AX 2017 Academic Program

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Planning on attending next month’s Anime Expo convention? (Los Angeles, California – July 1-4)? Have always been interested in “anime and manga studies” – or just in the idea of approaching anime and manga in the same way that scholars approach film and literature? For that matter, want to see just how scholars from many different fields talk about anime and manga, and would like to participate in this conversation?

Anime Expo 2017 will once again offer an Academic Program (also known as the AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium) – bringing together college/university professors, graduate students, undergraduates, and independent scholars from around the world for four days of lectures, presentations and discussions on a wide range of topics related to anime and manga. The Academic Track will be open to all AX attendees – no particular academic background is required, and all are welcome!

AX 2017 Academic Program
“Teaching Happiness” – Education With and About Anime and Manga

Anime Expo 2017
Los Angeles Convention Center
LACC 411 / AX Live Programming 4
July 1-4

Saturday, July 1:

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Introduction and Welcome
Mikhail Koulikov (Executive Producer, Anime and Manga Studies Projects)

Keynote Address
Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of America

mckevitt
Andrew McKevitt
Assistant Professor, History
Louisiana Tech University

Anime fandom in the United States was born at a tense moment in the relationship between the United States and Japan. To many Americans it seemed that, decades after the end of World War II, Japan’s newfound global economic power would challenge the U.S.-dominated international system. Popular publications foretold the “Danger from Japan,” or the “Coming War with Japan.” But a national “Japan Panic” was not the only way Americans encountered Japan in the 1970s and 1980s. Throughout the country, in local places like automobile factories and anime fan clubs, Americans engaged with Japanese culture in new and transformative ways.

Andrew McKevitt teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the history of U.S. foreign relations, the postwar United States, modern Russia, and modern Japan. He received a Ph.D. from Temple University, and previously served as the Hollybush Fellow in Cold War History at Rowan University and as a visiting assistant professor of history at Philadelphia University

Dr. McKevitt’s research focuses on U.S. cultural relations in the postwar era. His book on the history of U.S.-Japan relations in the 1970s and 1980s told through the lens of consumerism in the United States will be published in October. In 2011, he received the Stuart L. Bernath Scholarly Article Prize, awarded by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for the year’s best article in the field, for his paper “You Are Not Alone!” Anime and the Globalizing of America. Published in the journal Diplomatic History, it examines the local, national, and transnational cultural networks created by fans of Japanese animation in the 1970s and 1980s. Continue reading

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New Issue – Resilience: A Journal of the Ecocritical Humanities

ResilienceMore than a year and a half ago, early in 2015, the editors of Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities announced a Call for Papers for a special Media Review section in an upcoming issue of the journal, that would be dedicated to “apply[ing] ecocritical and Green cultural studies approaches to the field of Japanese animation.”

The CFP provided additional background for the section, and listed the specific titles that the editors were hoping to attract reviews of.

“2014 was a watershed year for Studio Ghibli, arguably the leading anime studio, because it marked the retirement of the founding directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. who issued their swan-songs The Wind Rises and Princess Kaguya. To honor this moment and attract more critical attention to anime, we are soliciting reviews of the following:

  • Miyazaki’s films, especially Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Ponyo.
  • Takahata’s Ken the Wolf Boy, Heidi: Girl of the Alps, Pom Poko aka “Tanuki Wars,” Grave of the Fireflies, and Princess Kaguya.
  • We are also interested in work inspired by or intertextually related to Studio Ghibli, such as Disney’s Lilo and Stitch; Irish director Tomm Moore’s The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea; and the animated version of Avatar: The Last Airbender (including its sequel, The Legend of Korra, which is a gold mine for feminist, post-colonial, eco-cosmopolitan, and queer ecocriticism, just sayin’).
  • Reviews of other anime films, TV series, and manga unrelated to Ghibli will also be considered.”

For a while after the call for papers went out, I had not heard anything about this project – and in fact, it does not appear that the journal’s website has not been updated in more than two years either. But, as it turns out, electronic versions of it are available in both JSTOR and Project Muse, and, Ecocritical Reviews to Studio Ghibli was in fact published as the Media Cluster section of Resilience‘s Fall 2015 issue (Volume 2, No. 3).

