Some of the leading researchers in the field of Japanese anime are speaking to UT Dallas students in a class that delves deeply into the popular animation genre.
Recently, Helen McCarthy spoke to the “Literature of Science Fiction – Anime/Manga – Apocalypse How?” class via Skype, from London, England. She shared her research about Hayao Miyazaki, widely regarded as one of the greatest storytellers and animation directors in the world. In 1999, McCarthy wrote the first English-language book about Miyazaki. She had earlier written the first English-language book about anime, which was published in 1993.
Dr. Pamela Gossin, a professor of the history of science and literary studies in the School of Arts and Humanities, co-teaches the University’s anime class with Dr. Marc Hairston, a research scientist with the Hanson Center for Space Sciences in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Gossin said their goal is to help students develop their abilities in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural interpretations of Japanese storytelling.
Gossin said the anime class is valuable because the artistic and cultural aspects of the form are unfamiliar in some way to almost every student on campus, which means everyone in the class has to dive deeper at some point to understand the works more fully.
“If you pick something that’s unfamiliar, then you’ve got a unique opportunity to bring a very diverse group of students together and help them understand that we all carry cultural baggage and biases into even our best and most beautiful attempts to express our thoughts and feelings and communicate with each other,” she said.
Gossin and Hairston plan to offer more guest lectures from anime experts, including well-known voice actors as well as literary and cultural scholars.