CfP: Childhood

Mechademia: Second Arc, Volume 1
publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Stichtag: 05.08.2016

As the seminal issue of this “second arc” of the narratives initiated by the Mechademia book series, the topic of “childhood” seems appropriate and timely, for several reasons. Primarily, this new book series expands the vista of the Mechademia series to encompass not just Japan, but Asia and even the world beyond, covering manga/manhua, anime, and gaming, but also the expansions to those art forms that have in the last decade, begun to absorb, innovate, morph, and expand to a panoply of new media, new expressions, new narratives, and new categories of transnational and transcultural work. In addition, these set of art forms which had in the past been considered by most mainstream considerations to be for children, have now been accepted as work that defies age, racial, gender, and sexual boundaries to become all the more globally consumed and appreciated. These aesthetics have influenced the world of fashion, literature, filmmaking, and virtually every game design.

But most poignantly, these works have always, and continue to deliver important narratives about the childhood experience. As a time of discovery, desire, disappointment, and creativity, childhood is the source of the adult experience. These experiences shape the trajectory of the adult in their approach to the world, to other people, and to the creative exploit. The child is perceivable as a “trace” under the image of the adult, as a map that lays out the journeys and spaces of experience and loss, love and despair, discovery and repression that become the founding text of the larger narrative of a life. And because the creative work can speak to the dense complexity of both the times and spaces of these events, the narratives of anime, manga/manhua, and gaming become especially profound because of their specific aesthetic in their ability to tell these tales.

This first volume, then, seeks to lay the foundation of the volumes to come in this series. Bringing forward the works of Mechademia, and expanding the parameters of its approach, the work of the Second Arc, the part of a narrative that deepens the discourse, the mystery, the characters, and the play of the narrative string — will begin by exploring the profundities of childhood, to set upon a new narrative toward maturity. Possible topics cover a vast territory: but we ask not for a simple recounting of the many narratives found in these works, but a critique, a theoretical troubling, and a creative projection from the connections and complications found in the secret places of these works. In addition to narrative considerations and explorations of the “symbolic” child, we would also welcome essays that explore children as readers, consumers, and creators, and the material conditions of transnational production that market to children.

Please send abstracts of 200 words, a keyword list of 4 terms, and essays of no more than 5000 words to: by August 5, 2016.

Journal Description

Mechademia: Second Arc: A Global Forum on Anime, Manga, Comics, and the Fan Arts is an annual series that represents the academic and professional discourse around the specific subjects of the forms of Japanese anime, manga, and the various artistic practices that have formed under the concept of fan art: gaming, fan art, cosplay, anime music videos, anime improvisation and performance as well as international works influenced by these various practices. Articles include critical, theoretical, transcultural, and historical examinations of the connections, adaptations, and exchanges between cultural discourses, made explicit or suggested. Manga or comic narratives that explore or illustrate key theoretical or historical aspects may also be included in the contents. Reviews of emerging work will be posted on the Mechademia: Second Arc website. While principally an academic publication, Mechademia: Second Arc is acutely aware of the work of professionals in the creation and analysis of this field, as well as the addition of the fan base as potential readers of this series. Consequently, submissions to the series are required to be written in “open” language, rather than adopting the exclusive language of academic discourse, but without any detraction form a high level of inquiry.

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