Fall 2003 Speaker Series
All presentations are free and open to the public

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

Presentations in this series consider popular media, including, but not limited to, newsprint, magazines, television, radio and the internet.


Wed. Sept. 3rd
Kathy Ferguson, Political Science, UHM
"This Species Which Is Not One:  Queering Identities in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"

The space station Deep Space 9, in the Star Trek series of that name, is a heterotopia hosting numerous individuals with plural identities.  Instead of a single, coherent self, these beings - shape shifters, joined species, mixed-species offspring, and others - inhabit multiple, shifting subjectivities that blur boundaries between male and female, between humans and other species, and between pasts, presents, and futures. These identities are suggestive models for viewers to reimagine ourselves outside of the tired binaries and naturalized bodies dominant in modern western culture. The limitations on the characters' movements within the Star Trek stories can also help us to understand the parallel limitations we face as we struggle to transform the identity categories that are readily available to us.

Wed. Sept. 17th
Chris Yano, Anthropology, UHM 
"Nikkei Gazing: Telegenic portraits of Japanese Americans"

This paper examines ways in which NHK’s 2002 asadora [morning serialized drama] “Sakura” becomes a site of narrative practices and readings surrounding Nikkeijin [persons of Japanese ancestry; shortened to Nikkei].  In Japan the show was broadcast from April through October 2002, with an audience viewership of approximately 23%, making it a fairly successful series.  The plot concerns a fourth-generation Nikkei woman from Hawai`i, significantly named Sakura (symbol of Japan), who spends one year in Japan teaching English at a private middle school.  In the process, she becomes “more Japanese than most Japanese,” championing Japanese values, expressing fondness for things Japanese, and exhibiting that central feature of Japaneseness, kokoro (heart, mind, spirit).  In this paper, I analyze this and other portrayals of Nikkei within “Sakura” as forms of ideology set forth by a statist institution, NHK.  I ask, what is the work that these portraits intend?  How do Nikkei, as prodigal Japanese, become exemplars of what Japan has lost?  Furthermore, how is this white-collar, female American Nikkei portrayed differently from the blue-collar, primarily male South American Nikkei now resident in Japan?

* TUES. Sept. 30th
Theo Gonzalves, American Studies, UHM
"Seditious Play: Theorizing Filipino/American Cultural Forms"

Professor Theo Gonzalves discusses aspects of his research on Filipino American performing arts over the twentieth century.  He provides an account of the invention of folkloric dance in the Philippines in the 1920s through university-sponsored research.  Gonzalves also analyzes the reinvention of Philippine folkloric forms in the United States by generations of U.S.-based students.  The lecture suggests critical approaches to contemporary cultural studies between the Philippines and the Americas, and the study of the presence and absence of social movements.

Wed. Oct. 15th
Scherie Kaneshiro, Education, UHM
"The Selling of Masculinity in the Saint Louis School Recruitment Commercial"

Saint Louis School (Honolulu, Hawai‘i) is a Catholic school currently educating males in grades 6-12.  During the 2000-2001 academic year, a school team began a campaign to revitalize the school and to improve its public image. The following year, a new set of recruitment commercials began airing in mid-September.  The ad campaign's intent to recruit students to the school was not accomplished through the promotion of academic excellence but rather through the selling of "legitimate" masculinity.  This presentation will be an analysis of the two commercials.

Wed. Oct. 29th
Teri Skillman-Kashyap, Ethnomusicology, UHM
"Captured Images, Unsilenced Voices! The Re-voicing of Hula Dancers' Appropriated Photographs""

