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Mechademia Conference on Anime, Manga and Media Theory

Veröffentlicht von E.H. (e.h.) am 24-02-2012
Konferenzen / Tagungen >>

On-line editor: Janet R. Goodwin <>

                            February 2, 2012

From: Alex Zahlten <>

3rd Mechademia Conference on Anime, Manga and Media Theory from Japan:

"World Renewal - Counterfactual Histories, Parallel Universes, and
Possible Worlds"

November 29 - December 2, 2012
Dongguk University, Seoul
Deadline for submissions: May 15

In the wake of the disasters and tragedies of 3.11, the cry "Another world
is possible" becomes all the more urgent. And so, we ask: How can
counterfactual histories, parallel universes, and possible worlds of
Japanese popular culture and media formations contribute to recognizing and
ending the class warfare that underlies the maintenance of nuclear energy
and entrenched forms of socio-historical inequality, and thus contribute to
the formation of another world?


From the 1980s to the present, critique of popular culture in Japan has

consistently emphasized a problem with narrative. Recent attention has
shifted to other forms and practices, such as character (kyara), worlds,
and fan repurposing. Narrative has been largely ruled out or dismissed, and
often history as well. Nonetheless, our goal here is not a return to
narrative analysis, but rather to call attention to the implications of the
rise of modalities such as characters and worlds for storytelling and
history.  As such, we invite contributions that deal with this specific

Japanese popular culture--manga, anime, games, and SF--abound in
scenarios in which our contemporary reality appears to be but one possible
outcome within an open situation. What are implications of such an
understanding of our reality?

We envision some of the following lines of inquiry.

Counterfactual Histories.  Science fictions often encourage us to
approach history in terms of "what if" scenarios--what if there were
aliens behind the emperor-system, or what if there were a battle between
superheroes during WWII?  Such scenarios invite us to understand history
through counterfactual situations.  But rather than dismiss such scenarios
as non-factual, we ask: What are the social and political implications of
understanding our historical reality in such terms?

Parallel universes.  Popular culture frequently juxtaposes different
realities in the form of alternative timelines or bifurcating
temporalities.  Here narrative does not hinge on teleological movement
(grand or petty) but opens questions of temporality and temporal
experience.  Thus, instead of assuming that such scenarios destroy
story-telling or historical movement, we ask: What kinds of storytelling
practices and forms of communication emerge across bifurcating

Possible Worlds.  Attention to the role of character in media mix and fan
practices has highlighted the importance of media and technologies in the
formation of "worlds" and "worldviews." And so, we call for submissions
that explore the mediatic and technological dimension of these possible
worlds, with an eye to the construction of value within circulation as well
as socio-political possibilities or potentiality of Japanese popular

And... The first Mechademia conference in South Korea will also provide a
unique opportunity to explore the system of circulation that anime and
popular culture from Japan are a part of in East Asia - a circulation that
includes commodities, representations, and very importantly, labor. Papers
addressing this topic are especially welcome.

Papers presented at the conference will be considered for the 10th and
final edition of Mechademia that will be published under the theme of
"World renewal."


Keynote Speakers:
The conference will feature two keynote speakers that will be announced

Podium Interviews:
The conference will present special podium interviews with animators to
talk about their work, the interaction of anime and animation in Korea and
the question of outsourcing. Featuring Ahn Jae-hoon, director of Green Days
(Ahn Jae-hoo & Han Hye-jin, 2011), who also worked on the anime version of
Winter Sonata. Also animator Watanabe Hideo, who has worked on anime such
as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, and subcontracted
animation such as G.I. Joe.

Archive Tour & Special Screenings:
The Mechademia conference will include a tour of the Korean Film Archive
with special emphasis on their animation holdings. The visit to the archive
will also entail a special screening of the oldest feature-length Korean
animation, the only recently re-discovered and restored Hong Gil-Dong
(1967, Shin Dong-heon). Also, the Planet Film Archives in Osaka will supply
a program of rare pre-war animation films.

The conference will be held November 29 - December 2nd at the Department of
Film & Digital Media at Dongguk University and the Korean Film Archive.
Dongguk University is the oldest Buddhist university in Korea and, and its
Film Department was the first in Korea.

Travel support:
At the moment the full extent of travel support that the conference can
offer is not finalized, but we hope to be able to provide a substantial
accommodation subsidy for all presenters, ideally one that would cover
basic accommodation.

Please send abstracts of up to 200 words to Deadline
for submissions is May 15, 2012. Proposals for complete panels of four
presenters are also welcome; please include an abstract and contact
information for each presenter. The conference language is English.

Any additional questions may be addressed to the conference organizers:
Alexander Zahlten and Aramchan Lee and co-organizer Thomas Lamarre under
the same address:


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