Summer Travel Grant 2019 Recipient
Mattias van Ommen
PhD in Anthropology
With the support of EWCA, I was able to travel to Kyoto between August 5th and 12th of 2019. I attended two back-to-back conferences at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. I co-organized a panel on Japanese video games and how these have been received in Western locations for the first conference — by Digital Games Research Association, the largest global conference on video game studies. Marc Steinberg, leading scholar of Japanese popular culture and animation was one of the other presenters. I was able to meet him for the first time, and also met with many other scholars whose work I have read during my earlier stages of graduate school.
I also gave a presentation at a second, smaller conference in the same location, where I presented an anthropological account of foreign players in Japanese online video game communities. Through my research in both projects, I highlight the role of video games in enabling cross-cultural encounters, and some of the challenges this might bring. Being able to meet with many different academics over the course of the week, I increased my visibility as a serious scholar in the field with a specific focus (Japan, anthropology, games) that has so far been absent. I sincerely thank EWCA for helping me accomplish all of this.
Once again, mahalo for your kind support.