the University of Sussex (UK) Centre for Photography and Visual Culture. Prof. Rayna Denison, a leading scholar of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, whose recent work includes editing the essay collection Princess Mononoke: Understanding Studio Ghibli’s Monster Princess, and co-editing a Studio Ghibli special issue of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, will present the symposium’s keynote address, and scholars are invited to submit proposals for 20-minute talks on any topic that falls under the symposium’s broad theme. Some potential areas to explore can include authorship, representation (gender, ethnicity/nationality/culture, etc.), “material culture”, such as merchandising and advertising, and how Ghibli films are distributed, received, and interpreted outside Japan. Talk proposals (title, 250-word abstract, author biography) are due by March 31, 2019, and can be sent to the attention of Dr. Luke Robinson.

The full CFP for the Symposium follows and is also available on H-Film. Continue reading

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Call for Papers – AX 2019 Academic Symposium: Anime Chronotopes

AX 2019After a one-year hiatus, Anime Expo®, the largest anime convention in the U.S., will once again feature a dedicated track of academic panel programming, including lectures, presentations, and roundtable discussions. The goal of the Anime Expo Academic Symposium (AXAS) is to give scholars working in the field of anime and manga studies to to share their work with a diverse popular audience, to offer fans and scholars an opportunity to share their enthusiasm with one another, and to provide a site for for all involved to delve deeper into the world of Japanese pop culture. The theme for the 2019 Symposium is “Anime Chronotopes: Nostalgia in Japanese Animation and Comics”, and the Call for Papers for it is now open, with a deadline of May 5.

For consideration, please send the title of your paper or proposed panel, and an abstract of 250-400 words to animeexpo.academic@gmail.com. The full Call for Papers for AXAS 2019 is available below, and as a stand-alone page on H-Announce.

]Note: I organized/produced the Anime Expo Academic Program from 2011 to 2017. However, I am not directly involved in this year’s event.]

Call for Papers
Anime Expo Academic Symposium
“Anime Chronotopes: Nostalgia in Japanese Animation and Comics”
Anime Expo 2019
July 4-7 | Los Angeles, CA

www.anime-expo.org
www.anime-expo.org/academic-program

Recent anime and manga evince a pronounced fascination with both the history of Japanese animation and comics and the specific resonances of past texts in the present, a consideration marked not only by genre-savviness and the contemporary tendency towards citation across all media, but also a profound sense of nostalgia for its predecessors. This extends beyond the common association of the term with rose-tinted sentimentality towards the past, reflecting not only this intimacy but also its origins as a medical diagnosis, characterized by an intense sense of dislocation in the experience of the present. Both senses of nostalgia have produced opportunities to establish a ‘leaping chronology’ of the medium, charging the past with a radical sense of contemporaneity. The rediscovery of the radical promises of previous works of anime and manga, and in the process ‘repeating’ their animating concerns and questions, testifies to the possibility of reinventing and reestablishing the unfulfilled potentials of their projects. At a moment when the future itself seems to be foreclosed, such repetitions become one of the few mechanisms by which the glimmer of the radically new may become discernible. Continue reading

Comics Studies Society 2018 Prizes – Nominations Open

CSSJust about a year ago, the Comics Studies Society, itself just founded in 2014, announced the launch of one of its major projects – four annual prizes to recognize “outstanding contributions to the study of comic art” in the form of monographs, journal articles and chapters in edited collections, “public scholarship” (i.e., contributions to non-academic publications), and conference presentations by graduate students. Nominations for the prizes were accepted from both peers/readers, and from authors themselves, and I for my part certainly welcomed the opportunity to nominate several papers on manga published in 2017 that I felt would deserve the recognition.

The 2018 winners were announced in May. Neither the Charles Hatfield Book Prize nor the Comics Studies Society Article Prize went to publications on Japanese comics, but the award committee announced that in addition to the main Award for Best Graduate Student Conference Presentation, it would also recognize three authors with honorable mentions – one of the three being leading manga scholar Andrea Horbinski, for the paper “Something Postmodern Going On: The Queering of the Manga Sphere in the 1970s”, presented at On Belonging: Gender, Sexuality, and Identity in Japan.

And now, the nomination period for this year’s prizes – for materials published in 2018 – is officially open – to run until March 1. Each award winner will receive a $300 cash award, a plaque, and an invitation to present on their work at the Society’s annual conference.

The basic guidelines for the nominated works is that they must be:

“historical, biographical, critical, analytical, pedagogical, and/or bibliographical in focus…and draw on original research, acknowledge and advance existing scholarship where relevant, and include appropriate documentation.”

