Wednesday, January 17, 2007

CFP: Japanese 'Cute' Children's Culture 1995-now

Modern Language Association (MLA) 2007
Chicago -- December 27-30 Children's Literature Division

Japanese Kawaii/Cute Children's Culture 1995-Now

Cute, as we now commonly conceive of it, originated in the U.S. in the late 19th century. Japanese 'kawaii' is a quite recent import altering and adding to 'cute' in a variety of ways. Contemporary Japanese artists creating animated feature length films, children's picture books, video games, characters, and fine art gallery and museum installations, are both borrowing from and also changing children's literature and culture.

This panel seeks to explore the uniquely Japanese form of 'cute', known as 'kawaii'. In the United States, Asian-American subculture is increasingly identifying with kawaii, as is the larger American culture (e.g. Target and other retail stores consistently sell Hello Kitty books and merchandise, Katamari video games, and Spirited Away DVDs.) This session invites papers that approach this topic from any angle, but particularly welcome are scholars taking an Asian-American, post-colonial or international perspective.

Papers might address why Japanese artists whose kawaii art depicts children or children's literature references are receiving international recognition and top auction prices when all other Japanese artists are virtually ignored. How does this change North American conceptions of multiculturalism? How and why are countries including Korea, China, France, and the United States consuming kawaii Japanese artists/products so happily and then changing these artists/products? How is this proliferation changing children's culture production and conceptions of the child internationally?
Possible artists include Hayao Miyazaki, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Chiho Aoshima, Chinatsu Ban, and Aya Takano. Possible characters include TarePanda, Hello Kitty, Pucca & Garu, MashiMaro, Cinnamoroll, Burnt Toast, Chibamaru, and Mr. DOB.

Deadline for submissions: March 1, 2007

Please submit abstracts for a 15-20 minute presentation or 8-10 page papers along with a short bio and contact information to:

Jaimy M. Mann
Department of English
University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville FL 32611-7310

No comments: