Fall 2014 -
Graduate Course Description
Discipline and Number
10:00 AM - 12:45 PM
Description of Course:
In this course we will present a selection of Japanese anime (animation), manga (graphic novels/comics) and light novels, focusing on the ways they represent and adapt a wide variety of fantasy themes and conventions. For many centuries, human cultures have used visual and verbal fantasy narratives as modes of philosophical speculation and exploration, as well as popular forms of entertainment. Anime and manga represent new manifestations of this ancient quest and present interesting challenges to us as readers (interpreters) and consumers of culture as well as creative contributors to it.
Some of the questions we will examine in this class include: How did anime and manga develop as art forms? What status do they have within Japanese and global cultures? How do these forms of story-telling build on traditional fantasy forms? Differ from them? How do themes of the human imagination of possible futures appear in these stories? How do these narratives display critical perspectives on humanity’s relationship to the natural world and our increasingly technological reality? What do such forms tell us about the value of human desires, hopes and dreams and possible ways to live (personally, socially, geopolitically)? How does reading / seeing stories from outside mainstream US culture affect our perceptions of their effectiveness and meaning? To what extent do our expectations about style and content limit our ability to analyse and interpret creative works from another culture? Are there “universal” (pancultural) elements of “good” art and literature that transcend such barriers? If so, what counts as “good” anime /manga and “good” fantasy and how do such qualities matter?
The course format will be primarily discussion (utilizing literary analysis and interpretation) with descriptive or informative lectures providing historical and cultural background explaining the growth and development of anime and manga in both the US and Japan. Most class periods will include some viewing of anime films and television series (some selections, some full-length features), such as: Nausicaä, The Wind Rises,
Wolf Children, Haibane-Renmei, Paprika, 5 Centimeters per Second. Other possible works (final list tbd) may include: Spice and Wolf, Madoka, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Emma and others! Required reading will include a variety of manga and Japanese novels, as well as some scholarly critiques of animation and graphic arts from artistic, cultural and literary-critical perspectives
* SPECIAL NOTES: We will likely have 1-2 special guest speakers (either live or via Skype) and a Cosplay Day and Potluck (for extra credit!)
1) Electronic Reserve via UTDallas Library: Selections of readings from scholars and critics
2. Napier, Susan, Anime from Akira to Spirited Away
3) Murakami, Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World
4) Miyazaki, Hayao, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (graphic novel), vols 1 and 7
And other manga and light novels, to be decided . . .
REQUIRED CRITICAL / THEORY
1. McCloud, Scott, Understanding Comics
and others, tbd
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
- Attendance/Participation (in-class and online discussion) = 1/3rd grade
- In-class presentations of background info/critiques of scholarly articles/chps = 1/3rd
- Conference-style paper and conference-style "talk" = 1/3rd
* Optional extra credit/enrichment opportunities: TBA