Category: Announcements

Call for Interest – Anime and Manga Studies Database

How do you search for academic journal articles about anime? About the work of Hayao Miyazaki? About Sailor Moon, and about magical girls in Japanese comics in general? About the history of anime fansubbing?

Type a couple of words into Google and hope for the best? Type a few words into Google Scholar and hope for the best? Remember what you were taught in whatever “introduction to research” lectures you had? Ask a teacher? Schedule an appointment with a subject librarian?

As it turns out, one of the biggest challenges facing anyone who is interested in approaching anime and manga as the subjects of academic research is actually how to best go about locating the scholarly publications that are at the heart of the research process. Because of the many different ways to refer to Japanese animation and Japanese comics, and the wide range of potential topics and approaches that can fall under the “anime and manga studies” label, neither general interdisciplinary academic databases such as EBSCO Academic Search Premier and Gale Academic OneFile nor more specialized ones (Bibliography of Asian Studies Online, Film & Television Literature Index, Performing Arts Periodicals Database) can offer comprehensive indexing and full-text coverage for the field of anime and manga studies. So while it is certainly possible to use these databases, and other similar ones, to find many scholarly publications on anime/manga, a scholar working with one of these databases, or even with several of them, can never be sure the their search is comprehensive – how many of the available publications they have located, and how many they’ve missed.

This basic issue (of search tool scope and of search recall) is common across all academic fields. And one of the most direct ways it has been addressed is through the development of highly curated research tools such as subject bibliographies, where the items that are actually selected for inclusion are evaluated individually by a specialist, rather than simply returned as the results of a computer search. For as long as I have been interested in the idea of academic approaches to anime and manga, I have also been interested in developing this kind of research tool. The Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies, which currently includes which I believe to be over 99% of all scholarly writing on Japanese animation and comics that has been published in English to date , and which I consistently work to maintain and update, is this tool in its present form. But this present form of simple chronological lists is not sufficient to meet the needs of researchers, teachers, students, and anyone else who is interested in this topic.

Accordingly, Animemangastudies.com is issuing a Call for Interest for a developer to cooperate on a project to create a searchable database-driven Anime and Manga Studies Bibliography that would use the entries in the Annual Bibliography for its content. As I envision it, a major feature of the Bibliography would be the use of 3 distinct types of records: “publication”, “author”, and “source”, and the possibility to search across all types, or by type. This is similar to the titles, names, companies, etc. search functionality on imdb.com and the various search options in the Anime News Network Encyclopedia. The actual results would be formatted differently depending on whether the result was a publication (book, book chapter or individual article), an author, or a source (essay collection or journal with many individual articles). This is different from searches in most academic databases, where all results are formatted in only one way.

In this way, searching for “Attack on Titan” would return a list of all English-language academic publications on this manga/anime (i.e., with Attack on Titan specifically mentioned in the title or keywords – such as Colossal bodies: Re-imagining the human anatomy in Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan), and a record for each one, with more information (author, source, date of publication, online availability, etc.). Searching for “Susan Napier” would return a record for Prof. Napier, with basic information about her, such as her current academic position, and a listing of all publications on anime/manga that she has authored, linked to the record for each, and a search for ImageTexT would return a record for this publication, and records for all the articles that have appeared in it.

Once the technical infrastructure for the Bibliography is in place, I can begin work to actually populate the database. But right now, developing the infrastructure is my priority. So, if this is a project you are interested in working on, or know someone who is, please contact me at mik@animemangastudies.com with your ideas, any questions you may have, and/or, if you are interested in working on this project, your proposal!

Looking forward to hearing from some of you, and to seeing where this goes!

Int’l Anime Research Project – 2019 Anime Survey

The primary focus of anime and manga studies as an academic area is on the texts/works of Japanese animation and Japanese comics themselves – their meanings, their interpretations, and how they are perceived by audiences. So a “typical” study in this field is something like The altered shall inherit the Earth: Biopower and the disabled body in Tehxnolyze or  The utopia of suburbia: the unchanging past and limitless future in Doraemon. Another strand of scholarship examines how fans actually interact with anime/manga, and fans’ motivations, activities, and practices – just some examples here include A portrait of Japanese popular culture fans who study Japanese at an Australian university: Motivations and activities beyond the classroom and Fannish masculinities in transition in anime music video fandom. But this type of research, valuable as it may be, is generally based on in-depth interviews with very small numbers of individuals. It does not, and really, by design cannot be extended to broader groups, and to presenting a more comprehensive picture of anime fans – not just who they are in terms of demographics, but how they think, perceive the world, behave, and act.

