Guest speaker

“That is 800 children”: Nazi Germany, the United States, and Dismantling Global Anti-Blackness and Racism

Description of presentation:
Dr. Emanuela Kucik will give an overview of the relationship between Nazi Germany, the United States, and anti-Blackness. Through this focus on the similar, deadly ways that anti-Blackness functions in various spaces, she aims to contribute to conversations that provide an expanded narrative of the Holocaust and allow us to better understand the global intersections of oppressive systems. In discussing how these connected structures sustain each other, she emphasizes that dismantling one piece of systemic oppression can begin to unravel the others.

Dr. Emanuela Kucik is an Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies and the Co-Creator of the Africana Studies Program at Muhlenberg College, where she was recently awarded the 2021 Ruth and Joel Spira Prize for Distinguished Teaching. Her interdisciplinary research and courses explore the intersections of literature, genocide, race, and human rights violations, and her forthcoming book focuses on how Black populations have used the concept of genocide to write about anti-Black violence.
Dr. Kucik received her PH.D. and M.A. in English from Princeton University with certifications in American Literature, with a concentration in Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies; Holocaust Literature; and Genocide Literature. At Princeton, she also earned a Doctoral Graduate Certificate in African American Studies. She received her B.A. with Highest Distinction (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Faculty page at Muhlenberg:

Suggested resources:

  • Clarence Lusane’s “Hitler’s Black Victims” (book);
  • Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste” (book);
  • Robert Kesting’s “Forgotten Victims” (article);
  • Raffael Scheck’s “They were just savages” (article);
  • Hans Massaquoi’s “Destined to Witness” (book);
  • Carol Anderson’s “Eyes Off the Prize” (book);
  • Yaa Gyasi’s “Homegoing” (book);
  • “Race: Are We So Different?” by Alan H. Goodman, Yolanda T. Moses and Joseph L. Jones (book and exhibit);
  • We Charge Genocide (historic petition to the UN)
Guest speaker, Video screening

“Voices Behind Barbed Wire” + Dr. Jonathan Y. Okamura

Showing of the 75-minute docudrama Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai’i followed by discussion with Dr. Okamura

Description of the presentation:
The rise in anti-Asian hate incidents this past year has prompted an important discussion about racism toward the Asian-American population, both in Hawai’i and the Continental United States. During the meeting, we will view the film mentioned above and then listen to a presentation and hold a discussion led by University of Hawai’i Professor Emeritus Jonathan Y. Okamura. This will include various related topics such as the history of anti-Asian racism, including the WWII internment camps, the burden of the model minority myth, the indiscriminate lumping of all Asians into one block, and Asian-American support for other vulnerable ethnic groups such as those who are caged at the US southern border and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Dr. Okamura’s biosketch:
Jonathan Y. Okamura is professor emeritus at the University of Hawai’i where he worked for more than thirty years, twenty of which were with the Department of Ethnic Studies. He is the author of several books, including “Ethnicity and Inequity in Hawai’i” and “Raced to Death in 1920s Hawai’i: Injustice and Revenge in the Fukunaga Case.” Professor Okamura continues to serve on the UH Manoa Commission on Racism and Bias and to write and lecture on race and ethnicity in Hawai’i.

Description of the docudrama:
Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai’i. The film was sponsored by, among others, the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i. It was written and directed by Ryan Kawamoto with David Sato directing photography, including the historical reenactments.

While the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II has been well documented on the U.S. Mainland, new information about the sites and untold stories continue to emerge from Japanese Americans in Hawai’i who endured this dark chapter of history. “Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai’i” explores the personal stories of Yakuma Hayashi, George Hoshida, Koiichi Iida, Rev. Tadao Kouchi, Dr. Motokazu Mori, Dr. Seiichi Ohata, Kanesaburo Oshima, Matsujiro Otani, Joichi Tahara, Shigeri Terada, and Kyoichi Ueda from the counties of O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’i and Hawai’i Island. The film also takes an archeological journey through the 19 former WWII confinement sites in Hawai’i and the relevance of history upon civil liberties today.