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October 13, 2022
In Conversation with Sharon Coleclough
Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/podcast
It’s been a busy few weeks, what with the start of term, new fellows and in the background working to recruit new editorial board members (of which more in a few weeks). However, there was still time to record a couple more episodes of the Exchanges Discourse Podcast with authors on our recent ‘lonely nerds’ special issue. It is safe to say, as with my previous one with Alena, these were two highly enjoyable and content rich conversations with two delightfully gracious researchers. Honestly, I think we could have spoken for almost double the time if I’d not been keeping an eye on the clock.
So you can of course listen to the episode for yourself, and look forward to the next one which is already ‘in the can’ and will be heading your way hopefully in the very near future too. And after that – it’s all hands on deck for the publication of issue 10.1 of Exchanges at the end of the month. October, it’s never been a quiet month!
Listen to the episode here:
In this episode we talk to Sharon Coleclough (Senior Lecturer, Culture, Heritage and Society, Staffordshire University, UK) about her research and publications; focussing on her Exchanges article So Many Ways to be an Outsider: ‘Nerdism’ and ethnicity as signifiers of otherness which appeared in our recent Lonely Nerdsspecial issue. We talk about her research into representation, and her exciting progress into new avenues of publication and research. The episode touches on advice for postgraduate and early career researchers in terms of establishing your personal brand, researching your passions and how to accept feedback on your writing more effectively.
For all past episodes of the podcast, you can find a complete listing on this page.
August 31, 2022
In Conversation with Natalia Rumak
Writing about web page https://anchor.fm/exchangesias
After a quiet couple of months over the summer, wherein I’ve been focussing on publishing the journal , I am pleased to announce the first in a series of the Exchanges Discourse podcast episodes tied into the recent special issue. Moscow State University’s Natalia Rumak is our first gracious guest to take up my invitation to come and talk a bit about her research, ideas on publishing and to offer advice to other authors.
You can listen to the podcast in full here:
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0bCcnDoNg1Ke40rzomnOdW?si=VFiXdLHyR8WKzyzXsjOWRw
- Anchor: https://anchor.fm/exchangesias/episodes/In-Conversation-with-Natalia-Rumak-e1n6o92
Interestingly, given Natalia’s incredible multi-linguistic scholastic abilities, we get onto a topic I’ve often been asked about: publishing in English when it’s not your native language. Given that Exchanges has a number of non-native English speakers on the team , not to mention my own PhD supervisor for that matter, I’ve always seen the great benefit writing in a second – or even third or fourth – language can offer. It can manifest in impeccable grammar, in interesting revelations, and in offering thought deriving from dissimilar cultural traditions producing unexpected insights.
I’m in the process of lining up conversations with another few authors from the issue as I write, so this won’t be the last of our authors you’ll hear from about their research. And meanwhile, behind the scenes of course work on our Autumn issue continues apace – meaning even more potential guests for future episodes to take us through the rest of the year.
Exciting times lie ahead!
 Well, it is the core of my employment after all
 Especial mention to Marcos Estra who keeps teaching me these wonderous idiomatic Portuguese idioms – albeit translated into English – which I’ve certainly thrown into the odd conversation with…varying results.
August 03, 2022
New Special Issue: The Lonely Nerd
Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/issue/view/42
I am understandably delighted to announce that the latest issue of Exchanges is now live. This is our fourth special issue, and focuses in on experiences of lonely nerds around the world, along with explorations of their representation, perception and isolation within various media forms. I will confess it’s with a slightly heavy heart that I released this issue – mainly because it has been such a genuine pleasure to work with Ben and Filippo as the special issue leads. But, also because I’ve enjoyed many stimulating and enjoyable exchanges with many of the authors whose work appears in the issue too.
On the other hand, considering this issue started life with a conversation in November 2019, part of me is very grateful we have finally reached the finish line. In part because it releases the articles into the world, but mainly because after all this time it is great to have a little closure on the project. Only a little, because once I finish my promotional work on the issue launch, I move on to (hopefully) a number of podcast interviews with authors in the issue about their work. And after that, my focus is squarely returned to our next regular issue’s preparations as well.
Nevertheless, for this afternoon at least I’m going to back in the afterglow of the issue release and the lovely words of praise I’ve been receiving from some of the authors. Makes the job well worthwhile! Just a pity none of us are local so we could gather for a small celebratory drink or something as a capstone to the publication. Ah well, one day!
