Spring 2012 Events

"Citizenship in Japan and the U.S."

Dialectical Images of History After Fukushima: Cold War Amnesia and the Transpacific Anti-Nuclear Counter-Citizenry

A Lecture by Dr. Lisa Yoneyama

Thursday, March 1
6:00pm, Berman Hall in Fromm

In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, we have witnessed a proliferation of knowledges that are deeply critical of the Cold War U.S.-Japan relations. They expose how the power elites of the two countries collaborated intimately to promote the “Atoms for Peace” programs across the Pacific. Yet throughout the post-World War II years the civic discourse critical of the nuclear has repeatedly, albeit in vain, gestured toward the evils of the Cold War love affairs between the United States and Japan. What has allowed the amnesia to persist so powerfully to the extent that we must continue to this day to relearn the history of such complicity? This paper discusses the mechanism of forgetting and then identifies within the dialectical images of history deployed in the post-3.11 anti-nuclear civic protests a possibility for fundamental shifts in the Cold War transpacific formations of which the nuclear conglomeration has been an integral part. 

"Tears of the Earth" (Photographic slide show about human struggles in post-quake Japan, by photographer Satoshi Ueda) will be viewed at this event.  For more information about "Tears of the Earth", please go to http://artworkage.com/tsunami/index.html.

Dr. Lisa Yoneyama received her B.A. in German Language Studies and M.A. in International Relations at Sophia University, Tokyo, and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Stanford University, California. Prior to joining the University of Toronto, she taught Cultural Studies and U.S.-Japan Studies at University of California, San Diego, where she also served as Director in Japanese Studies and Critical Gender Studies Programs.  Her research interests center on the memory politics concerning war and colonialism, issues related to gender and militarism, and the cultural dimensions of transnationalism, neo-colonialism, and nuclearism, as well as the Cold War and post-Cold War U.S. relations with Asia. Dr. Yoneyama was born in the United States and received her primary and secondary education in Kyoto, Japan. Some of her acclaimed publication includes: Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space and the Dialectics of Memory (University of California, 1999) which examined the politics of remembering and forgetting the Japanese history of colonialism, the Asia-Pacific War and the atomic destruction of Hiroshima,  Violence, War, Redress: The Politics of Multiculturalism (Boryoku senso, ridoresu: tabunkashugi no poritikusu) was published in Japanese from Iwanami Shoten, 2003, and  a co-edited book, Perilous Memories: Politics of Remembering the Asia-Pacific War(s) (Duke University Press, 2001).  Dr. Yoneyama is currently working on a third single-authored book project, tentatively titled, Cold War Ruins: Feminism, Colonialism, and the Americanization of Justice, in which she critically explores Cold War management of knowledge and the questions of justice, transnational feminism, anti-colonialism, and the location of Asian America.

**This event is co-sponsored by the Japan Policy Research Institute at USF Center for the Pacific Rim.**


Total War and National Belonging: Japanese as Americans and Koreans as Japanese in WWII

A Lecture by Dr. Takashi Fujitani

Monday, March 5
6:00pm, Maraschi Hall in Fromm

This talk examines the ways in which understandings of national belonging in the US and Japan began to shift dramatically in response to the need to mobilize minorities and colonial subjects for total war. Focusing especially on the cases of Japanese Americans and Koreans within the Japanese empire, Professor Fujitani argues that the US and Japan became increasingly alike during the course of the war, most tellingly in their common attempts to disavow racism even as they reproduced it in new forms. Racism did not disappear, he will argue, but changed in ways that continue to impact understandings of race and national belonging on both sides of the Pacific today. While noting significant differences in the postwar situations of minorities and former colonial subjects in the US and Japan, he suggests that in terms of the management of race, the conventional tendency to draw similarities between Japan and Nazi Germany during WWII needs to be reexamined.

