Godzilla conference paper

I’ve just sent off an abstract to be part of a panel with Seiko Yasumoto (Sydney Uni) and Jason Bainbridge (Swinburne) for the ASAA conference in July this year. I’m excited about the panel and thought I’d pass on my abstract to keep my momentum up in putting it together.

Title: Godzilla and Monsters of Mass Destruction: Affinity Spaces and the fan remaking of Japan

This paper is a preliminary effort to consider the ways the changing media landscape has impacted on how young people learn about the world around them– particularly the kinds of informal learning that is occurring in the context of participatory culture.

I will explore this through an analysis of the way Godzilla has framed the meaning of Japan through fan practices such as youtube video production, Wikipedia entries, fan fiction, music remixing, social network sites, cosplay, etc. I ask to what degree does this foster Gee’s (2007) ‘affinity space’ where people learn more, participate more actively, and engage more deeply through popular culture than other forms such as traditional textbooks? And what social skills and cultural competencies do people acquire as they participate in a Godzilla affinity space?

It is my hope that a better understanding of the ways these informal learning spaces work, and the types of cultural collaboration and knowledge exchange that takes place may offer further insights into how people use media today in relation to other practices.

Because this project is at such an early stage I’m keen to know if people think this approach makes sense and if there are any sources or alternative directions I should consider.


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