This blog and my research, is devoted to transformational storytelling. At the core transformational storytelling research is the simple question, “why people respond so strongly to stories?” If we can find these answers, we can create stories that teach, heal, call to social action, and transform lives.

One great way to explore the connection between humans and stories is to explore groups who have observable, passionate, and strong connections to a specific cannon of stories. Many such groups come to mind: novelists, folklorists, storytellers, and fans. Fans pose an especially interesting case because they so often adopt elements from stories and integrate them into daily life, in effect living out the stories they love. Is that not exactly what we are looking to investigate?

As I have discussed in another mini-series about storyworlds, there are many different ways we integrate elements of story into our personal identity narrative. This series is an in depth exploration of one small group of anime fans and a general look at the larger world of anime fandom.

Originally, this research was conducted for my Master’s Thesis entitled Call Me Suzaku: An Analysis of Anime Fandom, Narrative, and the Performance of Identity which I completed while earning my M.A. in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Houston. For a full year, I embarked on a participant-observation ethnography with local anime fans in Houston, Texas. I attended watch parties, talked about anime, cosplayed, went to conventions, did interviews, and a lot more. What I learned astounded me.

In the end, I used what I learned to craft a work-in-progress framework for analyzing the way individuals and groups integrate elements of story into their personal lives. This series will overview that process and my initial findings.

Specifically, we will explore the current literature, theoretical understandings, and basic theories of narrative identity. I introduce fan studies and anime fan culture, discuss in detail interviews and events, and categorize my findings.

The Triad Framework is detailed, specific findings reported, and further directions discussed.

Series Contents

  1. Series Home (You’re looking at it)
  2. Questions, Definitions, and Directions
  3. A Brief Intro to Anime
  4. Fan Studies
  5. The Triad of Narrative Identity
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Chris Michaels

Storyteller. Researcher. Coder. Innovator. I seek to push the boundaries of storytelling and education.
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