Manifest Differently at Stanford U. with Craig Santos Perez, Dena Montague, Kyoko Sato, Wesley Ueunten

Excited to see my panel proposal for Manifest Differently materialize, with stellar presentations by scholars Kyoko Sato and Dena Montague and artist-scholars Craig Santos Perez and Wesley Ueunten. For my talk “A Cine-poetics of Archipelagic Relations and Decolonization” I screened What We Never Forget For Peace Here Now, as the video is a manifestation of archipelagic thinking, with its roots in Caribbean and Pacific studies — a framework, a methodology and a way of being with each other through a dynamic model of geography.

Co-curator Megan Wilson of Manifest Differently introduced the event. Huge thanks to the Manifest Differently funders; Clarion Alley Mural Project; staff Veronica Torres and Katayoun Bahrami; Stanford’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society; and the Earth Systems Program’s Environmental Justice Working Group, who made the event possible!

I introduced the program: For tonight’s event, Archipelagic Arts in Times of U.S. Militarism, our featured panelists will share their creative and scholarly works to offer new ideas and approaches to addressing the historical and current U.S. military presence and relations which grew out of the U.S.’s “seagoing Manifest Destiny.” We will cover the ongoing environmental and health effects of U.S. nuclear warfare in Japan since 1945, and in general the resulting nuclear governance and nuclear justice efforts in Japan and the U.S. We will discuss the fortification of U.S. military bases located in Guam since 1944, and Okinawa, since 1951; and the recent build-up of arms in Taiwan via the U.S. Given the legacy of U.S. military relations in these overseas territories and the new Cold War, how can the archipelagic arts compel us to imagine differently toward just outcomes, despite the formidable and stubborn structures of global arms manufacturing and trade? What can we gain from a comparative and interlinked approach to addressing the historical, lingering and current effects of the U.S. military-industrial complex in the “archipelagic Americas” that include not only imperial island subsets but islands that are “America-affiliated” and “America-constituting”?

Kyoko Sato, a Japan-born scholar teaching and serving as associate director of Stanford University’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society, examining technoscientific governance in Japan and the United States, spoke on “Representing, Normalizing, and Erasing Global Hibakusha: The Politics of Nuclear Governance and Manifesting A Different Future.” See her latest co-edited book, Living in a Nuclear World (2022).

Dena Montague, Environmental Justice Lecturer with the Earth Systems Program at Stanford University, spoke on “U.S. Militarism and the Question of Environmental and Climate Justice.”

Craig Santos Perez, Chamoru poet and faculty member in the Ethnic Studies department at MiraCosta Community College in San Diego read poems from his 2023 National Book Award-winner from unincorporated territory [åmot].

Wesley Ueunten, Third-generation Okinawan born and raised in Hawai’i, musician, writer, scholar, and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, spoke on “Diasporic Okinawan Identity within US Global Militarization.”

Wesley presented us with a sanshin performance. Touched that a student attendee wanted this talk to come to his campus!

(Photos by Tosh Tanaka)