Meanwhile, to aid your reading, here’s a table of contents for the issue with DOI links to each and every article, along with the entire issue file too.
Volume 9 No 3 (2022) – Special Issue Lonely Nerd: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3
Table of Contents
Gareth J Johnson. Going Where My Heart Will Take Me: Editorial, Volume 9, Part 3. pp. i-xii. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.1186.
Filippo Cervelli & Benjamin Schaper. Socially Inept?: The perceived loneliness of nerds. pp. 1-10. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.946.
Benjamin Schaper. Conquering the Meatspace: The lonely nerd in David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) and Baran bo Odar’s Who Am I (2014). pp. 11-29. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.866.
Janée Burkhalter. ‘Gus, don’t be the comma in Earth, Wind & Fire’: Understanding Psych’s (sometimes) lonely blerd Burton Guster. pp. 30-45. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.869.
Alena Cicholewski: ‘A place where everybody is a legendary hero… and a total dork’: Representing the American nerd community as an antidote to loneliness in G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel Comics (2014-2019). pp. 46-61. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.861.
Sharon Coleclough. So Many Ways to be an Outsider: ‘Nerdism’ and ethnicity as signifiers of otherness. pp. 62-83. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.859.
Rebecca Lewis. The Simultaneity of Loneliness and Popularity in Dear Evan Hansen. pp. 84-103. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.864.
Daniele Durante. From Misfit to Guide: Toward a corrective depiction of Otaku and Hikikomori in Japanese videogame Persona 5. pp. 104-123. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.854.
Natalia Rumak. Sherlock and Shārokku: ‘Nerdy’ detectives in the West and in the East. pp. 124-144. https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.860.
Kwasu David Tembo. Social and Spatial Representations of the Nerd in Donnie Darko. pp. 145-161. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.917.
Carolin Fleischer-Heininger. Loneliness as the New Human Condition in Murakami Ryū's In za miso sūpu: Otaku-ness, space, violence and sexuality. pp. 162-184. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.893.
Christopher Smith: Consumable Bodies, Consumable Self: The queer potential of otaku subjectivity in Kio Shimoku’s Genshiken. pp. 185-202. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.855.
Filippo Cervelli. Saved by the Nerd: Otaku and the space of family in Summer Wars. pp. 203-225. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v9i3.887.
March 12, 2021
Lonely Nerds Workshop: Speaker Biographies
Follow-up to Lonely Nerds Special Issue Workshop from Exchanges Reflections: Interdisciplinary Editor Insights
Today and tomorrow, Exchanges is co-hosting the Lonely Nerds workshop. You can find out more about the programme via this link to an earlier entry. Here though, for more information about who will be presenting their work during the event are the speaker biographies.
|Benjamin Schaper||Conquering the Meatspace: The Reception of David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) in Baran bo Odar’s Who am I (2014)||Session 1, Friday 12th||
Benjamin Schaper is a Stipendiary Lecturer in German at the University of Oxford. He previously taught at the Universities of Munich and Durham and was a Sylvia Naish Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Modern Languages Research in London. His postdoc project analyses loneliness and human-machine interaction in Romanticism, Modernism, and the Digital Age. He is further editing a volume on German cultural history in transnational film and television and has an interest in literary networks.
|Filippo Cervelli||Saved by the Nerd: Otaku and the Space of Family in Summer Wars||Session 2, Friday 12th||
Dr Filippo Cervelli is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Japanese Literature at SOAS, University of London. His research is broadly concerned with representations of individual and social crises in contemporary Japanese literature and popular culture. He completed his PhD in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford in 2018, with a thesis exploring immediacy and the emphasis on the present in contemporary Japanese novels, manga and anime.
|Kwasu D. Tembo||The Jackal and the Genius: Jake Gyllenhall's Representation of the Pathology of the Occidental Nerd in Nightcrawler and Donnie Darko||Session 2, Friday 12th||
Kwasu David Tembo is a PhD graduate from the University of Edinburgh’s Language, Literatures, and Cultures department. His research interests include – but are not limited to – comics studies, literary theory and criticism, philosophy, particularly the so-called “prophets of extremity” – Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. He has published on Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, in The Cinema of Christopher Nolan: Imagining the Impossible, ed. Jacqueline Furby and Stuart Joy (Columbia UP, 2015), and on Superman, in Postscriptum: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Literary Studies (2017).
