College Teacher Workshop in Hawaii – History and Commemoration: Legacies of the Pacific War, July 25-30, August 1-6

History and Commemoration:
Legacies of the Pacific War

2010 National Endowment for Humanities College Teacher Workshop

Director:                Geoffrey M. White (University of Hawai‘i and East-West Center)
Dates:                    July 25 – 30, 2010 and August 1 – 6, 2010
Location:               East-West Center and University of Hawai‘i, Honolulu, Hawai‘i

From: Geoffrey White, Ph.D., Professor an Chair

Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai‘i

Dear Colleague:

Thank you for your interest in our National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) college teacher workshop, History and Commemoration: Legacies of the Pacific War. The program is part of the NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture program. The goals of these workshops are to provide community college teachers with opportunities for research and curriculum development utilizing the resources of historic sites. We are excited about the opportunity to host one of these workshops in connection with the Pearl Harbor historic sites where the Pacific War began for America and explore the war’s wider significance as remembered throughout the Asia Pacific region today. The workshop will be hosted by three sponsoring organizations: the Asian Studies Development Program of the East-West Center (a nonprofit education and research organization on the University of Hawai‘i campus funded by the U.S. Congress), the National Park Service, and the Arizona Memorial Museum Association.

Workshop Themes and Format

Although now almost 70 years in the past, World War II, and the Pacific War in particular, continue to be subjects of deep emotion and contested memory. At the same time, the events of war that were so cataclysmic in the mid-twentieth century may also be only a dim and at times irrelevant memory for some of today’s younger generations. The NEH Landmarks workshops on Legacies of the Pacific War will afford an opportunity to ask how and why the Pacific War remains relevant today, and in what ways it is invoked in the national memories of the United States and Japan as well as other countries involved in the war.

The workshop organizers welcome applications from community college teachers working in a variety of fields, including anthropology, history, literature and media studies, political science, religion, and ethnic and American studies, among others. The program combines lectures and discussion, films, and visits to historic sites with opportunities for individual and collaborative research. While no week-long program could encompass even a fraction of the scholarship on the Pacific War, guest speakers and readings will focus on a number of key nodes in (trans)national memory of the war. Topics addressed in some depth in workshop readings and presentations include Pearl Harbor, indigenous Hawaiian and Pacific Islander experiences, the internment of Japanese Americans, the atomic bombings, and the Tokyo war crimes trial. Participants will have the opportunity to pursue their own research interests aimed at advancing teaching and publication projects.

Pacific War as Contested Topic in 20th Century U.S.-Asia-Pacific History

The strategy of the program will be to explore legacies of the war in terms of specific sites of war history and memory across the Asia Pacific region. Given our location in Hawai‘i, where America’s war began with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, we will utilize the cluster of memorial and museum sites at Pearl Harbor as a case study to understand shifting historical practices that shape (inter)national memories of the Pacific War today. In addition, collections of documents and images curated at the USS Arizona Memorial will be available for participants’ research projects, as well as the extensive library resources of the Hawai‘i, Pacific, and Asian collections of the University of Hawai‘i, located in Hamilton Library on the UH campus.

The Pacific War in Public Culture: Museums, Film, Literature, Internet.

Within days of the Pearl Harbor attack, Americans, Japanese and others were reading magazine stories, listening to news and songs on the radio, and viewing newsreels of the attack in theaters. Whether in learning news of the war, or in recalling it years later, Pacific War memory continues to be tied to the media with the work of museums, memorials and texts now widely extended through film, video and the internet. The historian Tessa Morris-Suzuki will address these issues in the workshop with examples drawn from her book, The Past Within Us: Media, Memory, History.

We will also consider the role of museums and popular culture in representing Pacific War history. For this topic, the workshop will examine national memories of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima (and Nagasaki) that effectively ended the war. Prof. Lisa Yoneyama, who has written about Japanese memories of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in her book Hiroshima Traces, will put the atomic bombings in a broader transnational perspective.

Historical Legacies Today: War Crimes, Memory Wars and Reconciliation.

