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June 1998, Week 1


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Abe-Nornes <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 31 May 1998 07:33:02 -0500
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                                     __Kinema Club Workshop__
Japanese Cinema Studies in the Rear View Mirror: Re-Viewing the Discipline
        University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, March 26-28, 1999
        Organizers: Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto and Abe' Mark Nornes
The purpose of this workshop is to enable participants to engage in
collaborative reflection on a series of papers on the subject of Japanese
cinema studies. It will use the occasion to prepare this work for a
publication in the form of a journal issue or edited book.
The idea of a workshop with a publication as the final objective took shape
over the last year, however, it has been the culmination of several years
of discussion about the state of Japanese cinema studies in the United
States. It is evident to all researchers and teachers in the field that we
are in a state of flux. While the scholars who established the field came
from film studies proper or from without academia, there are now people
approaching Japanese cinema from a variety of disciplines including
history, literature, area studies, anthropology, and comparative
literature. It is apparent that the study of Japanese cinema now has no
"home"----this may be a unique strength, but it also has serious implications
for anyone turning it into an academic career. At this moment of blurring
disciplinary boundaries, many have come to feel the need to take stock of
the situation: ask where we have come from and where we are going. What is
the shape of our field, and what are the most pressing issues for future
Unlike film conferences where papers present research projects or analyze
films, this workshop will deal specifically with meta-critical and
methodological issues concerning the disciplinary and institutional
problems of Japanese film scholarship. Likely discussion points include,
but are certainly not limited to:
Papers that deal with questions of canon, specialization, research method,
translation, theoretical paradigms past and future, pedogogy,
historiography, the relationship to scholarship in Japan and the
possibilities for collaboration, the problems and potentials of
institutions, and the role of archives and libraries (paper
and video tape collections). Authors may address topics
like the avant-garde or melodrama, as long as they ask meta-critical
questions: "Why has the avant-garde been ignored by Japanese cinema
studies?" "What does this absence tell us about the underlying assumptions
of Japanese cinema studies as a field?" "What needs to be changed?" To
approach canon would be to ask if there is one, what its shape is and why,
if we need one, or if there is none, why? After such discussions of
substance, the group will devote the end of the workshop to drafting plans
for a publication that explores the state of Japanese cinema studies in
order to reconfigure it.
This workshop will feature six papers, which will be distributed and read
beforehand. The number of participants will probably be larger, although
our ability to support the visits of non-presenters will depend upon
our success in receiving grants. (In any case, non-presenters who don't mind
sleeping on couches or floors can certainly be accomodated.)
***Deadline for proposals:  September 30, 1998
***Announcement of papers and presenters: October 15, 1998
***Workshop: March 26 (Friday) through March 28 (Sunday), 1999
Proposals should be printed and mailed to A.M. Nornes, Program in Film and
Video Studies, University of Michigan, 2512 Frieze Building, Ann Arbor, MI
48109-1285 (Phone: 734-764-0147; FAX: 734-936-1846).
Direct electronic correspondence to M. Yoshimoto
([log in to unmask]) or A.M. Nornes ([log in to unmask]).
Updated information will be posted on the Kinema Club website:
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