Professor of Comparative and Japanese Literature
Comparative Literature Program
|Mailing Address||85 Mission Park Drive, Williamstown, MA 01267|
|Office||Hollander Hall 310|
|Spring Office Hours||Mon 9:00-10:00 and Fri 10:00-11:00|
|cbolton ＠ williams.edu|
I teach comparative and Japanese literature at Williams College, where I have an appointment in the Comparative Literature Program.
My research focuses on modern and contemporary Japanese literature and visual culture, particularly prose fiction and animation. My undergraduate training was in the sciences, and I am interested in the intersection and interaction between science and literature, especially the fuzzy boundaries of what we call literature and the ways that technology prompts us to rethink those boundaries. This includes the changing ways aesthetic theories have defined and delineated literature and criticism across times and cultures, the status of adaptations and reproductions vis-à-vis "original" works in postmodern culture, and the relationship between writing and visual media.
My books include Interpreting Anime (2018), and Sublime Voices, on the interplay between science and fiction in the work of the Japanese avant-garde writer Abe Kōbō (2009). I have also co-edited many volumes of criticism focused on anime and Japanese popular culture: Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams: Japanese Science Fiction from Origins to Anime (2007), and the first ten volumes of the Mechademia series, for work on Japanese anime, manga, and the fan arts (2006-2015).
The courses I teach include a range of Japanese literature courses in translation, as well as classes on comparative literature and literary theory. In 2018-2019 I am teaching Comp Lit's gateway world literature course, a seminar in 20th-century literary theory, a Japanese literature class on "the end of the world," and a new course on Japanese visual popular culture.
I am exploring visual and digital media not only as objects of analysis but also as vehicles for my own critical work and teaching. My efforts so far have included a virtual art museum inside the multi-user online world of Second Life, and a short animated film introducing concepts in poststructuralist literary theory.
A popular section of this site is "Japanese for Your Mac," which has information about working with Japanese on Macintosh computers.
The newest part this site is "Interpreting Anime," an introduction to my 2018 book on reading Japanese animated film.