In Spring 2023, Center for Asian Studies hosted Dr. Jodi Kim (Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, University of California Riverside) for a talk on her new book Settler Garrison: Debt Imperialism, Militarism, and Transpacific Imaginaries (Duke University Press 2022). The talk was part of Center’s annual theme “Asia, Empire, Social Justice: Home and Abroad.” The talk was co-sponsored by the Departments of Asian Languages and Civilizations, English, Ethnic Studies and Media Studies.
Dr. Kim’s research and teaching interests are at the intersections of Asian American studies, critical ethnic and race studies, postcolonial theory, feminist epistemologies, and critiques of US empire and militarism. Her first book, Ends of Empire: Asian American Critique and the Cold War (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), offers a critique of American empire in Asia through an interdisciplinary analysis of Asian American cultural productions and their critical intersections with Cold War geopolitics and logics. Her second book, Settler Garrison: Debt Imperialism, Militarism, and Transpacific Imaginaries (Duke University Press, 2022) theorizes how the United States extends its sovereignty across Asia and the Pacific in the post-World War II era through a militarist settler imperialism that is leveraged on debt as a manifold economic and cultural relation undergirded by asymmetries of power. Kim demonstrates that despite being the largest debtor nation in the world, the United States positions itself as an imperial creditor that imposes financial and affective indebtedness alongside a disciplinary payback temporality even as it evades repayment of its own debts. Kim reveals this process through an analysis of how a wide array of transpacific cultural productions creates antimilitarist and decolonial imaginaries that diagnose US militarist settler imperialism while envisioning alternatives to it.
The talk was attended by 40-50 people and generated a productive Q&A. Prior to the talk, Dr. Kim spoke with the graduate students in Dr. Nishant Upadhyay’s (Ethnic Studies) grad seminar on the U.S. Empire.