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[personal profile] sanet
Aaah, summer! For the first time in years I finally had a vacation, a real 3-week vacation away from the internet and course prep and manuscripts and everything. But now it's time to gear back up, and that means conference proposals. Here's my accepted proposal for this year's Mechademia/SGMS conference in Minneapolis. Feedback very welcome, especially from aca-fan types!


Fan service is commonly understood as a glimpse of something that allures fans viewers, be it a flash of panties or a passing reference to otaku trivia. In this paper, I will address two anime series, Ghost in the Shell: SAC and Ergo Proxy, that use a similar strategy of seduction I call “aca-fan service”: gratuitous references to authors and texts canonized as “High Theory,” such as Jacques Derrida and Julia Kristeva. While screenwriters may not be cackling “I’ll give those academics something to talk about!” with every keystroke, the nature of their allusions suggests that they are targeting an intellectual sub-segment of their fanbase consistent with Matt Hills’ “aca-fan,” a fan who uses scholarly references and theoretical discourses to interpret texts.

Aca-fan service in these programs, I argue, draws on both the knowledge communities and the (sometimes troubling) gender politics of more general anime fan service. It engages fans who recognize “theory trivia,” creating opportunities for bonding and competition around specialized knowledge. At the same time, it relies on the fetishization of figures such as Lacan, whose theories of sexuality serve as “proxies” for embodied experience that allow academics to discuss gender and eroticism in abstracted, schematized ways. In this paper, I will address the intersection of academia and fandom as a site of knowledge production and ask: how do theory allusions allow aca-fans to connect? What kinds of discussions do they allow that regular “fan trivia” doesn’t? And what kinds of discussions do they foreclose?

Date: 2013-08-03 07:34 pm (UTC)
unjapanologist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unjapanologist
Ooh, this sounds interesting. How similar do you think this kind of "fetishization" of theorists is to the way theorists are alluded to in more everyday conversations by academics? The screenwriter-"intellifan" dialogue you describe feels very much like the kind of discussions that many of my colleagues have. My academic background included very little "high theory", and it's always a bit bemusing when other fan studies people who do have that background sprinkle their arguments with Lacan and Derrida. Of course most of the bemusement is due to me not getting the allusions, but it does feel like people are invoking those names in a way that goes beyond simply using the names as a shorthand for theoretical concepts.

Hope I can make it to SGMS - I've never been *ponders proposal*

Date: 2013-08-05 01:56 pm (UTC)
unjapanologist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unjapanologist
I'm surrounded by very few heavy theory folks in my native academic habitat of area studies, so they tend to stand out more when I meet them at conferences ;) Now that you mention academic communities bound by the same arcane language, do you know of any research/meta about differences between different acafannish communities? Because it definitely feels like there are kinds of acafans who might have a different arcane language binding them - from those who can toss around Lacan with great confidence to law scholars to economists.

Going to submit a proposal, but I'll probably come to SGMS whether it's accepted or not. Thank you for the welcome, I've been wanting to go for years but never managed. So excited!

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April 2014

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