Colloquium Series: Mire Koikari

April 16, 2010, 12:30pm-2pm, Saunders 624

Since the 1995 rape incident involving a 12- year old girl and three US marines in Okinawa, a trope of masculinized domination and feminized subjugation has shaped much of the feminist discussions of US-Okinawa relations. While such analysis offers a powerful tool of critique, postwar American domination in Okinawa has involved far more complex political dynamics. Drawing on Cold War Cultural Studies, Feminist Studies, and Okinawan Studies, this presentation explores how postwar militarization of Okinawa entailed not only violence and coercion but strategies involving gender, race, and transnationality in order to legitimize US imperialism in the age of decolonization. In the 1950s and 1960s, the US deployed discourses of multiculturalism, domestic reformism, and globalism so as to recast its imperial expansionism as an occasion for transnational familiality. In this context, the sphere of domesticity takes on significance, mobilizing US and Okinawan women to modernize (i.e., Americanize) “Okinawan home” to facilitate Okinawa’s successful assimilation to the “family of free nations.” By analyzing women’s reform activism in US-occupied Okinawa, this presentation examines Cold War national and imperial violence as intertwined with seemingly depoliticized practices of domestic reform and familial affinity/affiliation.

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