University of Hawai'i / East-West Center

International Cultural Studies Certificate Program






Keynote Address


Paper Abstract

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Conference Date: 9.27.02 - 9.28.02

The purpose of this conference is to explore intellectual dialogues, critical intersections, and regional alliances between the fields of cultural studies and various area studies programs. In doing so, the conference hopes to initiate a series of conversations, and contestations over what is at stake in current debates on globalization, identity and indigeneity.

9.27.02 at 5:00pm - 6:30pm, Center for Hawaiian Studies

Dr. Ien Ang, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney

"Beyond Identity: Cross-cultural Communication in a Fundamentalist World"


9.28.02 at 8:30am - 8:45am, Koi Room, Imin Center


9.28.02 at 9:00am - 10:30pm, Koi Room, Imin Center

Dr. Pheng Cheah, Rhetoric Department, University of California, Berkeley

"Bringing into the home a stranger far more foreign: Human Rights and the Global Traffic in Domestic Labour"


Dr. S. Krishna, Political Science, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Dr. Jon Okamura, Ethnic Studies, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Chair: Dr. Jon Goss, Geography, University of Hawai'i at Manoa


9.28.02 at 10:45am - 12:15pm, Koi Room, Imin Center

Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Departments of American Studies and Anthropology , Wesleyan University

"Political Ambiguity and Ambivalence: The Multiplicity of Hawaiian Sovereignty Claims and the Struggle for Meaningful Autonomy"


Dr. Nevzat Soguk, Political Science, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Dr. Paul Schroeder, Languages and Literatures of Europe and the Americas, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Chair: Dr. Terence Wesley-Smith, Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai'i at Manoa


9.28.02 at 1:30pm - 3:00pm, Koi Room, Imin Center

Dr. Marcia C. Stephenson, Department of Spanish Director of Women's Studies, Purdue University

"Elaborating a Decolonial Imaginary: Indigenous Women in Transnational Dialogue"


Dr. Julie Kaomea, School of Education, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Dr. Noenoe Silva, Department of Political Science, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Chair: Dr. Joy Logan, Languages and Literatures of Europe and the Americas


9.28.02, at 3:15pm - 4:45pm, Koi Room, Imin Center

Dr. Ien Ang
Dr. Pheng Cheah
Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui
Dr. Marcia C. Stephenson

Moderator: Dr. Geoff White, Anthropology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

This conference is made possible with the support of the UH Humanities Endowment Fund, the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and the “Moving Cultures”/Ford Foundation project in the School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies.

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Ien Ang is a Professor of Cultural Studies and Director of the Centre for Cultural Research at the University of Western Sydney. She has published numerous books, including Desperately Seeking the Audience (1991), Living Room Wars (1996) and On Not Speaking Chinese: Living between Asia and the West (2001).

Pheng Cheah teaches 18th-20th century Continental Philosophy, critical theory and postcolonial theory in the Rhetoric Department at the University of California, Berkeley. He has recently completed a book, Spectral Nationality (for Columbia University Press), and is working on another on global financialization, human rights and the inhuman (for Harvard U.P.). He has recently co-edited Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation (Minnesota UP, 1998) and special issues of Diacritics on "Irigaray and the Political Future of Sexual Difference" (with Elizabeth Grosz, Spring 1998) and "Grounds of Comparison: Around the Work of Benedict Anderson" (with Jonathan Culler, Winter 1999)

Jon Goss's main area of publication (at present) is in the geography of popular culture, particularly analyzing landscapes of shopping, tourism and film. These research interests are incorporated into his undergraduate classes on Culture and the Environment, the Geography of Film, and Urban Geography. He is presently working on a co-authored book on The Geography of Consumption which will bring together some of these interests. Currently, Dr. Goss is the director for the UH/EWC International Cultural Studies Certificate Program.

Julie Kaomea is a Native Hawaiian assistant professor in the College of Education here at the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa. Her areas of specialization are indigenous education and decolonizing research methodologies. Julie’s recent articles include “A curriculum of aloha? Colonialism and tourism in Hawai‘i’s elementary textbooks” and “Dilemmas of an indigenous academic: A Native Hawaiian story.”

J. Kehaulani Kauanui teaches at the Center for the Americas at Wesleyan University as an Assistant Professor in American Studies and Anthropology.  Her articles appear in The Contemporary Pacific, Pacific Studies, Women's Studies International Forum, Amerasia Journal, and the Political and Legal Anthropological Review.  She is currently guest-editing a selection of essays that focus on Pacific Islanders in the United States for a special issue of Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies.  And, with Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard, she is guest-editing a special issue of Pacific Studies which will feature "Women Writing Oceania: Weaving the Sails of  Waka."

