Deep Drawings: Philosophical And Socio Political Themes in Anime and Manga (MLA, 5-8 January 2012)

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Modern Language Association (special session)
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The "serious turn" in European and American comic markets has often been traced to the departure carved out by Art Spiegelman, a veteran American comics artist who hoped his works would "make ethics hip." Western comic realism warrants comparison with the "serious turn" in Japan's manga and anime that followed the Second World War and is often neglected owing to the ubiquity of kawaii ("cuteness"). This panel puts Japan's anime and manga in a global context, with attention to "uncute" philosophical and socio‐political themes in graphic novels and animation from several areas of the world. Serious narratives in comics and animation have become extremely popular pedagogical texts in several countries, enabling people to gain knowledge about cultures and conflicts that might otherwise fail to sustain their attention. Yet, comic and animated narratives nevertheless encounter problems of cultural translation and ethical convergence. Together, the presentations introduce a range of possibilities and limitations of manga and anime (both Japanese and non‐Japanese) in their attempt to convey philosophical and socio‐political themes across national borders.
Email paper proposal (300 words) and brief bio by 30 March 2011 to Joshua Dale (