Professor of Comparative and Japanese Literature
Comparative Literature Program
|Mailing Address||85 Mission Park Drive, Williamstown, MA 01267|
|Office||Hollander Hall 310|
|Fall Office Hours||Virtual, by appointment|
|cbolton ＠ williams.edu|
I teach comparative and Japanese literature at Williams College, which I joined in 2003. 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 relationship between media, and the status of adaptations and reproductions in postmodern culture.
My books include Interpreting Anime (2018), and Sublime Voices: Science and Fiction in the Work of 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).
At Williams I teach courses on Japanese literature in translation as well as classes on comparative literature and literary theory. In 2020-21 I am teaching Comparative Literature's gateway course in world literature, a survey of Japanese film, and a seminar in 20th-century literary and critical theory.
I am exploring visual and digital media not only as objects of analysis but also as vehicles for my own critical work and teaching. I am now curating an art exhibition focused on Japanese popular culture at the Williams College Museum of Art, scheduled to open in summer 2021. My past efforts 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 of this site is "Interpreting Anime," an introduction to my 2018 book on reading Japanese animated film.