S. Krishna's work so far has centered on nationalism, ethnic identity and conflict, identity politics, and postcolonial studies, located primarily around India and Sri Lanka. I am currently working on some essays dealing with the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, the culture of Indian foreign policy making, the silent presence of race in discourses of international relations, diasporic forms of Indian nationalism, and other eclectic topics. Currently, Dr. Krishna is chairman of the Department of Political Science and assuming he survives that (and other such catastrophes), helooks forward to many years with his affable colleagues in one of the loveliest places on this planet.

Jon Okamura is a social anthropologist in the Ethnic Studies Department at UH Manoa where he teaches courses on Japanese in Hawai'i, Filipinos in Hawai'i, Asian Americans, and ethnic identity.  He is the author of Imagining the Filipino American Diaspora:  Transnational Relations, Identities and Communities and editor of the forthcoming The Japanese American Contemporary Experience in Hawai'i.

Paul Schroeder was born and raised in Puerto Rico, in a mixed German and Puerto Rican household where English was the lingua franca.  He recently joined the University of Hawaii from Stanford University, where he received his Ph.D. in Spanish.  His first book, on Cuban filmmaker Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, was published by Routledge Press in 2002.  Currently, he's working on a history of Latin American film, and teaches Latin American literature and film in the Department of Languages and Literatures of Europe and the Americas at UH-Manoa.

Noenoe Silva was born on Oahu and is of Kanaka Maoli descent. In 1999, she completed her doctorate in political science at the University of Hawaii. Her dissertation was a re-examination of Hawaiian historiography using Hawaiian language sources that documented and analyzed the resistance of Kanaka Maoli to the U.S. taking of their nation.  In Fall 2001, Dr. Silva joined the faculty of the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa as an assistant professor specializing in Hawaii and indigenous politics. She continues to teach courses in Hawaiian language as well.  At the moment, Dr. Silva is completing a book based on her dissertation to be published by Duke University Press; the working title is Aloha Aina:  Native Hawaiian Resistance and Persistence. Other current projects include compiling and analyzing the letters written in Hawaiian by the patient-inmates of the Hansen’s disease settlement at Kalaupapa, Molokai, and researching 19th century political philosophy written in Hawaiian by Kanaka Maoli authors.

Terence Wesley-Smith, a political scientist with degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Hawai‘i, has been with the Center for Pacific Islands Studies for more than fifteen years. He writes and teaches about contemporary issues in the region, with a particular interest in development, the impact of globalization, and the political economy of mining in Papua New Guinea. As graduate chair he is responsible for curriculum development and handles much of the student advising. He usually teaches the MA program’s introductory seminar, PACS 691 Approaches to Pacific Islands Studies. DrWesley-Smith is associate editor of The Contemporary Pacific, and director of the Ford Foundation-funded Moving Cultures project, which seeks innovative ways of teaching and learning about the Asia-Pacific region.

Nevzat Soguk specializes in international relations theory, international organizations, and comparative politics.  Most broadly, his research is guided by an interest in critical international relations theory, especially those aspects centering on the state, the global, and transnational processes of governance, economic, political, and cultural identity constructions and international migration.  Currently, Dr. Soguk focuses on those processes that produce refugees and migrants as people lacking authorized space and examines howthis production becomes instrumental to transformations of the modern state. Human rights, international political economy, and indigenous politics are also strong interests.

Marcia C. Stephenson is an Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Purdue University. She served as Interim Director of Women's Studies from 2000-2002, and Associate Director from 1998-2000. Her research interests include Latin American literary and cultural studies with an emphasis on the intersections of race and gender in the Andean region. Dr. Stephenson's book Gender and Modernity in Andean Bolivia received the A.B. Thomas Award for Excellence in 2000. Currently, she is working on a book project focused on the indigenous counterpublic sphere in Bolivia.

Geoff White received his PhD from the University of California, San Diego in 1978. At San Diego, Dr. White discovered the Pacific and began research in the Solomon Islands where he has been working off and on ever since. Currently, Dr. White is a halftime professor in the department and halftime Senior Fellow at the East-West Center. Other hats that he wears include President of the Society for Psychological Anthropology, affiliate faculty with the Certificate Program in International Cultural Studies, and member of the editorial board of The Contemporary Pacific.  General interests: the politics and ideology of culture; historical discourse; war memory; culture, self, and emotion; ethnographic methods; Pacific Island societies; America. He was the co-director for the UH/EWC International Cultural Studies Certificate Program from 1998 - 2001.

Ming-Bao Yue's research focus is on cultural identity in 20th century Chinese literature and film; the construction of "Chineseness" in Asian-American literature; diasporic consciousness in travel and exile literature; post-colonial liteature in Aisa; multiculturalism in Europe; theories of ideology and representation; feminism and psychoanalysis; film criticsm; cultural studies. She was the co-director for the UH/EWC International Cultural Studies certificate program from 1998 - 2001.

