February 29, 2016/ 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

UCLA Royce Hall Room 314

Beyond feudal remnant: Okinawa's non-selling alliance of 1916

Colloquium talk by Professor Wendy Matsumura (University of California, San Diego)

In much the same way that Japanese Marxists focused on the failure of the Meiji Restoration to bring about a true revolution to explain the rise of Japanese fascism, scholars of modern Okinawa assumed that the prefecture and its people had failed to correctly enter the time-space of modernity and therefore, the nation. This discourse of incompleteness has unwittingly limited what scholars could recognize as meaningful forms of struggle that emerged from the region. Through my reading of a non-selling alliance that Okinawa’s small sugar producers organized at the height of the global sugar boom during World War I, I contest these readings and in the process, provide a broader critique of the idea prevalent today that all struggles, however heroic, can in the end be absorbed by an extremely flexible and powerful capital’s unceasing drive for accumulation.

Wendy Matsumura
received her Ph.D. in History from New York University in 2007. Her dissertation project on modern Okinawan history was funded by a Fulbright dissertation fellowship from 2002 to 2004. Following a visiting professorship at Otterbein College in Westerville, OH, Dr. Matsumura was assistant professor of History and Asian Studies at Furman University in Greenville, SC from 2009-2015. The completion of her first book, The Limits of Okinawa (Duke University Press, 2015) and research for her next project was supported by a Fulbright research fellowship in Kyoto from 2012-2013. She is currently working on two major research projects: the first on the unfolding of transnational labor struggles across Japan’s prewar sugar empire and the second on the emergence of the concept of surplus labor in Japanese social scientific discourse. Dr. Matsumura will teach undergraduate and graduate courses on the development of class antagonisms, gender oppression and racialized discourses in the Japanese empire. She values the diverse range of life experiences, political commitments and learning styles that her students bring to the study of modern Japan.

Free & open to the public!

Download file: 2.29.16-Matsumura-Flyer-sg-e3c.pdf

Sponsor(s): Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies