The title of my talk is "The Gift of Imagination: Solidarity in the Asia-Pacific Region," and will be this Thursday, October 7, 3:30 - 5:00 pm at the UOG, CLASS Dean's Professional Development Room.
The topic of my talk is based on my research/solidarity trips that I took over the summer to South Korea and Japan, representing Guam and informing others about its current struggles against US militarization, but also learning from farmers in Jeju, hibakusha in Nagasaki or Hiroshima and activists in Seoul. The paper, which I'm still refining slightly as I type this, is an interesting mixture of political activism and theoretical musing, moving between talking about how we might conceive of things such as "imagination" and "solidarity" in both activist and academic contexts, and of course, what we can learn from trying to think about them together.
My abstract for the colloquium was short and simple:
Drawing upon the works of Historian Benedict Anderson and Political Theorists Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, this paper will be a mediation on the meaning of the term solidarity, what role imagination plays in empowering that concept and how this might relate to transnational activism against US militarism in the Asia-Pacific region.
As I continued writing and revising I soon added some other theoretical names into the mix, so now the paper is a few pages longer and also includes discussions about Ernest Renan, Chairman Mao and of course the infamous Slavoj Zizek. I'm hoping that I can get a decent turnout for my talk, although I'm sure the majority of those attending will be there in order to get extra credit from my classes.
In the flyer that I created to distribute to promote the talk I used one of the logos for USPACOM, or the US Pacific Command, which is the US military command in charge of literally half of the world, which includes Guam and the Asia-Pacific region. The use of that logo in a talk meant to be about anti-base or demilitarization activism might be intriguing or paradoxical to some, but there is a point to it. There are a number of important lessons which anti-base or peoples movements in the Pacific can learn from the US military, and PACOM represents one of them.
If you are on Guam and you are interested, I hope you'll come out and listen to my talk. I promise that it won't be the most boring part of your week.
Before I go (to bed, sa' esta gof atrasao), I wanted to share an excerpt from my talk, which I've pasted below:
This fact that the world is not given but always a product of the borders that we imagine ourselves might appear to some as a shock or as something which will call into question the “real” relationships we feel we have with others in our lives. What we feel connected to, the battles we choose to fight, those which we choose to call our brothers and sisters in solidarity is not a result of the accident of our birth, but is something we forge through our ethics and through our politics. From different corners of the earth, the most geographically, historically or culturally disconnected parties can not only know of each other, but we can imagine each as being an integral part of our own struggle, our own lives, the vision we have for the world, and we can make their struggle a part of our own, and we can fight together.