Center for East Asian Studies opens Year of Migration programming with speaker and film series

LAWRENCE — The Center for East Asian Studies’ (CEAS) 2023-2024 programming, which focuses on migration, kicks off with two Global Asia speakers and a film series. All CEAS events are free and open to the public.

Global Asia speaker series

The speaker series features not only Asia specialists whose research and teaching focus on the region, but also others who deal with any elements of Asia broadly in a global context. The center hopes to engage more faculty and students across different disciplines and professional schools and to produce collectively a new and innovative analytical lens to rethink taken-for-granted assumptions about Asia. 

  • “Passport Engagement”:  3:30-5 p.m. Sept. 7 at The Forum in Marvin Hall. Anthropologist Nicole Constable will discuss the problems with “real but fake” passports issued to migrant workers in Hong Kong.
  • “The Cats of Mirikitani” gallery talk: 1:30-3 p.m. Sept. 12 at the  Lee Study Center in the Spencer Museum of Art. Documentary filmmaker Linda Hattendorf, KU art historian Maki Kaneko and Spencer curator Kris Ercums discuss artworks in the museum's collection by Jimmy Mirikitani.

Migration film series

The migration film series is the Center for East Asian Studies’ second annual Asian film series. The four films will address diverse perspectives and issues on migration through the lens of Global Asia.

CEAS partnered with film directors, graduate students and family members of a Japanese war bride to moderate post-screening interdisciplinary discussions and share personal views and insights to foster energetic audience interactions. 

  • The Cats of Mirikitani”: 6-8:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at Room 211 in the Spencer Museum of Art (access through west doors only). Q&A led by Linda Hattendorf, documentary filmmaker.
  • Minari: 6-8:30 p.m. Sept. 13 at the English Room in the Kansas Union. Q&A led by Kyungmin Jung, graduate student in film & media studies.
  • Carved in Silence: 6-8 p.m. Sept. 14 at the  English Room in the Kansas Union. Q&A  led by Felicia Lowe, documentary filmmaker.
  • War Brides of Japan”: 6-8 p.m. Sept. 15 at the English Room in the Kansas Union. Q&A led by Linda Steigerwald and Louise Lake, daughters of a Japanese war bride.

These events are part of the Center for East Asian Studies’ Title VI grant activities. The 2022-2026 grant uses the conceptual frame of Global Asia to address diverse perspectives on nationally and internationally pressing issues. This year’s theme, shared by all KU area studies centers, is migration. It will address various related issues and concerns through educational activities such as a movie series, speakers, workshops and a spring conference. The intent is to address social, political and cultural issues and concerns related to migration through a focus on Asian and Asian American experiences.

The importance of Asian migration cannot be overstated, said Akiko Takeyama, CEAS director.

“Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial and ethnic group in the U.S,” Takeyama said. “With our annual theme, migration, we will explore the flow of not only people and cultures, but also technologies, commodities and capital in today's global age. Various topics regarding migration allow us to acknowledge creative connections and new sociality while critically engaging in the dialogues on geopolitical orders, structural inequalities and social injustices. I hope more people come to embrace different perspectives and respect one another.” 

To achieve these goals, the Center created a migration steering committee consisting of CEAS-affiliated faculty Maki Kaneko (art history), Kwangok Song (curriculum & teaching), David Mai (film & media studies) and Ayako Mizumura (sociology). This interdisciplinary committee works collaboratively and shares ideas and insights on migration issues through their diverse perspectives. Mizumura said the goal of CEAS’s programming is to “generate dialogues and open-ended discussions on past and current Asian migrant experiences. In turn, these activities help create a supportive community at KU for learning about underrepresented Asian migrants — their histories, struggles, resilieces, cultures and experiences in the U.S.”


Thu, 09/07/2023


LaGretia Copp

Media Contacts

LaGretia Copp

Center for East Asian Studies