|Carolin Fleischer-Heininger||Lonely Heisei Japan: On Murakami Ryū's In za miso sūpu||Session 2, Friday 12th||
M.A. (Magister Artium) in theatre studies (major), German literature, Japanese studies. Doctoral candidate and research associate at LMU Munich. Dissertation deals with: Terayama Shûji (1935–1983); writer, theatre and film maker; key figure of the counter culture in postwar Japan
|Natalia Rumak||Sherlock And Sha:rokku: Detectives With ASD. Will East And West Ever Meet?||Session 3, Saturday 13th||
PhD in linguistics (2007). Graduated the Institute of African and Asian studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2000, majored in Japanese language and International Economic Relations. Defended PhD thesis on the problem of translating Japanese onomatopoetic words into Russian, field of scientific research – translation, semantics, teaching methods of Japanese language. Author of the Japanese-Russian dictionary of onomatopoetic words, a teach-yourself guide on Japanese language and guidebooks on Japanese onomatopoetic words and numerals. Also published several articles on translation and semantic problems of Japanese onomatopoeia and a number of articles on problems of Japanese language education (in Russian).
|Rebecca Lewis||The Fear of Belonging: The Simultaneity of Loneliness and Popularity in Dear Evan Hansen||Session 3, Saturday 13th||
Rebecca Lewis is a doctoral researcher at the University of Westminster in London. Her thesis focuses on cultural policy, globalisation and representation in the South Korean television industry. Her further research interests are in audience studies and cultural production, particularly in relation to young adults and teenagers.
|Daniele Durante||From Misfit to Leader: Towards a Revisionist Representation of Otaku and Hikikomori in Japanese Video Game Persona 5||Session 3, Saturday 13th||
Born and raised in Rome, Italy, I have studied Japanese language and literature at "Sapienza" University. Currently, I'm enrolled in the PhD program of the same institution for a research on the representation of male same-sex love in Japanese court literature. So far I have been to Japan to take part in two study and research programs. My area of interest includes the history of sexuality, Japanese classical literature, and Japanese contemporary popular culture.
|Janée N. Burkhalter||‘Gus, don’t be the comma in Earth, Wind & Fire’: Understanding Psych’s (sometimes) lonely blerd Burton Guster||Session 4, Saturday 13th||
Janée N. Burkhalter, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Marketing and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University, USA. Dr. Burkhalter teaches and researches at the intersection of entertainment, marketing strategy and social media. She is a marketing scholar, educator and strategist with practical experience in marketing communications, career services, entrepreneurship, diversity & inclusion
|Sharon Coleclough||So Many Ways to be an Outsider – “Nerdism” and Ethnicity as Signifiers of Otherness||Session 4, Saturday 13th||
Dr. Sharon Coleclough completed her PhD in Cinematic Performance at the University of Salford in 2014. A Senior Lecturer in Film Production and Sound Design at Staffordshire University, her work combines the theory and practice of moving image production; focussing upon the ways in which meaning is created through the technical application of craft. Recent publications consider the relationship of BAME actors to lighting and camera for Viewfinder Magazine with an inspiring lecture series submission requested by Learning on Screen on the same subject. Sharon works internationally on a collaborative digital project, “The Laptop Tour” which considers the ways performance can be realised through the use of technology.
|Alena Cicholewski||A place where everybody is a legendary hero… and a total dork” – Representing the American Nerd Community as an Antidote to Loneliness in G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel Comics (2014-2019)||Session 4, Saturday 13th||
Alena teaches at the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Oldenburg (Germany), where she completed her PhD in English literature in 2020. Her research interests include, but are not limited to, Afrofuturism and postcolonial science fiction and graphic novels.
|Marta Fanasca||Communicating isolation and sexual negotiation: Nagata Kabi’s My Lesbian Experience with loneliness||Session 5, Saturday 13th||
Marta Fanasca obtained her PhD in Japanese Studies at The University of Manchester and she is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The Higher School of Economics, Saint Petersburg. Her work investigates gender performativity, Female to male (dansō) crossdressing and the commodification of intimacy in contemporary Japan. She has published several articles focused on the dansō phenomenon in Japan. Her research interests involve and put together Japanese contemporary culture and pop-culture, queer theory, gender and media studies.
