755 Library Road, Rochester, NY 14626

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Decolonization Dreams tells the little-known story of Koreans in Hawai'i and the metropole during World War II, highlighting how the experience of being lumped together with their Japanese colonizers provided both opportunities and obstacles for their active anticolonial movement in the United States. Korean Americans at once adopted, manipulated, and contested the racial project of making people of Japanese ancestry into an enemy race. Their anticolonial movement joined in the often racist demonization of the Japanese empire, since US victory against Japan was the best hope for Korean liberation. And yet, as Lili M. Kim shows, Korean American decolonization dreams articulated a radical vision of liberated Korea that went beyond sovereignty and nation-state, making to imagine a world free of empires and racial hierarchy.  As part and parcel of their decolonization dreams, Korean Americans also powerfully opposed white supremacy of the US empire by exploiting and challenging US racism and settler colonialism.

The reception will begin at 4:30 pm, and the talk will start at 5:00.

Lili M. Kim is an Associate Professor of History and Global Migrations and Co-Chair of Five College Asian Pacific American Studies Program, including Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  She is the author of Decolonization Dreams: Korean Americans' Transnational Freedom Struggle during World War II (University of North Carolina Press, Fall 2023).  Her next book, In Transit: Migration, Globalization, and Koreans in Argentina and the United States, traces the hemispheric roots and routes of Korean migration from Koea to Argentina to the United States in the context of the US empire and global racial capitalism in the second half of the twentieth century. 

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