FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Vorada Savengseuksa, AASU Board Member
PHONE: Asian American Studies Program staff at (608) 263-2976
WEBSITE: (Coming soon: http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/aasp/event)
The University of Wisconsin Asian American Studies Program, Asian Pacific American Law Student Association/ South Asian Law Student Association, Association for Asian American Graduate Students, and Asian American Student Union present . . .
“Reclaiming Our Past: The Untold Stories of Asian America:
A Three-Day Series of Arts, Academic Scholarship, and Commemoration”
DAY 1 | Performance Arts Show: “Go Back to Where you Came From, The Show”
WHEN: Thursday, April 30 @ 7:30pm
WHERE: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Memorial Union, Tripp Commons Room
DESCRIPTION: Come join students, staff, and faculty to re-imagine the statement “Go Back to Where You Came From” through visual and performing arts. Performers will highlight James Wakasa, one of the seven Japanese American internees murdered during World War II on US territory. The show will also address the issues of internment, civil liberties, identity and the renegotiated concepts of “home” and belonging as they relate to minority groups today.
Day 2| Academic Symposium“The Body of Evidence: Recovering the New/Forgotten”
WHEN: Friday May 1 @ 4:00pm-8:30pm (Dinner served 6:00pm)
WHERE: Wisconsin Law School, Room 2260 (entrance on Bascom Hill)
ADMISSION: RSVP to participate and reserve a FREE buffet dinner: http://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/reg/catalog_course_detail.asp?course_key=24319
4:00-5:45pm Panel Presentation
Moderator: Leslie Bow, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Victor Jew, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kent Ono, University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign
Elena Tajima Creef, Wellesley College
6:00pm Buffet Dinner (RSVP required)
6:30-8:00pm Keynote: Professor Sumi Cho, DePaul College of Law, “National Security and the Racial Sovereign: From Internment to Incarceration and Immigration”
DESCRIPTION: Come and listen to a panel discussion about the relevance of understanding the Japanese American Internment to U.S. civil liberties today. Discussants are experts in Asian American Studies and will examine the numerous and newly re-examined aspects of the Japanese American Internment along legal, cultural, gendered, and social dimensions. Panelists will explore such matters as the film images of Japanese Americans and other Asian American groups in the wake of the Internment. This discussion will also touch upon the gendered cultural dynamics that shape the portrayal of Japanese American women after World War II.
Day 3: “The Badger State Reclaims its Forgotten Asian American Heritage: Remembering James Wakasa”
WHEN: Saturday May 2, 2009 @ 3:00pm-4:30pm
WHERE: Humanities Building Courtyard (follow the signs)
DESCRIPTION: A memorial service for internment casualty and former University of Wisconsin student, James Wakasa. The service will honor and commemorate Mr. Wakasa’s life and acknowledge Wisconsin Asian Americans who had witnessed the internment and related events that resonate with this theme.
James Wakasa was born in Japan in 1884, and immigrated to the American Midwest during his teenage years. He attended Hyde Park High School in Chicago and eventually completed a two-year post graduate course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1916. Working as a cook, he lived in Iowa and became a U.S. Army cooking instructor during the First World War. He eventually moved to San Francisco where in 1942, Wakasa and other innocent Americans of Japanese descent (including second and third American generation children) were forcibly removed from their homes, rounded up and sent to the Tanforan Assembly Center, then to Topaz, the War Relocation Authority camp in Utah.
On April 11, 1943, Wakasa was shot to death by a military police sentry. At the time of his death, he had been in the US for forty years. The act of remembering the life of James Wakasa, acknowledging the historical circumanstances of his death in the internment camp, and reflecting upon the lessons of the US internment of Japanese Americans can help inform contemporary government crimes against the civil liberties of its own citizens in the name of homeland security. The detainment of unprosecuted prisoners at Guantanamo Bay (Git-mo) and immigrant raids reported in the new today suggest that memory is history as remembered in the present day.
This three-day event was brought to you by organizational and fiscal collaboration between the The University of Wisconsin Asian American Studies Program (AASP), Asian Pacific American Law Student Association/ South Asian Law Student Association (APALSA/SALSA), Association for Asian American Graduate Students (AAAGS), and Asian American Student Union (AASU). Please direct all questions to Vorada Savengseuksa or the Asian American Studies Program at (608) 263-2976.