Department of History Colloquium Series Presentation - Dr. Mai Ishihara

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The History Colloquium Series invites you to:

 沈黙silence/痛みpain/言葉speech: the invisible and subalternized ‘self’ towards decolonization/hope

Guest Speaker: Dr. Mai Ishihara
Day/Date: Thursday, January 21, 2021
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Zoom Live Presentation

Register at Registration is required.

Francis First Charger Ninnaisipistoo ("Owl Chief") will open our event with a blessing.

Abstract: Healing can be achieved in a place where speech/words/language are shared. When we feel that our pain and suffering are understood, acknowledged, and accepted through speech/words/language (and maybe even through non-verbal means), we have a healing moment. I have been studying the anguish of people who live between “us” and “them,” and the new “speech/words/language” that emerges from that anguish.

My maternal grandmother was of Ainu origin, and my paternal grandmother was of cotoni colonial troops origin—who were the “leaders” of pioneer settlers. I was born with a divided/contested/broken “self,” which was truly a stranger and undiscovered “self” in Japan, a country where racism is invisible and mono-ethnic. I was not taught about the history of indigenous peoples at school. In spite of exercising racism every day, most Japanese don't even know what it is. It took a considerable process for me to break my silence and put my pain into words for the reason that there were no words that I could share with. In today's “speech,” I would like to talk about this process and how it can lead to decolonization and hope.

Dr. Mai Ishihara is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Ainu and Indigenous Studies at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan. She specializes in Cultural Anthropology and Ainu and Indigenous Research. She is the author of Autoethnography of ‘Silence’: The Story of the Pain of Silent Ainu and Their Care (Sapporo: Hokkaido University Press, Dec. 2020 [in Japanese]). 

This History Colloquium presentation (in English) is co-sponsored by Asian Studies, the Centre for Oral History and Tradition, and Women Scholars’ Speaker Series.

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Bev Garnett | | 403-380-1894