The trend towards “open access” is probably the single most important recent development in academic/scholarly publishing, across many different subject ares, and disciplines. As I mentioned in an earlier post, much of the discussion of the new issues, as well as the challenges and controversies, of open access publishing focus on the STM (“science, technology, and medicine”) fields. But open access as a model and a practice is by no means limited to those fields, and scholars in the social sciences and the humanities/liberal arts are embracing it as well. So, for example, of the 75 English-language articles on anime/manga published in academic journals last year that I am aware of, 29 (39%) are available in open access. This compares to 37 of 81 (46%) for articles published in 2013 (the slightly larger percentage is due to two special issues on anime/manga and related topics in Transformative Works and Cultures and the Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Culture), and 22 of 64 (34%) for those published in 2012. In fact, the percentage seems to be holding this year too – with 5 open access articles out of the 13 that have been published on anime/manga so far – a ratio of 38%. (more…)
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:
The largest and most prominent contribution that I make to anime and manga studies is compiling and editing the Online Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – a continuously expanding record of scholarly publications on Japanese animation and comics, anime fans, the industry, and related topics. The public version of the Bibliography is currently on hiatus, but I continue to maintain a searchable database of publications that I plan to use as the heart of a new and redesigned Online Bibliography.
In the meanwhile, though, the database allows me to survey the overall landscape of publication in anime and manga, to locate publications with specific titles, on specific subjects, written by specific authors and appearing in particular specific journals and other sources. I draw on it the to promote “anime and manga studies” as an established area of study and to assist colleagues in their own work. And, I can use the database to generate stable, persistent lists of publications in anime and manga studies that may be of interest for anybody who is interested in this topic.
Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies, 2013 Ed.
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…)