My work in promoting, facilitating and supporting anime and manga studies involves several different kinds of activities. I am one of the founders of the Anime and Manga Research Circle, an informal community of academics, students, industry professionals and fans interested in studying Japanese animation and comics, and a moderator of the AMRC mailing list. I have reviewed books on anime for the Anime News Network – and articles submitted for publication in the scholarly journal Transformative Works and Cultures. I have presented talks on anime and manga studies at conventions around the U.S. – Otakon, Anime Central, A-Kon, Anime Boston, Katsucon and others. But at least for now, what I think of as my main contribution to this area is as the organizer/producer of the annual Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, the track of academic presentations and panels that are a part of the programming at Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in the U.S.
The Call for Papers for this year’s Symposium is open through the end of the month – I have already seen several excellent submissions, and look forward to seeing more. And, since one of the goals I had in mind for this blog is to have it serve as a hub or central point for activities in the field of anime and manga studies, I am also happy to present the full schedules for the previous years:
By its third year, the Anime and Manga Studies Symposium was firmly established as a part of Anime Expo’s programming. A highlight of the 2013 schedule were the guest lectures on the history of anime and manga studies in Japan presented by Dr. Akiko Sugawa-Shimada (Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka, Japan), and on the challenges of using Japanese animation and comics to introduce American college students to Japanese culture (Masako Hamada, Villanova University). In addition to these full-length lectures, the Symposium again featured a set of shorter presentations and talks on much more focused topics, such as the use of foreign languages in manga, depictions of girls and women across several decades of Japanese animation, and the sometimes uneasy relationship between anime fans’ practices and commercial activities.
AX 2013 Anime and Manga Studies Symposium – Schedule
Thursday, July 4
Keynote Address: Christopher Kuipers (Professor, English, Indiana University of Pennsylvania)
- Translating Anime and Manga: Let Us Count the Ways
After the success of the first Anime and Manga Studies Symposium at the 2011 Anime Expo, it was clear that the idea of academic presentations included in the program of a major American anime convention was something that fans were ready to welcome. So, in the spring of 2012, I began planning to repeat the Symposium at AX 2012, and when the convention opened its doors, was able to welcome a new group of scholars, representing institutions from around the U.S., as well as two European schools, to the Symposium.
AX 2012 Anime and Manga Studies Symposium – Schedule
Friday, June 29
Keynote Address: Jeffrey Dym (Professor, History, California State University, Sacramento)
Adventures in teaching ‘The History of Manga’
By 2011, anime and manga studies as an academic field was definitely coming into its own, with a number of books, dozens of classes, an annual conference (Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits, at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design), and even an annual journal dedicated to “anime, manga and the fan arts”. What anime and manga studies did not have, though, was a way to present the academic field to non-academic audiences – to connect anime/manga scholars with anime and manga fans. And it was here that I saw both a niche, a need, and a market gap – and tried to fill it.
So, in the winter of 2011, I approached the senior officers of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the non-profit corporate parent of the Anime Expo convention, with a proposal to organize, produce and manage a track of academic presentations and panel discussions that would be a part of the AX 2011 program. A lot of my proposal was based on enthusiasm and hopeful thinking, but in making the proposal, I was drawing on examples for Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits, the Comic Arts Conference track of San Diego Comic-Con, and the easily dozens of papers on various aspects of anime and manga that had been presented over the years at academic conferences, seminars and workshops around the U.S. In fact, as early as 2004, the Anime Boston convention had incorporated a session of formal academic presentations into its panel programming schedule – and if they could do it, I could certainly try to adjust the program for scale and expand it over the length four days of AX 2011. (more…)
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation is pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the 2014 AX Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, a unique track of academic talks, presentations and panels that will be an integral part of the live programming at the largest anime convention in the United States.
July 3 – July 6
Anime Expo 2014
Los Angeles Convention Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Keynote Speaker: Prof. Marc Steinberg (Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Submission Deadline: May 1, 2014 (more…)