By exploring the importance of historic sites for understanding violent conflicts, the workshop will provide an opportunity for teachers to examine the role of memorials as symbols of nationalism as well as places for reflection and healing. These lessons have wide relevance for other conflicts and wars—particularly in today’s post-September 11 world. The workshop will address the continuing significance of Pacific War history for post-September 11 worlds through consideration of recent scholarship on the Tokyo War Crimes Trial and its implications for contemporary human rights law.

Faculty and Staff

The workshop has been organized through a partnership between the East-West Center, the National Park Service, and the Arizona Memorial Museum Association. The East-West Center, together with the University of Hawai‘i, offer extensive resources in Asian and Pacific studies, while the National Park Service and its partner Museum Association manage and interpret the historical resources of the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

The workshop will be led by Geoffrey White, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East-West Center, and Daniel Martinez, Chief Historian of the National Park Service at the USS Arizona Memorial, assisted by Paul Heintz, Education Director for the Arizona Memorial Museum Association, and Peter Hershock, Coordinator of the Asian Studies Development Program, East-West Center.

Program faculty have been recruited to represent the history of the Pacific War in the broader context of U.S. History, U.S.-Japan relations, and the diverse communities of memory within the United States. All faculty are asked to address the theme of ‘history and commemoration’ by relating their presentations to specific historic sites, media, and/or institutions of memory (museums, archives, schools, and so forth).

Keith Camacho, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
Warren Nishimoto, Director of the University of Hawai‘i Center for Oral History
Jonathan Kamakawiwo‘ole Osorio, Professor of Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai‘i
Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Professor of Pacific and Asian History, Australian National University
Yuma Totani, Assistant Professor of History, University of Hawai‘i
Yujin Yaguchi, Professor of American Studies, University of Tokyo
Lisa Yoneyama, Professor of Literature and Cultural Studies at UC San Diego

Preliminary Schedule of Activities

Prior to the workshop, participants will be asked to read several introductory texts, chosen to provide background knowledge about the Pacific War, with emphasis on historic sites. Relevant texts will be made available online. Upon arrival participants will receive a binder of readings and teaching resources, drawing on a range of materials judged useful for teaching and research.

The workshop will open on Sunday with a day of visiting historic sites at Pearl Harbor, including the USS Arizona Memorial where a major construction project is vastly expanding its visitor center and museum.

The second day, Monday, begins the program of lectures, panels, and discussion held at the East-West Center. The workshop will begin with discussion of the state of research on history, memory and commemoration followed by a panel of war “survivors”. In the afternoon participants will be introduced to the major research collections and archival resources available for support of individual project work.

The third day, Tuesday, will begin with a visit to additional sites of war history on the island of Oahu, including lunch with war veterans and civilian survivors, followed by time to pursue individual research and teaching projects.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be devoted to a mix of presentations, discussion, and project work, culminating in project presentations on the final day, Friday.

Day 1 (Sunday): Visit Pearl Harbor historic sites & Welcome Reception at the USS Bowfin Museum, adjacent to the USS Arizona Memorial.

Day 2 (Monday): Program Overview & Library/Collections Introduction

  1. Aims and organization of the workshop
  2. History and Commemoration: Pacific War Memory Today (White)
  3. Panel: Voices of the Pacific War: Veterans, former internees, civilians
  4. Introduction to Pacific War resources at the University of Hawai‘i (Hamilton Library)

Day 3 (Tuesday): Hawai‘i’s Pacific War sites: Pearl Harbor to Punchbowl National Cemetery

  1. Morning: Guided bus tour of World War II sites on the island of Oahu: Fort DeRussey Army Museum, Punchbowl Cemetery, Honouliuli Internment site (Martinez)
  2. LUNCH with WWII era veterans, survivors, and spouses (Hickam Officers Club)
  3. Afternoon: independent library and research work
  4. Evening: World War II in film: from Pearl Harbor to Tom Hanks’ The Pacific (White & Martinez)

Day 4 (Wednesday): Pacific War History & Memory: Widening the Lens

  1. The Pacific War in Hawaiian Culture and History (Osorio)
  2. The Hawai‘i Japanese American Experience: Racism, Heroism, and Beyond (Nishimoto)
  3. Pearl Harbor and the Pacific War in Japanese History and Memory (Yaguchi)
  4. Pacific Islanders and the War: Guam and Saipan (Camacho)