However, one effort to do precisely this is the International Anime Research Project – “a multidisciplinary team of scientists studying the anime/manga fandom (as well as other fandoms)”. Specifically, the project uses an annual survey to explore “various aspects of how anime fans perceive the fandom, interact with other fans, how the fandom influences the self, along with a variety of other research questions aimed at understanding the connection to anime.” The survey has been conducted since 2014, and the Project’s members have used its results in over 20 publications, primarily in the online journal The Phoenix Papers, reporting on topics such as “motivations of cosplayers to participate in the anime fandom“, “anime genre preferences and paranormal beliefs“, and “prevailing stereotypes of anime fans“.

Now, the Project is inviting participants for the 2019 Anime Survey. This year’s goal will be to “understand your experience of being an anime fan, fantasy, identity formation, education, identity, wellbeing, assessments of other fan groups, and LGBTQ inclusion in fandoms.” The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, and all participants will be entered in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card.

Additional information about the survey process, including its ethics clearance status, is available on the International Anime Research Project website.

Call for Papers – JAMS no. 1

Several months ago, I was excited to share news about the launch of a new peer-reviewed journal with a specific focus on Japanese animation, comics, and related topics – the Journal of Anime and Manga Studies. And now, JAMS has officially opened the Call for Papers for its first issue, currently on track to be published early next year.

Specifically, the journal welcomes all types of “scholarly analysis of anime” (and manga) and related topics such as cosplay and other fan activities and practices, from all kinds of authors, whether faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, or independent scholars, and is open to different forms of research methods and approaches, from critical readings to quantitative/data-driven studies. The recommended length for submissions is between 4,500 and 7,500 words, but longer or shorter manuscripts may be accepted after a discussion with the journal’s editors, and it is also open to book review submissions.The deadline for submitting a paper for inclusion in the inaugural issue is August 31, 2019.

In addition, JAMS has also updated its website with a full listing of its editorial board. The journal’s editors are a line-up of experienced anime/manga scholars, with varied backgrounds as authors and educators:

Dr. Frenchy Lunning (editor-in-chief, Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and Fan Arts)
Dr. Brent Allison, University of North Georgia (editorial board member, Mechademia)
Dr. Andrea Horbinski (copy editor, Mechademia)
Kay Clopton, The Ohio State University
Dr. Maria Bonn, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois
Elizabeth Wickes, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois

The full CFP is reproduced below, and archived on the Call for Papers website hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Department of English.

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New Journal Launch – Journal of Anime and Manga Studies

One of the most well-defined features of an academic field is a journal that brings together the work of scholars who produce and publish research on a particular topic and presents it to readers. The existence of a journal means that there is enough research being published on a topic to support one, and the journal’s title is in many cases also the term used for the field itself. Asian Studies, Japanese Studies, Science Fiction StudiesAnimation Studies, and ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies are all examples of journals that give structure to particular academic fields.

The first English-language scholarly articles on anime and manga appeared in journals like Youth & Society (Contemporary Japanese youth: Mass media communication, 1977), The Journal of Popular Culture (Salaryman comics in Japan: Images of self-perception, 1979, and Female gender role patterns in Japanese comic magazines, 1987), The Journal of Japanese Studies (Panic sites: The Japanese imagination of disaster from Godzilla to Akira, 1993), and Wide Angle (Transcultural orgasm as apocalypse: Urotsukidoji: The Legend of the Overfiend, 1997). It was not until 2006 that the University of Minnesota Press began publishing what could be treated as an anime and manga studies journal – Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and Fan Arts, although it was presented as a “series of books”, and right away, embraced other – though definitely related – topics such as video games.

And now, four years since Mechademia went on hiatus, forty since those first articles, and a full sixty since what I have identified as the first scholarly publications in any format in English on Japanese animation or comics (the chapters “Children’s comics in Japan” and “Comparative study of comics: American and Japanese – Sazae-san and Blondie” in the 1959 essay collection Japanese Popular Culture: Studies in Mass Communication and Cultural Change), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hasJAMS announced the launch of the Journal of Anime and Manga Studies – the first “open-access journal dedicated to providing an ethical, peer-reviewed space for academics, students, and independent researchers examining the field of anime, manga, cosplay, and fandom studies to share their research with others.” JAMS is currently actively welcoming article submissions from scholars at all levels, including faculty members, graduate students, undergraduates, and independent researchers. There are also no particular limitations on potential topics, beyond the general statement that it is dedicated to “scholarly analysis”, or on article length, and submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis. The journal’s first actual issue is currently set to appear in the fall of this year.

I have known about the plans to launch this journal for some time. Needless to say, I am extremely excited to see these plans evolve into something real – another major milestone in the development of the academic field of anime and manga studies. In the coming months, I look forward to following further news about the journal’s development, and assisting the process in any way that I can.

