Meet Paul Ocone

INDS B.A.: Anime and Manga Studies

A portrait of a young man with a goatee in a classroom

Fall 2022 Capstone

My INDS Degree

I was interested in an INDS major from even before I started my first semester: an interdisciplinary degree focused on a field of study not wholly represented by existing majors seemed ideal for the kind of idiosyncratic interests I have. (From the start, I wanted to do fan studies or anime studies as my degree, as I had been interested in understanding fandom for a while and had recently delved more into the scholarship around it.) My interest in INDS grew as I learned about the importance of interdisciplinary scholarship. I realized that an interdisciplinary approach was necessary for the research I wanted to do, and a major in anthropology or MCS or Asian studies would not encompass my whole plan of study.

Degree Mentors

  • Tomoko Hoogenboom,
    Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication
  • Julie Oakes, Honors College
  • Nicholas Welcome, Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health
  • Carrie Sauter, Individualized Study

Post Graduation Plans

I am applying to the Fulbright Program to do research in Japan, and I am also applying to doctoral programs in anthropology. I plan to complete a PhD in anthropology and hopefully enter academia. My INDS degree will continue to serve me through not only the focus on multiple disciplines but also on the skills and strategies I learned for integrating different disciplinary knowledge, which is essential for venturing into interdisciplinary fields such as anime and manga studies, fan studies, etc. Additionally, the experience I gained in creating and revising a detailed research plan and in executing the research will be invaluable for my future as a scholar.

Courses In My INDS Degree

Transcultural Fandom and Political Economy: These courses examine the systems that create and distribute media like anime, creating culture flows that can cross national boundaries. Because of cultural variations, the process of globalization can create unexpected challenges for media distribution and not all people will interpret media the same way. (ANTH 211, 382 / MCS 222, 333, 390)

Sexuality and Culture: One area of otaku culture I am especially interested in is sexuality, or how otaku become attracted to fictional characters and then perform this attraction. (SOCY 332 / ANTH 367 / GWST 380)

Research Methods: These courses cover research methods for the social sciences and media studies as well as key theories in social sciences, which provide frameworks and techniques I will use as I craft my capstone. (MCS 345, 399 / ANTH 400 / SOCY 619)

Japanese Language and Culture: Understanding Japanese language and culture is critical to my research at and especially beyond UMBC. Knowledge of the language and culture allows me to do fieldwork in Japan and create cross-cultural comparisons between Japanese and Western fan subcultures. This area of concentration corresponds with the Asian studies discipline that I am claiming in this degree proposal. (JPNS 201, 202, 301, 302 / MLL 317, 327)

Individualized Study: These courses give me a grounding in interdisciplinary thought and help me create research that transcends disciplinary boundaries, which is helpful as I study the complex problem of anime and otaku culture. In addition, they prepare me for the research I will be doing beyond UMBC. (INDS 330H, 335, 399, 430H, 480, 490)