In the classic study Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, Susan Napier identifies “the apocalyptic” as one of the three major “modes” of Japanese animation. But this is a relatively narrow approach – a much broader one would move to consider both East Asian popular culture products, expressions, and activities in general, and a more abstract idea of “endings”. And it it this approach that Mechademia: Second Arc is proposing for the upcoming Volume 18.1, currently set for publication in the Winter of 2025 with Prof. Anne Allison (Duke University) serving as the issue’s editor.

“Death and Other Endings” seeks papers that address the subject of endings of whatever kind, embedded in conditions of current times, and given a particular narrative, portrayal, or form in popular/media culture.

Some potential topics for the issue can include (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Technological imaginaries and/or development in end-of-life or postmortem care (robots, AI)
  • Surveillance and security apparati used to “end” various threats to public safety
  • Recovery or memorialization following national disasters (3.11 or others)
  • Global warming and/or environmental justice: effects of and activism around climate disaster
  • Shifts in life-stage and life-cycle: What are the “ends” driving social aspirations and lives today?
  • Temporality in an age of never-ending digitality and online connectedness
  • What do reports of sexlessness, disconnection, and solo sociality signal in terms of endings and /or beginnings of desire, sexuality, or relationality?
  • National borders, border-crossing, and (non)citizenship: What is the biopolitics of life, whose lives are valued (and whose is not), is there a necropolitics “ending” certain bodies?
  • How are apocalyptic, end-time or dystopic stories particular to Japan?
  • What has “ended” in the way of work, family, reproduction, and growth today, and is this ending something to mourn?

Authors are invited to submit essays of between 5,000 and 7,000 words. The submission deadline for the issue is July 1, 2024.

Full details about the CFP are available on the Mechademia website.

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