And if you are interested in publishing your research in the Journal of Anime and Manga Studies, review the About the Journal portion of the JAMS website, follow the Submissions Checklist and Author Guidelines, register as an author – and good luck! And I will look forward to hopefully, reading your submission in the journal’s inaugural issue!

Call for Papers – Eyes Unclouded: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli

Ghibli2019 Contemporary Directors Symposium
Eyes Unclouded: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli
Lewes Depot Cinema, Lewes, UK
May 8, 2019

Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli will be the focus of the 2019 Contemporary Directors Symposium, organized by the University of Sussex (UK) Centre for Photography and Visual Culture. Prof. Rayna Denison, a leading scholar of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, whose recent work includes editing the essay collection Princess Mononoke: Understanding Studio Ghibli’s Monster Princess, and co-editing a Studio Ghibli special issue of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, will present the symposium’s keynote address, and scholars are invited to submit proposals for 20-minute talks on any topic that falls under the symposium’s broad theme. Some potential areas to explore can include authorship, representation (gender, ethnicity/nationality/culture, etc.), “material culture”, such as merchandising and advertising, and how Ghibli films are distributed, received, and interpreted outside Japan. Talk proposals (title, 250-word abstract, author biography) are due by March 31, 2019, and can be sent to the attention of Dr. Luke Robinson.

The full CFP for the Symposium follows and is also available on H-Film. (more…)

Comics Studies Society 2018 Prizes – Nominations Open

CSSJust about a year ago, the Comics Studies Society, itself just founded in 2014, announced the launch of one of its major projects – four annual prizes to recognize “outstanding contributions to the study of comic art” in the form of monographs, journal articles and chapters in edited collections, “public scholarship” (i.e., contributions to non-academic publications), and conference presentations by graduate students. Nominations for the prizes were accepted from both peers/readers, and from authors themselves, and I for my part certainly welcomed the opportunity to nominate several papers on manga published in 2017 that I felt would deserve the recognition.

The 2018 winners were announced in May. Neither the Charles Hatfield Book Prize nor the Comics Studies Society Article Prize went to publications on Japanese comics, but the award committee announced that in addition to the main Award for Best Graduate Student Conference Presentation, it would also recognize three authors with honorable mentions – one of the three being leading manga scholar Andrea Horbinski, for the paper “Something Postmodern Going On: The Queering of the Manga Sphere in the 1970s”, presented at On Belonging: Gender, Sexuality, and Identity in Japan.

And now, the nomination period for this year’s prizes – for materials published in 2018 – is officially open – to run until March 1. Each award winner will receive a $300 cash award, a plaque, and an invitation to present on their work at the Society’s annual conference.

The basic guidelines for the nominated works is that they must be:

“historical, biographical, critical, analytical, pedagogical, and/or bibliographical in focus…and draw on original research, acknowledge and advance existing scholarship where relevant, and include appropriate documentation.”

The full rules, and the instructions for submitting nominations are available on the CSS website. As per the instructions for the Article Prize, it is meant to recognize publications that “greatly add to our understanding of comic art and/or its historical, cultural, critical, or theoretical contexts”, and once again, I can easily think of at least 3 articles on manga published in 2018 that I think should be considered. So, I will be submitting these nominations – and if you know of one or more that you think is worthy of this kind of award, I urge to you nominate it too! What’s the worst thing that can happen – you will send through your nomination, and never hear anything about it ever again? And the best – the author will receive recognition for their work, and $300. Everybody wins!

Call for Contributors – Anime and Manga Studies Response Essays

“Japanese popular culture studies is a field in formation”, note Alisa Freedman and Toby Slade in the opening chapter of Introducing Japanese Popular Culture, the first volume on the topic that is specifically designed as a textbook. The same statement can be extended to anime and manga studies as well. And as the field of anime and manga studies is forming – through new directions in scholarship and teaching, the development of particular research patterns and trends, the emergence of foundational and highly cited publications, and even formal institutionalization, participants in the field can pursue some unique opportunities.

One specific area in anime and manga studies that I think could benefit from more attention is conversation within the field – that is, commentary on and discussion of not just the films and TV series and comics themselves, but the critical responses to them that already exist. Book reviews are one familiar type of this kind of commentary, and plenty of books on anime/manga do receive reviews – though primarily, in academic journals. One exception are the reviews of books on anime/manga and other aspects and products of Japanese popular culture that the All the Anime blog frequently publishes.

