FREE 2013 Symposium: The Politics of Representation

November 1, 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Mānoa Campus, Center for Korean Studies, 881 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822

SESSION 1: Representing Difficult Issues: The Battle of Okinawa and the Bombing of Nagasaki
12–3 p.m.

Dennis Ogawa, moderator
Kaori Akiyama, Graduate University of Advanced Studies [SOKENDAI], Japan
Kosuke Harayama, National Museum of Japanese History, Japan
Shari Tamashiro, Kapi‘olani Community College
Shotaro Okuno, Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Japan

This FREE, OPEN-TO-THE-PUBLIC symposium and a keynote presentation bring together scholars, educators, and museum professionals from Japan and Hawai‘i to discuss the challenges of developing exhibits with controversial or highly sensitive content on historic events and related issues. Presenters will reflect on their experiences working in museums, cultural centers, historic sites, and community festivals. Each will focus on a case study and provide a glimpse of how they researched and prepared an exhibit; consulted with scholars, teachers, education specialists, board members, staff, and community stakeholders; and made crucial decisions along the way.

The theme of the symposium highlights the issue of representation and its politics, and we will be considering some of the following questions:

How do you accurately and sensitively represent historic events and/or cultural practices from more than one perspective? What words and images should one use or avoid? How do these words or images provide different ways of understanding an event or issue? What civic responsibilities does an institution have to share little known information from one community group yet objectionable to another? How do you prepare an institution’s staff to embrace uncomfortable issues? How do you weigh the educational merit or ethical obligation of participating in these activities against the repercussions of bringing negative attention to an institution and jeopardizing its reputation, angering its membership, and/or risking future funding?

Exhibits and their auxiliary educational programs can offer compelling ways for students, teachers, and the general public to engage with highly sensitive content on such topics as lynching as exhibited in Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, in Atlanta, GA; and protests by Hawaiian citizens against the annexation of Hawai‘i by the United States in 1898 at the Bishop Museum’s Hawaiian Hall in Honolulu, HI.

The symposium organizers hope the symposium and keynote address will provide opportunities for learning from the presenters and audience. They look forward to creating a place for discussing issues that may have been too “hot” for museums, classrooms, and other public places in the past but are now crucial to learning about our histories and differences.

Ticket Information
Register for FREE tickets here:

Event Sponsor
Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program, Manoa Campus, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Kimberly Jackson, 808-956-8843,,

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