Call for Papers – Communicating with Cool Japan: New Int’l Perspectives on Japanese Popular Culture

Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan)
June 8, 2016

conf2016Scholars at all levels, including graduate students, are invited to submit papers and panel proposals for “Communicating With Cool Japan”, a one-day pre-conference that will be held immediately preceding the 66th annual conference of the International Communication Association. Submissions on any topic related to Japanese popular culture are specifically encouraged.

Some of the potential themes and issues that the Call for Papers highlights include:

  • production processes and/or cultural workers
  • political economy (including the role of the state and markets)
  • media/cultural content (e.g. of anime, manga, fashion, videogames, film, music, television, etc.)
  • the Internet, social/online media, cellular phones, or other technology
  • uses of Japanese popular culture
  • globalization or diaspora
  • cultural policy/diplomacy
  • consumption or media effects
  • identity and the self
  • otaku and fandom

Submissions of up to 200 words for both individual papers and discussion sessions/panels are accepted until January 31, 2016, and speakers will notified of acceptance shortly thereafter.

Communicating with Cool Japan is being organized by Dr. Casey Brienza (City University London) and Dr. Anamik Saha (Goldsmiths, University of London). It will feature a keynote address by Prof. Koichi Iwabuchi (Monash University), the director of the Monash Asia Institute, best known as the author of Recentering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism (Duke University Press, 2002)

Dr. Brienza is the editor of the essay collection Global Manga: “Japanese” Comics without Japan? and the author of of the forthcoming monograph Manga in America: Transnational Book Publishing and the Domestication of Japanese Comics, as well as more than twenty book chapters and journal articles on different aspects of the Japanese comics industry and manga’s worldwide impact and reception, such as Books, not comics: Publishing fields, globalization, and Japanese manga in the United States (Publishing Research Quarterly, 2009), Remembering the future: Cartooning alternative life courses in Up and Future Lovers (The Journal of Popular Culture), and Beyond B&W? The global manga of Felipe Smith (in the Eisner Award-winning essay collection Black Comics: The Politics of Race and Representation (Bloomsbury, 2013) as well as several influential papers on emerging trends in scholarly publishing.

Communicating with Cool Japan – full CFP and additional details

Call for Papers
Communicating with Cool Japan ICA16 Preconference

ICA16 Preconference Communicating with Cool Japan: New International Perspectives on Japanese Popular Culture

Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Location: Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
Sponsors: ERIC, Pop Comm, Waseda University
Keynote Speaker: Koichi Iwabuchi (Monash University)

More children around the world recognize Mario than they do Mickey Mouse, and Japanese popular culture, especially anime, manga, music, games, television, film, and street fashion, is among the most distinct and recognizable of any in the world. During a time of domestic economic malaise, these products of these creative industries have become increasingly important cultural exports. There is both intra-Asian cultural flow (e.g. between Japan and Korea), as well as “counter-flow” from East to West. Japan continues to be a subject of Orientalization, yet at the same time, Japan is one of the most well-developed, wealthy nations in its region, with its own history of colonialism.

This year’s International Communication Association Annual Conference theme is “Communicating with Power,” and it implies both speaking to the powerful and speech that is powerful in and of itself. Both are salient here because “Cool Japan” is a governmental catchphrase, and to a postcolonial country like Japan, which has renounced the “hard” military power of warmongering and violence, the “soft power” of cultural diplomacy and the global recognition of its powerhouse popular culture are especially important. What role should Japanese popular culture play on the twenty-first century international stage? What sorts of power are or ought to be vested in cultural producers? What can these media tell us about ourselves—and others? And what sorts of empowerment does Japanese popular culture make possible for consumers? We invite scholars who would explore some of the answers to these questions—as well as provide new ones—in order to better understand, ultimately, what it means to communicate with Cool Japan.

Papers and panels on topics related to any area of Japanese popular culture will be considered, including but not limited to:

-production processes and/or cultural workers
-political economy (including the role of the state and markets)
-media/cultural content (e.g. of anime, manga, fashion, videogames, film, music, television, etc.)
-the Internet, social/online media, cellular phones, or other technology
-uses of Japanese popular culture
-globalization or diaspora
-cultural policy/diplomacy
-consumption or media effects
-identity and the self
-otaku and fandom

Submissions from graduate students and junior scholars are especially welcome. 

How to Submit:

We will accept both individual abstract submissions and fully-constituted panel submissions (of 4-5 participants).

Individual paper submissions should include:

-Title, name and affiliation, and email address of author(s).
-Abstract of 150-200 words that discusses the problem, research, methods and relevance.
-Use Microsoft Office or PDF format.

Panel proposal submissions should include:

-Title of panel and 100-word rationale.
-Titles, names and affiliations, and email addresses of panelists.
-Abstracts of 150-200 words for each presentation that discusses the problem, research, methods and relevance.
-Use Microsoft Office or PDF format.

Send all submissions to icacooljapan@gmail.com. Please write “Communicating with Cool Japan Preconference” in the subject line.

Submission deadline is January 31, 2016.

Notification of acceptance will occur sometime in mid-February.

Please contact Casey Brienza (casey.brienza.1@city.ac.uk) or Anamik Saha (a.saha@gold.ac.uk) with any inquiries.

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