The full rules, and the instructions for submitting nominations are available on the CSS website. As per the instructions for the Article Prize, it is meant to recognize publications that “greatly add to our understanding of comic art and/or its historical, cultural, critical, or theoretical contexts”, and once again, I can easily think of at least 3 articles on manga published in 2018 that I think should be considered. So, I will be submitting these nominations – and if you know of one or more that you think is worthy of this kind of award, I urge to you nominate it too! What’s the worst thing that can happen – you will send through your nomination, and never hear anything about it ever again? And the best – the author will receive recognition for their work, and $300. Everybody wins!

Call for Contributors – Anime and Manga Studies Response Essays

“Japanese popular culture studies is a field in formation”, note Alisa Freedman and Toby Slade in the opening chapter of Introducing Japanese Popular Culture, the first volume on the topic that is specifically designed as a textbook. The same statement can be extended to anime and manga studies as well. And as the field of anime and manga studies is forming – through new directions in scholarship and teaching, the development of particular research patterns and trends, the emergence of foundational and highly cited publications, and even formal institutionalization, participants in the field can pursue some unique opportunities.

One specific area in anime and manga studies that I think could benefit from more attention is conversation within the field – that is, commentary on and discussion of not just the films and TV series and comics themselves, but the critical responses to them that already exist. Book reviews are one familiar type of this kind of commentary, and plenty of books on anime/manga do receive reviews – though primarily, in academic journals. One exception are the reviews of books on anime/manga and other aspects and products of Japanese popular culture that the All the Anime blog frequently publishes.

However, it is often difficult for a review of a single book to specifically talk about the place that book holds in the ongoing conversation on its topic. Reviews that do more than discuss single books – that go over several – are significantly less common; among the few examples are Historicizing Anime and Manga: From Japan to the World and Anime: Comparing Macro and Micro Analyses, in respectively the first and second volumes of Mechademia. And critical responses to individual journal articles are almost nonexistent – probably the only example that comes to mind is 2005’s Fans, copyright, and subcultural change: A review of Sean Leonard’s “Progress against the law”. Continue reading

Anime/Manga Studies in 2018: The Year in Review

For various reasons, I missed a Year in Review post for 2017. But, with 2018 now several weeks behind us, it is definitely appropriate to review the highlights of the year for anime and manga studies in the broad categories of new and notable publications, conferences and other events, and classes.

Books:

interpreting animeAfter a relatively quiet year in terms of major new English-language books on anime, this past one was anything but, with some of the most well-known authors in anime and manga studies publishing new titles.

Christopher Bolton, who teaches comparative and Japanese literature at Williams College, led the way with Interpreting Anime, the first book on anime I am aware of that is designed specifically for classroom use – and so, aimed at both instructors and students – and priced accordingly, at just $24.00. It has already received excellent reviews, including in Choice and in the Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies, where the reviewer praises Bolton for “a meaningful contribution to the scholarship of reading, one able to transcend its subject matter – anime – and speak to readers everywhere, those who seek as full, as complete an engagement with their texts as possible.” To promote the book further, Prof. Bolton has also created a dedicated web page for it, and a YouTube trailer.

[And, in what may be a personal first, alongside the books, chapters, and journal articles that Interpreting Anime’s bibliography lists, there is also a citation to a post in this blog.]

For many years, the introductory title in anime studies – more or less by default, was Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, first published in 2001. And even though it saw an 2005 update (as Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle, now, in 2018, it is still inevitably dated. So, something like Interpreting Anime, along with Anime: A Critical Introduction, published in 2015, is absolutely invaluable. Probably the only caveat when considering this title is that it is based almost entirely on essays that Bolton published previously, although all of them have been revised and expanded to fit into an overarching structure. Continue reading

The Shortcomings and “Blind Spots” of Anime and Manga Studies – a survey of the critical commentary

Recently, a colleague passed around a call for “more good scholarship on shonen as a genre” and voiced frustration with how little such scholarship currently exists – essentially the only one that addresses the genre as a whole, rather than specific works, is Angela Drummond-Matthews’ “What Boys Will Be: A Study of Shonen Manga” (in the 2010 essay collection Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives, pp. 62-76). One recent article that I recommended – and that he found useful – is Straddling the Line: How Female Authors are Pushing the Boundaries of Gender Representation in Japanese Shonen Manga (New Voices in Japanese Studies, 10, 76-97) – as I noted, “pushing the boundaries” first requires establishing just what these boundaries are, and in fact, the paper does include an extensive discussion of “the framework” of shonen manga. But the original question, and the frustration at not there not being more material available, led me to some thinking of my own.

