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    Tuesday, APRIL 30

    Wing Tek Lum, Poetry Reading

    5:00 – 7:00 PM | Richard Ide Memorial Room | Taper Hall of Humanities, 4th Floor |  University Park Campus


    Poet Wing Tek Lum will be reading from his book, The Nanjing Massacre. Wing Tek Lumʼs poems capture all perspectives of this 1937 tragedy—from the weary, casually cruel Japanese soldiers to the uncomprehending child victims, and from the desperate, helpless parents and the brutalized “comfort women” to the bloodless yet vicious bureaucrats of death. Drawing on published histories, memoirs, photographic collections, and oral histories, Lum composes testimony after testimony for the silenced—poetic memorials that also provide “some measure of revenge” against the victors. At key moments, he also broadens the frame of reference, linking the crimes in China to the atrocities committed since then at different times, on different continents. Massacres, he suggests, bear a family resemblance—the human family. But The Nanjing Massacre is much more than a chamber of horrors. Lumʼs spare and meticulous verse offers up vivid, memorable, and even beautiful images, and many of the poems are mini-narratives, suspenseful and compelling. The result is a gallery of disturbing portraits that nevertheless move us through their artistry and truth.


    Wing Tek Lum
     is a Honolulu businessman and poet. His first collection of poetry, Expounding the Doubtful Points, was published by Bamboo Ridge Press in 1987. With Makoto Ooka, Joseph Stanton, and Jean Yamasaki Toyama, he participated in a collaborative work of linked verse, which was published as What the Kite Thinks by Summer Session, University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, in 1994


    Saturday, APRIL 27

    Troubled Ocean: Filmmakers Imagine the Pacific

    12:00 – 9:00 PM Norris Cinema Theatre Frank Sinatra Hall | University Park Campus






    The Pacific has a vivid hold on the European and American imagination as a paradise, as a vast region of exploration, as a mystery. It has also been a place of conquest, colonization and war. In a one-day festival, screenings and discussions with filmmakers John Sayles and Vilsoni Hereniko, scholars Viet Nguyen and David Kang and members of the community will address themes of the Pacific. The juxtaposition of three films dealing, respectively, with the Philippines, Fiji and Korea will connect seemingly disparate times and places of the Pacific under a common history.


    John Sayles, Vilsoni Hereniko, and Viet Nguyen



    Watch the interview with John Sayles and Vilsoni Hereniko on Youtube



    Schedule of Events

    12:20 PM: The Land Has Eyes 
    Directed by Vilsoni Hereniko, Fiji, 87 minutes
     Vilsoni Hereniko will present his film, The Land Has Eyes, the first indigenous feature film written and directed by a Fiji citizen.The film explores the British colonial administration in Rotuma (the Fiji Islands) during the 1960s and ’70s and the political corruption and local violence that resulted from the colonial administration’s lack of understanding about the local people and customs.

    2:15 PM: Amigo 
    Directed by John Sayles, 124 minutes
    Renowned independent filmmaker John Sayles will present his film Amigo, the first American feature film to tackle a crucial but forgotten chapter in American history—the American colonization of the Philippines, which cost one million Filipino lives and was as divisive to Americans as the Vietnam War.

    4:30 PM: Panel Discussion and Reading with John Sayles and Vilsoni Hereniko

    Featuring filmmakers John Sayles and Vilsoni Hereniko. Moderated by Professor Viet Nguyen. John Sayles will also read from his novel A Moment in the Sun, about the Filipino struggle against the American colonial presence.

    5:15 PM: Reception, Queen’s Courtyard 

    6 PM: Sunny 
    Directed by Lee Jun-ik, 126 minutes
    Lee Jun-ik’s Sunny is a big-budget Korean epic about the Korean participation as an American ally in the Vietnam War, little known to Americans but fundamental to the transformation of South Korea.


    Thursday, MARCH 7

    Cathy Schlund-Vials, Re-Membering the Khmer Rouge: Cambodian American Memory Work

    4:30 – 6:30 PM 460 Kaprielian Hall | University Park Campus


    Between 1975 and 1979, under the rule of the Khmer Rouge, it is estimated that 1.7 million Cambodians died as a result of execution, starvation, and forced labor, constituting roughly 21 to 25 percent of the extant population. Now in 2012, this history of genocide—commonly referred to as the period of “The Killing Fields” for those outside Cambodia—remains contested and unresolved. Despite the formation of a U.N./War Crimes Tribunal and the indictment of five Khmer Rouge leaders, only one person has been sentenced for crimes against humanity. Hence, though more than thirty years has passed since the deposal of the Khmer Rouge from power, justice has yet to be served in an international court.

    The legacy of the genocide, the absence of state-sanctioned justice, and the memory of “the Killing Fields” are primary reference points for this talk, which examines the ways in which Cambodian American cultural production is rooted in political and politicized projects of genocidal remembrance.

    Cathy J. Schlund-Vials 
    is Associate Professor in English and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut (Storrs). She is currently the Director for the UConn

    Asian American Studies Institute and is the author of two monographs: Modeling Citizenship: Jewish and Asian American Writing (Temple University Press, 2011) and War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work (University of Minnesota Press, 2012).


