Second Arc

The Mechademia series continues twice a year from the University of Minnesota Press, edited by Frenchy Lunning and Sandra Annett. Mechademia: Second Arc is a scholarly journal devoted to the study of East Asian popular cultures, broadly conceived. (All issues are dated in the northern hemisphere.) To subscribe to the journal and order back issues, if available, see the journal page at the University of Minnesota Press. Because the print run for each issue is small, subscribing through the Press is the only guaranteed way to obtain physical copies of the journal.

Current & Back Issues

Vol. 11.1: Childhood

Vol. 12.1: Transnational Fandom, guest ed. Andrea Horbinski

Vol. 12.2: Materialities Across Asia, guest ed. Stevie Suan

Vol. 13.1: Queer(ing), guest ed. James Welker

Vol. 13.2: Soundscapes, guest ed. Stacey Jocoy

Vol. 14.1: Science Fictions, guest ed. Takayuki Tatsumi

Vol. 14.2: New Formulations of the Otaku, guest ed. Susan Napier

Vol. 15.1: Modes of Existence, guest ed. Sylvie Bissonnette

Vol. 15.2: 2.5D Cultures, guest ed. Akiko Sugawa-Shimada

Vol. 16.1: Media Mix, guest ed. Marc Steinberg

    • Coming winter 2023

Vol. 16.2: Media Platforms and Industries, guest ed. Bryan Hartzheim

    • Coming summer 2024

Vol. 17.1: Cosplay, Street Fashion, and Subcultures, guest ed. Masafumi Monden

    • Coming winter 2024

Vol. 17.2: Methodologies, guest ed. Jaqueline Berndt

    • Coming summer 2025

Coming Soon

Vol. 18.1: Death and Other Endings, guest ed. Anne Allison

    • Coming winter 2025

Vol. 18.2: Studio Ghibli, guest ed. Rayna Denison and Jacqueline Ristola

    • Coming summer 2026

Vol. 19.1: Aesthetics, guest ed. Stevie Suan

    • Coming winter 2026

Vol. 19.2: Graphic Narratives, guest ed. Deborah Shamoon

    • Coming summer 2027

Vol. 20.1: Game Studies

    • Coming winter 2027

Vol. 20.2: Erotic Bodies – Hentai, BL, and Beyond, guest ed. Tom Baudinette

    • Coming summer 2028

Calls for Papers

All submissions should be sent to the Mechademia submissions editor. Please indicate the title of the volume you are submitting to as follows: “Submission–[volume name]” in the subject line. Submit two copies of your article as a Word document. One of these copies should be anonymized: do not include your name anywhere in the article (named citations of your own work are acceptable, provided you do not use first-person language to discuss the work in question).

Submissions should be 5,000-7,000 words and follow the Mechademia Style Guide, which is based on the Chicago Manual of Style. Figures are limited to eight per essay; image permissions are the responsibility of authors upon acceptance.

 

CFP: Vol. 18.1, Death and Other Endings, guest ed. Anne Allison

The times we live in are brokered through news stories about endings. On so many fronts, the progressive narrative about the future, once an earmark of modernity, no longer holds. Rather than belief in a better tomorrow, livelihood today is often mired in insecurity whether due to a shortage of housing or jobs, extreme climate disaster and global warming, the politics of polarization and surveillance, the precarity of migration and citizenship, or the scarcity of care and human connectedness—all phenomena that are globally, if unequally, shared. In an age riddled with anxiety and uncertainty about a future in doubt, we hear pronouncements about the “end” of everything from democracy, history, and nature, to truth, humanity, and hope.

Yet the portending of an end can also be the opportunity for something else. Crises have been the prop used to impose austere economic policies, curb citizens’ freedoms in the name of national security, or extract profits by corporations engaged in clean-up or self-defense (“disaster capitalism” as Naomi Klein has argued). But they have also produced new inventions and progressive and vibrant social movements. In Japan today, facing what has been called a demographic crisis of a high aging or low birthrate population, the old style of family-based burial custom is now coming undone. But this has given rise to a boom in new/alternative mortuary practices: endingness reconceptualized for those dead who can no longer expect to be buried by, or alongside, kin in a family grave. In the latter too, however, it is fear of an uncertain future (lonely death and unclaimed remains—the rates of which are rising and much reported on by the media as the) that fuels the rapid growth of an “ending market” (終活, shūkatsu).

