Back in 2006, the University of Minnesota Press’s launch of Mechademia Volume 1: Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga – the first in “a series of books…devoted to creative and critical work on anime, manga and the fan arts”, with the goal for the series stated as being “to examine, discuss, theorize and reveal this unique style through its historic Japanese origins and its ubiquitous global presence and manifestation in popular and gallery culture” was rightly seen as a major step in the development of anime/manga studies as a defined academic field.
Mechademia was, of course, not the only place where an author could publish their work on anime/manga, but it quickly became one of the most prominent and accessible – widely distributed to academic and even public libraries, available online via JSTOR and Project Muse, and priced at a point that made it affordable to readers who simply wished to purchase individual volumes. And, this volume, and the nine that followed, each centered around a general theme, among them “Networks of Desire“, “Lines of Sight“, “Tezuka’s Manga Life” and finally, in 2015, “World Renewal” each made a major and significant contribution to the growing field, especially with their unique and distinctive mix of original essays, translations of both recent and and historical Japanese scholarship, short commentary pieces, photo essays, comics/manga, and other types of content far beyond the range of what is normally seen in academic journals and essay collections.
Mechademia did not publish a 2016 volume, and the assumption that its history ended with World Renewal was not unreasonable. But, as it turns out, all that happened was a pause and a redirection – and, as per the new and redesigned Mechademia website, “The Mechademia journal will return in 2018 as Mechademia: Second Arc“. It will once again consist of annual themed volumes – the subtitle for the first one is “Childhood”. The Call for Papers for it is now open, with an August 15 deadline:
“Possible topics cover a vast territory: but we ask not for a simple recounting of the many narratives found in these works, but a critique, a theoretical troubling, and a creative projection from the connections and complications found in the secret places of these works. In addition to narrative considerations and explorations of the “symbolic” child, we would also welcome essays that explore children as readers, consumers, and creators, and the material conditions of transnational production that market to children.
Specifically, Mechademia’s scope is now not limited to Japan – or to anime/manga/”fan arts”. Rather, it has grown “to encompass not just Japan, but Asia and even the world beyond, covering manga/manhua, anime, and gaming, but also the expansions to those art forms”.
Scholars who are interested in publishing their work in are welcome to submit essays (5,000 words maximum), abstracts of up to 200 words, and up to 4 keyword terms to the editor for consideration.
The full Call for Papers is available online.