Fisher Center Series Animates HWS – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Fisher Center Series Animates HWS

This semester, the Fisher Center Series will welcome three experts on all things animated and animation. The year’s theme – Animation and Gender – will take on new life with lectures from experimental author Shelley Jackson, Japanese Anime and culture expert Roland Kelts, Mayan-Lebanese artist Astrid Hadad and Fisher Center Pre-Doctoral Fellow Jillian Burcar as well as a number of screenings and panel discussions of anime films.

On Thursday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room, Jackson will explore how we give life to words and how they give life to us, especially when those words are tattooed on us. During her lecture, titled “Words and Other Bodies in Motion,” Jackson will explore the intersection of the written and tattooed words, and the bodies they are written on. She will also discuss what those messages have animated in the readers of her hyperfiction, “Patchwork Girl,” as well as her current project SKIN, a “mortal work of art” published in tattoos on the skin of more than 2,000 volunteers.

The following day, Friday, Feb. 20 from Noon-3 p.m., Jackson will hold Moving Words Workshop. Interested members of the HWS community should R.S.V.P. to to reserve a spot.

Jackson’s short stories and essays have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including Conjunctions, The Paris Review, Bookforum, The Believer, The LA Times, The Village Voice and Cabinet Magazine. She is co-founder (with artist Christine Hill) of The Interstitial Library and headmistress of the Shelley Jackson Vocational School for Ghost Speakers and Hearing-Mouth Children. She is the recipient of a Howard Foundation grant, a Pushcart Prize and the James Tiptree Jr. Award. Jackson, of Brooklyn, N.Y., has degrees from Stanford and Brown and teaches in the graduate creative writing program at the New School University. More info on her can be found at

On March 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanford Room, the Fisher Center will give a screening of the ground-breaking anime film, “Grave of the Fireflies.” After the screening, HWS faculty members and students will offer their expertise in a panel discussion with the audience. Faculty participants include Professor of Media and Society Les Friedman, Assistant Professor of Asian Cultures and Languages Lisa Yoshikawa, Assistant Professor of Media and Society Leah Shafer.

From the graphically-influenced literature of Jackson to literary graphic art of manga and graphic novels, the Fisher Center will turn its attention to the influence of Japanese culture on the West by welcoming Japanese Anime and culture expert Roland Kelts. The Professor at the University of Tokyo, Sophia University and the University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo, will offer a talk at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 in the Geneva Room. Kelts will address the movement of Japanese culture into the West as sign and symptom of broader reanimations. With uncertainty as the norm, he argues that style is trumping identity, explaining the success of Japanese pop and fashion, design and cuisine in the West.

On the day before his lecture, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, in the Sanford Room, Kelts will join screenwriter Anthony Weintraub on a panel to discuss Weintraub’s Anime, Tekkonkinkree, after the film is screened.

Author of “Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the U.S.,” Kelts is also a contributing writer and editor for A Public Space and Adbusters magazines, and a columnist for The Daily Yomiuri. His articles have appeared in The Village Voice, Newsday, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and The Japan Times. He is the editor in chief of Animé Masterpieces, an Anime lecture and screening series. Kelts divides his time between New York and Tokyo.

Giving new life and motion to cultural stereotypes and iconic images, the Fisher Center will hold its third lecture in the form of a performance of “La Cuchilla” (“The Razor”) by Mayan-Lebanese artist Astrid Hadad on Wednesday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Smith Opera House. With a baroque sharp-edged brilliance, Hadad embodies multiple images of woman: the passionate, the rebellious, the naïve, the dreamer and the “femme fatale,” venomous or scorned. Her unique musical styles include rock-infused Mexican ranchero music, cumbia, La rumba . . . etc. Her method of reinterpreting, performing, and creating popular music has been termed “Heavy Nopal.”

She points her artistic blade with “Astrident” humor at machismo, fundamentalism, and the powerful elite.  This is a show that earned Astrid the title of “walking museum of popular culture,” and is not to be missed for either her music or costumes. The show relieves depression, revives the weak, intoxicates (without alcohol) the sober, and excites the hedonistic.  Pure animation.  Hadad holds a degree from from the Centro Universitario de Teatro de la Ciudad de México. As an actress, she has participated in telenovelas: “Teresa”, “Yo no creo en los hombres,” “gente bien,” and a wide variety of programming on international channels such as “HBO olé.” Her filmic work includes a significant role in Sólo con tu pareja and the documentaries Hasta el ultimo trago corazón and the prize-winning Astrid Hadad la Tequilera.  Hadad has performed in in China, France, Peru, Canada, and Lebanon, and her eclectic discography includes: El Calcetín, Corazón sangrante, Heavy Nopal, en vivo, La Cuchilla, Pecadora, and ¡OH! Diosas. The most recent of these shows have inspired her newest project “Divinas Pecadoras” (Divine Sinners).

During her 25 year career, Astrid Hadad has redefined and restored the tradition of cabaret in Mexico.

Fusing elements of Japanese Anime, graphic novels and hyperfiction from the various cells of the series’ lectures, Fisher Center Pre-Doctoral Fellow Jillian Burcar will give the final Fisher Center 2008-2009 lecture, titled “(Re)Animating the Cyborg” at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1 in the Geneva Room. By way of Jackson’s novel, David Mack’s comic book series and Chobits (a Japanese manga and Anime) Burcar will provide a starting point to address questions. By examining these stories, as well as the shape these stories take, she will discuss what animates the cyborg’s narrative and how it continues to be reanimated.

Burcar is a Ph.D. candidate in Literature and Creative Writing (fiction) at the University of Southern California, a hybrid program where she does critical studies while producing creative work. She will complete both the Visual Studies and Gender Studies Graduate Certificates at USC. She has also been honored with the Mildred Fox Hanson Award and Virginia Middleton Summer Award as well as many others. Recently, she has given several talks on comics across the country.

For more information about the Fisher Center Series, visit the series’ official webpage.


The photo above is of Jullian Burcar