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"Bringing into the home a stranger far more foreign": Human Rights and the Global Traffic in Domestic Labour"

The growing spate of writing about globalization in recent years has prompted many questions about its impact on a whole series of other phenomena. This paper explores the relation between globalization, gender and human rights. One of the central problems with the practical discourse of universal human rights is that its validity is compromised by the fact that we live in a world order made up of nation-states that are supposed to possess absolute sovereignty. The idea of cultural or group rights is almost always deployed to corroborate the doctrine of state sovereignty when this is asserted to circumvent the enforcement of existing quasi-legal mechanisms for the protection of universal human rights. Because gender relations or the status of women within a culture is a salient marker of cultural rights, the idea of cultural rights is often contested by feminist human rights groups on the grounds that it legitimises the victimisation of women by "traditional" patriarchal cultures.

According to the liberal narrative of globalisation, the liberalisation of world trade and the globalisation of production in the post-Cold War era is conducive to the world-wide institutionalisation of universal human rights because (i) the global spread of market mechanisms is necessarily accompanied by the spread of democratic culture, and (ii) the introduction of a "modern" mode of production causes the erosion of traditional Gemeinschaft-type social structures in which the rights of the rational individual are sacrificed to habitual collective duty. In the current academic climate where nationalism is automatically dismissed as a right-wing patriarchal ideology, this is a widely-accepted account of globalisation: globalisation is good and national parochialism is bad for human rights and women's human rights. We see the same narrative in academic cultural studies in Arjun Appadurai's argument for a postnational global order as well as in policy in the entrepreneurial or corporatist internationalism that informs large sections of the Beijing Conference's Platform of Action (1995). This paper offers a less sanguine account of the relationship between globalisation, and women's human rights in the postcolonial South by looking at the human rights of female overseas migrant workers within rapidly industrialising Southeast Asia. It argues the aporias of development indicate that the human being qua possessor of the right to human rights is not, in the primary instance, the victim, alienated originator, and then resistant subject who is opposed to the inhuman forces of neocolonial capital. The human being is instead the differance inscribed within the inhuman force field that it seeks to transcend.

"Political Ambiguity and Ambivalence: The Multiplicity of Hawaiian Sovereignty Claims and the Struggle for Meaningful Autonomy"

Is full political decolonization appropriate for Hawai`i? Is it appropriate for Hawaiians? These two questions are not one in the same. This paper will examine two different initiatives: Senator Akaka's current proposal before the U.S. Congress for federal recognition of Hawaiians as a nation-within a nation and the counter-claim of Hawai`i's entitlement to full decolonization and independence under international law. In the Hawaiian movement today, there are multiple levels of ambiguity about these two claims as evidenced in the strategic invocation of both. The persistent maintenance of the dual claim reveals a particular sort of political ambivalence, which will be explored as a formative neocolonial predicament facing Hawaiians in the twenty-first century.

"Elaborating a Decolonial Imaginary: Indigenous Women in Transnational Dialogue"

My paper will examine how, in the case of "hemispheric Latin America," decolonial studies by and about indigenous peoples insistently foreground the critical relationship between the ongoing struggle for territorial rights and an autonomous epistemological specificity… In the context of the continuing violence of (neo)colonial relations expressed most recently through escalating globalization and repressive neoliberal reform, indigenous peoples of the Americas argue that the ethno-political struggle for the right to autonomous material and symbolic spaces of cultural reproduction and representation is a struggle for survival itself. Turning to the organizational efforts of Aymara intellectuals in Bolivia during the past two decades, I examine their increasing involvement in the transnational indigenous movement and its relation to the ongoing struggle to retain indigenous territory in the Andean context. In some cases, greater access to information technology such as the internet, recent advances in human rights theory to include the rights of "a people," and (inter)national meetings and conferences have enabled indigenous peoples to take their struggles beyond national boundaries with the desire to construct and fortify alternate forums of political and cultural identification (cf. Varese 1996). Most importantly, as Andean intellectuals María Eugenia Choque Quispe and Guillermo Delgado have recently argued, indigenous women leaders play a vital role in the transformation and strengthening of the transnational indigenous movement. With these latest efforts, indigenous women have increasingly taken on a public role by reclaiming and redefining their experiences in their own terms. This systematic gender analysis means that indigenous women's struggles take place on many fronts, including challenging male-only leadership, the right to education, and access to better health care, among other issues (Choque and Delgado 2000). Of particular relevance is the active role indigenous women are taking when they examine their cultural traditions in order to reclaim the authority and leadership roles that they once had. The collective analysis of an adage such as "Qhari sapa ma atinmanchu" or "males are incapable by themselves" is one illustration of the way by which indigenous women "renarrativize their search for power" (6). As a result of this experience, indigenous women demand equal, horizontal relations of power within local, national and transnational organizations.

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