Journal Articles

June 2019 - Vol.49 / No.2
The Plastic Seriality of Atomic Bomb Manga: Art, Biopolitics, and Barefoot Gen
Author : Shu-li Chang
Keywords : atomic bombing, documentary comics, creative resistance, plasticity, seriality
Keiji Nakazawa’s atomic bomb manga, Barefoot Gen, a ten-volume series, published between 1972 and 1985, is lauded by Hillary Chute as a documentary comic which registers Nakazawa’s conscientious efforts to take “the risk of representation” to “intervene against a culture of invisibility.” Thomas LaMarre, in his study of Barefoot Gen, focuses on Nakazawa’s dynamic deployment of the “plastic line” to articulate a politics of resistance. Drawing upon Chute’s and LaMarre’s observations, I propose to read Nakazawa’s Barefoot Gen as a documentary comic that not only documents or critiques history, but also capitalizes on the manga’s proclivity for repetition, a formal device inherent to and inseparable from the serial nature of manga as a cultural medium, to register the atomic bomb survivors’ everyday efforts of survival as well as to give expression to the cluster of bewildering and disorganized sensations assaulting their meaning-making schemes, rendering them both victims and witnesses to a traumatic experience whose affective forces they can neither understand nor escape. Moreover, Nakazawa, as a shōnen manga artist, while highlighting the horror and the spectacle of the atomic bombing, also insists on using the ethical as a counter discourse to the biopolitical, as he articulates and prioritizes the discourse of the affiliative bonding among the victims and the discourse of human dignity. Barefoot Gen, in this sense, projects a naïve but persuasive solution or response to a series of complex social problems that are both political and historical in nature, but it does so by drawing attention to its serial form on the one hand and its media specificity—its serial and iconic capacities and its interweaving of plastic and structural lines—on the other.
Nature and the Smiths in Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke
Author : Catherine Ju-yu Cheng
Keywords : Deleuze, Guattari, Miyazaki, Princess Mononoke, ecophilosophy, smiths, holey space
Hayao Miyazaki is a keen observer of ecological problems. What he bears in mind and tries desperately to deliver, through his animated films, is a simple but critical message: to survive by coexisting with other beings. Following the steps of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, an earlier work that depicts a way to survive nuclear bombing, Miyazaki’s animated film Princess Mononoke deeply conveys the human aspiration to survive. However, the film ends with a seemingly harmonious but uncanny equilibrium, a kind of a draw between nature and the human. We are in the dark regarding what will happen next. Princess Mononoke leads the audience to ponder the future: when ecological crises have become daily fare and when the uncanny balance between nature and the human has reached a critical turning point, how can humanity survive? This question leads us to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concepts of ecophilosophy and the smiths (metallurgists). The dilemma faced by the smiths in Tatara town epitomizes what human beings encounter in their daily lives. On the one hand, humans subordinate themselves to the state apparatus, whether politically, economically, or culturally, and have a tense relationship with it; on the other hand, they exploit nature regardless of the consequences such as the incessant ecological catastrophes (global warming, depletion of ozone layer, and many others). Princess Mononoke, though criticizing humanity, still portrays a sustainable coexistence of nature and mankind, showing how nature and humans are already entwined and how the smiths, though often forced by the empire to follow its orders, possess the ability to turn their arborescent space into a mediating holey space where real communication and affect can take shape. In a way, this Deleuzian route solves the conundrum of the conflict between nature and the human since the smiths function as the mediators that can unlock the fixed relationship between nature and humans.
Understanding Children’s Literature and Material Culture through Pop-Up Books
Author : Fiona Feng-Hsin Liu
Keywords : children’s literature, pop-up books, material culture, Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud, Philippe UG, Robert Sabuda
This paper explores the linkage between children’s literature and material culture through pop-up books. The questions to be explored include how the pop-up book’s literary-visual content is combined crucially with the book’s physical properties—the mechanical devices—to script for the child-reader, and how elements of material properties in pop-up books shape the reader’s construction of various categories, such as environmentalism, toys, souvenirs, and/or collection. The paper argues that the pop-up book is a fitting form for investigating material culture because there is hardly any book form apart from pop-ups that best manifests its materiality to children. Each pop-up mechanism is designed to draw the reader in; when a pop-up spread unfolds, it demands a reaction from the reader. The pop-up books selected for analysis include In the Forest (2012), Robots (2014), and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-Up (2000). While all three pop-ups enhance the comprehension of the link between children’s books and material culture, their diversity in themes, aesthetic devices, and social reception serves different purposes, displaying the distinct dimension of objects. The paper consists of three parts. The first part considers a number of contemporary theoretical literatures on objects. The second part briefly surveys the history of movable/pop-up books, overviewing the genre’s evolution and its conjunction with children. The third part examines the selected pop-up books, with special attention placed on each book’s device features, aesthetic accomplishments, and material elements. The paper concludes that the pop-up book is a form deserving more critical attention not only because its materiality helps us theorize in more nuanced ways about how children can exercise agency, but also because the ingenuity and efforts of paper engineers demand, likewise, more recognition and appreciation.
(Im-)personal Intensities in Virginia Woolf ’s To the Lighthouse
Author : Julian Chih-Wei Yang
Keywords : Woolf, To the Lighthouse, Deleuze and Guattari, (im-)personal, intensity
In this essay, I will explore (im-)personal intensity as the affirmative mode of being depicted in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. This (im-)personal type of existence features affirmativity to the extent that it immerses beings in intensity through the double fight against personal subjectivity and impersonal chaos. To clarify the importance of this kind of being for the understanding of Lighthouse, I will first review several readings approaching the novel in light of personality and/or impersonality and address their limitations. Then, I will turn to Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s writings on art and elaborate the nature of the being of (im-)personal intensity. With the Deleuzian/Guattarian aesthetics, I will examine the three main characters, or, in Deleuze and Guattari’s term, “Figures,” of Lighthouse—namely, Mrs. Ramsay, Lily Briscoe, and Mr. Ramsay— and analyze how each constitutes itself as an (im-)personal intensity and thereby has his or her being affirmed. To conclude this essay, I will interpret the middle and second section of the novel—known as “Time Passes” —as another (im-)personal being. Based upon this, I will also deal with the (im-)personality of Lighthouse in itself, the distinction of the novel from Woolf’s other works also pertaining to the issue of the (im-)personal, and its positive influence upon Woolf herself.
What We Talk about When We Talk about Translation
Author : Pei-yun Chen
Keywords :
Caring for Difference: A Review of Human-Animal Studies in Taiwan from the Last Decade
Author : Karen Ya-chu Yang
Keywords :