As the inaugural 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 four terms, and essays of no more than 5000 words to: frenchy_lunning [at] mcad.edu by August 15, 2017.