Introduction to Anime/Manga Studies – Otakon 2016 Version

Otakon 2016My work towards developing “anime/manga studies” as an academic field takes several different forms. I run this site – of course, I continue to develop various resources to support the field – the leading one being the Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies, earlier this year, I once again organized the Academic Program track at Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in the U.S., and I am always glad to draw on my knowledge and experience to provide research/reference assistance to anyone interested in academic approaches to Japanese animation and Japanese comics. In addition, beyond those essentially “support” activities, I also actively look for opportunities to introduce anime/manga studies directly to interested audiences.

In the past, the Otakon anime convention has offered me several such opportunities. And, Otakon 2016, held once again (and for the final time) in Baltimore, did as well – on Otakon’s first day, Friday, August 12, I presented this year’s version of Introduction to Anime/Manga Studies. For it, I was joined by Lisa Lackney (Ph.D. candidate, History, Vanderbilt University) and Andrew Smith (Ph.D. candidate, English, Indiana University of Pennsylvania). Ms. Lackney also participated in this presentation when I first premiered it two years ago; Andrew Smith has been an active contributor to the AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium and has also spoken at other similar events such as the University of Florida Conference on Comics.

Introduction to Anime and Manga Studies (August 12, 2016)

“Ever wanted to talk about Attack on Titan in class? Write a paper on Naruto? Read a book on Madoka? Guess what – you’re not the only one, and you’re in luck. Join members of the Anime and Manga Research Circle to learn about the academici field of – you guessed it – anime and manga studies.”

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Anime and Manga Studies @ Otakon 2016

OtakonFor what it’s worth, for someone like me, the idea of an academic approach to Japanese animation and Japanese comics – and of an actual academic field of anime/manga studies – is something that I have long now taken for granted. But, for many people who are interested in anime and manga, it is still a curiosity or novelty. With this in mind, I do not limit my own work in promoting anime/manga studies to maintaining this site. And in particular, I take every opportunity I can get to introduce anime/manga studies directly to people such as anime convention attendees.

Otakon, the largest anime convention on the East Coast will – for the last time – return to the Baltimore Convention Center on Friday, August 12 (running until Sunday, Aug. 14). As always, its full schedule will not be unveiled for several more weeks, but the Otakon programming department has already contacted all potential speakers who submitted panel proposals, and informed them of the status of their applications.

I am pleased to announce that at Otakon 2016, I will be presenting 3 separate panels: one that I have hosted many times before, although it will be updated, one that I have only tried once in the past, and one more that will be a premiere.

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Presentation: Intro to Anime and Manga Studies

This blog has been on hiatus since the spring. Since then, I successfully produced this year’s AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, organized and presented an Introduction to Anime and Manga Studies panel at the Otakon convention, and am continuing working on a re-launch of the Online Bibliography of Anime and Manga Research as a searchable database hosted on a website with a unique, dedicated, and appropriated URL. Right now, the first thing to do is to catch up and make up for lost time. And the best way to do that is by highlighting some of my recent activities.

In particular, as I mentioned, at this year’s Otakon, held once again (as it has been since 1999, and as it will be for two more years) in Baltimore, MD, I was the organizer and lead panelist for the Introduction to Anime and Manga Studies, panel. The description that I provided to Otakon was:

“Anime and manga studies is a vibrant emerging academic field. Anime and manga studies is also how you can get away with reading Naruto for a college class or writing about gender roles in Madoka in a graduate school seminar. Join members of the Anime and Manga Research Circle for an in-depth look at what we mean by “anime and manga studies”, how we got started, what we do as anime/manga scholars – and how you can become an anime scholar too!” Continue reading