Category: Call for Papers

Call for Papers – Mechademia: Second Arc, 18.2 “Studio Ghibli”

Japanese animation is many things. On the very first page of the excellent Anime: A Critical Introduction, animation scholar Rayna Denison uses the phrase “a shifting, sliding category of media production”, and further in the same book Dr. Denison also refers to anime as a “cultural phenomenon”. But outside Japan, and especially in Western media, Japanese animation is (still) often synonymous with the persona of Hayao Miyazaki and the films he has directed at Studio Ghibli. In fact, Jaqueline Berndt specifically points to this as one of the shortcomings in contemporary scholarly approaches to Japanese animation, writing that “Non-Japanese scholars tend to assume that [Hayao Miyazaki’s] movies are typical of anime as a whole because of their mere presence in Japan”.

But just because some of these assumptions may be incorrect, does not mean that all of them are. Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli are the subjects of almost 20 English-language scholarly books, from Helen McCarthy’s Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation – Films, Themes, Artistry, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary later this year, to last year’s – and very different in scope and in tone Studio Ghibli: An Industrial History (also by Prof. Denison), as well as a full collection of essays on Princess Mononoke, and two different entries in the BFI Film Classics line of handbooks (on Grave of the Fireflies and on Spirited Away). Miyazaki and Ghibli have also been the subjects of a special section in the Journal of Ecocritical Humanities, and other essays discussing particular aspects of and approaches to Ghibli films, or comparing them to other works, such as non-Japanese animations – appear frequently in edited essay collections and peer-reviewed journals – an excellent recent example is Miyazaki’s monstrous mother: A study of Yubaba in Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, in a recent issue of Feminist Media Studies.

Now, it appears that plans are underway for another major contribution to Miyazaki/Ghibli studies, with a dedicated “Studio Ghibli” issue of Mechademia: Second Arc, set for a Summer 2026 publication date. Prof. Denison will serve as one of the editors, joined by Dr. Jaqueline Ristola (University of Bristol).

One of the goals of the issue will be to significantly expand the potential critical approaches to undertake in connection with Ghibli, such as “investigations into the studio’s wider politics, its industrial activities, and cultural impact in Japan and around the world”.

Papers for the issues can address topics such as:

  • New theoretical approaches to studying Hayao Miyazaki’s films
  • Analyses of Japanese academic approaches to Studio Ghibli
  • Sound and Studio Ghibli films
  • Studio Ghibli’s animation aesthetics – e.g. background art, CG aesthetics, hand-drawn animation
  • Studio Ghibli’s other directors (Isao Takahata, Yoshifumi Kondō, Gorō Miyazaki, Tomomi Mochizuki, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, etc.)
  • Producers at Studio Ghibli (Toshio Suzuki, Yoshiaki Nishimura, Eiko Tanaka, etc.)
  • Studio Ghibli CEOs/Leaders (Toshio Suzuki, Koji Hoshino, Yasuyoshi Tokuma, etc.)
  • Studio Ghibli’s below the line workers (animators, inbetweeners, colorists, etc.)
  • Studio Ghibli’s Art Museum and the Ghibli Park
  • Advertising, partnerships, sponsors and Studio Ghibli
  • Studio Ghibli’s environmental activism

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.

Call for Papers – Mechademia: Second Arc, 18.1 “Death and Other Endings”

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.

Call for Papers – AX 2024 Academic Symposium: Edo Japan

Usually – and by their nature – academic conferences are not open to general, non-academic audiences, and for that matter, not really intended for them. But at the same time, nothing requires academic discussions to exclude the public, especially when members of the public may be interested in the same themes and topics that scholars are. And it is this understanding that lies at the heart of the Academic Program track at the Anime Expo convention, the largest in the U.S. I first proposed this track in 2011, and was its Executive Producer through 2017. And now, for 2024, the Academic Symposium is once again accepting submissions for papers with a “scholarly perspective on anime, manga, cosplay, and their fandoms”.

