Fall 2021 Speaker Series

Fall 2021 Speaker Series: Wednesday Webinars


Manufacturing Fear: The Construction of a Political Identity on the Korean Right, 1987-2020 | Myungji Yang

This talk tackles broad questions about why some citizens vehemently resist pro-democratic changes and what fuels right-wing mobilization in South Korea. Drawing from ethnographic observation, in-depth interviews, and archival data, Yang aims to understand how the right has constructed its political identity and mobilized social support, and how its political practices have contributed to particular political outcomes during the post-authoritarian period (1987-present). Despite the arrival of electoral democracy in 1987 and changing geopolitical conditions, the Korean right has continued to deploy anti-communist rhetoric to condemn liberal progressive groups, accusing them of undermining the Republic of Korea. Exploring how right-wing elites and intellectuals capitalize on Cold War geopolitical contestation and glorify the national modernization projects of authoritarian regimes, this talk will demonstrate how the Korean right has constructed ideological and organizational infrastructures and maintained its hegemonic position in the post-authoritarian period. Yang’s research will broaden our understanding of the challenges and difficulties associated with the persistence of right-wing authoritarian legacies after democratic transitions. 

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Jined ilo Kobō [Our Mothers Forever] : Re-centering women in Marshall Islands Histories and Pacific Historiography | Monica LaBriola

Nearly thirty years ago, Teresia Teaiwa declared that the histories of Micronesia remained “deafeningly silent on women.” While some progress has been made since, Micronesian women remain acutely underrepresented in contemporary academic histories of the region. In this presentation, Monica LaBriola suggests that Micronesian—more specifically, Marshallese—oral traditions have an important role to play in re-centering women in histories of the region and in the development of Pacific historical methods that are more reflective of Indigenous historicities.

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Panel: Digital Bodies, Foreign Bodies and Sexualized Bodies: Creation of Anti-Bodies in the Era of COVID-19

Draft, ICS Lecture 4_Antibodies

Panel papers:

  • Digital Bodies: Cell Phone Data As Biopolitical Mechanism in COVID-19 Response | Ruel Mannette, Department of Philosophy, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  • Biopolitical Borders and Foreign Bodies: International Students in the United States | Manca Sustarsic, Department of Educational Foundations, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  • Sexualized Docile Body on Strike: Social Withdrawal and Suicide as the Underside of Biopolitical Practices of Schooling in Japan | Yuko Ida, Department of Educational Foundations, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Discussant: Joseph Tanke, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Panel Description:

This panel’s presentations draw upon Foucauldian concepts of biopolitics and governmentality, and Agamben’s idea of bare life, inclusion and exclusion, and the state of exception to discuss various biopolitical mechanisms across a wide range of contexts. Biopolitical discourses may produce digitalized bodies deprived of privacy, foreign bodies as a threat, and sexualized bodies on strike. Highlighting cases across the United States and Japan, the panelists use the metaphor of “anti-bodies” not only to expose various biopolitical apparatuses that create precarious social conditions of these bodies but also to shed light on various vulnerable subjectivities being produced as a result of such biopolitical practices. Moreover, the panelists argue that the rise of “anti-bodies” further perpetuates inequality and injustice in today’s world.

The first presentation explores the consequences and legitimacy of surveilling practices in the form of cell phone data during the Covid-19 pandemic, thereby questioning the concept of ‘privacy’ and ‘private.’ The second presentation examines the discourse and anti-immigrant policies of biopolitical borders and surveillance systems that portray international students in the United States as foreign bodies seen as a ‘threat’ to national security. The third presentation analyzes an unintended consequence of biopolitical practices in the schooling of Japan, arguing that the increasing number of social withdrawal (i.e., futoukou) and suicide among youth during the Covid-19 pandemic exemplifies the sexualized docile bodies being on strike against the “sexual body” (Foucault, 1978) of Japanese society – more than ever.

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skinflicks | Lisa Reihana Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūteauru, Ngati Hine, Ngāi Tūpoto

“The art world offered me a freedom as new forms video practice emerged, here was an opportunity to challenge and further late nineteen-eighties New Zealand society. My attempts to decolonize the visual language of that time led to questioning: what does it mean to be a first generation urban artist in Auckland, New Zealand – the largest Pacific city in the world? How does gender affect access to indigenous knowledge? I will share some of the resulting strategies in my attempt to both normalize and transcend ideas of what it is to be Māori.”

Through a pioneering practice combining photography, video and installation, Reihana’s philosophy is ‘making’ rather than ‘taking’. The collaborative nature of Reihana’s practice is made possible with the help of her family, numerous friends and fellow artists who appear in her portraiture photographs and ancestral narratives. Her work has been exhibited in museums, art galleries, and art festivals around the world.In 2017, she represented Aotearoa/ New Zealand at the Venice Biennale with Emissaries which included in Pursuit of Venus [Infected]. A retort to Josef Dufour’s 1804 French scenic wallpaper Les Sauvages De La Mer Pacifique, performers are superimposed upon Dufour’s whimsical Tahitian landscape, with vignettes that explore meetings between Polynesian ancestors and early European explorers. Historic characters such as Captain James Cook present glimpses into some of the darker ‘infected’ moments of those encounters.

This event is co-sponsored by the East-West Center Arts Program and UH Mānoa Department of Art and Art History. Hosted by Gaye Chan, UH Mānoa Department of Art and Art History.

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Disasters at Work | James Kraft

Factory fires, mine explosions, and other large-scale calamities have wreaked havoc on American workers and their families. Yet these tragic events have also inspired safety reforms that protected workers as well as the broader public, and thus partially compensated for death, suffering, and social dislocation. This paradoxical feature of modernity is the focus of a new book by James P. Kraft, Havoc and Reform: Workplace Disasters in Modern America (Johns Hopkins, 2021). In this talk, the author will discuss his book and explain how it challenges a powerful narrative that still shapes our collective memory.

Recording not permitted.


‘Sculpting in Time’: Michael Haneke’s Caché | Michael Shapiro

This essay, destined for a monograph journal issue on cultural studies and postcolonialism, is an  inquiry into the way visual arts intervene to disclose and unsettle perspectives on the inequalities within the metropolitan venues in which immigrant populations from former colonies dwell,  Mapping the historical context of the hegemonic structures that such interventions seek to challenge, the inquiry proceeds through a reading of Michael Haneke’s film Caché, which follows the Laurent family whose forgetfulness  of their personal memories of a wrong perpetrated on an Algerian foster child is an allegory for France’s willful amnesia about the Paris security forces October 1961 attack on Algerian demonstrators.