Reginald Jackson (Associate Professor of Japanese Literature and Performance, University of Michigan)
Genealogies of Racism, Risk Management, and Reparation: Rethinking Japanese Studies and Institutionalized Whiteness in the Postwar University
What does life in the university cost, and what debts do our disciplines impose as we seek success? How have racism and colonialism shaped our analytical relation to East Asia and how might Black feminist methodologies help us diagnose and dismantle supremacist habits of thought? My goal is to consider the concepts of debt and reparation in relation to the university, with an historical awareness of postwar and post-civil rights developments between Asian Studies and Ethnic Studies. Reading texts by Moten and Harney, Wynter, Ahmed, against memoirs by Japanologists Keene and Seidensticker, I map critical limits and potentials for rethinking the historical stakes of academic expertise and survival. Specifically, by theorizing how whiteness is institutionalized within the university and inhabits disciplinary norms, I propose methods of reparation through which to redress deadening legacies of racial and gender-based discrimination that continue to deplete our capacity to thrive as creative human beings.