Thesis Link

Aug. 8th, 2011 09:53 am
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Hey, now that there's no chance of compromising my rl identity (because I did it myself) I can post this link freely.

Here you can read or download my PhD thesis, "Animating Transcultural Communities: Animation Fandom in North America and East Asia from 1906-2010." The language and references are pretty academical, but I hope that anyone who likes animation and wants to know more about its history and current fandom might find it interesting. It's committee-approved and chock-full of animated goodness!

I'll post the abstract under a cut as well.

Thesis Abstraction )
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For me, there's something unspeakable about fandom.

And so I must try to speak about it )
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No deep ruminations or lengthy reviews this week, I'm afraid. The one-month countdown to Scotland has begun, and my days are filled with such wonderful books as Internationalizing Internet Studies: Beyond Anglophone Paradigms (Ed. Gerard Goggin and Mark McLelland) and Cyberselves: Feminist Ethnographies of South Asian Women (by Radhika Gajjala). Really, no sarcasm, both of these are great books and I recommend them. But my notes on them are really, really academic, mostly quotations and layers of cross-referencing like "yes, but, see Gray et al. on second-generation fan scholars." I'm thesising (see icon) and reading so much criticism that I feel like the "academic imagined subjectivity," as Matt Hills says, is taking over my brain.

Or it could be that I'm just going through a bit of a fan lull. It happens. Some people talk about "burning out" on what they like, but I see it as a cycle. When you first discover a new fandom, the whole thing is still open to you, and you just want to see and know and talk about everything in a wonderful all-consuming passion, the high of fresh discovery. Then you refine your tastes, grow critical, follow particular subgenres or pairings, even to the point of falling out of step with those still in their "general enthusiasm" stage. Then after a while, you start to ask, what else?

Right now, I'm looking for the "what else" in anime. I have a few shows I'm casually enjoying, like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and a few in mind to check out, mostly supernatural/artsy things like Summer Wars, Ghost Hound and Tatami Galaxy. I'm looking forward to seeing the Hetalia movie in Japan if it's still playing when I get there, and also Studio Ghibli's latest, The Borrower Arietty. I hope one of these strikes my fan-cy. It'll be nice to have something to squee over again. Because as much as I learn from reading about Internationalizing Internet Studies, I want to just have some fun too!

That said, recs for any good shows/movies/other media welcome. ^^
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I never thought when I decided to stay in school for the rest of my life that it would involve so much travelling. But if you like to travel, academia is a good place to be. Next week I'm heading to Germany to give a presentation at the University of Heidelberg's Exzellenzcluster on Asia and Europe in a Global Context. (I like the word "Exzellenzcluster" a lot. I like the people in the Exzellenzcluster even more!) Also invited is a scholar of East Asian pop culture, Dr. Chua Beng Huat, who will give a lecture and lead our workshop on soft power and media.

I hope this doesn't sound like boasting, but I'm really excited and a little astonished to be doing things like this. When I started studying anime, I thought I'd be pretty much on my own. But now I discover that there are all kinds of people studying all kinds of popular culture across the world. Sure, I always knew that in the abstract. But once you actually go meet people from countries that were only names on a map before, and find that you have some very different experiences but also some common points of changes things.

It's all so fresh to me, this global aca-fan community. It's both like and unlike non-academic fandom. I find in general that academic gatherings -even about pop culture- involve a lot more career-building maneuvering: what will look good on my cv? Can I get a publishing deal out of this? And so on. But in the end, academics are also a bunch of geeks who like to sit around and argue about everything from human rights and international relations to the relative popularity of Korean and Japanese idol singers. The difference is more in the certain kinds of language you have to use (fan and academic jargon) and also in the restrictions on who can join (because face it, university degrees cost a whole lotta money.)

Well, maybe I'll write more about my actual experiences in Germany when I get back. Or maybe not. I'm always unsure of what I should write about here. Professionalism is a difficult discourse to handle when it comes to new media. What is proper to blog about? What will hurt my prospects? How public or private is this writing? Well, I don't know. In the meantime, I hope I can make a worthwhile contribution at the workshop!


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