|Christopher Smith||Consumable Bodies, Consumable Self: The Queer Potential of Otaku Subjectivity in Kio Shimoku’s Genshiken||Session 5, Saturday 13th||
Christopher Smith received a PhD in Japanese literature from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and is currently an Assistant Professor of Modern Japanese Literature at the University of Florida, where he teaches courses on modern Japanese literature, manga, and anime. His research focuses on postwar Japanese literature, particularly contemporary literature (Heisei-Reiwa), as well as Japanese pop culture, including manga and anime. He is especially interested in examining how literature and culture represents, manipulates, and ultimately plays with Japanese history, examined through the lenses of nationalism, national identity, the historical legitimation of power, and postmodernism. He recently published a translation of Tanaka Yasuo’s Somehow, Crystal (Kurodahan Press).
Get in touch if you'd like to attend, and haven't already registered - there's no charge!
February 25, 2021
Lonely Nerds Special Issue Workshop
Through its analysis of artistic takes on nerds, our issue aims to intervene in the debate about technologies' and popular media’s influence on social bonds, with a particular focus on loneliness. We suggest a broad understanding of loneliness that includes a wide range of societal issues such as stances vis-à-vis society, the positionality of nerds within or outside of it, their intergroup behaviour dynamics and belonging, their feeling of loneliness both derived from physical and/or emotional isolation, or even conceptualised as loneliness within a group. The issue will hence analyse varying cultural representations of the nerd’s relationship with society in order to critically discuss how various art forms approach the notion of the “lonely nerd”.
We want to ask questions such as: Can we still find common characteristics in representations that are not overtly about nerds? Is loneliness inextricable from any representation of nerds, or do we see narratives where nerds actually become, quite anticanonically, the centre of their community, as small as it may be? And if so, what do these representations tell us about their culture? Are they representational? If this is the case, how can it be used to interrogate relevant phenomena of isolation and loneliness in general? Possible topics include, but are not limited to, fictional explorations of nerds and loneliness (Call for papers, Exchanges, 2020)
We’re delighted to announce a two-day workshop as part of our preparations for our ‘lonely nerds’ special issue, to be hosted by the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick, Friday and Saturday 12th/13th March. This online event will be a chance to hear papers from the authors contributing to this special issue on a range of topics concerning the representations of nerds in cultural milieu around the world.
Hosted by myself, in partnership with Dr Ben Schaper (University of Oxford) and Dr Filippo Cervelli (SOAS, University of London), it will be two highly engaging, insightful and challenging talks given by speakers from around the globe on a diverse and fascinating topic.
To reserve your place contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no fee for attending.
[Edit: Biographies of the speakers are now available]
Event Schedule (Fri 12th-Sat 13th March)
Friday (Day One)
15:15-16:45 Session 1
- Guido Furci (Paris 3, Sorbonne Nouvelle): Through the Nerdish Glass: Rereading Antiheroes in Modern Italian Culture
- Benjamin Schaper (University of Oxford): Conquering the Meatspace: The Reception of David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) in Baran bo Odar’s Who am I (2014)
- Aneesh Barai (University of Sheffield): Child detectives, specialist knowledge and the sociable genius: Detective Conan and adult-child identities
16.45 Tea break
17:15-18:45 Session 2
- Filippo Cervelli (SOAS, University of London): Saved by the Nerd: Otaku and the Space of Family in Summer Wars
- Kwasu D. Tembo (Independent Researcher): The Jackal and the Genius: Jake Gyllenhall's Representation of the Pathology of the Occidental Nerd in Nightcrawler and Donnie Darko”
- Carolin Fleischer-Heininger (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich): Lonely Heisei Japan: On Murakami Ryū's In za miso sūpu
Saturday (Day Two)
10:30-12:00 Session 3
- Natalia Rumak (Lomonosov Moscow State University): Sherlock And Sha:rokku: Detectives With ASD. Will East And West Ever Meet?
