starlady: Fuck you, it's magic.  (kick ass fantasy)
[personal profile] starlady
Transformative Works & Cultures: Nationbending
Avatar: The Last Airbender
September 2012

Avatar: The Last Airbender is that rare animal: American-produced anime faithful to both its Japanese cinematic influences and its pervasive Chinese iconography. A vast amount of research was invested in bringing a fantasy Asian environment to life: martial arts master Sifu Kisu choreographed each fight and assigned specific fighting forms to each character; a Chinese calligraphy consultant wrote the signage that appeared in each episode, and the series’ creators visited China to study its traditional architecture. These elements create an enticing mash-up of genuine Asian signifiers within a fictional environment. The series’ popularity encouraged a live-action film adaptation from director M. Night Shyamalan. Fan controversy erupted when white actors were cast in roles previously “played” by characters with dark skin. Protests against this act of “racebending” included T-shirts and bumper stickers with the slogan Aang Ain’t White!, the founding of, and a renewed discussion among online fans about the long cinematic history of whitewashing and yellowface

This issue aims to investigate the cultural significance of A:tLA as a transforming and transformative text. Like the Avatar, A:tLA and its settings and characters have many incarnations online, on television, on film, and in print. Likewise, the definitions of anime, cartoons, Asia, and race have been bent by fans and producers alike. A:tLA is part of the ongoing transformation of American media in a global context. We welcome contributions focusing on Asian studies; media theory and film studies; religious studies and anthropology; postcolonial and queer readings of the series, the films, and the fan works they have inspired; reviews of both canon and fanon texts; interviews with both canon and fanon producers; and reviews of relevant texts, whatever form they might take.

TWC accommodates academic articles of varying scope as well as other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing. Contributors are encouraged to include embedded links, images, and videos or to propose submissions in alternative formats: interviews, collaborations, podcasts, comics, drawings, video, multimedia works.

Theory: Often interdisciplinary essays with a conceptual focus and a theoretical frame that offer expansive interventions in the field. Peer review. Length: 5,000–8,000 words plus a 100–250-word abstract.

Praxis: Analyses of particular cases that may apply a specific theory or framework to an artifact; explicate fan practice or formations; or perform a detailed reading of a text. Peer review. Length: 4,000–7,000 words plus a 100–250-word abstract.

Symposium: Short pieces that provide insight into current developments and debates. Editorial review. Length: 1,500–2,500 words.

Due dates

October 1, 2011, for contributions for blind peer review (Theory, Praxis). November 1, 2011, for contributions for editorial review (Symposium, Interview, Review).

Guest editor
Madeline Ashby, Ontario College of Art & Design

Contact her via the form at:

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-13 01:16 (UTC)
kaigou: Sorry to barge in, but we have a slight apocalypse. (3 slight apocalypse)
From: [personal profile] kaigou
Japanese cinematic influences

*confused* What influences are those? I thought the cinematic influence was from wuxia, and that for the most part, the Korean animators who actually drew the series were taking on Chinese/Korean cinematic elements, not Japanese. Or did I miss something? Is there something somewhere that gets into that? ...because I could probably use a mental break and that sounds perfect.

I are such a freaking geek.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-13 13:44 (UTC)
inkstone: Tenjho Tenge's naked Aya sitting on a tv, draped in a sheet, caption: dragon (dragon)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
A lot of people, particularly what you would call "outsiders" and so-called anime/manga bloggers who came into the gig via general comics blogging, consider A:TLA to be an anime. I've gotten into fights about this but that's another discussion for another day.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-13 23:01 (UTC)
inkstone: Avatar: The Last Airbender's Zuko and Toph seated on the floor (bonding time)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
Someone should also write something about how A:TLA often gets cited as something that celebrates Asian culture when it's probably more accurate that it celebrates Asian-American culture.