Day 5 (Thursday): The Pacific War in Public Culture: Museums, Film, Literature, Popular Culture

  1. The Pacific War in Popular Culture and Visual Media (Morris-Suzuki)
  2. Hiroshima in Japanese and American National Memory (Yoneyama)
  3. Afternoon: Individual and group project work

Day 6: (Friday): Pacific War Legacies in the Post 9/11 World

  1. The Tokyo Trials: Continuing Relevance (Totani)
  2. Plenary Presentation and discussion of individual projects: I
  3. Concluding plenary session: future plans for follow-up and networking

Local Facilities and Arrangements

The East-West Center is conveniently located adjacent to the University of Hawai‘i’s main research library, which houses extensive collections on Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific studies. Furthermore, the University’s Center for Oral History and the Arizona Memorial have significant collections of audiotapes, videotapes, and interview transcripts derived from research on World War II in Asia and the Pacific. These collections include extensive resources relevant to Pacific War history, wartime Honolulu, and the internment of Japanese Americans.

Paul Heintz ((808) 485-2744; will assist with arrangements for housing and travel. Participants may reside in Frear Hall, a University of Hawai‘i residence hall located in close proximity to East-West Center and UH facilities. On campus housing is recommended, however those who wish may choose to live off campus. Frear Hall housing is available at rates ranging from $50/night (single unit) or $45/night (two bedroom shared bath). See Wireless internet access is available in workshop residences and at the East-West Center. Participants are encouraged to bring laptop computers.


The Pacific Legacies workshops will each consist of 25 community college faculty supported by NEH funding and a smaller number of faculty from Asian and Pacific colleges and universities, supported with funding provided by the Arizona Memorial Museum Association. Asian and Pacific participants will be selected through a separate process of nomination and selection. Japanese applicants may consult a Japanese language website with more information. The eligibility requirements below apply to applicants seeking NEH funding.

NEH Landmarks workshops are designed for faculty members at American community colleges. Adjunct and part-time lecturers as well as full-time faculty are eligible to apply. Other community college staff, including librarians and administrators, are eligible to compete, provided they can advance the teaching and/or research goals of the workshop.  An applicant need not have an advanced degree in order to qualify. Applicants for NEH funding must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline.  Foreign nationals teaching outside the U.S. are not eligible to apply for an NEH-funded position in the workshop. Applicants must complete the NEH application cover sheet and provide all of the information requested below to be considered eligible.

An individual may apply to up to three NEH summer projects in any one year (Landmarks workshops, seminars, or institutes), but may participate in only one. Otherwise, past or present participation in the NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes or the East-West Center’s program activities does not affect an individual’s eligibility to participate in Landmarks programs. Individuals may not apply to study with a Landmarks director who is a current colleague or a family member. They should also not apply to attend the same workshop twice.

How to Apply

To be eligible, applicants must complete the NEH application and provide all of the information requested. You may begin the application process by accessing the NEH application cover sheet online at this address:

Please follow the guidelines in the NEH document “Application Information and Instructions,” or by contacting Ms. Sandy Osaki (808-944-7337;

The essay is the most important part of the application. It should include a statement about the applicant’s personal and/or academic motivations for applying, as well as an indication of how participation in the workshop will contribute to the applicant’s goals as a scholar and teacher.

Completed applications should be submitted to project coordinator Sandy Osaki, not the NEH, and postmarked no later than March 2, 2010. Note: this date is two weeks earlier than in past years.

Sandy Osaki
Legacies of the Pacific War
Asian Studies Development Program
East-West Center
1601 East-West Center Road
Honolulu, HI 96848-1601

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection by April 1, 2010, and they will have until April 5, 2010 to accept or decline the offer.  Applicants not at home during the notification period should provide an address and phone number where they can be reached.  No information concerning the status of an application will be available prior to the official notification period.

Participants selected to participate in the workshop will receive $1,200 cash stipends to cover travel, housing, and some meal expenses.

If we can provide additional information, please feel free to contact me (808-956-8193, or Sandy Osaki (808-944-7337; We look forward to receiving your application for participation in our NEH workshop.


Geoffrey White, Ph.D.
Professor an Chair

Department of Anthropology
University of Hawai‘i
Honolulu, HI 96822  USA
tel: 808-956-8193