Noted Asian American historian shares insights
Students in Christen Sasaki’s Asian American History class at the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu will be addressed by the campus’s first Distinguished Visiting Scholar on December 6.
On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Franklin Odo will discuss his research as it relates to the Honouliuli internment and prisoner-of-war camp on Oʻahu during World War II. The founding director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program and chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress will also talk about his latest book, set for release in 2012. Voices from the Canefields is about the folk songs sung by Japanese immigrants on sugar plantations.
The subject of the Honouliuli camp hits close to home for UH West Oʻahu, which is building a new campus, set to open in 2012, on property adjoining the site. UH West Oʻahu faculty members and students are working to trace the footprint and recover the history of the largest and longest-operating World War II internment camp in Hawaiʻi.
The Honouliuli project was featured in-depth in Mālamalama magazine, including a photo slideshow of the site.
“As UH West Oʻahu’s first Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Dr. Odo brings a wealth of knowledge and experience along with insights into the inner workings of our nation’s most revered institutions and cultural history stewards, the Smithsonian Institute and the Library of Congress,” said UH West Oʻahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni.
Other Oʻahu speaking engagements
In addition to his presentation at UH West Oʻahu, Odo will address the Hawaiʻi Library Association Annual Conference at the Westin Moana Surfrider Hotel on Monday, December 5, discussing the Library of Congress and the future of reading.
On Wednesday, December 7, he will speak with high school students at Mid-Pacific Institute about the Japanese virtues of enryo (restraint, tact), okage sama de (thanks to you), giri (duty, sense of honor), on (debt of gratitude) and more.
Odo will also speak at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaiʻi and East-West Center, as well as address the Library and Information Science program at UH Mānoa’s Hamilton Library.
About Franklin Odo
The first Kaimukī High School graduate to attend Princeton University, Odo was the founding director of the Smithsonian Institute’s Asian Pacific American Program in 1997. He was responsible for numerous exhibits highlighting the experiences of Chinese Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Filipino Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Korean Americans and Indian Americans.
Odo retired in January 2010 and became chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress earlier this year. His 30-year teaching career included professorships at a number of prestigious universities including the University of Pennsylvania, Hunter College, Princeton University and Columbia University. Odo received his bachelor’s degree in Asian studies from Princeton University, master’s in East Asia regional studies at Harvard University and doctorate in Japanese history at Princeton University. He is the author of No Sword to Bury: Japanese Americans in Hawaiʻi During World War II and editor of The Columbia Documentary History of the Asian American Experience.
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