U.S. Conference

The Mechademia conference will be held in Minneapolis in September 2018. Registration information will be available soon.

CFP: Transnational Fandoms

The 2018 Mechademia Conference in Minneapolis will focus on the theme of Transnational Fandoms. Much has been written about popular forms of East Asian art and media that continue to be widely distributed globally, but this conference will focus particularly on the consumption, creative reproduction, and redistribution of these forms of popular culture globally.

Arising out of the proliferation of mass media in the twentieth century, particularly after the spread of the television in the 1950s and 1960s, media fandoms arose in Japan and the United States contemporaneously. As the work of scholars such as Marc Steinberg has made clear, the origins of what is known in Japan as the media mix and in the United States as “convergence” or “transmedia” (after the work of communications scholar Henry Jenkins) lay in the rise of Astro Boy and its associated merchandising in the 1960s. From the cross-cultural science fiction fandom scene of Worldcon, brought home to Japan in the 1970s, to the European obsession of Takemiya Keiko, Hagio Moto and the Izumi Salon in the same decade, fandom in the broadest sense has always been transnational. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, and with increasing simultaneity enabled by the rise of fandom cultures online since, transnational fandom cultures focused on East Asian media have proliferated globally. At the same time, the media mix has increasingly conquered Hollywood, as seen via the rise of serial storytelling in U.S. television and the global success of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” at the box office.

Transnational fandom cultures have played an active role in these developments, and professional creators continue to evolve in their attempts to court and to corral fandom approval and fan production. Friction between these groups, and the slippages among them evident in the doujin goods networks of Japan, the webstores of fan artists worldwide, and the growing approbation for established creators working on tie-in media, are some of the most interesting sites of study for transnational fandoms in the twenty-first century.

We welcome papers treating, among other themes:

  • The transnational networks and community formations of fandom cultures
  • Transnational fandom cultures of specific media in anime, manga, gaming, film, toys, and literature
  • Identity formation in relation to media pertaining to gender, sexuality, class, race, ability, and age, among other social factors in transnational fandom cultures
  • Fans in the media (depictions of otaku, BL fans/fujoshi, female gamers, etc. in film, television, manga, journalism, and digital media)
  • Legal issues pertaining to fan cultures and/or remix
  • Fan service by content creators in response to fandoms
  • Amateur and semi-professional fan media (Doujin goods, “Amerimanga,” fan fiction, AMVs, fanart)
  • Performative communities (Cosplay, Nico nico Douga dance parties, anime theme song group dances, practices of fan pilgrimage)
  • Historical examples of transnational fandoms predating television

Paper and panel proposals of not more than 250 words are due on or before April 30, 2018. Accepted presenters may also consider submitting their papers to the related volume of Mechademia: Second Arc, due 1 June 2018. Send conference proposals to mechademia@mcad.edu with the subject line “Mechademia Conference 2018.”