University of Illinois professor to headline UHWO Chancellor's Lecture Series with presentation on Okinawan identity and independence

University of Hawaiʻi
Joyce Chinen, (808) 454-4720
UHWO Department of Sociology
Posted: Aug 7, 2007

PEARL CITY, OʻAHU- UH West Oʻahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni has reinstituted the UHWO Chancellor‘s Lecture Series, following a five-year hiatus. The first speaker in the lecture series will be Dr. Koji Taira who will speak on the topic of "Okinawan Identity and Independence" on Tuesday, September 4, 2007 from 12:30-1:45 p.m. in Room E-103. An informal reception will follow, co-sponsored by the UHWO Chancellor‘s Office, the Sociology Club and the Anthropology Club.

Taira is Emeritus Professor of Labor Economics and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and for the past two decades has been the Editor and Publisher of The Ryukyuanist, a newsletter which has connected and informed scholars and researchers of developments in the field of Okinawa Studies. He has written extensively on the quest of Okinawans for self-determination, and will discuss the range of meanings and forms that Okinawan independence might take, including the "one-Japan, two systems of governance" proposal that has surfaced in recent years. Taira will also be part of an informal "Talk Story Discussion on Okinawan Identity" hosted by the Center for Japanese Studies at UH Mānoa on Wednesday, September 5, from 3-4:30 p.m. in Moore 319 (Tokioka Room). Both appearances are made possible through a grant from the UH Diversity Fund.

The UHWO Chancellor‘s Lecture Series was first instituted by Dr. William Pearman in 1999. It was designed to bring nationally and internationally recognized authorities to the campus to complement the classroom learning environment at UHWO with provocative intellectual discussions on various topics of contemporary interest. Previous speakers have included family historian Stephanie Coontz of Evergreen State College, author of The Way We Never Were and The Way We Really Are; Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker, Steven Okazaki; Professor Eric Margolis of Arizona State University on "Manufacturing Assimilation: Photographs of Indian Schools in Arizona," among many others.

For more information on Dr. Taira‘s talks, please contact Dr. Joyce Chinen, UHWO Professor of Sociology, at (808) 454-4720 or