Hula dancers have been subjected to the Western gaze and commodified through visual mediums since Captain Cook's penetration into the Hawaiian Islands in 1778.  The subsequent "scientific documentation" of Hawaiian hula began first as drawings in the ships' logs, and led to photographic images that were composed by photographers for consumption by the Western viewer on touristic paraphernalia.  Invariably, the majority of photographers were white males.  This gaze continues to impact the photographs of hula dancers even in the 21st century.  With the Hawaiian cultural renaissance (circa 1970), a new wave of commodification of dancers' images taken at hula festivals and competitions emerged.  There are numerous stories in the hula community of dancers accidentally finding their own photographs on wall calendars and greeting cards without their permission.  On the other hand, numerous coffee table books focus on a photographer's nostalgic view of hula kahiko continuing the orientalist trend of constructing an image through the Western lens.  The goal of this capstone project is to research instances of appropriation of hula dancers' personal images and the commodification of traditional cultural knowledge in the photographic medium.  Using the theoretical framework of Culture Studies writings on representation and identity along with papers that address the legal issues of intellectual and cultural property rights and copyright, I work with members of the hula community to present their stories and to seek a path for resolution of the losses.  The outcome of the project will be an exhibit that will reverse the gaze.  Developed through collaboration with kumu hula and `ölapa who have experienced the appropriation of their images in commercial print, the purpose is to open a space for discussion, to give hula dancers the opportunity to reclaim their voices that were silenced by the appropriation, and to move the issue forward in a positive way by listening to the practitioners advice for resolution of this continuing conflict.

Wed. Nov. 12th
Ruth Hsu, English, UHM
"The Art of War: 9/11, Corporate Media and the Death of Liberalism (RIP?)"

Is this the way in which the United States’ experiment in democracy will end – gradually, without fanfare, because most of the population are on autopilot, going about our usual lives believing that the Republic is fundamentally sound, and that the “independent” media will keep us informed and safe. In the past two years, the Bush administration has waged the perfect war against the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, women, racial minorities and indigenous peoples around the globe. The media/press enabled this successful campaign within the U.S. partially through deft manipulation of images of 9/11 and the aftermath.  Yet, the media and press could not have done it without the liberals’ who helped to create the gradual erosion of and the loss of faith in liberalism in the past two decades. The popular media are a part of the current moral crisis.  This presentation will analyze the successful media and press campaign waged to convince the United States that the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq was just. In addition, the presentation will examine the role that people of color played, via the media, in the neocons’ campaign, and the implications of the current moral crisis on indigenous resistance movements. Perhaps, liberalism as it has evolved over the past few decades should rest in peace? If so, what needs to take its place?

Wed. Nov. 26th
Andrew Arno, Anthropology, UHM
"Street Construction: Policy Talk on American Television"

In this talk I will look at policy as a distinct dimension of rules, and policy talk as an identifiable part of rule formation and assertion discourse.  Policy talk, as a specialized form of political rhetoric, is an attempt to create a shared vision of a rule's universe of application, and it is a prominent part of political communication on television--especially news and CSPAN hearings.  I want to critique this form of talk as ethnographic (or perhaps a kind of ethnographic futurism) discourse, suggesting that anthropological concerns with ethnographic ethics, validity, and so on, can be applied to television policy talk. I will refer a bit to the debates between Hart and Dworkin about rules and principles, and between Habermas and Luhmann about political communication.

Wed. Dec. 10th
Earl Jackson Jr., English, University of California, Santa Cruz
"The Technosubjective Politics of the Multi-Personality Disorder Psycho Project"
MPD-Psycho is a multi-media project under the direction of manga-writer, novelist, and cultural critic Otsuka Eiji. Originally a manga-series now in eight volumes, Otsuka has also written four novels and the screenplay for the TV-mini series, directed by Miike Takashi. Otsuka published his screenplay under the title "MPD Psycho- REAL" [English in the original] and commissioned Taiwanese writer Hui Yujan to write a three-volume novelization of the television drama under the English title, "MPD-Psycho: FAKE," which includes interludes by Shiragura Yumi (who is also responsible for the spin-off novel, "Lolita C's Temperature" and the radio-play MPD-Psycho"). I will examine the configurations and contradictions generated among the texts and media with a particular focus on the relations that obtain among technology, representational practices, subjectivity, and the politics that inform and circumscribe them. I will provide English-language guides to the textual universe at least two weeks prior to the presentation.  For anyone who would like to view a text with similar concerns that has been marketed with English language subtitles, I recommend the anime, PERFECT BLUE (Kon Satoshi 2000)..