axlogo_2016_date_blackAs many of you know, one of the major projects that I am involved with annually is developing, organizing/producing, and managing the AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, also known as the Academic Program track of Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in the U.S. Every year, the Symposium brings together a select group of academics, graduate students, undergraduates, and independent scholars who present their research on a wide range of topics related to anime/manga directly to AX’s attendees.

The Call for Papers for this year’s Symposium is now open. It will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from July 1 to July 4. If you would like to be considered for participation as a speaker, please review the CFP, and submit your proposal (300 words maximum) to me at The proposal submission deadline is April 15. And, you are welcome (and encouraged) to pass it along to anyone who you think may be interested in speaking on the program or attending!


Call for Papers
AX 2016 Anime and Manga Studies Symposium
Anime Expo 2016
July 1-4 | Los Angeles, CA

The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the parent organization of Anime Expo (AX), the largest anime convention in the U.S., is inviting proposals for plenary addresses, presentations, and panel discussions for the 2016 AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium. The Symposium will be held from July 1 to July, 2016 at the Los Angeles Convention Center (Los Angeles, California) as the Academic Program track of this year’s Anime Expo.

Japanese animation (anime) and comics (manga) are unique forms of visual culture that attract and inspire audiences around the world. The AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium serves as the premier site for presenting and sharing research on a wide range of topics related to the creation, production, distribution, and worldwide reception of anime/manga, their history, relationships with other media, and the experiences and practices of anime and manga fans.

The Symposium’s goal is to bring together a diverse, international group of scholars, and facilitate the development of anime/manga studies as a defined academic field. As an integral part of Anime Expo, and open to all attendees, it also introduces general audiences to the methods, practices and tools of academic research into popular culture and fosters a dialogue between academics and fans. Participants in the Symposium will be able to join a celebration and appreciation of Japanese popular culture and interact directly with the convention’s attendees. Inherently interdisciplinary, it is open to approaches from different fields, and welcomes a wide range of speakers. Early-career scholars, graduate students, undergraduates, and independent researchers/industry professionals are especially encouraged to submit proposals!

These can take the form of a longer plenary address (45-60 minutes), an individual presentation, or a round-table panel discussion. Because of the Symposium’s broad educational mission, speakers are urged to consider subjects, topics and approaches that will be of interest to general, non-specialist audiences and do not require significant theory backgrounds or familiarity with particular subjects.

Some potential areas/topics the proposals can address include:

  • Genres, genre conventions and subversions, franchises, adaptations and interpretations of Japanese and non-Japanese literature and other media, cross-media adaptations (such as anime/manga into video games and stage plays), the increasing prominence of remakes and reimaginings.
  • Professional and amateur translation of anime and manga, censorship/self-censorship, translation of “non-speech” elements such as signs, writing, particular fonts, etc.
  • Depictions of gender and sexuality, and the role of gender in the production and consumption of anime/manga.
  • Fan service and objectification, the male and female gaze, the interplay of male and female creators, producers, and audiences.
  • Responses to current social and political issues, such as marginalized communities, crime, terrorism and international conflict, relations between Japan and other countries, the 3.11 Tohoku Disaster and its effects on Japanese society.
  • The growing influence of Western media and Western markets on anime/manga. The effects of streaming, crowdfunding, direct involvement by Western producers. The impact of Japanese visual culture on animation and comics outside Japan.
  • Fan cultures, activities, practices and experiences – clubs, conventions, cosplay, fansites, fansubbing, anime music videos – in Japan, the U.S., and around the world.
  • Potentials for anime/manga as platforms for social change and the political identities of anime/manga fans.

This year, the symposium is particularly interested in exploring questions related to:

The economics of anime and manga:

  • The roles of particular creators and other individuals
  • Entrepreneurial and business models
  • The state of the anime/manga industry in Japan, in the U.S., and around the world
  • Industry trends and future projections

Teaching about Japanese animation/Japanese comics at the secondary and post-secondary level

  • Developing lesson plans
  • Selecting themes and titles to feature
  • Interacting with different types of students
  • Integrating anime and manga into other classes
  • Responding to Common Core Standards

If you are interested in participating in the 2016 AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, please submit the title of your proposed talk or panel, an abstract (300 words maximum) and your CV to Mikhail Koulikov,

Deadline for submissions: April 15, 2016.

Selected speakers may be offered complimentary admission to Anime Expo 2016.

For additional details about the AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, including the previous years’ schedules and lists of speakers, please visit

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