Spring 2002 Speaker Series

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

January 23rd: Jon Goldberg-Hiller, Political Science
UH Manoa

The Limits to Union: Same-Sex Marriage and the Culture of Civil Rights
From the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education that held racially separate schools to be inherently unequal, to the 1999 decision by Vermont that civil unions provided a separate and equal institution to marriage for same-sex couples, the cultural understandings of civil rights have marked a curious odyssey. In this talk I present some aspects of the struggles over same-sex marriage in Hawai‘i during the 1990s in order to draw out and explain the dynamic cultural meanings of civil rights and the politics that surrounds them. My explanation of this dynamism draws on culturally flexible notions of social and political space as well as political sovereignty, ideas that can be traced in public language, political advertisements, and legal argumentation.

February 13th: Vilsoni Hereniko, Pacific Island Studies
UH Manoa

Talk Story: Fact, Fiction, and Faction
“Talk Story” is about the creative act of storytelling and the re-presentation of real-life experience in writing, as well as on stage and film. Using examples from my own work as a playwright, director, and filmmaker, I will discuss the act of re-presentation that challenges any claims of a separation between autobiography (factual), drama (fictional), documentary (factual), and feature film (fictional). If we are to experience authentic emotion in a re-presentation, facts have to be re-ordered, altered, even distorted, resulting in cultural productions that are never pure fact or fiction, but always a fusion of both. How then should these works be critiqued or evaluated?

* February 19th: Stanley Aronowitz, Education,
City University of New York

Higher Education Under Siege

* Special evening presentation
Tuesday, February 19, 2002, 7:30 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom

March 6th: John Rieder, English,
UH Manoa

Science Fiction and Colonialism
The emergence of science fiction as a distinct literary genre has usually been linked to industrialism and the increased importance of science in modern society. This talk will explore the hypothesis that exploration, colonization, and imperial domination of the non-Western world by Europe and America is even more crucial to the development of the genre. The presentation will focus on the plot of invasion from H. G. Wells to Octavia Butler.

March 20th: Diana Eades, Second Language Studies,
UH Manoa

Taken for a ride: understanding misunderstanding in the legal system

This paper focuses on the role of the misunderstanding of Aboriginal English ways of speaking in the disadvantage and discrimination suffered by Australian indigenous people in the legal system. Earlier studies on this theme, using an interactional sociolinguistics approach, have focused on the importance of differences in ways of speaking, and the need to promote awareness of these differences among legal professionals. This paper takes a more critical position, looking at the ways in which an understanding of these differences can be used to facilitate the misunderstanding of Aboriginal witnesses, in the pursuit of winning adversarial strategies. In examining the cross-examination of three Aboriginal young people in the Pinkenba case, this paper analyses the 'power in the discourse' in terms of the 'power behind the discourse' in Fairclough's [1989] terms. The analysis exposes details of how language is used in the courtroom as a successful weapon in a major situational, institutional and societal power struggle between the state and Aboriginal Australians.

April 3rd: S. Charusheela, Women’s Studies
UH Manoa
Marxism, Feminism and Modernism: The Question of Class and Culture
What is the relationship between class and culture in shaping women’s oppression in the non-West? Most analysts using a Marxist perspective answer this by focusing on women’s location within a nexus of global capital. Their analyses thus proceed by taking the logic of capitalist accumulation as their starting point. Based on this, Marxist-feminists have spent much time adapting and re-constituting classical Marxism’s analysis of capitalism from a feminist lens to provide their answer to this question. However, as many postcolonial critics have noted, though these efforts to reconstitute Marx’s analyses of capitalist exploitation from a feminist lens are useful, they are unable to provide an adequate analysis of non-Western women’s subordination under the contemporary global economic re-organization of production and distribution, especially in terms of how they treat ‘culture’ or ‘tradition.’ Unfortunately, the response to this has often been to bypass class as an economic category by replacing it with a (Western) notion of class as a cultural identity. Here, I examine some of the tangled inheritances of modernism that plague efforts to reconstitute Marxist feminist analyses of women’s exploitation by bringing together the insights of both Marxist and postcolonial/cultural studies traditions. By tracing four key embedded assumptions (transition, structural reproduction, subjectivity, and the nature of marginality) about the nature of economy in such analyses, the paper discusses how we can provide the initial basis for a postcolonial revisioning of Marxist-feminist analyses of the relationship between culture and economy.

April 17th: Judith Raiskin, Women's Studies University of Oregon
Telling Tales Out of School: Literary Resistances to Colonial Education
Colonial education systems have had a profound effect on colonized people the world over. This talk will address the resistance of novelists from the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands to the Euro-American epistemologies taught them and the colonial education systems that have violently erased indigenous knowledge. Contemporary women writers in particular have criticized the racism and sexism embedded in colonial education systems and have written in both comic and tragic terms about creating new systems that challenge colonial and indigenous systems of knowledge that restrict their full participation as cultural critics, intellectuals, and leaders. Authors such as Michelle Cliff, Jamaica Kincaid, Dionne Brand, Sia Figiel, Patricia Grace, and Lois-Ann Yamanaka describe alternative places of learning that prepare girls and women to ask and answer the questions that have been left out of classrooms that were designed to create colonial subjects, not citizens or leaders.

May 1st: Steve Derne, Sociology,

Cultural Globalization and the Reconstitution of Local Gender Arrangements in India and Fiji
This paper explores how globalization shapes the construction of masculinity among nationalist Indian men, filmgoing men in India and disasporic Indian men in Fiji. These men are often attracted to transnational media depictions of male violence as a basis of male identity. But transnational media celebrations of cosmopolitan lifestyles also give rise to anxieties about national identity. Men often handle these anxieties by rooting their own national identity in women's acceptance of food habits, clothing, and gender subordination that men regard as traditional.