The first English-language academic article on anime was published more than twenty-five years ago. It’s now been about twenty years since the first full class on Japanese animation at an American college. Anime is an accepted and acceptable area of scholarly interest, and anime and manga studies is as established academic field. And, as the field continues to define its its shape, it becomes particularly important to highlight not just what it is about, but the internal discussions that are taking place within it – the debates and the critiques. So, since that first article – Susan Napier’s Panic sites: The Japanese imagination of disaster from Godzilla to Akira appeared back in 1993, what kinds of comments have scholars made identifying particular shortcomings in anime/manga studies?

Thomas Lamarre’s The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation can, at this point, be considered one of the foundational texts of anime/manga studies – it is the most cited English-language book across all 10 volumes of Mechademia. And, right on the first page of the book’s preface, Lamarre states – although without providing any concrete examples:

“The bulk of anime commentary ignores that its ‘object’ consists of moving images, as if animations were but another text. Such a treatment of anime as textual object has tended in two directions. On the one hand, even when anime is treated largely as text, some commentators will call on the novelty and popularity of anime to bypass the tough questions that usually arise around the analysis of texts. Anime is, in effect, treated as a textual object that does not or cannot pose any difficult textual questions. Analysis is relegated to re-presenting anime narratives, almost in the manner of book reports or movie reviews. [emphasis mine]. On the other some commentators treat anime as text in order to pose “high textual” speculative questions  (such as the nature of reality, or the relationship of mind and body), again ignoring the moving image altogether but for different reasons. In this kind of textual treatment, the anime stories serve as the point of departure for philosophical speculation, without any consideration of the materiality of animation.”

Lamarre, “The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation”, ix-x.

Continue reading

Call for Papers – Mechademia: Second Arc, 13.2 “Soundscapes”

In a few weeks, the University of Minnesota Press will launch the new Mechademia: Second Arc series of books – the successor to its Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and Fan Arts titles that appeared between 2006 and 2015. This first volume’s theme will be “Childhood”, the next two, “Transnational Fandoms” and “Materialities Across Asia” are scheduled for release later in the year, it will then move to a twice-a-year publication calendar. The Call for Papers for Volume 13.1, “Queer(ing), is open until June 1, and the CFP for 13.2 is now available.

The theme for Mechademia: Second Arc issue 13.2 is “Soundscapes”, and it will be edited by Dr. Stacey Jocoy, Associate Professor of Musicology, Texas Tech University.

“This issue of Mechademia will consider sound and soundscapes, broadly conceived, as an aspect of the deeper narratives of anime, manga/ manhua, gaming, and related fields. The editors invite papers of 5000 to 7000 words revolving around critiques, musicological, socio-cultural, musico-psychological, music theory and analytical approaches, and acoustical considerations toward the investigation into the global ramifications of soundscapes.”

The full CFP is available on the Mechademia website, and submissions are due by June 15. Some potential topics it suggests include:

  • Music, sound, and narrative in anime, manga, gaming, and other East Asian media, including sound effects and musical iconography
  • Musical allusions to notable compositions, performers, or genres (e.g. classical, jazz, rock, traditional folk musics)
  • Media representations of idol singers, musicians, bands
  • Image songs, character albums, podcasts, and other tie-in audio media
  • Fan creations: AMVs, MMVs, Vocaloids, Desk Top Music (DTM) software
  • Voice acting, seiyû, voice-based celebrities

The issue will be published in the fall of 2020.

Continue reading

Manga Studies in the 2019 Eisner Awards – Eligibility

2016 Eisner AwardsThe first months of the new year are, among other things, awards season – definitely for television and film (and animation), with the Golden Globes now finished, the Annie Awards coming up next month, and of course then the Oscars. The academic world does not and will never have anything like these awards ceremonies, but research that deserves recognition can receive it. The Society for Animation Studies presents its Norman McLaren/Evelyn Lambart Award for the best scholarly book and best scholarly article on animation – Marco Bellano received the 2010 article award for “The Parts and the Whole: Audiovisual Strategies in the Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Joe Hisaishi” (Animation Journal18, 4-55), and Tzu-Yue G. Hu and Jonathan Clements were runners-up for the best scholarly book one with Frames of Anime: Culture and Image-Building (2011) and Anime: A History (2015). It also presents the Maureen Furniss Award for Best Scholarly Paper in Animated Media – in 2017, to Jacqueline Ristola, for Realist Film Theory and Flowers of Evil: Exploring the Philosophical Possibilities of Rotoscoped Animation. Similarly, when the Comics Studies Society launched its program of prizes last year, it recognized Andrea Horbinski with an honorable mention in the Best Graduate Student Conference Presentation category for her talk “Something Postmodern Going On: The Queering of the Manga Sphere in the 1970s”, at On Belonging: Gender, Sexuality, and Identity in Japan.