- Rebecca Lewis (University of Westminster): The Fear of Belonging: The Simultaneity of Loneliness and Popularity in Dear Evan Hansen
- Daniele Durante (University of Rome, Sapienza): From Misfit to Leader: Towards a Revisionist Representation of Otaku and Hikikomori in Japanese Video Game Persona 5
12.00-13.00 Lunch Break
13:00-14:30 Session 4
- Janée N. Burkhalter (Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia): ‘Gus, don’t be the comma in Earth, Wind & Fire’: Understanding Psych’s (sometimes) lonely blerd Burton Guster
- Sharon Coleclough (Staffordshire University): So Many Ways to be an Outsider – “Nerdism” and Ethnicity as Signifiers of Otherness
- Alena Cicholewski (University of Oldenburg): “A place where everybody is a legendary hero… and a total dork” – Representing the American Nerd Community as an Antidote to Loneliness in G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel Comics (2014-2019)
14.30-15.00 Tea Break
15:00-16:30 Session 5
- Marta Fanasca (University of Manchester): Communicating isolation and sexual negotiation: Nagata Kabi’s My Lesbian Experience with loneliness
- Christopher Smith (University of Florida): Consumable Bodies, Consumable Self: The Queer Potential of Otaku Subjectivity in Kio Shimoku’s Genshiken
- Ozgur Cicek (Freie Universität, Berlin: Young, male, and unruly: The representation of nerds in Turkey between 2000-2020
16.30-16.45 Tea Break
16.45-17.15 Final Discussion
January 14, 2021
New Blog Post: In Conversation with Dr Filippo Cervelli & Dr Ben Schaper
Writing about web page https://anchor.fm/exchangesias/episodes/The-Cultural-Representations-of-Nerds--in-Conversation-with-Dr-Filippo-Cervelli--Dr-Ben-Schaper-eov96l
As we move into 2021, we return with new episodes of The Exchanges Discourse podcast. In our first episode this year I'm joined by two guests, in a session recorded just before Christmas. Please do listen and let me know what you think.
The Cultural Representations of Nerds – in Conversation with Dr Filippo Cervelli & Dr Ben Schaper
'In this episode recorded at the end of 2020 we are joined by Dr Schaper and Dr Cervelli two scholars who’ve been working for the journal for the past year on a special issue. Reflecting on their experiences of involvement with Exchanges, the pair also discuss the background and motivations for the issue. Finally, they also share some advice for first-time academic authors. The related event and issue will be appearing, later in 2021.'
Suggestions for future guests or episode themes, more than welcome.
March 03, 2020
Special Issue Call Announced Nerds, Culture and Loneliness
Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/announcement/view/20
Hopefully by now you’ll have seen the announcement from Exchanges about our latest call for papers. This time we’re teaming up with SOAS and the University of Oxford to produce an issue with papers which ‘explore fictional representations of nerds and loneliness across various media and culture’. Naturally, those of you who know me in real life, know this is a topic very close to my heart and lived-experience. Unlike earlier calls, we’re only seeking abstracts in the first instance (300 words by 6th April), so hopefully this’ll net us a rich range of potential contributors.
If you’ve been keeping track, this represents the third of our special issues we’ve formally launched preparations towards: with the recently published Cannibalism issue being the first and the pending CliFi issue the second. Interestingly, with each of these issues we’ve followed a slightly different pattern for submissions. For Cannibalism, we had a preselected number of authors who had already contributed to a conference, who were directly invited to submit. For CliFi, while we were associated with last year’s European Utopian Society’s conference in Prado, the call for contributions was very much open to any scholar globally. This time we’re almost blending these prior approaches, by starting with a call for abstracts, which will be followed by a workshop event (in early 2021), and then expecting contributors to the workshop to contribute a paper to Exchanges’ special issue.
In many respects, I think this last model may be my favourite, as it embeds Exchanges in the workshop processes and discourse from the outset. It’s not to say it’ll be the only model we’ll use in the future. I’d be lying if I suggested that. Certainly though, given a free hand with future collaborative special issues, I’d hope we can emulate as many elements as possible of this approach, as I believe it’ll serve to offer dividends in thematic coherency and editorial efficacy alike.
I should note at this point, my big thanks to Dr Filippo Cervelli (SOAS) and Dr Benjamin Schaper (Oxford) who came to me with this proposal a few months ago, and following some enthusiastic discussions on both sides, have helped guide us to this point. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what sort of material this call elicits, and working with Filippo and Ben over the months to come.