Dr. Takashi Fujitani is the Dr. David Chu Professor and Director in Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Toronto. His research focuses especially on modern and contemporary Japanese history, East Asian history, Asian American history, and transnational history (primarily U.S./Japan and Asia Pacific). Much of his past and current research has centered on the intersections of nationalism, colonialism, war, memory, racism, ethnicity, and gender, as well as the disciplinary and area studies boundaries that have figured our ways of studying these issues. He is the author of Splendid Monarchy (UC Press, 1996; Japanese version, NHK Books, 1994; Korean translation, Yeesan Press, 2003) and Race for Empire: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Koreans in WWII (UC Press, 2011; Japanese version forthcoming from Iwanami Shoten); co-editor of Perilous Memories: The Asia Pacific War(s) (Duke U. Press, 2001); and editor of the series Asia Pacific Modern (UC Press). He has held grants and fellowships from the John S. Guggenheim Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, Stanford Humanities Center, Social Science Research Council, Institute for Research in Humanities at Kyoto U, Humanities Research Institute at UC Irvine, University of California President's Research Fellowship in the Humanities, American Philosophical Society, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard U, and other institutions. He has served on numerous editorial and institutional boards including for the International Journal of Korean History, Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, Japanese Studies, University of California Press, Stanford Humanities Center, SSRC, and Association for Asian Studies. He is currently working on a book that assesses the location of the Japanese monarchy in contemporary Japanese understandings and contestations over the meaning of the nation, gender, race, globalization, and the past.

**This event is co-sponsored by the Japan Policy Research Institute at USF Center for the Pacific Rim.**

Atomic Mom

A Documentary Film Viewing and Conversation with Director M.T. Silvia

Tuesday, April 3
McLaren 252
Film starts at 4:15pm
Conversation with Director, M.T. Silvia starts at 5:45pm


Atomic Mom weaves an intimate portrait of a complex mother-daughter relationship within an obscure – but important – moment in American history. As the only female scientist present during atomic detonations in the Nevada desert, Pauline Silvia, the filmmaker’s mother, undergoes a crisis of conscience. After a long silence and prompted by her daughter, she finally reveals grim secrets of working in the U.S. atomic testing program.
In our present moment of Wikileaks, Pauline is a similar whistle-blower having been cowed by the silencing machine of the US military for decades. In an attempt to reconcile with her own mother’s past, her daughter, filmmaker M.T. Silvia, meets Emiko Okada, a Hiroshima survivor trying to resolve her own history in Japan. The film follows these survivors, each on a different end of atomic warfare, as they “meet” through the filmmaking process, and as they, with startling honestly, attempt to understand the other.

Atomic Mom invites viewers to confront American nuclear history in a completely new way and will inspire dialogue about human rights, personal responsibility, and the possibility – and hope – of peace.

M.T. Silvia (Producer/Director) is an independent filmmaker. Her first documentary Picardy Drive (2002, Documentary, 57min) aired on KQED’s ImageMaker series, FreeSpeechTV and is available on home video. She has worked professionally as an engineer in the film industry for over twenty years at both Skywalker Sound and Pixar Animation Studios. Among many mainstream film credits, she has also worked as a recording engineer on Wild at Heart (1990, Drama, 124min), and assistant sound editor on It’s Elementary (1996, Documentary, 80min), and Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore (1997, Drama, 98min).

**This event is co-sponsored by the Japan Policy Research Institute at USF Center for the Pacific Rim.**


The Racialization & Institutional Profiling of Muslims in Post-9/11 U.S.

A Lecture by Aysha Hidatatullah

Wednesday, April 18
6:00pm, Maier in Fromm

In this talk Prof. Hidayatullah will discuss the interplay of Muslims’ religious and racial identities in relation to U.S. institutions since 9/11. Focusing on how Muslims have been racialized in American state policy and popular consciousness, she will examine the institutionalized profiling of Muslims in Congressional legislation and hearings, the suspension of due process and civil rights, FBI surveillance operations, and controversies involving public officials and election campaigns. Overall, the talk will aim to demonstrate how these forms of institutional profiling contribute to the national phenomenon of prejudicial targeting of Muslims and their functional exclusion from U.S. citizenry and collective identity.