However, it is often difficult for a review of a single book to specifically talk about the place that book holds in the ongoing conversation on its topic. Reviews that do more than discuss single books – that go over several – are significantly less common; among the few examples are Historicizing Anime and Manga: From Japan to the World and Anime: Comparing Macro and Micro Analyses, in respectively the first and second volumes of Mechademia. And critical responses to individual journal articles are almost nonexistent – probably the only example that comes to mind is 2005’s Fans, copyright, and subcultural change: A review of Sean Leonard’s “Progress against the law”. (more…)

Kumoricon 2018 Anime and Manga Studies – Final Schedule

Kumoricon logoFor the first time, the program for this year’s Kumoricon anime convention, which will run from Friday, October 26 to Sunday, October 28 at the Oregon Convention Center is going to include a track of academic panels and lectures under the heading Kumoricon Anime and Manga Studies (KAMS). As described by its organizers, “KAMS is a new series of programming featuring academic panels and lectures, hosted at Kumoricon, with the goal of bringing together anime and manga scholars and fans and exposing the discipline’s insights to a larger audience of enthusiasts. Our 2018 presenters hail from 11 different universities from 3 different countries.”

The Call for Papers for KAMS was distributed starting in April of this year – the resulting program is as follows:

Kumoricon Anime and Manga Studies – Intertextual Anime (more…)

New Resource – The Core Journals of Anime/Manga Studies

Mechademia 01One of the pages that visitors to this site arrive from consistently is a question posted on anime.stackexchange.com about “any places that regularly publish anime or manga related academic papers?” Almost two years ago, I provided a basic answer to it there. Now, I am happy to announce a new addition to the Anime and Manga Studies site – a guide to the “core” journals of anime/manga studies – that is, the several dozen English-language academic journals, in several different subject areas, that have consistently published papers on anime/manga.

For each title, the guide lists basic details, such as the publisher, and whether the publisher is a for-profit corporate entity or a non-profit, the journal’s publication frequency, how long it has been in existence, its scope, profile, or mission statement, and a selection of the actual articles on anime/manga that have been published in each. In the future, I may work to expand the guide with additional information on the journals’ preferred word counts, citation styles, and other submission guidelines. I will also periodically review this list to add in any new titles that may become important to the field in the future.

Of course, these titles do not represent the entire “universe” of journals that academic articles on anime/manga can appear in. For example, right now, the Journal Articles section of the Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies for the current year lists 40 individual articles – published in 26 different journals, and only 8 of these journals show up in the Core list.

Nonetheless, I do hope that going forward, this list will be useful to anyone who is looking to actually publish their research on anime/manga in a peer-reviewed academic journal, to teachers who are working to develop class reading lists, and of course, to students who are looking for publications to draw on to support their own research. As always, any feedback you have – thoughts, comments, suggestions, recommendations, etc. – is very much welcome!

The Core Journals of Anime/Manga Studies

 

Call for Papers – Kumoricon Anime and Manga Studies

Kumoricon logoKumoricon Anime and Manga Studies – ‘Intertextual Anime’
Kumoricon 2018
Portland, OR
October 26-28

When, in 2012, I first reached out to the organizers of Anime Expo – then and still the largest anime convention in the U.S. – with a proposal to introduce a track of formal academic lectures, presentations, and panel discussions into the convention’s program, such an idea was not unprecedented, but it was still unusual. San Diego Comic-Con (now known officially as Comic-Con International: San Diego)’s program had already included a Comics Arts Conference panel track, and anime conventions frequently featured talks by academic speakers. And now, six years later, I am excited – and pleased – to see this  initiative growing outside AX. And I am happy to share with you a message from this program’s organizer, explaining its goals and plans:

“I’m Trace Cabot, the organizer for Kumoricon Anime and Manga Studies, a new series of lectures and panels that will be held at Kumoricon, Oregon’s largest anime convention. As an academic conference built into the convention, KAMS will bring anime and manga scholars and fans together to share some of the most fascinating insights into Japanese comics and animation from a number of different fields and perspectives.

I’ve had the opportunity to see the enormous energy and enthusiasm this sort of exchange between scholars and the fan community encourages firsthand as a participant in Anime Expo’s Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, and I look forward to bringing this model up to the Pacific Northwest. The opportunity to share research with a receptive and excited crowd is both thrilling and productive, often illuminating new angles and approaches to both established projects and new material. The chance to spread new ideas among an audience united by their common love of the material can truly be inspirational, and I hope we’ll be able to offer new critical perspectives and ways of thinking through anime and manga to the fan community. I look forward to reviewing your submissions and hope to see you in Portland.”

KAMS invites submissions on all topics related to anime and manga, encouraging both submissions pertaining to intertextual and genre elements and general topics related to the mediums and their attending practices. Both panels and individual submissions are welcome. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Codifications and subversions of genres conventions
  • The roles of intertextual frames in anime and manga (homage, critique, parody, etc.)
  • Case studies on the development of manga in relation to films, television, and other forms of popular culture

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