ahorbinski: A DJ geisha (historical time is a construct)
I sent a short report back to the Berkley Center for New Media talking about how I used their generous funding to go to Kyoto for research. Taking selfies with the Manga Museum's mascot was entirely a bonus, I assure you--though it's practically par for the course in my research, I have to say. I've certainly been having a lot of fun while doing it, anyway.
ahorbinski: Emma Goldman, anarchist (play the red queen's game)
I'm really looking forward to returning to the Sirens Conference this year. Sirens has been one of my favorite cons since I first attended in 2010, and I'm very happy to say that I'll be on a panel at this one, the theme of which (Revolutionaries) is very close to my heart: 

The Iconoclastic Revolutionary
Rae Carson, Kate Elliott, Andrea J. Horbinski, Jennifer Michaels, s.e. smith, Jennifer Udden
In the midst of “strong female characters” going it on their own, what happens to cooperative fellowship, shared labor, and the femme side of being revolutionary? How do female villains play a role in revolutionary narratives? The revolution often begins at home, and the lone heroine approach devalues many female experiences and forms of labor. Hermione, Katniss, Maleficent, and Sansa all have their place—let’s talk about what real heroines and villains look like and why only some are celebrated.

I'll also be hosting a Books & Breakfast discussion on Laurie J. Marks' novel Fire Logic, which I read and loved earlier this year. You can still register to join us in Denver!

And in the meantime, I have a booklist up on the Sirens blog, Five Fantasies of the Roaring Twenties from the New Gilded Age. (See, I did pay attention when I was a reader for American history!)
ahorbinski: Emma Goldman, anarchist (play the red queen's game)
I suspect many people have already seen the announcement that the Ada Initiative is shutting down in approximately mid-October. My tweets have said what I feel on the subject, but to repeat at somewhat greater length: I'm proud of what TAI has accomplished over the past four years, and it's been a privilege to be a part of it as an AdaCamp attendee, a donor, an advisor, and last but not least, and far too briefly, a member of the board of directors. I said in my previous post that I was looking forward to supporting TAI's work; that support turned out to be rather in the spirit of "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him," but we made the right decision. For me, the meat of the question is in just two sentences:

We don’t feel like non-profits need to exist forever. The Ada Initiative did a lot of great work, and we are happy about it.

So what's next? As I said on Twitter, I'm looking forward to seeing what the people whose lives TAI has changed do next--and that includes me. For the time being, like Cincinnatus to his farm, I'm going back to my dissertation, and I'm excited to bring what I've learned with TAI to my future and ongoing projects. I'll be around at fandom and open source cons again at the end of this year and into next year; do say hi, and let me know if you want an Ada Initiative sticker--I still have stacks of them.
ahorbinski: A snakes & ladders board.  (struggle & stagger)
I'm thrilled and flattered to report, belatedly, that I received a fellowship from UC Berkeley and the Université Libre de Bruxelles to spend two months in Belgium at the end of this year researching the development of Franco-Belgian comics, i.e. bandes dessinées. I was interviewed about my research briefly for the news section of Berkeley's Graduate Division. I spent about four days in Belgium last summer--just enough time to see the BD museum and Bruges, and not much else--and I'm looking forward to going back.
ahorbinski: hulk smash male privilege! (hulk smash male privilege)
I don't believe I mentioned that I was invited to serve on the reviewers committee for the Inspire campaign, a Wikimedia Foundation effort to increase gender diversity on Wikipedia and its related projects through funding community-proposed efforts. It was interesting to be on the committee side of things, and I certainly learned a lot. You can read more about the grantees and their projects at the WMF blog post.
ahorbinski: hulk smash male privilege! (hulk smash male privilege)
I'm thrilled to be joining the Board of the Directors of the Ada Initiative as Secretary, starting immediately. TAI is an organization with which I've been honored to associate, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with the rest of the Board and the TAI staff to help contribute to and support its continuing success.
ahorbinski: Tomoe Gozen is so badass she glued her OTW mug to her wrist.  (tomoe gozen would haved loved the OTW)
A stack of playing cards with the OTW fundraising drive dates.
I'm in just under the wire, Tokyo time, with a note about the OTW's first 2015 fundraising drive. It's that time of year again when we ask people to support our work supporting fans and fanworks by donating to the organization. This is your chance to ensure that we're able to continue doing and improving our work, and as someone who's been involved with the OTW for a good long while now, I can assure you that your support is very much appreciated. We've come a long way thanks to you, and thanks to you, we'll keep going even further in 2015 and beyond.

So thank you again, and again, you can donate now.

ahorbinski: a bridge in the fog (bridge to anywhere)
I went back to California two weeks ago for the Media & Transmission graduate conference hosted by the Center for Japanese Studies, Berkeley. Many thanks to the organizers for all their hard work, and for funding my travel so that I could participate in a conference geared towards a theme that is close to my dissertation. The abstract for my talk, "A Children’s Empire: The Club Magazines and the Prewar 'Media Mix',” is also available on the website, and is drawn from what will eventually be chapter two of my dissertation. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to discuss my research amongst a Japan-knowledable but animanga-context-light audience, and also really enjoyed my fellow panelists' talks. It was a very productive week back, all in all, though I have to admit I'm still jet-lagged.
ahorbinski: kanji (kanji)
This book is probably the first non-fiction Japanese book I ever attempted to read, back when I was on a Fulbright in Kyoto from 2007-08. I was writing about contemporary hypernationalist manga, and Kajii was one of the few writers I could find with my then-resources who talked about wartime manga in depth. I couldn't really read Japanese at the point, but I didn't let that stop me. Seven years later, I read the whole book in a few days, an amount of time which before would have netted me only a few pages, and I can say that part of the problem I had back then is that Kajii's prose is kind of opaque. Unlike Shimizu Isao, he doesn't write in a conversational style, and he uses a lot of uncommon words. So it was still slow going, even now that I'm literate, and it took me about half the book before Kajii's prose style clicked in my mind and I was able to start skimming with more confidence.

I was glad I did go back and read the whole book, because the second chapter in particular caused me to significantly revise my views on Kajii as a critic.Kajii is not rational about Norakuro )
ahorbinski: A snakes & ladders board.  (struggle & stagger)

Shimizu Isao is probably the most famous "manga historian" in Japan, though this book (1999) isn't an academic text, much to my frustration: there are no citations beyond the dates and original publications of the images, and Shimizu displays the usual tics of Japanese scholarly writing that are deeply infuriating to someone trained in the more rigorous American style, especially his habit of making claims about what people thought with absolutely no evidence to back it up, and his habit of going on pointless tangents (such as his talking about his trip to Egypt by way of an introduction to how professional cartoonists portrayed women in the era of imperial democracy).

That said, Shimizu is a giant in the field, and a lot of what he says here (the influence of movies on manga in particular) agrees with things that I have already been thinking and conclusions I have previously drawn from my research. Of course, there's also plenty of things I disagree with him about, most notably in this book his addiction to the empty, outdated term "Taisho democracy" and his conviction that manga has important continuities with the "amusing pictures" of the Edo period. It would be difficult to overstate the degree to which I am opposed to this position, and in my opinion, Shimizu should know better, particularly since he is probably the single most knowledgeable person about prewar comics periodicals anywhere. Oh well.

For further remarks, see the dissertation.
 

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ahorbinski: shelves stuffed with books (Default)
Andrea J. Horbinski

August 2017

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