Looking at the articles that actually appeared in the section, a few things  come to mind right away. The “spread” of films that the authors who responded to the CFP addressed is definitely fairly expansive – though not quite comprehensive – with separate essays on Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Pom Poko, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, the non-Ghibli anime Mushishi, and the arguably “inspired by Studio Ghibli” The Secret of Kells, as well as two more that discuss broader topics as expressed in more than one film. And, the list of authors is fairly wide-ranging as well – although most are based at American colleges/universities, others are affiliated with institutions in Australia, Germany, and the U.K. At the same time, the question also stands – Miyazaki’s work and influence has already been the subject of literally dozens of journal articles, and at least two journal special issues. Is another one really necessary? And, does it then merely emphasize Jacqueline Berndt’s argument that Miyazaki exerts an undue influence on the shape of anime studies as a field, and that this outside influence leads to a tendency to treat Miyazaki’s films as “typical of anime as a whole”, and largely ignore anime that doesn’t neatly fit this image or stereotype?

Regardless, the actual contents of this Special Section are as follows:

Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities
Special Section – Ecocritical Approaches to Studio Ghibli

Continue reading

Call for Papers – 30 Years of Studio Ghibli

IntellectIntellect, the publisher of journals such as Asian Cinema, Journal of Fandom Studies, Studies in Comics, and the new East Asian Journal of Popular Culture and books, including several Japan volumes (in the Directory of World Cinema series) that have consistently welcomed academic writing on anime and manga has announced a call for papers for an upcoming 30 Years of Studio Ghibli journal special issue. Proposals (300 words maximum) are due September 30. Continue reading

New Issue: East Asian Journal of Popular Culture

Earlier this year, when the new East Asian Journal of Popular Culture published its first issue, I was pleased to profile it as a potential new venue for academic writing on a wide range of topics related to Japanese animation and Japanese comics. In fact, the first issue already included two papers dealing with manga – though the two were substantially different from each other in terms of their focus and methodologies. The journal’s second issue is now available, and 3 articles (out of a total of 8 in the issue) again specifically address anime/manga – again, broadly defined. Continue reading

Call for Papers – Ecocritical Reviews of Studio Ghibli Films

“The Media Review section of Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities calls for reviews that apply ecocritical and Green cultural studies approaches to the field of Japanese animation.

2014 was a watershed year for Studio Ghibli, arguably the leading anime studio, because it marked the retirement of the founding directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. who issued their swan-songs The Wind Rises and Princess Kaguya. To honor this moment and attract more critical attention to anime, we are soliciting reviews of the following:

Miyazaki’s films, especially Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Ponyo.

Takahata’s Ken the Wolf Boy, Heidi: Girl of the Alps, Pom Poko aka “Tanuki Wars,” Grave of the Fireflies, and Princess Kaguya. Continue reading

Call for Papers – “Exploring 30 Years of Studio Ghibli: Spirited Discussions”

Cardiff University (Cardiff, Wales, UK) – April 18, 2015

Exploring 30 Years of Studio Ghibli: Spirited Discussions

2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Studio Ghibli, and with that anniversary it is time to reflect on the domestic and global success of Japan’s most famous animation studio. With the retirements of Studio Ghibli’s most famous director, Hayao Miyazaki, and it main producer, Toshio Suzuki earlier this year, the future of Studio Ghibli is in turmoil, provoking rallying cries from fans and critics alike. The Wind Rises may have been Miyazaki’s swan song, but this is not his first retirement. Despite Miyazaki’s professed departure, Ghibli’s other directors like Miyazaki’s founding partner, Isao Takahata, and Hiromasa Yonebayashi have produced recent hits of varying degrees for this powerful studio that suggest overlooked aspects of the Studio in need of further analysis and discussion. This anniversary year is therefore a pertinent time to celebrate and critically reflect on Studio Ghibli, not only exploring Miyazaki’s famous films, but also considering other facets of the Ghibli universe. This symposium explores a diverse range of topics, exploring the wide international appeal of Studio Ghibli and the cultural significance of everything from the studio’s canon to its more obscure local activities. Continue reading