Dr. KIRSTEN Emiko McAllister will discuss the challenges of researching historical sites of persecution, incarceration and dispossession where contemporary communities now live and are either unaware, or have forgotten, or repressed the memories of the past. She will draw on her own journey as a happasansei researching the sites where there were once thriving communities of Japanese Canadians before WWII as well as internment camps in British Columbia, Canada, which were part of a systematic play to remove all people of "Japanese racial origin" from the country during the 1940s. On the one hand, she will discuss how this historical research, talking to elders and witnessing the intergenerational loss and pain, can end up “reincarcerating” members of the community in the past but, on the other hand, how, like the work of BRANDON Shimoda and other artists and writers, there is a way, through research, poetry, and artistic exploration to critically engage with the past as it impacts the present, including issues of ongoing detention and persecution in a way that supports intersectional solidarity and social justice locally and globally.
About KIRSTEN Emiko McAllister
KIRSTEN Emiko McAllister is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University in Canada. Her research areas include memory studies, visual studies, and political violence. Using fieldwork, archival research, spatial analysis, and interviews she has researched questions of memory and space in relation to Japanese Canadian internment camps and refugees seeking asylum in countries like Canada and the UK. Her books include Terrain of Memory: A Japanese Canadian Memorial Project (UBC Press 2010) and a collection she co-edited with Annette Kuhn, Locating Memory: Photographic Acts (Berghahn Books 2006). McAllister has edited an issue of the journal, West Coast Line, on Asylum, Art and Transnational Publics, and she has published many journal articles in the field of visual studies, including "Extraterritorial Spaces of Exclusion: Art, Asylum Seekers and Spatial Practices in the City of Glasgow", Visual Studies (2015); "From Eyewitness to Bearing Witness: Photography, Asylum Seekers and 'Life After Iraq'" (English translation of title) in Errances photographiques: Mobilités et intermédialité (Les Presse de L’ Université de Montréal 2013), and "Between the Photograph and the Poem: A Dialogue on Poetic Practice", Canadian Journal of Communication (2012).
This talk is curated by ROBERT Yerachmiel Sniderman.
About HiroshimaLibrary at B R U N A
B R U N A is pleased to host the first public presentation of the Hiroshima Library by poet, editor, and archivist BRANDON Shimoda. For the months of August and September 2019, the library will be available for public engagement through an array of activities, among them (in varying degrees and arrangements): visitation and commemoration, self-education and collective reflection, intimate mourning and public interrogation. Opening cultural, literary, and historical questions thrust into consciousness by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which extinguished over 225,000 lives nearly 74 years ago, the Hiroshima Library and its accompanying events program, co-developed with local organizations, invites new relationships with the unfathomable, unconscionable events of 1945. A talk and launch of Shimoda’s latest book The Grave on the Wall takes place on the evening of August 6 at 6 pm.
The HiroshimaLibrary is an itinerant, sometimes spontaneous, often undisclosed collection of books on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and their ongoing afterlives, as well as the environments and situations in which the collection either publicly or privately exists. The collection consists of hibakusha testimonies, history and journalism, art and photography, poetry, novels, graphic novels and comic books, art and literary criticism, theory, politics, science, and also contributions by the communities in which it appears. It is inspired, in part, by the Rest House in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima; the ice cream vendor in the Hypocenter Park in Nagasaki; the reading areas in the MRT stations in Kaohsiung, Taiwan; abandoned gas stations and strip malls throughout the United States and Japan; as well as mundane, workaday spaces adjacent to catastrophic life, which occupy a frequency between communal mourning and melancholy, private refreshment, and idle and free associative learning, and into which an individual (passerby, tourist, wanderer, child), motivated by an aimless yet open curiosity, might enter and, for a moment, disappear.
The collection was first conceived in 1988 when Shimoda received, as a gift from his parents, a copy of Keiji Nakazawa’s manga, I Saw It: The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima: A Survivor’s True Story (English translation, 1982). That same year he visited, for the first time, the city of Hiroshima. He was ten years old.
About BRANDON Shimoda
BRANDON Shimoda is the author of six books of poetry, most recently The Desert (Song Cave, 2018) and Evening Oracle (Letter Machine Editions, 2016), which received the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. His first book of nonfiction, an ancestral memoir called The Grave on the Wall, is new from City Lights Books. His writings on Japanese-American incarceration have appeared in/on The Asian American Literary Review, Densho, Hyperallergic, The Margins, and The New Inquiry, and he has given talks on the subject at the University of Arizona, Columbia University, Fairhaven College, and the International Center of Photography. He is also the co-editor, with Thom Donovan, of To look at the sea is to become what one is: An Etel Adnan Reader (Nightboat Books, 2014). Born in the San Fernando Valley, California, he lives, for now, in Tucson, AZ
This project was made possible in part by the generous support of the Whatcom Community Foundation and fiscal sponsorship from the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force.
Community partners include the Bellingham Public Library, Pickford Film Center, Whatcom Human Rights Task Force, and the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center.
We acknowledge that the activities of B R U N A take place on the sacred and ancestral home of the Lummi and Nooksack peoples. We are grateful for their loving stewardship of the land and its inhabitants, and intend to be good guests and neighbors as we recognize their sovereignty and rich cultural practice + heritage. We set this intention first by making acknowledgments and then by practicing reciprocity. We are grateful to be able to share this space (both physically and culturally) with indigenous communities from here and elsewhere. In addition, we invite others to join us in recognizing our status as settler/occupants of this land and in making a commitment to support the Lummi and Nooksack nations through reparations.