Caitlin Casiello

Undergraduate Discipline

Film History

BA, Barnard College. MA, Harvard University. PhD (in progress), Yale University. Current research project is on shifting views of sexuality in Japanese film from the 1950s to the 1990s, with a focus on B-films, sexploitation, and softcore. Previous research includes Japanese medieval Nō drama as an intertextual medium and a semiotic and legal/historical analysis of Japanese pornographic comic books (eromanga). Other interests include transformative fan cultures, queer media histories, celebrity/idol culture, and—of course, always—anime. Writing has appeared in Punctum, Animation Studies 2.0, In Media Res, Mechademia, and Film Quarterly. SLC, 2002–

Undergraduate Courses 2022-2023

Film History

Introduction to Japanese Anime

Open, Lecture—Fall

Japanese animation, or anime, is a global phenomenon—a cultural export that has come to stand in for Japan itself in much of the world. Defined by a national identity as “Japanese” but beloved by an international audience of fans and creators, anime is a contradictory and diverse group of texts that allow us to begin to think about what it means for culture to flow globally in the 20th and 21st centuries. In this course, students will learn about the history of Japanese animation from the 1920s to the present. The course offers broad exposure to Japanese animation, from mainstream television cartoons to experimental art animation, but with an emphasis on the specific tradition of Japanese animation production that came to be known globally as “anime.” We will discuss anime as an intermedial consumer art form deeply connected to other media, such as manga (comic books), toys, video games, literature, music, traditional art, and live-action film. Our own experiences of anime as consumers/fans will be placed in context with academic theories of animation and methods for the study of anime. Students will learn about the Japanese cultural and historical context while also examining their own position in creating global anime reception. Assignments will help students develop research skills in Japanese studies, formal film-analysis skills, and creative methods for scholarly engagement. Themes will include production and marketing (e.g., “the media mix”), technology and labor, gender and sexuality, propaganda and political interests (e.g., “Cool Japan”), race and colonialism, genre, auteurism, reception and fan culture (e.g., “otaku” and “fujoshi”), religion, comedy, video games and interactive media, and intertextuality. Works discussed will include Astro Boy; films by Miyazaki Hayao, Galaxy Express 999, Sailor Moon, Doraemon, Mobile Suit Gundam, Naruto, manga by Hagio Moto, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell, Osomatsu-san, stop-motion animation by Kawamoto Kihachirō, and the works of Shinkai Makoto.

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