AX 2017 Anime and Manga Studies Symposium
“Teaching Happiness” – Education With and About Anime and Manga

Saturday, July 1:

Introduction and Welcome
Mikhail Koulikov (Executive Producer, Anime and Manga Studies Projects)

Keynote Address: Andrew McKevitt (Louisiana Tech University)

Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of America

Anime fandom in the United States was born at a tense moment in the relationship between the United States and Japan. To many Americans it seemed that, decades after the end of World War II, Japan’s newfound global economic power would challenge the U.S.-dominated international system. Popular publications foretold the “Danger from Japan,” or the “Coming War with Japan.” But a national “Japan Panic” was not the only way Americans encountered Japan in the 1970s and 1980s. Throughout the country, in local places like automobile factories and anime fan clubs, Americans engaged with Japanese culture in new and transformative ways.


Session 1: Studying Anime Fans Around the World

  • Why We Fight for Love and Justice: A Survey of Sailor Moon Crystal Fans
    Casey McDonald, University of Florida
  • “Ha Ha! Boring”: Nostalgia and Melancholia in Servamp and Anime Fan Communities
    Derek S. McGrath, Stony Brook University

Sunday, July 2

Special Guest Lecture: Rayna Denison (University of East Anglia)

Before Ghibli was Ghibli: How and Anime Studio is Born

Studio Ghibli may have become Japan’s most important and successful animation brand, but its early significance is far more debatable. To challenge current perceptions of Ghibli’s dominance of animation in Japan, I revisit the early history of Studio Ghibli, and examine the industrial and promotional discourses circulating at the time of Studio Ghibli’s formation. In doing so, I argue for a corrective analysis of Studio Ghibli’s brand significance. Even the most powerful of anime studio brands can have humble beginnings, and that we need to view anime brand construction as a piecemeal, historical process, rather than as an ahistorical constant.

Session 2: Anime and Manga Studies in Japan

  • Anime’s Pop Surrealism: Why, and Why it Matters
    Herb Fondevilla (Aoyama Gakuin University)
  • Mangaki: Creating an Open-Source Manga Discovery and Recommendation Platform
    Jill-Jênn Vie (RIKEN)
  • Reinvening the Cityscape: Anime Pilgrimage and the Transformation of Collective Memory
    Project Animatexture: A Research Group for the Study of Anime, History and Society (Ritsumeikan University)
    Yoshiya Makita, Yuri Kojima, Hiroki Tamai, Nao Suzuki, and Hideki Morita

Monday, July 3

Special Guest Presentation: Stacey Jocoy and Christopher Hepburn (Texas Tech University)

Musical and Historical Journeys Through Contested Japanese Masculinity: Rurouni Kenshin

This presentation confronts the opposing musical narratives of the Rurouni Kenshin anime and live-action films using musical semiotics combined with comparative iconographic-aural analysis to unpack this heroic discourse of the Meiji samurai, arguing that the overt musical differences reflect a shifting conceptualization of Japanese gender politics across the 1990s and 2010s.

Session 3: Rising Stars of Anime and Manga Studies

  • Drawing Lines Between Boys and Girls: Blurred Signs and Conventions in Shonen and Shojo Manga
    Mia Lewis (Stanford University)
  • Researching the History of Manga: 1970’s – We Want to Revolutionize…
    Andrea Horbinski (University of California, Berkeley)

Session 4: Building Communities of Fans and Scholars

  • Cosplayer-Creators and the Textual Experience of Cosplay
    Caitlin Postal (University of Washington)
  • Expanding Manga Studies: Publication Trends, Demographics, Markets
    Andrew John Smith (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)

Tuesday, July 4

Session 5: The Goals and Challenges of Anime Fans’ Transformative Practices

  • A Room of Their Own: Creating and Consuming Anime/Manga Fanfiction as Reparative Reading
    Breanna Brooks (California State University, Los Angeles)
  • Perceptions of Race in Cosplay
    Madison Schmader (California Lutheran University)

Special Guest Panel Discussion
Teaching Happiness – Using Anime and Manga as Educational Tools

Chair: Brent Allison (University of North Georgia)
Stevi Grimm
Derek S. McGrath (Stony Brook University)

Session 6: Critical Approaches to Depictions of Gender in Japanese Visual Culture

  • Women Come Apart: Fractured Female Identity in the Shounen Harem
    Oscar King IV (Loyola Marymount University)
  • Fanservice in Anime: A Continuum from Complicity to Critique
    James Pyke (University of Michigan)