Spring 2001 Speaker Series

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

January 17: Kuan-Hsing Chen, Literature and Foreign Languages, National Tsing Hua University
"Club 51: The Culture of U.S. Imperialism"
Analyzing the "Club 51" which attempts to promote the possibility for Taiwan to be the 51st state of the U.S., this talk addresses wider questions involved in the "culture of U.S. imperialism" from the inside out, so as to account for the lack of study of the effects of imperialism in the East Asia region

January 31: Sankaran Krishna, Political Science, UH Manoa
"In One Inning: National Identity in Diasporic Times"
This paper centers around the figure of a Guyanese and West Indian crikceter named Shivnaraine Chanderpaul. Still in his 20's, Chanderpaul has established himself as one of the most reliable batsmen in the Carribean cricket team, and one of the premier batsmen in the world of cricket. As a cricketer of (East) Indian origin (his ancestors moved to British Guiana in the 19th century to work on the sugar plantations there), Chanderpaul's identity is complicated in interesting ways. Guyana has been in recent years wracked by ethnic tension between the Afro-Guyanese and the Guyanese Indians. When Chanderpaul played his inaugural test match at the Bourda Oval in the capital city of Georgetown, the crowd at the Bourda traversed through a whole series of identity positions in a matter of hours. Guyanese Indians were obviously keen to see their 'boy' come good while the Afro-Guyanese must have both wanted to see a local boy succeed and yet possibly unable to forget the ethnic tensions that surrounded the boundary of the cricket field. Through the figure of Shivnaraine Chanderpaul, this paper will attempt to map the multiple and dynamic trajectories of diasporic identity - and suggest that our territorially bounded practices of citizenship are too leaden-footed to match the dextrous footwork of a Guyanese- West Indian cricketer of East Indian origin.

February 21: Jonathan Kamakawiwo'ole Osorio, Hawaiian Studies, UH Manoa
"The Center for Hawaiian Studies: Navel Gazing and Speaking from the Piko"
An effective Hawaiian studies curriculum must deal with two conflicting realities. On one hand, there is a Native perspective that emerges from knowledge of, and pride in our own history, arts, and sciences. On the other hand, we send our graduates armed with this knowledge and perspective, as teachers into a public and private school system that is largely colonial and regards a Hawaiian-based education as alien, tourist related, or irrelevant. Indigenous studies like our own Center's must do more to reach and affect the thousands of children in Hawaiian language immersion schools and the tens of thousands of Hawaiians in the public school system. This colloquium will offer some ideological and practical suggestions

February 28: Laura Lyons, English, UH Manoa and Cynthia Franklin, English, UH Manoa
"Critical Appropriations: Native Resistance, Globalization and Cultural Production in Hawai'i"
In order to critique and counter the unproductive binary opposition between what is often called "nativist authenticity" and diasporic or poststructuralist forms of identity and community, this presentation considers two projects in Hawai'i that depend upon cultural mixings Joe Balaz's Electric Laulau and Hapa's In the Name of Love. In our analysis of these projects, we work to recognize the important place that they hold within the broadly nationalist and multi-faceted movement for sovereignty for Native Hawaiians. We are interested how this work, as it undoes the binary opposition upon which much hybridity theory rests, shows that the celebration of hybridity that characterizes a great deal of postcolonial theory is itself predicated on a reactionary and politically conservative form of essentialism. We argue that discourses of postcolonialism are often complicit in the erasure of indigenous cultural forms and political struggles. Moreover, while we recognize the imperative to account for the flows of people and cultural forms across national borders, we at the same time argue for renewed and closer attention in postcolonial studies to indigenous struggles within the U.S. that challenge its geographic borders.

