As the Executive Producer for the annual AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, the Academic Program track at Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in the U.S., I am pleased to announce the CALL FOR PAPERS for this year’s Symposium. Please feel free to distribute this to your colleagues, students, friends/acquaintances, or anyone else who you think may be interested.

The Symposium will be held over all four days of AX 2017 (July 1 to July 4), and if you are interested in presenting your research on topics related to anime/manga to AX’s audience, please submit the title of your presentation, a short summary (300 words maximum) and your CV to The deadline for submissions is May 5.

Since its start in 2011, the Symposium has been a leading site for academic discussion on how anime/manga are created and distributed, their history, the themes and issues they explore, their connections to other Japanese and global media, how fans around the world interact with them. Uniquely, as an integral part of Anime Expo’s programming, it serves to foster relationships and facilitate conversation between academics and the general public while also supporting and promoting the development of anime/manga studies as an academic field. Just some of the speakers who have participated in the Symposium over the years have included:

The Symposium is inter-disciplinary and welcomes approaches from different fields. Early-career academics, graduate students, undergraduates, and independent scholars/industry professionals are especially urged to submit proposals!

These can address any topic or issue related to Japanese animation and comics, but, given that 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the first “known” Japanese animated film, the Symposium particularly welcomes presentations dealing with:

  • The history of anime/manga production and distribution in Japan and around the world
  • Specific non-commercial uses of anime/manga (derivative and creative works, educational, propagandistic)
  • Anime/manga’s acceptance of – and resistance to cultural, technological, and social change
  • The growth and development of anime/manga studies, its current status, future directions, and the field’s relationship to Japanese studies, film studies, comics/animation studies, literature, and other fields.

The Symposium is also interested in exploring approaches to anime/manga and related topics beyond the “film/book review model” and draw on political science, economics, sociology, and other fields beyond the humanities, the “production of culture” perspective, and qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (surveys and data analysis) tools to explore issues such as:

  • The roles of particular creators, as well as other individuals traditionally ignored in the creative process
  • Entrepreneurial and business models and their relationships to the global anime industry as well as anime fans functioning as entrepreneurs under both the traditional economy and the gift economy
  • The state of the anime/manga industry in Japan, in the U.S., and around the world; industry trends and future projections
  • Schooling as traditionally conceived (i.e. the canonical curriculum, direct instruction, and the test) versus anime and manga’s disruption of it as part of a broader project of educational reform
  • The decline of the “soft power” model of anime and manga in the study of international relations in favor of newer and more critical approaches to their place in world affairs

For additional details, see the full Call for Papers. For additional details about the Symposium, its history, and an archived collection of programs and speaker names/biographies from its first 6 years, please visit the Symposium page.

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