Call for Papers: “Cute Studies,” a special issue of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture
Cuteness has a global reach: it is an affective response; an aesthetic category; a performative act of self-expression; and an immensely popular form of consumption. This themed issue of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture is intended to launch the new, interdisciplinary, transnational academic field of Cute Studies.
Cute culture, a nineteenth century development in Europe and the US, with an earlier expression in Edo-era Japan, has flourished in East Asia since the 1970s, and around the world from the turn of the new millennium. This special issue seeks papers that engage with a wide variety of both the forms that express cute culture, and the platforms upon which its articulation depends. Thus, the field of Cute Studies casts a wide net, analyzing not only consumers of cute commodities, but also those who seek to enact, represent, or reference cuteness through personal presentation or behavior. Since these groups intermingle, cute culture may be seen as a type of fan community, in which the line between consumers and producers is continually renegotiated. Cute Studies also encompasses critical analyses of the creative works produced by practitioners such as artists, designers, and performers, as well as the circumstances that determine the production and dissemination of these works.