Mechademia x Kyoto International Manga Museum 2023
May 27th-29th, 2023 at the Kyoto International Manga Museum
Keynote Speaker: Jaqueline Berndt
The extended COVID pandemic has foregrounded a confounding issue with relevance beyond the contemporary moment: how to operate in the aftermath of large-scale shifts in the world. This notion of “aftermath,” broadly conceived, may initially conjure notions of existing in the wake of some event that has passed. But just as the notion of origins and beginnings are not so easy to concretely delineate, so are the notion of endings and what follows them. While “aftermath” is often tied to a sense of destruction, it can also be conceived of as a “coming to terms with,” “the lasting effects of,” or the “recent establishment and/or implementation of.” It is these broader notions of “aftermath” that serve as the focus of this conference.
Living in the aftermath may evoke images of apocalypses or post-apocalyptic life–settings and events abundant in the media of anime, manga, and games–but it also makes us question the timeline of those events. For instance, if we consider this in terms of ecological destruction, the disaster is not to come but has already happened; we are just living through its repercussions. Or if we think of the long-heralded “digital revolution,” this moment has since passed and we are already in a digitalized world. Contemporary anime, manga, games, and fan cultures exemplify this fact since they are produced, distributed, consumed, and cultivated through digital tools and in digital spaces. So what is the result of these shifts? Or, perhaps a more productive question would be, how has what preceded continued to exist in the contemporary moment and how has it changed?
One may even consider our academic field itself in terms of “aftermath.” So much ink has been spilled within anime/manga/games/fandom studies to justify anime/manga/games/fandom as worthwhile objects of research and theoretical exploration. But recently, there are more and more signs that that fight is almost over and the tools used to justify these topics as worthy of research may no longer be regularly required. While this does not mean that such struggles have come to a clean close, it does require that the methods and approaches that arose through those justifications should be re-examined. In this sense, the notion of “aftermath” can be used to challenge us to consider where the field has come from, and where it could go from here.
For the 2023 Mechademia Asia Conference at the Kyoto International Manga Museum, we encourage papers that employ a diversity of interpretations of “aftermath” through anime, manga, games, and fan cultures. Topics may include but are not limited to the following areas:
- Methodological shifts within the field
- Effects of digitalization on media mixes
- BL as a global genre
- The rise of the fujoshi market
- Acceptance, utilization, or criticism of nation-branding
- Institutionalization of the field
- The transnational production of anime, manga, and games
- The implementation and effects of platforms for anime, manga, games, fandom
- Anime, manga, and games as global media
- Shifts within the various industries
- (Post)apocalyptic themes in anime, manga, games
- Formulations of race, gender, and/or class explored in anime, manga, games, fandom
- Ecological worldviews for anime, manga, games
- Explorations of life in the (post)Anthropocene
- Reconceptualizations of social life in media and fan practice
- Narratives of wellness
- The global prevalence of cosplay as fan activity
We hope to include a wide range of topics and presenters, and while there will be some online options available for those outside the country and/or unable to come to Kyoto, we strongly encourage in-person presentations. In the event that there are a larger number of acceptances than expected, the conference may be partially held at Kyoto Seika University.
Please send 200-word proposals to the following Google Form:
The deadline for submissions is January 10th, 2023. The applicants who are selected will be notified in early February 2023. After notification of acceptance, you will be asked to register online through the Mechademia Teachable site. You will receive information on that in your acceptance letter.
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