Wednesday, April 13, 2011

CFP: Anime and Manga Studies Symposium (May 20; July 1-4)

Call for Papers / Call for Speakers:
Anime Expo
Anime and Manga Studies Symposium
(July 1 – July 4, Los Angeles, CA)
DEADLINE: May 20, 2011

The continuing popularity of Japanese comics and animation outside Japan has been a topic of interest to scholars across a wide range of disciplines, fields and approaches. However, much of the English-language research and writing on anime and manga has taken place on an ad-hoc basis, and until recently, there has been relatively little sense of a persistent community of anime/manga scholars.

Capitalizing on the growing prominence of scholarly approaches to Japanese popular culture, Anime Expo, the largest and most popular gathering for fans of Japanese visual culture in the U.S. will be hosting a track of themed sessions exploring how anime and manga can have a place in scholarly discussion. AX 2011 will be held from July 1 to July 4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center (Los Angeles, CA).

The track will present a unique opportunity for scholars at all levels to share their research and thinking directly with a general, non-academic audience while also interacting with other academic speakers from across a range of disciplines. It will consist of three themed roundtable discussions and three sessions for individual papers.

Roundtable discussions

Roundtable session 1:
Theoretical perspectives on Japanese visual culture

The complex, complicated world of Japanese animation and comics yields itself to many different approaches. Fairly straight-forward close readings, modes of analysis based in particular schools of thought, examinations of the roles of authors and creators, producers, distributors and the global audience all have a part in anime and manga studies
  • How do anime/manga studies fit into existing theoretical approaches to studying visual
  • What is the relationship between particular theoretical approaches and the kinds of questions that anime/manga scholars can ask?
  • Are some modes of inquiry in anime/manga studies overused – and are there others that are underutilized?
  • Does anime/manga studies in the U.S. differ markedly from how these topics are approached in Japan and elsewhere in the world?
Roundtable session 2:
Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli: Anime's contribution to world cinema

Hayao Miyazaki is likely the only anime creator to have achieved a measure of real worldwide recognition and acclaim. In many people’s minds, his films are essentially synonymous with Japanese animation as a whole. Not coincidentally, Miyazaki is also the anime director whose work has been examined the most thoroughly and intensively by Western film, media and animation scholars.
  • Common themes, issues and tropes in the works of Hayao Miyazaki: Their meanings
    and purposes
  • Why has Studio Ghibli achieved such an extraordinary degree of global success?
  • Miyazaki and commentary on relationships between the natural and human worlds in contemporary Japan?
  • “Anime because of, or in spite of Ghibli”: What is the relationship between Studio Ghibli and the rest of the Japanese animation industry?
Roundtable session 3:
Teaching, writing and thinking about anime/manga: New directions, new opportunities.

Japanese animation and comics have been common in American high school classes and college programs throughout the last decade, if not more. “Teaching” anime and manga has unique challenges, but also a potentially wide range of results and goals. For its own part, anime and manga studies is an emerging field that must win a place for itself in a disciplinary landscape that is already crowded with fields, directions, and approaches.
  • How to introduce anime and manga into the classroom at all levels, from high school to graduate
  • “Studying anime” vs. “anime studies”: Does the field need a label, and what does the
    label mean?
  • Where does “anime studies” take place: Existing, new and prospective areas of research in Japanese visual culture?
  • Where to next? The real and possible goals of scholarly approaches to Japanese visual culture
The topics listed under each of the roundtable session titles are suggested, not exhaustive, and other approaches and views are welcome!

Individual papers

Speakers are invited to submit proposals for individual 20-minute paper presentations on any topic related to Japanese comics and animation, the anime/manga industry both in Japan and worldwide, and the global anime and manga fandom.

Some of the possible themes and topics can include:
  • Close readings of particular individual anime and manga texts
  • Specific reasons for the global popularity of anime and manga
  • Relationships between anime/manga and other Japanese film and literature
  • Japanese animation and comics in historical perspective: anime and manga before Tezuka
  • The role of the creator and director (and individual creators/directors) in the development of anime and manga
  • Anime/manga promotion, marketing, international licensing and distribution, translation and sales
  • The activities of anime/manga fans: Fanfiction, cosplay, anime music videos, website development, etc.
  • A global conversation with Japanese popular culture – Western uses of anime and manga (Animatrix, Batman, Iron Man, Supernatural, etc.)
  • Beyond anime and manga as we know them: Experimental and non-mainstream Japanese animation and comics
  • Popular culture responds to reality: The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and future directions in Japanese visual culture
To participate in one of the panel discussions, or to present an individual paper, please contact Mikhail Koulikov [contact information follows] with your name, and CV. Please provide a brief, 250-word explanation of your viewpoint as a panelist or an abstract for your paper.

All entries must be received by May 18. All speakers will receive complimentary admission to Anime Expo.

- Mikhail Koulikov -

Producer, AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium
Editor, Online Bibliography of Anime and Manga Research
Co-Moderator, Anime and Manga Research Circle Mailing List

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