Monday, October 27, 2008

CFP: Mechademia 5 - Fanthropologies (Deadline: Jan. 5, 2009)

Above: The cover to Volume 2; see the contents listing for that issue at the Mechademia website. BTW, I love the word "fanthropology."

Call for Papers
Mechademia 5: Fanthropologies

(University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming in 2010)

In recent years, interest in fan communities and fan activities has exploded, and the term otaku has become global currency. Terms like "fan" and "otaku" have been mobilized for a wide range or reasons in a wide variety of discourses, from gender studies to inquiries about technology and sociality. We think that the exploration of fan activities and otaku phenomena is crucial to understanding the contemporary world of transnational image and information flows, as well as the transnational formation of concepts and discourses.

In keeping with our mission to forge links between different communities of knowledge and to challenge the conventional channels for the flow of information, in Mechademia 5, we propose a challenge to the received understandings of fans. We would like to challenge quasi-anthropological and pseudo-sociological readings in which the identity of "fan" or "otaku" is presumed in advance as a fixed object of knowledge. We propose "fanthropologies" not as the anthropology of fans but as an exploration of the challenge that fans present for the imposition of anthropological knowledge and the sociological gaze. To do "fanthropology" is not to do anthropology of fans but to ask what anthropology might be for or to fans.

We thus invite submissions that take seriously the social and historical construction of fans or otaku as an object of knowledge rather than impose it imperiously. We welcome essays that counter the tendency to posit fans as nothing more than a new object for old forms of knowledge. We seek essays about zones of activity as varied as manga and anime fandoms, game and character design, subcultures, emergent communities and microfascisms, connoisseurship, packaging, pop arts and fine arts, to name but a few.

We encourage authors from various backgrounds with diverse interests to write in a variety of formats and from a range of perspectives. These might include textual readings that foreground reader or viewer experience, critical theorizations of fandom, and studies of fan-produced texts, as well as first-person narratives, photo essays, artistic interventions, and other approaches not listed here. We call on contributors not only to write across disciplinary boundaries but also to address readers in allied communities of knowledge.

The submission deadline is January 5, 2009. Submissions may be sent as attachments to submissions @ Essays should be between 1,000 and 5,000 words and use Chicago style documentation. Authors may include up to five black-and-white images, and additional images or color images may be possible with special permission from the publisher. Further information is available on the Mechademia web site at

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