Cold War Ruins: Transpacific Critique of American Justice and Japanese War Crimes
Lisa Yoneyama is Professor of East Asian Studies and Women & Gender Studies at the University of Toronto, the coeditor of Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War(s), also published by Duke University Press, and the author of Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space, and the Dialectics of Memory.
Complicit Amnesia: For Transformative Knowledge
This chapter scrutinizes the American Cold War memories of the Asia-Pacific War that figured prominently in the impassioned dissension over the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s planned exhibit to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II. Simultaneously a testament to the 1990s culture wars, the Smithsonian controversy demonstrated how the transnationalization of historical representations and their critiques could result in an unintended “warping” of politics. That is, when a critique travels from one location to another, it can inadvertently ally with intellectual and political positions that are at odds with those it endorsed in the original context. By distinguishing critical transnationalism from transnational ventriloquism, the chapter addresses the possibilities of transpacific critique—a critique that may prove vital in the intensifying struggles in Asia and the Pacific Islands over the meaning of American exceptionalism, militarized security, justice, and decolonization.