Happy Birthday, Emi!

July 21, 2007

Emi’s birthday will be in August – and I got messages to Emi from those who could attend the Celebrating Protest website meeting on Thursday. It’s posted in the Social Movements class blog, so please take a look!

And it would be great if you could write some messages to Emi using this class blog space, to celebrate her birthday!
(And actually, Norma’s birthday is very close to Emi’s, too!)



Podcasts from Celebrating Protest series

July 5, 2007

Finally, all podcasts are on-line!

Noriaki Imai (Student, Environment and Peace Activist)
“Why I went to Iraq: Three Years Later” 

Tari Ito (Performance Artist) and MASA (Jazz Saxophonist)
“Rubber Tit”

Hitomi Kamanaka (Film Director)
“Q&A with Director Hitomi Kamanaka” 
– panel discussion on Director Kamanaka’s film, “Rokkashomura Rhapsody,” with Kamanaka, Judy Hoffman (Film Director,Cinema and Media Studies), Michael Raine (Cinema and Media Studies/ EALC) and Norma Field (EALC)

Michiko Nakajima (Lawyer)
“The Fifteen-Woman Lawsuit against Self-Defense Forces in Iraq”
Discussant: John Comaroff (Anthropology), Translation: Norma Field (EALC)

Emi Koyama
“Colonialism, Militarism, and the Political Economy of Transracial Adoption” 

Emi Koyama (Director, Intersex Initiative)
“Intersex at the Intersection of Queer Theory and Disability Theory” 

Yoshifumi Tawara(Sec. General of Children and Texbooks Network 21)
“Japanese Education and Society in Crisis” 
Translation: Norma Field (EALC)

Emi’s report on a NWSA panel on conservative backlash against feminism in Japan

July 4, 2007

There was a panel session, “Tangled Threads of Backlash against Feminism in Contemporary Japan” at the National Women’s Studies Assocation conference in St. Charles, IL, with Masami Saito, a feminist activist/scholar from Toyama, Japan, Emi Koyama, me and Norma as a moderator.

Tina asked me to write a report on this (and I am asking Lauren to report on it, too!), but Emi already posted a very detailed report of the session in her blog – so take a look!


response to “From ‘Intersex’ to ‘DSD'”

June 8, 2007

For a lack of a better expression, Emi Koyama’s keynote speech at Translating Identity (“From ‘Intersex’ to ‘DSD’”) simply blew my mind. It is such an exquisitely rich entwinement of various topics of and related to the issue of the term “intersex.” As a gender studies major, I was ashamed by how fuzzy I was about the very definition of “intersex,” so Emi’s list of common misconceptions was definitely helpful. Along with that clarification, I am also glad to learn about other issues orbiting intersex studies, such as “public stripping,” “the impaired role,” and the power of “normalizing medicine.” Some questions that remains are: what are the social costs of intersex/DSD people not forming a political community? Why do so many people, intersex individuals included, feel indifferent to the urgency of solving social problems associated with our anxieties about bodily differences and sexuality? How can pop culture contribute to or inhibit such a solution?

integrating the differentiation

June 5, 2007

Emi’s second talk here entitled “Intersex at the Intersection of Queer theory and Disability theory” introduced me to a number of new ideas, as I previously was pretty unaware of much about queer theory, disability theory or intersex. One of the things that really surprised me was her talk of the different biases that the medical profession has in treating certain “abnormalities”–to the point of arbitrarily setting down rules to perpetuate other arbitrary societal norms.

Read the rest of this entry »


June 5, 2007

All of these posts about Nori and RubberTIT/tari&MASA make me wish that it were still the beginning of this quarter! It was awesome getting to know Nori a lot better when we were showing him around campus. I can’t believe he’s gone through so much at such a young age… To think that there is only a few years between us is crazy!

MASA’s saxophone performance during one of our class dinners was a definite highlight. I was so blown away by her playing! And then a week or so ago I went to the university’s Jazz X-Tet performance and watched them perform. They had a female trumpet player and she was great.

Overall, the Celebrating Protest Series brought in amazing speakers… And it was awesome to meet people who have done so much and are so passionate about what they have fought for and do for a living.

I really enjoyed Kiku’s presentation on techno and post-techno in class. That was truly a treat… I remember my jaw dropping the entire time because it was all so new to me.

Emi’s visit was great, too. We all remember the snail mating story, don’t we? Haha.

And, of course, Beryl & Addie. American otaku unite! That was a very fun class period as well.

Intersex – Who should decide?

June 3, 2007

I think that in the interest of all parties involved, that the action applied should be determined on a case by case basis.

What is easiest for the parents to cope with? What is most affordable? What is easiest for the child to cope with? What is practical given how far along the child is in development? Is the child “leaning” to one gender or another in terms of hormone levels? Does this make one course of action medically more practical than the other? What do the physicians think is the best course of action given past cases they have examined in which the patients were similar? Is precedence more important in determining successful procedures or should they use this opportunity to maybe try an innovative new treatment?

I could spend all day coming up with questions and issues that they must ask and the point I want to make is that, for all our discussions and analysis of intersex, there DOES NOT exist a clear cut right or wrong. I think what we’re trying to get at (and all agree upon) is that these people deserve their human rights just as much as anyone else and should be informed of their situation and provided with all the information. For a physician to “decide” what is best for the child without consulting the parents and taking into account all the complications is a medical/ethical issue that is hotly debated as to when it is and is not appropriate.

While we do acknowledge that they are trained individuals in resolving these problems, we also must acknowledge that they too are people and can and will make mistakes. While their advice should be taken into serious consideration, we have to look at what all parties agree on as the best compromise in the course of action and they should keep the child’s health and happiness at the forefront of their objectives in deciding this.

Is our class going to resolve this issue? Certainly not! But I think we all have a better handle on the issues facing intersex and that can understand where Emi is coming from and why this topic deserves considerable attention.