Academia + Anime & Manga = Mechademia! The perfect merging!

Topic started by Lan on April 7, 2009. Last post by RedRoses 5 years, 11 months ago.
Post by Lan (621 posts) See mini bio Level 13
So reading the forums I came across a post by gaming artist asking for help finding "professional sources" for a paper on anime and censorship. I know there's not a lot of critical writing in academic journals about anime or manga much less in books (that I know of). I went poking around on the net and somehow stumbled across what I first thought was the first book in a series entitled Mechademia 1: The Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga. What caught my eye was that it the little brief search description provided by Google mentioned the words: "academic and anime" together. Hmmm...I thought....academic anime....two words you don't see put together often. I then did a search for Mechademia and found the offical website

Apparently, this is a forum in print form or rather a  journal for discussing  "anime, manga, and the fan arts." This is a goldmine for acamdeic anime otaku! Many articles are written by critics and academics, but the journal also features and asks for writing from publishers, artists, writers, and filmakers. The topics vary widely to include not only anime and manga, but gaming, cosplay, toys, graphics, and all around fandom.

This is an annual journal--it's put out once a year. It appears, three volumes have been released so far. The journal is produced by the University of Minnesota Press. The editor-in-chief is Frenchy Lunning. She has a doctorate from University of Minnesota in Design Communications and Cultural Studies. She began her studies in comic books and in film which led to her finding out about manga and anime. She's done lots of study and lectured frequently on the cultural implications and meanings of this type of work before she founded Mechademia. There is a full editorial board--meaning a large  group people who review the articles and decide which get published in the journal--made up almost entirely of academic scholars from a broad range of specialities from physics, english, film studies, asian studies, fashion, etc. Many of these people hold PhDs, teach, write and lecture at universities which I find very impressive.

They accept submissions from writers of different backgrounds. There's a whole section detailing the submission process. According to the site, "Mechademia essays may be up to 5,000 words, plus citations.
Shorter pieces are also welcome, and we will consider submissions in creative, non-traditional formats as well." Writers are encouraged to include relevant illustrations (up to five black and white illustrations and in some cases, with permission of publisher, color illustrations); NOTE: it is the writer's responsibility to obtain permission for use of these images. You cannot grab random images from the web or make screencaps and include them in with the article. Each volume apparently has a theme. Submissions are being accepted for Volume 6: Lines of Sight; this apparently has something to do with "Cartesian perspectivalism" (not quite sure what that is; the site sort of explains it). The due date for submissions is January 5, 2010.

I haven't found any information yet as to whether or not you can subscribe to this journal. For now, all I've been able to find is individual issues for sale. If you buy directly from University of Minnesota Press the price is $19.95 USD. On Amazon the price is about $14.96 USD (for volume 1) but there are used copies selling for $10.18.

So what do you guys think? Is any one familiar with this journal? Has anyone even heard of it? How cool is this? Am I just a big nerd for finding this to be freaking awesome?! Finally, there's a place where you can find respectable scholarship on anime, manga, and all the stuff that goes along with it! All the articles are being written by really smart and devout anime fans. The journal certainly qualifies as an academic journal, so it might be a great place to look for information if ever you're looking to incorporate anime into your writing for school or other academic purposes. Plus, it just seems like a really interesting read. What excited me most is that you can see there are people thinking critically about anime and working to making it a subject worth in-depth study! In other words, it helps make anime fans look good and can help reduce the negative stigma of the "anime otaku." Right now, this journal isn't a widely distributed one (meaning you're not going to find it in your local library or even a typical university library), so it looks like you'll have to purchase an issue in order to read it. I'll certainly, buy the first issue and write up a review when finals are done. Anyone else planning on doing that? Anyone, besides me, thinking of submitting sometime in the later future?
Post by RedRoses (1,437 posts) See mini bio Level 14
I find this journal to be a fascinating piece to pick up. I hope to order myself a copy because I've always wanted a book about anime written by scholarly folk. If I think I have the capability to write about whatever theme they have, I may try to submit something to them in the future.

You've piqued my interest in this virtually unknown work. It has been added to my list of things to order now =) I'm actually quite excited that there's a journal that exists like this.

Whenever I do end up writing about anime or its related elemnts for a school paper, I almost never use any printed work because it's difficult to find any. There are only a few books out there but they are difficult to find.
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