March 14: Mari Yoshihara, American Studies, UH Manoa and Yujin Yaguchi, University of Tokyo, Japan
"Imagining, Consuming, and Narrating the Paradise: Cultural Politics of Japanese Tourism in Hawai'i, 1964-1990s"
When the restrictions on foreign travel for Japanese citizens were liberalized in 1964, approximately 35,000 Japanese--or 27% of total Japanese travelers abroad--visited Hawai'i. After this year, the number of Japanese visitors to Hawai'i increased steadily. The number of Japanese tourism in Hawai'i reached one million in 1987, and even after Japan's economic crash of the early 1990s Hawai'i remains by far the most popular foreign destination for Japanese tourists. This paper traces the history of popular Japanese discourse on Hawai'i and, more specifically, of Japanese tourism in the islands. By looking at the persistent as well as evolving mode of Japanese fascination with Hawai'i, we interrogate the cultural politics of the relationship among Japan, Hawai'i, and the continental U.S. The Japanese imaginary and discourse on Hawai'i are founded on several common characteristics: romanticization, feminization, and the consumption of the tropical "paradise." While these projections of idealized and commodified Hawai'i resemble Euroamerican discourses about Hawai'i and the Pacific islands, the Japanese imaginary is complicated by the context of the triangular relations--geopolitical, socioeconomic, as well as cultural--among Japan, the continental U.S., and Hawai'i. Two of the major groups of actors in this triangular relations--namely, Japanese immigrants and their descendants on the one hand and native Hawaiians on the other--have often been conveniently constructed, erased, or distorted in Japanese romanticization, feminization, and consumption of Hawai'i. Through such constructions, erasures, and distortions, Hawai'i for the Japanese has become a "familiar Other," which fulfills and mediates Japanese longing for the "paradise islands." After providing an historical overview of Japanese relations with Hawai'i, we will present a textual analysis of a contemporary Japanese travelogue of the islands--Ikezawa Natsuki's Hawaii Kiko - to examine the changing mode of the Japanese imaginary in the 1990s as well as the limitations of such a discourse

April 25: Houston Wood, English, Hawai'i Pacific University
"Navigating Cultural Studies in Oceania's Sea of Knowledge"
In the next few years, as cultural studies is being transformed into yet another of the many settler-dominated discourses institutionalized in these sea of islands, we have an opportunity to forge a different form of cultural studies, a form that encourages both indigenous and settler practitioners to work with others in the region in growing effective, lived alternatives to a continuing colonization now known as globalization. To create such a cultural studies for Oceania will require resisting the institutional pressures that seek to fold cultural studies into other fields, especially into 1) Pacific discourse studies, and/or 2) Pacific Island Studies, and/or 3) any of several other of the various Euroamerican disciplines (anthropology, communications, political science, sociology) and inter-disciplines (e.g. American Studies, Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies) that have established vested interests in "the study of Oceania." A cultural studies in and for Oceania will, simultaneously, resist pressures that it adopt "the scholastic attitude" and resist, too, using strategies developed within cultural studies manifestations on continents. An alternative cultural studies for Oceania will, instead, prominently embrace Oceanic theories, methods, epistemologies, peoples, and needs. Chances for success in sustaining such a project are not great, but the cultural studies for Oceania I envision will be concerned less with ends than with processes, particularly with processes that help expand Oceania's polyrhetorical sea of knowledges.

May 1: Deane Neubauer, Globalization Research Center, UH Manoa
"Globalization, Media and Culture"
The dynamics of contemporary globalization are associated with changes in the structure and nature of media that significantly impact the creation and transmission of cultural identity, symbols and artifacts. This talk explores some of these elements of cultural creation and change from the perspective of the dialectical nature of globalization processes. An analytical scheme for studying these phenomena is suggested.

May 2: Jorge Fernandes, Political Science, UH Manoa
"Ebola Takes to the Road: Mobilizing Virus in Defense of the Nation-State"
This paper uses the panic that attended Colette Mashimoseka’s arrival in Canada (for a time, Colette was Canada’s feared first case of Ebola), as a point of departure in an exploration of the West’s preoccupation with the "superbug." It maintains that texts such as the stories about Colette and films like Outbreak participate in the construction of a "wall of disease" aimed at shoring-up the nation-states’ borders. These texts transform nation-states from "imagined communities" premised on linguistic and cultural affinities to "imagined immunities" based on notions of a shared immunity. It argues that what is at play in narratives about Ebola, Lassa, HIV, and their fictional equivalents is a profound anxiety about the place of the nation-state as the locus proper of culture in the intensified global movement of populations and cultures.