I am an assistant professor of Japanese Studies in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at George Mason University, where I teach classes on contemporary Japanese literature, comics, and video games.
I earned my BA from Emory University in 2006. My senior thesis, Demonic Women in Modern Japanese Literature, examines the connections between gender and horror in works ranging from the short literary fiction of Yumiko Kurahashi to Kōji Suzuki’s popular thriller Ring. Since then, I have continued to write and present papers on social and gender issues in Japanese fiction, film, animation, graphic novels, and video games.
I received a PhD in 2013 from the University of Pennsylvania, where my graduate research centered around Japanese fiction and graphic novels written during the 1990s and 2000s. My dissertation, The Female Gaze in Contemporary Japanese Literature, focuses on the work of the bestselling novelist Natsuo Kirino and a prolific four-woman artistic team called CLAMP. I investigate how these writers and artists negotiate highly gendered realms of narrative discourse in their work. My ultimate goal is to argue for the application of a female gaze to narratives and tropes that have generally been understood as taking a male audience for granted. This study led to my book project, Manga Cultures and the Female Gaze, which is forthcoming from Palgrave in Spring 2020.
My work on new media and fan reception has led to an interest in console-based video games, and my current research involves a comparative analysis of these texts that examines their themes, narrative structures, and underlying ideologies as they are expressed through in-game text, gameplay, and extratextual promotional materials. I am especially interested in readings that focus on environmental issues, such as attitudes regarding the natural world, the politics of geography, and the ontological formation of the human, the inhuman, and the posthuman. I am currently focusing on the titles in the Legend of Zelda series, as well as the online communities devoted to these games.
( The illustration above is by Sara Goetter )