    Wednesday, FEBRUARY 27

    Lan P. Duong and Kieu-Linh Caroline Valverde,
    Transnationalism and Vietnamese Studies

    12:00 – 2:00 PM 
    | 460 Kaprielian Hall | University Park Campus

    Lunch provided, RSVP to vnguyen@usc.edu

    Lan Duong will be speaking about her book, Treacherous Subjects: Gender, Culture and Trans-Vietnamese Feminism (Temple University Press, 2012), which examines the postwar films and literature of the Vietnamese and diasporic communities in the United States and France. The book pivots on collaboration's dual meaning as a collective artistic endeavor or a political act of treason. Reading across three national contexts, the book situates the cultural productions of the Vietnamese and Vietnamese diaspora within a historical context of collaboration. Based on this vexed history, Treacherous Subjects delves into the cultural politics of collaboration to challenge the braided ideology of heterosexist patriarchy and nationalism that underlie denunciations or celebrations of collaborative acts. Decentering nationalist notions of loyalty and collaboration, Treacherous Subjects asserts that in collaboration lay the grounds for a feminist mode of analysis the book names trans-Vietnamese feminism.


    Lan Duong
     is Associate Professor in the Media and Cultural Studies Department at the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Duong’s second book project, Transnational Vietnamese Cinemas: Imagining Nationhood in a Globalized Era, examines Vietnamese cinema from its inception to the present-day. She recently received a Fulbright Research Scholarship to work on her second book.

    Kieu-Linh Caroline Valverde will discuss her new book, Transnationalizing Viet Nam: Community, Culture, and Politics in the Diaspora (Temple University Press 2012). This is an in-depth look at the dynamic and long-standing connections between Viet Nam and its diaspora in the United States. These links are especially astounding considering the many decidedly antidiasporic elements in not only the home and host countries but also the ethnic community itself. This rich transnational history—which has gone largely undetected, or at least unrecognized—is revealed through nearly two decades of careful longitudinal, multisite research, punctuated by the voices of 250 interviewees.

    Kieu-Linh Caroline Valverde
     is Assistant Professor of Asian American studies at the University of California, Davis. Professor Valverde was a Luce Southeast Asian Studies Fellow at the Australian National University (2004), a Rockefeller Fellow for Project Diaspora at the University of Massachusetts, Boston (2001-02), and a Fulbright Fellow in Viet Nam (1999).


    Thursday, JANUARY 31

    Adria L. Imada, 
    Aloha America: Hula Circuits as Alternative Archives

    12:00 – 2:00 PM | 460 Kaprielian Hall | University Park Campus


    While nineteenth- and twentieth-century tourist hula performers are often assumed to have been victims or beneficiaries of colonial capitalist development, this talk explores their unexpected relationship to Hawai‘i’s present-day self-determination movement. Professor Imada traces the origins of Native Hawaiian decolonization activism within tourist hula circuits that sustained cultural reproduction and political contestation during the past century of American colonization. Tourist dance practices, rather than being antithetical to decolonization, constitute an important archive and repertoire for Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) performers. Politically engaged readings of colonial and neocolonial performances suggest how hula survived colonial repression and is being reconstituted as a contemporary form of redress.


    Adria L. Imada
     is Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her book, Aloha America: Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire, about the relationship between U.S. imperial expansion and Hawaiian hula performance, was published by Duke University Press in 2012. Her dissertation on hula performance was awarded the Ralph Henry Gabriel prize for best dissertation from the American Studies Association in 2003.


    Thursday, November 29
      12:15-2:00 pm

    “The Pageant of the Pacific”: Miguel Covarrubias’s Transpacific Vision and The Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939

      Nancy Lutkehaus



     Nancy Lutkehaus is professor of anthropology, gender studies and political science at the University of Southern California. She is author or editor of five books, including Margaret Mead: The Making of an American Icon (Princeton University Press, 2009) and Zaria's 

    Fire: Engendered Moments in Manam
     (Carolina Academic Press, 1995), which received the 1996 Choice award as Outstanding Academic Publication. Professor Lutkehaus researches Melanesian gender and social organization, political and economic anthropology, religion and symbolic anthropology. She is interested in visual studies, especially in Western representations of Pacific Island peoples and in the display of non-Western art in Western fine art museums.  She will give the 2013 Frobenius Insitute lectures on this subject in Frankfurt, Germany.




    Tuesday, October 16, 12pm-2:00pm

    Bottomhood Is Powerful: Asian American Sexual Positionings

    Nguyen Tan Hoang



    Bryn Mawr College

    Advancing the concept of “gay Asian bottomhood,” the talk examines the ways that anal erotics and bottom positioning refract the meanings of race, gender, sexuality, and nationality in American culture. I suggest that bottomhood simultaneously enables and constrains Asian American men in moving-image media. Gay male video pornography and sex cruising websites constitute case studies. The talk will be
    supplemented by a short video screening.

    Sponsored by USC's Asian American Studies, American Studies and Ethnicity, the Center for Feminist Research, the Visual Studies Research Institute, and the Center for Transpacific Studies.

    Nguyen Tan Hoang is Assistant Professor of English & Film Studies at Bryn Mawr College. His videos K.I.P, PIRATED!, and Forever Bottom! have screened at MoMA, The Getty Center, and the Georges Pompidou Center. His writings have appeared in Porn Studies, Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular, and Resolutions 3:

    Video Praxis in Global Spaces. Hoang’s book A View from the Bottom is forthcoming from Duke University Press.



    Redefining the Pacific

    April 8-9, 2011
    Davidson Conference Center, University of Southern California


    Transpacific Studies Conference: Homelands, Diasporas and the Movement of Populations

    April 2-3, 2010
    University of Southern California


    Conference Participants


Past Events


Redefining the Pacific Conference

April 8,9, 2011

The Political Economy of the Pacific Rim Workshop
April 23, 2010
University of Southern California

Transpacific Studies Conference: Homelands, Diasporas and the Movement of Populations
April 2-3, 2010
University of Southern California

Center for Transpacific Studies Workshop
October 30-31, 2009
University of Southern California

  • Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • 404D Taper Hall
  • Department of English
  • University of Southern California
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354