Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Research Identity

For my COMM 5615: Introduction to Rhetorical Criticism course, we're supposed to write up a research identity for ourselves.  A research identity, for my non-academia friends, is basically a bit of text that explains who you are as a researcher. A kind of definition of yourself as you are in academia--what you study, why, and for whom.

Anyway, Ed (my advisor, the Chair of the Comm. Studies Dep't, and the professor for this course), is having us share drafts of our research identities in class on Tuesday, and I figured I'd post my draft for funsies/feedback/as an explanation to people who might not know where, exactly, I'm coming from in my work and what it is I'm working on.

Please keep in mind that this is my first draft ever.  I've never written one of these before, so my first go at it's not going to be perfect.  If you have feedback, I'm all ears.
I am a popular media critic with research interests in mainly Japanese popular media, video games, pornography, and new media such as social networking sites.  My theoretical framework is a combination of feminist studies, queer theory, game studies, and cultural studies as it applies to newer media; my work is concerned primarily with depictions of females/girls and women/queers in manga and video games, how these depictions are interpreted by readers and other participants, and the overall subcultures associated with the texts (e.g. “gamer culture”), as well as political and legal movements against pornography.  Because I am partly interested in reader interpretations and the lived experiences, beliefs, and actions of readers, in addition to textual analysis, I also seek to apply and/or include ethnographic and other kinds of audience analysis in my work.  My current projects are analyses of 1) The Legend of Zelda video game series, using archetypes of femininity as bases for understanding the development of female characters in the series over time, 2) yaoi and yuri, two genres of manga depicting m/m and f/f relationships, respectively, and the ways in which images of gay men/queers are appropriated by their mostly heterosexual female readers.  Through these and future projects, I hope to help add to the relatively nascent--but ever-growing--body of scholarship on these oft-neglected and/or misunderstood new media, specifically from a gender/sex/queer studies perspective, and 3) laws against pornography depicting minors in the “West” and Japan, and how the West’s social, political, and overall rhetorical pressure against Japan to strengthen its anti-child pornography laws is hypocritical, misguided and ineffective.  
EDIT: I added a couple bits about my work on child pornography laws--because, thanks to the overwhelmingly positive feedback on my presentation at the Japan Studies Association, I realized need to make it clear to people that I am not only a communication studies student and scholar, but also a student and scholar interested in issues of international relations, public policy, and law (specifically law regarding speech and expression).  

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