The Eisner Awards – the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards – are the Oscars of the comics industry and really, the world of comics. But, unlike the Oscars and other awards ceremonies, the Eisners do have a “best scholarly/academic work” category. And the judges for this year’s awards are now accepting submissions for consideration to be nominated for the award in all categories – including this one. There are no formal criteria for eligibility other than that the title had to have been “shipped to retailers in the U.S.” or available online between January 1 and December 31, 2018. Continue reading

New College Classes on Anime/Manga – Spring 2019

With another academic term now finished, it’s once again a good time to highlight how colleges around the U.S. are actively including anime and manga in their course offerings! At this point, in of itself, a class on anime/manga is no longer anything particularly unusual – since Susan Napier taught what was likely the first such class almost twenty years ago now, there have been dozens of others, at colleges and universities of all types, and all around the country. More are announced frequently – and the ways they are described in marketing and publicity materials are themselves interesting to consider.

wsu-signature-defaultFor example, several days ago, Washington State University’s WSU Insider news website profiled “Transnational Anime: Japanese Animation History and Theory”, which will be offered through the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race in the spring. The number of students in the class is capped at 30 – and 30 students are currently listed as enrolled. A noteworthy thing about this class is that in order to hire an instructor to teach it, the School successfully applied for a $30,000 grant from the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.

College classes on comics and graphic novels in general – Western and non-Western – are even more common. But only a few colleges offer not just single classes, but actual formal academic programs in comics studies. Among them is San Francisco State University, which just recently launched an undergraduate comics studies minor. The minor requires a total of 12 credits, and starting in the Spring 2019 term, one of the possible electives that can be used to fulfill the requirement will be Topics in Comics: Manga!

SFSU_manga“Curious about manga or want to test your otaku knowledge?  Discover the hidden histories of manga in Japan and worldwide; read pioneering works and become familiar with the culture and circumstances that gave rise to one of the most famous exports of Japan!   We will focus on transformations in the look and feel of manga over the last century, examining relationships with fashion trends and visual arts.  We will also pay attention to the kinds of relationships manga set up with their audiences, and look at the reception history of manga in popular culture (including cosplay, dojinshi, fan-fiction, manga cafés, and more) and scholarship. “

These two are probably not the only classes on anime/manga to launch in the Spring 2019 term. So, if you know of others – and especially if you are taking one yourself – or teaching one – I would very much like to hear from you! And, for that matter, I am currently working on additional materials about these classes, such as more background, and potentially, even interviews with the professors.

 

Intersections: Fan Studies in Conversation in Japan Symposium

Sophia ICCSunday, December 16
10:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sophia University Yotsuya Campus – Building no. 2, Room 1702
7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8554 JAPAN

As an academic field, fan/fandom studies is robust and well-established – with its current state covered by comprehensive surveys such as Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World, 2nd Edition and A Companion to Media Fandom and Fan Studies, new research appearing in the Journal of Fandom Studies, teaching in programs like the Fandom, Cult Studies, and Subculture Studies minor at DePaul University, as well as various individual classes, and the Fan Studies Network connecting scholars around the world. And, as the field evolves and expands, certain conversations develop and certain questions are asked. For example, one of the chapters in A Companion to Media Fandom and Fan Studies is “The Unbearable Whiteness of Fandom and Fan Studies” (although the author acknowledges,  in a note, that “there is work, however, on the practices of media fandom outside of Europe and the United States that focuses on fans who would in the United States be understood as people of color, such as, for example, work on fandoms in Asia” – perhaps largely negating the hyperbolic title). One kind of conversation that is crucial to the continuing development of fan studies is one that acknowledges global perspectives on fans and fandom, and builds connections between scholars in different countries and with different approaches.

And it is to facilitate just these kinds of conversations that the Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture is hosting a one-day symposium entitled Intersections: Fan Studies in Conversation in Japan. Organized by leading fan studies scholars Lori Morimoto, Nele Noppe, and Patrick W. Galbraith. It will be be free, open to the public, and conducted entirely in English. The Symposium will serve “as a step in the direction of greater contact between scholars based in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, who all focus on media and fan cultures, but in diverse ways. The goal is not only to encourage conversation and collaboration across dividing lines, but also to critically assess some of the assumptions and blind spots in fan studies today.” Several of the talks will directly address anime/manga and anime/manga fans and fandom. Continue reading