Theorizing Anime: Invention of Concepts and Conditions of Their Possibility

Tokyo, Japan (16.-17.11.2019), 25. September 2019.

An International Symposium, November 16 & 17, 2019
Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies
Waseda University
Tokyo, Japan


The purpose of the international symposium "Theorizing Anime: Invention of Concepts and Conditions of Their Possibility" is to reassess critically what anime studies has accomplished in and outside Japan since the beginning of the 2000s. The symposium attempts to explore the possibility of emerging new topics and methodologies by mainly focusing on the following three clusters of issues and ideas.

First, we will reexamine various subfields and approaches in anime studies--including, for instance, textual analysis, reception and consumption, industrial analysis, historiography, anime's medium specificity, and anime as a form of thought experiment (T. Elsaesser)--to clarify what has been accomplished so far and what remains to be done.

Second, we will scrutinize the politics of anime studies discourse in a global context. Anime studies, which emerged contemporaneously in Japan and the global space of English-language academic discourse, now exists as a distinct field of intellectual inquiry. Even though they partially share similar concepts and historical paradigms, anime studies in the global academic space and Japan's anime studies for the most part exist separately. The absence of active interaction with each other sometimes makes them appear as though they are two parallel--not necessarily equally valued--universes. While the English-language scholarship on anime tends to set itself up as a "universal" standard by freely crossing national borders, anime studies in Japan often does not actively respond to the global enclosure of anime-related knowledge by the English-language scholarship. We will closely examine this peculiar relation of the "global" and the "local" in an attempt to search for a more dialogic model of transnational interaction and cooperation.

Third, we will discuss the relationship between anime studies and various relevant disciplines. While having established itself as a distinct research field, anime studies is not (yet) an academic discipline. The possibility of anime studies is intimately linked to such disciplines and areas of research as media studies, film studies, visual studies, game studies, and literary studies. What can anime studies learn from these established disciplines? Conversely, what impact does anime studies have on them? We will address these questions not only from an institutional or theoretical perspective but also through concrete case studies.

We invite papers that address any of the issues and topics above. We also welcome proposals that challenge the basic premises of the symposium directly or indirectly. Please send a paper title, an abstract of approximately 250 words, and a short bio to by *September 25, 2019*.

Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto (Waseda University)
Bryan Hartzheim (Waseda University)