Fall 2001 Speaker Series

Time: Every other Wednesday, 12 pm
Place: East-West Center, Burns 2118

September 5th: Mark Helbling, American Studies, UH Manoa
"The Response of African Americans to Lindbergh's Flight to Paris"
On May 21, 1927 at 10:24 pm. Charles Lindbergh gently touched down on French soil, the first person to fly the Atlantic alone. Immediately, the world had a new hero--mobbed wherever he went, the recipient of thousands of letters and poems, the inspiration for popular as well as classical music. But what, exactly, Lindbergh meant to his generation and subsequent generations has remained a source of interest and controversy. This paper will address what has essentially been ignored in the scholarship on Charles Lindbergh (1) the response of African Americans to his historic flight and (2) methodological issues in constructing this response.

September 27th: Arindam Chakrabarti, Philosophy,
UH Manoa

"Novelty and the ‘Native Informer’: Cross-Cultural Studies and the Risk of Epistemic Exploitation"
The facts that an ancient land could turn into "the new world" and English translations of old Asian texts still claim creditable originality while the home traditions of the text appear moribundly old show that the concept of "novelty' deserves a responsible political semantic analysis. This talk by a philosophy-teacher (blissfully ignorant of postcolonial theory) will first problematize the concept of NOVELTY from hermeneutic, logical and ontological points of view. It will then go on to give a few examples of the continued "use" of traditional South Asian scholars by Western "Asianists", commenting on the growing but still inadequate awareness that such 'cultural exchanges' may turn out to be forms of epistemic exploitation.

October 3rd: Guobin Yang, Sociology,
UH Manoa

"The Internet and the Rise of a Transnational Chinese Cultural Sphere"
Starting with a broad conception of public sphere, this paper analyzes the nature, dynamics and political functions of online Chinese cultural spaces, particularly newsgroups, online magazines, and bulletin board systems. Although these spaces are located both in and outside of China, the global nature of the Internet gives them a transnational character. The dominant language of communication in these spaces is Chinese and the "publics" are drawn from what Tu Wei-ming calls "Cultural China." Analysis based on ethnographic data reveals the size and diversity of these spaces as well as their similarities, differences, and connections. Further analysis shows that these online spaces have had visible influences on transnational politics and civil society in China. The picture that emerges from this analysis is that of a transnational Chinese cultural sphere. The paper concludes with a discussion of three key conditions of its emergence exploitation.

October 17th: Naoko Shibusawa, History,
UH Manoa

"A No-No Boy?: Tomoya Kawakita and the Meaning of Loyalty"
This presentation explores the case of the other Japanese American convicted of treason for collaborating with the Japanese during World War II. While many have heard about "Tokyo Rose," an alias attributed to Iva Toguri d'Aquino, few Americans recall Tomoya Kawakita.Kawakita spent the war years in Japan like Toguri and allegedly abused American POWs at a nickel mine where he served as an interpreter. Returning to California after the war, he was enrolled at USC when an ex-POW identified him at a Sear department store in downtown LA and was brought to trial in 1947. Tried at a time when American media valorized the all-nisei100/442 Regimental Combat Team and increasingly touted Japan as America's "junior ally" in the Cold War, Kawakita's case provided a space in the public discourse to continue talking about punishing or avenging Japanese (American) treachery. By focusing on Kawakita, this paper will analyze how notions of masculinity, ethnicity, and patriotism were mutually constitutive during a postwar era of heightened anxiety about national loyalty.

October 31st: Noel Jacob Kent, Ethnic Studies,
UH Manoa

"South Africa and Hawai‘i: The Rainbow ideal in the Era of Global Capital and George W."
This South Africa and Hawai‘i are two societies which currently embrace the "Rainbow" ideal of diverse, multicultural populations living within one political unit in mutual respect and empowerment. The burden of history, however, weighs heavily on both sites, as does the political-economy context in which the "Rainbow" must survive, the era of Globalization andGeorge W.

November 14th: Ty Kawika Tengan, Anthropology,
UH Manoa

"Kanaka ‘Oiwi, People of the Bone: Repatriation, Identity and Mana"
This talk will contextualize present-day conflicts over iwi (ancestral remains) and moepu (funerary objects) in the longer history of struggles for power and mana in Hawai'i. It is by looking to the words of our kupuna (ancestors) that contemporary ‘Oiwi (indigenous Hawaiians) may better understand and practice their kuleana as “People of the Bone,” and in so doing add to the re-empowerment of our people as a whole.

November 28th: Reshela DuPuis, International Studies,

Practical Politics of Engaged Cultural Studies: Researching Political Ritual"
Maori activist/scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith has recently called on academic researchers to enact appropriate practices of investigation and publication based on culturally sensitive considerations of the indigenous communities within which they work. DuPuis’ talk will discuss the possibilities and problematics of doing research in Hawai‘i in this way, using her work on a women's political ritual that took place at Queen Lili‘uokalani’s Uluhaimalama Garden in 1894, and on a local community-based documentary video about that ritual that was produced in 1983. Her talk will address the ways in which the concept of pono practice can have direct and immediate benefits for the members of the community with whom a researcher works, as well as for the research itself and the academic more personally. She will also comment on the criticism this type of approach has generated within the traditional academy and will discuss possible responses to such criticism based on her work with both Native Hawaiians and non-natives she has interviewed during her research.

December 5th: Special Panel
Geoffrey White, Anthropology, UH Manoa
Jon Goss, Geography, UH Manoa
Marie Thorsten, International Studies, Macalester College
Yujin Yaguchi, American Studies, University of Tokyo
Moderator: Mari Yoshihara, American Studies, UH Manoa

"Disney’s Pearl Harbor: Critical Readings and Receptions"
The film "Pearl Harbor," premiered by Disney Studios on the deck of an aircraft carrier in May this year, created another surge of interest in Pearl Harbor and its significance as a "turning point" in American history. Despite generally negative critical reviews, the film is the latest in a longer genealogy of Pearl Harbor films that has exerted considerable influence on popular conceptions of history, war, and the nation. This panel offers critical reflection on the politics and poetics of this latest film as well as its significance in wider spheres of American and Japanese popular culture. It is argued that these readings are more relevant than ever in light of recent invocations of Pearl Harbor in discussions of the September 11 attacks. The panel includes four presentations: on the production and promotion of the film (White), on reception of the film in Japan (Yaguchi), the relationship between Pearl Harbor and discourses of the nation (Thorsten/White) and on the most critically acclaimed Pearl Harbor film, From Here to Eternity (Goss).