June 1, 2020/ 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM


Radicalism in Motion: Migrant Activists and Transpacific Critique in the Mid-Twentieth Century

with Hiroaki Matsusaka, Terasaki Center Postdoctoral Fellow

Building on recent transpacific studies, this talk examines the history of Japanese migrant activists in the mid-twentieth century. It discusses how, in the years surrounding the Asia Pacific War, migrant radicals developed several forms of critique of the Japanese and US empires in cities like Tokyo, New York, and Los Angeles. Their relocations and border crossings involved encounters with new people, ideas, and social relations, which reshaped their subjectivity and their analyses of imperialism and global racial hierarchy. In art, reportage, and autobiographies, this group of activists envisioned solidarity and radical social transformation while holding tacit settler colonial ideas. Their work offers important lessons for understanding empire, social change, and inter-cultural contact.

About the Speaker

Hiroaki Matsusaka is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, UCLA. He received an MA and a PhD in History from the University of Michigan, as well as a BA and an MA in Political Science from Waseda University. Matsusaka is a scholar of transnational history and cultural studies. His work concerns modern empire and colonialism, migration and race/ethnicity, and social movements and intellectual history across Japan, Korea, and the United States. His projects have been supported by ACLS, SSRC, the Korea Foundation, and the Japan-Korea Cultural Foundation, and he was a visiting scholar at Yonsei University.

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