Aysha Hidayatullah is Assistant Professor of Islamic studies at the University of San Francisco and teaches undergraduate courses on Islam, gender, race, and ethics. She received her M.A. (2005) and Ph.D. (2009) in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned her B.A. in Women's Studies in 2001 from Emory University, where she also served as the university's first Muslim Religious Advisor to the Office of the Dean of the Chapel; Religious Life from 2006 to 2008. Her research interests include Muslim feminist theology; modern and contemporary exegesis of the Qur'an; representations of women in early Islamic history; Islamic sexual ethics; constructions of femininity and masculinity in various aspects of the Islamic tradition; feminist methodologies in the study of Islam; and the pedagogy of Islamic studies.


Illusions of Harmony: Forgetting the unnamable in Japanese and American history

An Art Exhibition by Scott Tsuchitani

Kalmanovitz Hall Atrium
Tuesday, April 24 to Tuesday, May 1

Beyond Obsequious: Honor, Abjection, and Agency in Japanese American Visual Culture

A Lecture by Exhibition Artist Scott Tsuchitani

Tuesday, April 24
6:00pm Maier in Fromm

How can art intervene in culturalist discourse to create space for a more diversely inclusive and activated notion of citizenship? This artist talk will pick up on ideas posed by preceding Davis Forum speakers—about mechanisms for remembering and forgetting critical lessons of history (Lisa Yoneyama); and the dynamics of “polite racism” and notions of national belonging (Takashi Fujitani)—to discuss the artwork in the Davies exhibition and the influences that inspired it.  Tsuchitani will share his own inquiry into issues of race and identity as they have played out in the arena of Japanese American visual representation during the course of his lifetime, along with the aesthetic strategies that he has employed to leverage this awareness into effective forms of cultural resistance, agency, and interventional change.

Scott Tsuchitani is an interdisciplinary visual artist based in San Francisco. His art has been shown in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, and appeared in San Francisco at venues such as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), SFMOMA Artists Gallery, Meridian Gallery, Asian Art Museum and de Young Museum. His socially engaged interventions have been recognized by scholars from a range of disciplines around the United States, and have demonstrated impact on academic discourse on four continents. Prior to becoming a visual artist, Tsuchitani worked in documentary film on international productions and alongside Academy Award-winning filmmakers. His own documentary, Meeting at Tule Lake, aired on regional PBS television, national public access, and at film festivals in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. He also co-authored two patents during a previous career as an engineer in the medical device industry. Tsuchitani holds masters degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and San Diego, and a bachelors from Berkeley as well, all of them in engineering. He received his formal art education at City College of San Francisco.

Japan's Diversity Controversy: How is Japan homogeneous/heterogeneous?

A Lecture by Dr. Harumi Befu

Tuesday, May 1
6:00pm, Maraschi Hall in Fromm 

Dr. Befu's lecture will explore the following: Japan is generally characterized as a "homogeneous nation" both by the Japanese themselves and by outsiders. Upon scrutiny, this characterization turns out to be inaccurate and misleading. First, we must distinguish between the image of the Japanese about themselves and about their culture, on the one hand, and the perception of outsiders about the Japanese and their culture, on the other. While these two sets of data are closely interrelated, they are not identical: Outsiders often see the Japanese in different light from the Japanese themselves. Secondly, perception and image are not necessarily the same as the empirical reality. Particularly in this case, the Japanese tend to see themselves more homogeneous than statistics show. When people talk about the homogeneity of the Japanese, we need to ask: is the assertion made by the Japanese, or by outsiders? Is it about the empirical reality or is it about people/s "perceived" reality? 

Dr. Harumi Befu (Emeritus at Stanford University) was raised in Japan from age 6 to 17. He received his BA (UCLA) and PhD (Wisconsin) in Anthropology, and his MA (Michigan) in Far Eastern Studies. He's been on Stanford faculty since1965 and retired in 1996. He taught at numerous universities in Asia, Europe and Mexico and is the recipient of grants from: the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Japan Foundation, Fulbright-Hays, Japan’s Ministry of Education, etc. His major publications include: Japan: An Anthropological Introduction; Hegemony of Homogeneity; Globalizing Japan, and (in Japanese) Nihon-Jinruigakuteki Nyumon (Japan: An Anthropological Introduction), and Ideorogi to shite no Nihon Bunkaron (Discourse on Japan as an Ideology). His current major interests are globalization, foreign workers in Japan, and demographic dynamics and social change.