“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. Of special interest is the relationship between all these elements: on whether, or how, certain kinds of endings lend themselves to particular kinds of media attention and narrative storytelling, and also how the latter produces or generates effects/affects of its own around the subject of endingness. The focus of papers can be analytical and theoretical: a probing deep into the existential, political and/or social fabric of ending when taken up as a discourse or story of or for the times. When or under what conditions, and for or by whom, does this become utopic, dystopic, revolutionary, fascistic? And what are the temporal and spatial dimensions of organizing “death and other endings” along certain lines that hue, in whatever way, to a post-industrial, globally porous, hyper-digitalized world? Papers can also be more creative, experimental, or performative: enacting or embodying ending through an aesthetic, dramatic, graphic, or poetic form. Death may be the endpoint (or starting point) here: considering how other endings mimic or resemble death, and/or how death can disassemble/reassemble (and resemble) life in other ways. Authors are encouraged to be open and bold in their conceptualization and treatment of ending(s). And while Japan and East Asia are the primary geographical focus here, papers may extend beyond the scope of a single nation or region to include cross-cultural comparisons with East Asian media.

Possible topics for this special issue include:

  • 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?

Other topics and approaches are also welcome.

The deadline for submission of essays for this volume is: July 1, 2024. All submissions should be sent to submissions@mechademia.net. Please indicate the title of the volume you are submitting to as follows: “Submission–SA18.1: “Death and Other Endings” in the subject line. Submit two copies of your article as a Word document. One of these copies should be anonymized: do not include your name anywhere in the article (named citations of your own work are acceptable, provided you do not use first-person language to discuss the work in question).

Submissions should be 5,000-7,000 words and follow the Mechademia Style Guide, which is based on the Chicago Manual of Style. Figures are limited to eight per essay; permissions for images or publication are the responsibility of authors and must be submitted upon acceptance. Submissions: 5,000-7,000 words including citations in Chicago Style, 17th ed. in Bibliographic Endnote form with no notes or CFs. Figures should be at least 300DPI and in either TIFF or JPG formats submitted in a separate file and not embedded in the text, with captions, submitted in a separate document.

 

CFP: Vol. 18.2, New Perspectives on Studio Ghibli, guest ed. Rayna Denison and Jacqueline Ristola

Studio Ghibli has been Japan’s most internationally renowned animation studio for nearly 40 years. Home to the animated feature films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli has developed a brand of animation that is instantly recognisable for its hand-drawn attention to the natural world, empowered young female protagonists and soaring depictions of flight. Often read as a creator of popular hit films at home in Japan, but as artistically oriented animation abroad, Studio Ghibli’s films demonstrate the fluidity of Japanese animation’s meanings as its travels the world. Making 24 animated feature films to date, Studio Ghibli has enjoyed international acclaim as a pioneering studio for animation.

But, despite this acclaim, many aspects of Studio Ghibli remain to be revealed and examined. The studio has also pioneered new forms of computer-based animation, has adapted some of the world’s most prominent children’s literature, has created fantasy worlds out of pieces of real-world overseas locations and histories, has used outsourcing facilities across Asia, and has long-standing histories of translation and dubbing that remain under-explored.

Beyond its films, too, Studio Ghibli’s many activities are also worthy of further examination. Not least, the way Studio Ghibli has put its environmentalism into practice through conservation efforts. Or, the way Studio Ghibli has produced so much more than animated feature films, including partnerships that involve videogames, advertising, idents and more. Since the early 2000s, indeed, Studio Ghibli has ceased to be just an animation studio, and instead now operates as a mini-conglomerate, running first a museum and now a theme park, while also acting as a publisher and DVD distribution label.

It is these hidden worlds of Japanese animation that we hope to reveal in seeking new perspectives on Studio Ghibli. For this volume of Mechademia: Second Arc, new ways of analysing the studio’s films are very welcome, alongside investigations into the studio’s wider politics, its industrial activities, and cultural impact in Japan and around the world.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

• 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

Deadline for submissions: July 1, 2024. Submissions should be 5,000-7,000 words and follow the Mechademia Style Guide, which is based on the Chicago Manual of Style. Figures are limited to eight per essay; permissions for images or publication are the responsibility of authors and must be submitted upon acceptance. Submissions: 5,000-7,000 words including citations in Chicago Style, 17th ed. in Bibliographic Endnote form with no notes or CFs. Figures should be at least 300DPI and in either TIFF or JPG formats submitted in a separate file and not embedded in the text, with captions, submitted in a separate Word document.