The theme of AX 2024 is Edo Japan, and authors are encouraged – but not required – to consider it. Proposals can address topics and subjects such as:

  • Japanese culture, past and present
  • Japanese festivals and holidays
  • Japan as Place, modern or historical
  • Performing artists like geisha
  • Histories of Japan, real or imagined

So, if you are studying a topic related to anime/manga, and want to share your research with a general, non-academic audience, here is your chance!

For consideration, submit a title, 150-word abstract, and short bio by the April 19 abstract submission deadline. All selected participants will be offered complimentary admission to AX.

Additional details (H-Net Network on Japanese History and Culture)

Call for Papers – Journal of Anime and Manga Studies v. 5

Since its launch in 2020, the open-access Journal of Anime and Manga Studies has quickly established itself as the leading scholarly publication for this emerging field. Over the four issues that have been published so far, JAMS has attracted a wide array of articles, representing diverse perspectives and approaches, as well as a significant diversity in terms of the characteristics of the authors of the individual papers. Just some of the papers that have appeared in it so far have included:

In addition – and the name and open-access status certainly help – JAMS is fast becoming the first, or at least one of the first – resources to recommend to anyone who wants to become familiar with how scholarly writing on anime and manga even looks like.

So, keeping all of this in mind, it is great to see JAMS announce the Call for Papers for the journal’s 2024 issue. Submissions will be accepted until March 31, 2024, and recognizing both the breadth of the field of anime and manga studies, and how open it is to different approaches and perspectives, the journal welcomes papers of any type, as long as the subject matter of the paper involves “anime, manga, cosplay, and their fandoms”. Submissions are expected to be approximately between 6500 and 8000 words, but papers that fall outside that range may be considered if discussed with the journal’s editor.

The full Call for Papers is available here.

Good luck to everyone who will be submitting a paper for consideration! The issue will be published towards the end of the year, and I will definitely be looking forward to reading all of the papers in it!

Call for Papers: Queer and Feminist Perspectives on Japanese Pop

Abstract Submission Deadline:
February 1

Notification of Acceptance:
February 15

Dates: Mid-April, 2024 (dates tbc)
Format: Online (Zoom)
In order to facilitate multiple timezones, the event will start at 8am EST/9pm JST

Organizers:

Aurélie Petit, Concordia University, Canada
Megan Catherine Rose, UNSW Sydney, Australia
Edmond Ernest dit Alban, Tulane University, United States of America

Supported by:

Media, Gender, and Sexualities Study Group (The University of Tokyo)

We invite scholars, researchers, activists, and practitioners from around the world to participate in a multidisciplinary two-day exploration of the intersection between Japanese popular cultures and intersectional, trans-inclusive feminist studies. During this symposium we will explore the convergence of gender, sexuality, race, queerness, disability and class. We aim to provide a platform for critical discussions about gender and Japanese animation, fashion, video games, literature and digital cultures. In doing so we hope to encourage new directions in feminist approaches to Japanese popular cultures.

Symposium Themes:

We welcome papers that address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • Genre and gender

We encourage papers that seek to move beyond gender binaries, in which “men” and “women” are generalize into monolithic categories of preferences, attitudes and ideologies. We would love to see papers that account for gender diversity, or instances where marginalized groups who move outside these paradigms are included. We encourage papers that open up and challenge assumptions that underpin gendered audiences.

  • Lived-experiences

We seek input and leadership from lived-experience experts on matters of equity, inclusion and justice for marginalized communities (e.g. sex workers, gender diverse people, disabled people, survivors) in relation to Japanese popular cultures. We call for vulnerable voices to be centered in all accounts of “big” ethical dilemmas studies of Japanese culture grapple with. We especially encourage applications from scholars who wish to reflect on their own positionality within the field of feminist Japanese studies

  • Feminism and femininities

Up until fourth wave feminism, gender presentation and the body has been a contested site of debate,colonization and control. We invite contributions that explore ways we can free the body through queer beauty discourses and re-direct feminist activism towards structural change in Japanese popular cultures. We also call for examinations of feminist activism within media industries and the challenges encounteredthroughout the years.

