Call for Papers: Kinema Club XXII: Borders, Boundaries, Edges, and Fringes in Japanese Film (Studies)

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Borders, Boundaries, Edges, and Fringes in Japanese Film (Studies)

A 3 day Kinema Club conference at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Wednesday 12th - Friday 14th June 2024

Co-Organisers: Julia Alekseyeva (UPenn) and Jennifer Coates (Sheffield)

Host institution: University of Sheffield

Call for Papers:

As we return to our research after the disruption and catastrophes of the last few years, the time feels ripe for a re-evaluation of the field of Japanese film studies: its past, its current situation, and its potential futures. This call for papers invites abstracts that consider Japanese cinema from refreshing and unusual perspectives. We are especially interested in papers that seek to redefine the field, pushing at the borders and boundaries of Japanese film studies, as well as work that may exist on the edges or fringes of the field, perhaps in dialogue  with other disciplines, or multi-modal in nature. The conference will run parallel to Sheffield DocFest 2024, offering participants the opportunity to interrogate Japanese nonfiction cinema and media within the context of global film and the international film festival circuit. We hope this first re-iteration of Kinema Club in the “post”-pandemic era will provide opportunities for collaboration: across geographies, disciplines, modalities, and generations.

Applicants are encouraged to consider borders and boundaries in the widest possible terms, and topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • The boundaries of ‘Japan’: what constitutes ‘Japanese’ cinema and where is ‘Japanese’ cinema made and viewed?
  • What might it mean to approach the study of ‘Japanese’ cinema from the edges or fringes - drawing from disciplines other than film studies, or taking creative approaches?
  • Is there a ‘lunatic fringe’ in Japanese film studies and if so, what might we do with it?

Conference Format:

The format of this conference includes a variety of presentation types and styles. Ideally, this variation allows the conference to be as inclusive as possible, and include as many participants as possible–especially contingent faculty, early career scholars, graduate students, and non-academics. 

The conference will take place over 3 half-days, and each day will be dedicated to a different presentation format. 

  • Day 1 presentations will take the form of traditional paper presentations of 20 minutes, organised into panels of 3 papers with 30 minutes Q&A at the end of all presentations.
  • Day 2 presentations will take the form of lightning round panels, with short “provocation papers” of 10 minutes each grouped by theme into rounds of 3. A 60 minute Q&A and discussion will follow.
  • Day 3 is dedicated to roundtables of 5-6 participants, addressing key issues in the field.

How to apply:

The application process for this conference aims for maximum inclusivity. We have included a number of questions in this Google Form to gauge interest and availability.

There will be no pre-constituted panels or roundtables. Participants are welcome to choose one or multiple presentation types in the Google Form, and the organisers will do their best to group panels by theme, topic, and interest, and with diversity in mind.

Please complete the form by Friday 6th September 2023. Acceptance notifications will be with you by the end of September to allow maximum preparation time.

Support to attend the conference:

We’d like to make the conference open to as many participants as possible, so we ask that if you have research funding you consider using this to travel to the conference and stay in Sheffield. Catering and a conference dinner will be provided.

For early career, unfunded, and independent scholars and graduate students: we have created a programme of support to help you apply for external funding to cover your travel and accommodation costs. A team of established scholars have volunteered to offer advice to applicants on applying to professional organisations and other competitive funding opportunities. If you would like to be considered for this support, please check the relevant box at the end of the application form. If your abstract is accepted, you will be paired with a mentor in your geographical region who will help you to apply for funding. Please note that mentors’ time is limited. If your application to an external funding source is unsuccessful, the conference organisers will provide you with budget travel and accommodation funding.

Please reach out to Jennifer Coates and Julia Alekseyeva at with any questions regarding the conference.