Thesis:

Mita est.

Looking the gift horse in the . . . mouth?

Summer Semester Grant – Amount applied for, with documentation
Academic expenses: $2859
Living expenses: $4524
Total requested: $7383
Amount received: $500

Much To Do About… Something

Assignment: What’s Due: When It’s Due:
Paper: Something on religious vs regional identity in pre-modern Maharashtra First draft,
20 pages
18 April
Paper: Ongoing creolization between Vodou and ‘Western’ esotericism 20 – 30 pages 06 May
Paper: Something on religious vs regional identity in pre-modern Maharashtra Final draft,
20-25 pages
06 May
Short essay on pedagogy 1 – 2 pages 06 May
Book Review on Magic as Metaphor in Anime, Cavallaro 600 – 800 words 01 June
MA Thesis, Chapter 2: Self-essentializing “Japaneseness” (Nihonjinron) through depictions of religion in anime First draft:
20 pages
01 June
MA Thesis, Chapter 2: Self-essentializing “Japaneseness” (Nihonjinron) through depictions of religion in anime Final draft:
20 – 30 pages
01 July
Paper: Constructing religious identity in contemporary E. Asia: examination of three secularized societies with shamanic backgrounds First draft:
20 pages
01 July
MA Thesis, Chapter 3: The role of popular culture in preserving and shaping ideas around religion and the supernatural in contemporary Japan First draft:
20 pages
01 July
Paper: Constructing religious identity in contemporary E. Asia: examination of three secularized societies with shamanic backgrounds Final draft:
20 – 30 pages
01 August
MA Thesis, Chapter 3: The role of popular culture in preserving and shaping ideas around religion and the supernatural in contemporary Japan Final draft:
20 – 30 pages
01 August
MA Thesis, Complete Final draft:
60 – 90 pages
01 August
MA Thesis, Complete Printed, bound, signed,
submitted to College of Liberal Arts, Graduate School
12 August

School Stuff

For various reasons, it turns out that I need three more Religious Studies classes (instead of the two I previously thought), before I graduate. Rather than try to cram into the Spring Semester all three graduate classes, plus TAing, plus writing my thesis, plus job hunting, it makes more sense to push my thesis–and therefore my graduation–to the Summer Semester. (Bad enough I have 3 papers including the 30 pg. first draft of Ch. 1 of my thesis, plus a TOTOCON presentation, plus an Intro to Japan midterm, to write in the next 2 weeks.)

So here’s where it gets interesting (-er). Once you begin your thesis–Phase A is research, which in actuality means writing one chapter and a draft biblio, Phase B is finishing up the writing & editing–you have to keep enrolling in Phase B until you complete it. And, in order to be eligible for financial aid, you have to be enrolled for at least 9 hours in Fall/Spring semesters, and 6 hours in Summer. With me so far?

Which means, if I’m understanding the bureaucratic BS correctly, that I can do something like this:

Spring 2011
- Religious Identity in S. Asia (grad seminar)
- African Religions in the New World (undergrad class taken as conference course)
- Thesis B
plus TAing for Intro to Japanese Film

Summer 2011
- Religious Identity in Japan (independent study grad conference course)
- Thesis B

This would mean spreading out the load a bit, getting financial aid covered instead of having to pay out of pocket for Summer, and getting all my work done before Fall when I would hopefully have a job lined up (XFKW, as Rose Dawn would say).

The only possible catch is whether the RS Dept will offer a conf course number during Summer. I’m checking on that now.

This means, btw, that I would not be doing a grad walk — unless they include the Summer grads in the December ceremonies?

Ruh-roh

“I want to thank you for your interest in the Southwest Conference on Asian Studies and I am pleased to inform you that your proposal was accepted for the upcoming conference to be held in Fort Worth, TX on September 24 & 25.”

Oh crap… Guess this means I’d better write the presentation, huh?

SWCAS Paper Proposal

Domination and Diminution: The Shrinking of the Shamaness into the Anime Miko
R. Christopher Feldman
M.A. candidate
Asian Cultures and Languages
University of Texas at Austin

The figure of the miko or shrine maiden is a popular trope in contemporary Japanese popular culture. Dressed in their traditional red and white outfits, these characters are usually depicted as virginal, often prepubescent or adolescent, and endowed with powers of prophecy, clairvoyance, and the ability to speak with–and for–the kami. They are seen in manga and anime genres as widely disparate as historical fiction, contemporary cyberculture, and hentai pornography, and appear to be particularly attractive to male consumers of otaku culture. At the same time, the once prevalent figure of the empowered shamaness whose talents the anime miko now wields is almost nowhere found in contemporary Japanese pop culture.

Drawing on the fields of anthropology, popular culture analysis, and Japanese history, and using examples from a variety of anime, this paper will explore the relationship between the vanishing shamaness and the rise of the moe (cute) miko. A theory will be presented that through a process of diminution, the shamaness has been shrunk down,’chibi-fied,’ into the anime miko. In this way, the intimidating image of a mature, empowered woman who speaks with the voice of the gods has been tamed, reducing her into the cute and unthreatening girl with the vacant eyes popular with male otaku.

b34td0wnz3rz

First end-of-semester since I started back to school, where I don’t feel at least relieved, if not downright celebratory. Instead I feel like I did 15 rounds with Ali, Holyfield, AND Mike Tyson, and maybe Bruce Lee as well.

Flight Plan Filed

I am now registered in Fall for phase one (research phase) of my MA Thesis on Shamanism in Contemporary Japanese Popular Culture.

Miyako in Ghost Hound

No skim off my nose, this time

It took me longer than expected to finish reading my prof’s book because it turned out to be too enjoyable to skim.

Ch-ch-changes

They’ve added a class on Religion in Modern Asia which is, obviously, right up my alley. Regretfully (because it looks like a really cool class), I’ve had to drop Visual Evidence in Modern China for this. However, as a result of the reading assignment (just spent a couple days reading 100+ pages on visual culture), I have been so intrigued by Pang Lai-kwan’s “The Distorting Mirror: Visual Modernity in China” that I’ve ordered the book. Also just in: Mark MacWilliams, “Japanese Visual Culture.”