Call for Abstracts : Guaranteed Special Sessions for MLA 2023, Modern and Contemporary Japanese Studies (one panel, one roundtable)

Andrea Mendoza's picture
March 25, 2022
California, United States
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Film and Film History, Japanese History / Studies, Literature, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Panel: "Sakoku 2.0?: Borders in Modern and Contemporary Japan"

Countermeasures against the spread of the coronavirus epidemic have, since mid-2020, resulted in restrictions that disable non-citizens from entry into Japan while simultaneously preventing residing non-citizens from leaving for fear of inability to return. Even for passport holders, travel to and from Japan is fraught, with severe conditions and a lack of transparency that restricts human flow. This has lead to personal distress, financial hardships, the separation and estrangement of families, a decline in Japanese language learning, and intercultural knowledge exchange as well as to the exacerbation of structural and systemic forms of discrimination and oppression. In view of the ongoing political crisis, this session invites paper proposals that consider the question of “borders” in the study of Japanese media, literary, and cultural studies across a range of topics, including: border crossing, citizenship, statelessness, migration, diaspora, isolationism, and exile. We welcome participants working on these themes in both fictional (literature, narrative film, media, etc.) and non-fictional representations (documentaries, news reports, public policy engagement, etc.).

Please send a 300-word abstract and a short bio to: and 

Deadline for submissions: Friday, 25 March 2022.


Roundtable: "Precarities in Public Scholarship and on Public Platforms in Japanese Studies"

For over two years now, scholarship and scholarly discourse has transitioned to digital spaces in response to the novel Covid-19 pandemic, but these spaces do not provide the same layers of protection of previous modes of engagement and scholarly discourse. Indeed, in some cases the broad reach and visibility of public platforms has also revealed that the supposed structures of safety were, for many, never safe at all or for all. This session welcomes abstracts that engage in and foster discussions about online harassment of scholars and scholarship, as well as, conversely, how public digital spaces have mobilized scholars to speak out about injustices that were previously protected by more physical structures. We welcome participants who wish to engage in conversations about the pros and cons of public-facing scholarship, online harassment in response to scholarship, the precarity of managing an online presence while engaging in research that challenges established power structures, and the manifestation of unequal power dynamics emerging at the intersections of gender, race, class, and national origin. The goal of this roundtable is to highlight the struggles of our peers and to foster conversation in how best to protect, support, and amplify our colleagues who dare to take necessary and important risks.

Please send a 300-word abstract and a short bio to: and 

Deadline for submissions: Friday, 25 March 2022.

Contact Info: 

Andrea Mendoza,

Colleen Laird,

Contact Email: