University of Sussex and the Lewes Depot Cinema present the 2019 Contemporary Directors Symposium
Eyes Unclouded: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli
May 8th 2019, Lewes Depot Cinema, Lewes, East Sussex, UK
Keynote speaker: Dr Rayna Denison
(University of East Anglia, author of Anime: A Critical Introduction)
“You must see with eyes unclouded by hate. See the good in that which is evil, and the evil in that which is good. Pledge yourself to neither side, but vow instead to preserve the balance that exists between the two”
— Princess Mononoke
Hayao Miyazaki is an unusual figure. Only Walt Disney rivals him in for closeness of his association with the studio he co-founded. Unlike Disney, however, Miyazaki was also a director, further complicating distinctions between individual and industrial authorship in the works he helmed for Ghibli. Often fantastical, his films are also intimately bound up with very real social and historical questions, ranging from environmentalism, to the cultural politics of girlhood, to Japan’s role in World War Two. Though identifiably Japanese, Ghibli is also nothing if not transnational. The studio has developed adaptations of novels by Mary Norton, Diana Wynne Jones, and Ursula K. Le Guin, and its characters have acquired an on- and offline life of their own in multiple languages and markets; Hello Kitty is arguably Japan’s only culture industry export to compete with Ghibli for global penetration and recognition. Finally, Miyazaki’s anime blurs the boundaries that are often imposed on the form both inside and outside the academy. Films such as the Oscar and Golden Bear-winning Spirited Away challenge (western) perceptions of the cartoon as children’s entertainment, and contemporary expectations of animation as a digital endeavor, all while achieving both market success and critical acclaim. Perhaps part of their appeal lies in their resistance to easy categorization.
This one-day symposium seeks to bring together scholars to discuss the work of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. We are open to proposals on all aspects of this topic, and from a broad variety of perspectives. These could include issues of industrial and studio authorship; the cultural politics of representation; material culture (e.g. the Ghibli Museum, merchandising); the transnational circulation, reception, and influence of these films; or their digital afterlives. This is just a small selection of potential examples.
Please send proposals for 20-minute papers to the organizer, Dr Luke Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 31st 2019. Proposals should include a title, a 250-word abstract, and a brief author biography.