  • Gendered platform-interactions

Here, we invite contributions that explore the role online platforms have played in shaping Japanese popularcultures. Which gendered history have platform-centered approaches perpetuated throughout the years? Which exclusionary practices towards gender-diverse people have been facilitated by social media platforms?

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Submission Guidelines:

Abstracts should be between 250-300 words (title included) and clearly outline the research question, methodology, findings, and relevance to the conference themes.

Submissions must be written in English

Please include a brief biography (50-100 words) along with your submission, as well as the time zone you will be joining us from.

Submissions can be made by email at popculturesjapan@gmail.com, and the full Call for Papers is additionally available at https://t.co/Ltr9MuJiAA

Participation and attendance is free of charge.

The symposium will be held online over two days, in order to accommodate participants in different time zones.

CFP: Studio Ghibli Films as Adaptations

Just this week, the latest Studio Ghibli anime feature film – and, now, most likely the final anime to be directed by Hayao Miyazaki, opened in Japan, to both fascination and acclaim. And over the the years, Ghibli’s body of work has also attracted significant scholarly interest, with over 20 English-language monographs and essay collections, several themed issues in various peer-reviewed journals, and literally dozens of individual articles and chapters. Scholars have explored many different aspects of the Ghibli universe – among them depictions of particular themes and subjects, such as in The kraft of labour, labour as craft: Hayao Miyazaki’s images of work, and Anorexic in Miyazaki’s land of cockaigne: Excess and abnegation in Spirited Away, audience responses and reactions (Bridge builders, world makers: Transcultural Studio Ghibli fan crafting), and the ways Ghibli films have been translated and adapted outside Japan (The localization of Kiki’s Delivery Service).

One angle that not many scholars have explored yet is the nature of Ghibli works as adaptations. Some of the most well-known Ghibli films are based on works of fiction (Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Wind Rises, The Borrower Arrietty, When Marnie Was There) and others, on comics (Only Yesterday, Whisper of the Heart, My Neighbors the Yamadas, From Up on Poppy Hill). Howl’s Moving Castle was an arguably successful attempt to adapt a British fantasy novel; Tales from Earthsea, an infamously unsuccessful one to create an anime feature film based on an American one. Even Porco Rosso included one scene likely inspired by a Roald Dahl short story. And the new The Boy and the Heron is, according to Miyazaki, “very loosely inspired” by a 1937 children’s book. And it is this aspect of Studio Ghibli’s work that is the subject of a new Call for Papers


Call for Papers: Edited Volume on Studio Ghibli Films as Adaptations

This edited volume seeks to collect scholarship on how Studio Ghibli has adapted stories from other media to film. Many of the Japanese animation powerhouse’s films have their origins in novels or comics, such as Diana Wynne Jones Howl’s Moving Castle. Studio Ghibli cofounder and director Hayao Miyazaki even adapted his own manga, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, into a feature film. We seek proposals – from a variety of disciplines and perspectives = for essays exploring how Studio Ghibli’s storytellers have approached adaptation, as well as what the study of Studio Ghibli’s filmography can contribute to the broader field of adaptation studies.

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Call for Papers – Mechademia: Second Arc, 17.1 “Cosplay, Street Fashion, and Subcultural Styles”

One concept that, for many people, is probably the most closely associated with anime/manga is cosplay. In turn, studies of cosplay are a major area in anime and manga studies in general – just some prominent examples include Melissa de Zwart, Cosplay, creativity and immaterial labours of love, Joel Gn, Queer simulation: The practice, performance and pleasure of cosplay, and Alexi Hieu Truong, Framing cosplay: How ‘layers’ negotiate body and subjective experience through play. And in 2006, when Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and Fan Arts launched with its “Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga” issue, one of the articles in it was Costuming the imagination: The origins of anime and manga cosplay.

Despite their increasing visibility the importance of costume, fashion and style is often overlooked; they escape focused scholarly attention because, paradoxically, they are so patent and obvious, we may think anyone can talk about them.

Seventeen years have passed since then. And now, Mechademia has announced the Call for Papers for a full issue on “Cosplay, Street Fashion, and Subcultures”, guest-edited by Dr. Masafumi Monden (Lecturer, Japanese Studies, University of Sydney, author of, among other publications, Japanese Fashion Cultures: Dress and Gender in Contemporary Japan), and currently set for publication in the fall of 2024. The CFP suggests several broad questions or ideas to consider when thinking about cosplay and its relationships to fashion, street fashion, culture, and subculture. One of these questions is the nature of the difference between the ideas of “fashion” and “style”. Another is place that the body holds when approaching concepts related to fashion.

Within the broad issue scope, authors are invited to consider a wide range of topics and themes. Some of these can include:

  • Marketing and consumer culture
  • Sexuality and/or gender
  • Fandom and subsequent communities
  • Activism, resistance and protests
  • Beauty and aesthetics

The expected word length for submissions is between 5000 and 7000 words, and the submission deadline for the issue is July 1, 2023.

The full CFP, with additional details, is available on the Mechademia website.

Call for Papers – Mechademia: Second Arc, 17.2 “Methodologies”

Since its relaunch in 2018, with a more ambitious twice-a-year publication schedule and an expanded scope on “East Asian popular cultures, broadly conceived”, Mechademia has established itself as the leading publication in the anime and manga studies space. Eight issues have been published so far, featuring both original essays, and translations of major previously published Japanese scholarship and commentary, from authors who can justly be viewed as representing the cutting edge of the field of East Asian popular culture studies. And, the Mechademia editorial calendar is filled for the foreseeable future, with Volume 15.2, 2.5D Cultures on the schedule for Spring 2023, 16.1, Media Mix, for the fall, and 16.2, Media Platforms and Industries for Spring 2024. And now, Mechademia is also actively looking to fill a Fall 2024 issue, with the subtitle Methodologies, to be guest-edited by Dr. Jaqueline Berndt (Professor, Japanese Language and Culture, Stockholm University).

This journal issue invites those engaged in research on East and Southeast Asian popular media and related global fan cultures to foreground their theoretical frameworks and methodological assumptions, and to critically reconsider their methods of analysis in order to explore new possibilities for inter-disciplinary collaboration.

Submissions of between 5,000 and 7,000 words, using the Mechademia Style Guide, are accepted until July 1, 2023.

The Call for Papers for the issue highlights several potential questions to consider. Among them:

  • What allows for conceptualizing manga, anime, video games, etc. as “popular culture” and not “subculture,” as Japanese-language discourse more often has it? What difference does it make to speak of “media culture” rather than “popular culture” in this regard? What would be an up-to-date name for the wider research field covered by Mechademia?
  • Allegedly, there has been an overemphasis on textual analysis, but what type of textual analysis is meant by that? What type of formalism does research in media representations of gender, ethnicity, youth nationalism, etc. require today?
  • What institutional factors have led to the persistent overemphasis on subjects related to Japan and/or based in Japan studies? What limitations and potentials does this overemphasis hold?
  • What hampers the interrelation between English-language and Japanese-language scholarship (including publications by non-Japanese nationals in Japanese, and translations of popular or non-academic Japanese media criticism in English)? What facilitates mutual ignorance or exclusion? And how can these obstacles be overcome?

For an example of a recent methodology-focused study on a topic related to East Asia, although it does not deal with East Asian popular culture specifically, consider Xiang Li, Citing East Asia: A citation study on the use of East Asian materials in East Asian Studies dissertations, College & Research Libraries, 80(4), 561-577.

The full CFP, with additional details, is available on the Mechademia website.

Call for Papers – Mechademia 2023 Conference: “Aftermath”

Mechademia 2023 – Aftermath
Kyoto International Manga Museum
May 27 – May 29, 2023

Originally launched at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design as “Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits”, the annual Mechademia conference is now a premier site for new research on a wide range of topics related to Japanese popular culture, including anime and manga, but also encompassing video games and fan activities and practices. Last year’s conference was held in Los Angeles immediately preceding the Anime Expo convention, and for 2023, Mechademia will take place in Kyoto, at the Kyoto International Manga Museum, and potentially at Kyoto Seika University (home of the Graduate School of Manga). Options for line presentations will be available, but in-person participation is strongly encouraged.

The keynote speaker for this year will leading manga scholar Prof. Jaqueline Berndt (Stockholm University). Some of recent work includes contributing the introduction to the new Stockholm University Press open-access essay collection Anime Studies: Media-Specific Approaches to Neon Genesis Evangelion, and the essay More Mangaesque than the Manga: ‘Cartooning’ in the Kimetsu no Yaiba Anime to a special section on Demon Slayer in an issue of the journal Transcommunication, and serving as one of the co-editors for Shojo Across Media: Exploring “Girl” Practices in Contemporary Japan. Prof. Berndt has also written adn lectured widely on the future of anime and manga studies as a field.

The theme for 2023 will be “aftermath” – in connection to concepts of a “a sense of destruction”, apocalyptic images, and shifts in lived experiences in response to these events and changes. Some suggested topics that participants are invited to consider in their papers include:

  • Methodological shifts within the field of anime and manga studies
  • Effects of digitalization on media mixes
  • BL as a global genre
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Call for Book Chapters – Explaining Isekai

Anime is not a genre – but considering genres is one of the ways to at least begin critically approaching Japanese animation. In this way, Rayna Denison presents a focus on anime genres “because of the way genres are often seen, like anime, to operate as cultural categories or phenomena”. And, as Denison points out, studying genres calls for an awareness not only of differences between them, but also of their “meanings”, such as the ways that both audiences and critics respond to particular ones. This kind of awareness can highlight instances where particular genres draw popular attention, but remain relatively obscure in terms of criticism and analysis. Denison herself uses the example of horror anime, while Lucy Fraser and Masafumi Monden, in The maiden switch: New possibilities for understanding Japanese shōjo manga (girls’ comics) have examined “early 1980s and 1990s shōjo manga that were primarily targeted at the youngest band of readers, stories with early adolescent heroines in light, romantic, and fairytale-like narratives” – in contrast to “texts that enact more explicit gender subversion”.

isekai (literally ‘different world’) is an anime and manga genre whose plots usually consist in a main character that enters (or is forcibly transported) to a fantasy world, whose setting can combine fantasy Middle Age elements with a science fiction or steampunk appeal.

Oscar García Aranda, Representations of Europe in Japanese anime: An overview of case studies and theoretical frameworks

One genre where this kind of gap between popularity and critical recognition is particularly prominent is isekai. Definitions for it include “(literally ‘different world’)…an anime and manga genre whose plots usually consist in a main character that enters (or is forcibly transported) to a fantasy world, whose setting can combine fantasy Middle Age elements with a science fiction or steampunk appeal” (Oscar García Aranda, Representations of Europe in Japanese anime: An overview of case studies and theoretical frameworks), and “a specific genre of storytelling in which people move from one world to another, usually through some sort of a portal such as a gate or a doorway” (Giovanni Tagliamonte and Yaochong Yang, Isekai: Tracing interactive control in non-interactive media), although these authors add to the definition, noting that “isekai usually refers to a specific set of qualities: amateur-publishing, fantasy worlds with varying levels of game-like qualities, and a self-reflexive commentary aided by platform publishing”, and as a recent Japan Times report notes, isekai has “dominated the manga and light novel markets“. But beyond a few essays and articles such as these and Zachary Samuel Gottesman, The Japanese settler unconscious: Goblin Slayer on the ‘Isekai’ frontier, and Tani Levy, Entering another world: A cultural genre discourse of Japanese isekai texts and their origin in online participatory culture, it remains a genre that is yet to attract significant scholarly attention.

It is with this mind that Dr. Michael Cserkits has announced a call for papers for an Explaining Isekai essay collection. Proposals of 200-400 words for papers on range of topics, such as the history of isekai, gender and social aspects, violence and the military, and case studies of particular titles, will be accepted until January 23, 2023. The expected length for the final papers is approximately 5000-7000 words, with expected submission in August 2023.

The full Call for Papers is available below and at https://networks.h-net.org/node/73374/announcements/11213439/explaining-isekai-%E2%80%93-call-contributions.

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